Some Wonderful Things That Have Happened Lately:
-I dismiss class, but say "I'll play a round of Beastie Rap if anyone wants to stay." They all stay.
-Two Entenmann's pumpkin donuts protected by only a Ziploc get decimated in my backpack. On my way to the trash I say, "Unless anyone wants them" and someone does.
-We play a goofy version of tag where when you're "it" you have to yell stuff, and a nice boy who always dresses in black runs ferociously after a girl in heels while screaming, "THE SUN'LL COME OUUUUT TOMORROW! BET YOUR BOTTOM DOLLAR!"
-After getting feedback that the token awkward, shy guy always plays himself, I ask him to play the school hottie jock. He is still awkward, but adds details like, "I wasn't listening in class because I was texting my girlfriend who is a cheerleader."
-Today a student gave a history presentation on Christopher Guest.
-A kid sends me his homework via email, includes a poem with such lines like "I broke up with my girlfriend because she said like/ Hitler was a jerk 'cos of the Third Reich."
-At mid-term I make them sit in a chair in front of everyone and hear all their strengths and weaknesses from classmates. They often fidget, but no one has gotten defensive, and everyone has felt unique and appreciated. This has nothing to do with my teaching and everything to do with how you can't help but love people you improvise with.