We’re on a two-hour delay schedule for snow (the fact that this was a fairly wimpy snowfall notwithstanding). Putting this on top of a day and a half of missed classes last week for a bad ice storm, plus my being out yesterday for a release day, means that pretty much everyone has forgotten what we’re “really” doing.

So I hand out the words to “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” in Chinese. Read read read, translate translate translate…fairly straightforward stuff.

Then it’s time to sing. But no one seems in the mood to sing! This despite their having explained to me that they were finally awake (since we were meeting at 10:30 instead of 8:30 as usual). So I go fishing. I start asking kid after kid, “Can you sing?” Most of them deny any singing ability. A quick birdwalk into my husband’s total lack of singing prowess, and a visual scene of people staring at him and pointing their fingers in Mass, and him totally not caring (who says truth can’t work for a mini-situation?) but then back to the fishing.

And finally, a bite. A bite from a kid who hadn’t sparked all semester. He happened to be a football player, and allowed as how he could sing. We then had to find out where he sang (in the shower), what he sang there (“Singing in the Rain”, not the Bee Gee’s “Staying Alive”, fortunately) and whether he sang well or not (he said not, but we decided he did.) It might have ended there except for the Compare and Contrast trick. There happened to be another pretty taciturn football player in that group, so I asked if he was the same as the first player. Despite his vehement denials of any singing at all, we decided that actually ALL football players sing while playing football, and our team plays well because it sings “Beat It” by Michael Jackson, instead of singing the Barney song like the rival team does.

It would have been okay even if the spark hadn’t happened, because they would have had lots of circling and reps on “sing a song”, the qualitative “sings well” and “take a shower”. Now, though, this kid has a Thing in class as the singing football player.

And the whole thing makes me think. Yes, there is a curriculum and a word list in place for this class. But it’s a senior elective, and it doesn’t feed into any other classes, and it isn’t designed to prepare the kids for any particular follow-on class in college. It’s simply an elective course to learn Chinese. So why is it that I’m not taking advantage of this freedom and simply teaching them the language in the certain knowledge that at this level, ANYTHING I do with them is going to fit the curriculum?

At the very least, I suspect there will be a football themed musical story tomorrow…