Sometimes in my classes I like to use games of chance to organize the processes we move through -- for instance, when planning speech order for an upcoming assignment, I'll use a number-guessing game to make the whole process a bit more exciting and ridiculous. I think it's good to remind students that power structures are full of arbitrary and whimsical caprice, while also reminding them that good gamesmanship is required for success at life*.
Last class period I was trying to help groups decide who would present first so I wrote a number - 5 - on the whiteboard BEHIND the old-school-overhead screen that pulls down out out of the old-school-overhead-screen-thingy.
The groups took a little too long choosing. One group chose 3, one chose 5, and one chose 7. I was mortified because I needed the game to actually eliminate a group, but their perfect formation around the number I had chosen had made that impossible. I shook my head in surprise as I pulled the string for the screen to shoot revealing how fate had played a trick on us all. They weren't gonna believe this.
The number on the board, in perfectly clear handwriting said: 4.
I'm serious. My Five had changed to a Four.
No one left their seat. I don't remember blacking out. There were no puffs of smoke anywhere in the room.
It was convenient in terms of deciding speech groups, but a little unnerving to find out that one of my students has potent powers of transmogrification. I'm going to have to keep an eye on my whiteboards and power points from now on. Who knows what kind of prankster misinformation might end up in my notes? On the test?
I want you to know that I know that you're out there.
You may have been garbling signals below the radar before, but this was one step too far.
I may not know who you are yet, but I'm up to the challenge. It's been a long time since I had a magical arch-nemesis in a student, but trust me - I *relish* the challenge.
Every move you make, every test you take....
...I'll be watching you.