I've been taking this singing class--oh, let's just get it all the gay out there and say I've been taking this cabaret singing class, and at each session we begin with vocal warm-ups and some kind of improvisational exercise. Last night one of the members, a teacher, suggested a game of assassin, saying she played it with her students. The Wikipedia description linked above seems far more elaborate than what we played, which involved sitting in a circle with our eyes closed, and somebody tapping selected members on the head to designate them as assassins or victims. Then we would open our eyes and--well, I still can't figure out what was going on, with people asking each other random questions about daylight savings time until somebody either fell over in a dramatic "death" or somebody pointed a finger at somebody else saying "You're the assassin!" I felt like a visitor from another planet, as everyone else seemed to get right into the spirit of things while I sat clueless and In Hell. Can anyone explain?
I guess kids smarter than I could have a great time with this, but I kept thinking about what a handy vehicle it could be for playground victimization. (All together, sing: "Memories / light the corners of my mind . . . .") Better even than dodgeball, because Assassin seems to offer far more interesting opportunities for psychological torture. I guess any game that involves someone being it has that potential.
On a book-related note (heh), I was able to help another student who has a young child living temporarily in the Philippines and was trying to solve the problem of intercontinental bedtime stories. I suggested using the International Children's Digital Library, where electronic editions of books from around the world can be read in a variety of ways. I didn't know if it could work synchronously, but Jeff told me that he and his kid were able to log on at the same time and turn the pages together while talking on the phone. (I guess that should really be "turn" the "pages" "together.") All very Jetsons, yes?
One last thing: being in that class reminds me what a salutary experience it is for those of us who teach to be the student once in a while. You can forget how things look from that end.