I played Secretly Eating Pizza, an adverbs/verbs charades game with my teenagers yesterday and today. I put together this one for my Yantai drips, asa reward for all their hard work learning the difference between adjectives and adverbs. The game is quite simple, basically, you pick an adverb and a verb out of two bags, and then you act them out while the rest of the class guesses. Sometimes you get normal combinations, like Slowly Walking, but sometimes you’ll get Lovingly Riding a Bike or Rudely Brushing Your Teeth (I call it that because John, one of my little boys in Yantai, really really liked to “secretly eat pizza”).
It worked even better with teenagers, except for my usual duds, a girls or two per class who do about 2% of whatever the assignment is. Even activities that are usually fun get no response. I’m sort of hoping there’ll be a fire drill or emergency while I’m here just to see if they can move quickly.
I did the game in two classes, modifying the vocab a bit for different level of English proficency, and in both classes, a few duds slowed the game to an unfun crawl when they looked at their words, whined that they wanted new ones, stood in the front for a while deciding what to do, then apathetically waved their hands a little bit, so little that Angrily Exercising was indistinguishable from Languidly Waiting For A Bus, and then stood waiting for their classmates to become psychic.
I know there are dud students in every school in every city, like those kernels of corn that refuse to pop, but I’m stumped as teacher when I plan a lesson that has 18 people waving their hands and begging to go next, and 2 people looking like they’re at the dentist’s.
What do I do here? Do I let the duds sit and stare into spare (I originally wrote “doodle” here but that implies active creativity) while the games goes on, keeping everything fun, fast-paced and focused, but making participation in English class optional? Do I force them to participate, and let unenthused students make it lamer for everyone? I’m considering spiking their drinks, but I don’t know the Chinese word for uppers.