If you didn't watch the debacle that was the Oscars last night, consider yourself lucky. The first few minutes were way cool, then it quickly devolved from there. I won't go into the poorly written jokes. That's what all of the withering criticism you'll find everywhere from The New York Times to Entertainment Tonight is for. What I want to discuss is what I did while I waited for something worth while to happen, and let me tell you, I waited a good long while. I tweeted.
Lest you think I was pursuing something educational, I wasn't. I just wanted to amuse myself until that crazy Lego song was over and Neil Patrick Harris stopped embarrassing seat fillers. So I followed the hashtag #Oscars2015. There were some amusing comments like this one:
You know what would be funny? If they simulcast the #Oscars2015 on a screen while the cast of Mystery Science Theater 3000 did commentary.
— Kelly Jo Schultz (@kellyschultz) February 23, 2015
— William Polking (@Polking) February 23, 2015
Even Tyrion Lannister weighed in:
If the winners keep ignoring the wrap-up music the band is going to switch to crossbows. #Oscars2015
— Tyrion Lannister (@GoT_Tyrion) February 23, 2015
Though I don't know any of these people personally (and, of course, one of them is fictional), it still felt like we were passing notes in class. It was fun and killed the tedium. As the above tweets attest, there was plenty of that to go around. Saturday night, however, there was no need for snark when my husband and I watched The Theory of Everything. The movie was so engrossing that I easily dismissed the dozen or so texts that my friends were sending me in a group chat. Creating that level of engagement is the kind of teaching I aspire to.
You know how your heart sings when the kids hear the bell at the end of class and say, "Wait. Class is over? Really?"compared to those days when they try packing up their bookbags long before you're through. While I certainly have my share of the latter, today's "Frankensteining" activity was more of the former. My colleagues and I decided to introduce a particular type of analysis question by having kids take the responses that we wrote to it and creating a hybrid, a "monster" answer. Once they'd crafted what they thought was the best response from ours with their tablemates, they had to explain their thinking behind each choice.
That this was a precursor to writing their own essays, they cared not. They were having fun, ripping our essays to shreds to combine them into something new. No one paid attention to the bell when it finally rang. No one passed notes. Not today any way.