Monday, December 14, 2009

Poker, I 'Ardly Know 'er!

Lesson of the Day: 5-Card Draw and poker idioms
Video of the Day: Gaga's "Poker Face" plus various videos we've watched over the last semester

At the faculty meeting this morning, there was thunderous applause in response to something the vice principal announced, and everyone seemed super happy. Coteach turned to me, beaming, to translate that we'd had a great year university admissions-wise, and that out of the original class of 60 kids, only 6 hadn't made it into university out of second grade. Well, while I couldn't be happier that these kids I've invested in are finding success, I also couldn't help that my first reaction was "oh man, those 6 left behind must be hurting," and that my second thought was "since they're probably the ones that can't speak English, I have no idea what I'll do with them for the next 2 weeks."
But when I showed up for class an hour later, there was no one in the room. So I went to coteach to find out what was up, she she told me that they had all stayed in the study room upstairs, intent on studying harder and getting better grades. She brought them down to my classroom, and I've gotta say, I don't think I've ever seen 6 sadder faces than the ones that came trudging into class 10 minutes late, still studying in the halls.
So I told them a story about how a certain dad applied to Yale at 16, didn't get in, and ended up going to law school and being a successful lawyer anyway. This seemed to cheer them up a fair amount - they've really had it beaten into their heads that going to a SKY university at 16 is the only way to have a life worth living.

After that, we moved on to the lesson that I came up with at 12:30am. In the hour just before class, I came up with a list of 12 poker-derived idioms, 6 of which we went over today, with definitions for poker and conversational use, plus examples. So after we watched Lady Gaga's "Poker Face," I passed that out, along with my list of ranked poker hands with examples. We went over the whole thing, and then I wrote on the board and defined "bet" "raise" "call" and "fold," and taught them to play 5 card draw. I think they had a good time with it - at least, they were definitely happier at the end of class than they had been at the beginning.

They bet with "points" - I gave them each 20 points to start, and told them that whoever had the most points by the end of the poker unit could choose the movie we will watch next week, and whoever had the second highest number of points could choose the snack I'd bring. It was enough incentive to give the game a point, but not enough to make them super competitive, which is good. Today should be about bonding and supporting each other so that no one goes and jumps off a cliff.

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