This week my fabulous 8th grade students are presenting projects based on Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet." A variety of multi-genre and scene stealing performances have been galavanted through the classroom, some with pride and excitement, while others with fear and trepidation.
You can spot an unprepared project a mile away. These are the kids who hide their fear through smirky giggles; they were too cool to really get into the project (whatever). The students who know they are prepared ask a million questions because they're looking for and expecting the holy grail, the A+. These students will ask questions on every and any little ditty about the project because they are certain in their 13 year old minds that if they ask the question, that one of two things will happen:
A) The student did not do that particular requirement and will attempt to discredit you by saying it wasn't a part of the directions. You will point out that it was in the directions (because for all of you non-educators out there, kids in general do NOT read the directions, ever), which will lead to...
B) The expectation that their vigilance in at least asking will lead them to me giving them the points for that anyway because at least they cared to ask.
So funny, I love it.
This is a game, as always. Over achieving kiddos take it so seriously. The average, on target student will be a bit confused as to how to engage in the battle because they care, but they don't want to annoy you (which I appreciate). Finally, the under achiever will blow it off and act like nobody cares. It's totally a lesson in sociology and psychology.
Today, some of my braver students are bringing in food they made from recipes that were used during the Renaissance. I must say that many students did their research, explained why and how this food was presented in the Renaissance and brought in samples for all to try. Others missed the essence of the task and decided to be a rogue and see if they can pull a fast one on me; like I'm not going to question it. Here are some examples:
Treat #1 involved mini Rice Krispy treats rolled into balls rather than squares. This shaping technique was supposed to capture the authenticity of the thing. I asked about the recipe as she merrily handed a little crispy ball to each student. Low and behold, the main ingredients were: Rice Krispies, marshmallows, and butter. OMG, I didn't know Kellogg's had a factory back then. That's hot (with sarcasm).
Treat #2 involved straight up Betty Crocker brownies. Oh wait, she put Jello pudding on top, because that's how they rolled in the 16th Century. Inadvertently, I asked her, "Is this Duncan Hines?" And do you know what she said, "No, I used Betty Crocker." Oh Betty, everyone knew you were a classic, but I didn't know that you were as old as dirt. By now, I could tell that she really thought this was something Romeo and Juliet ate at the Capulet feast, and now as I see her eyes well up with tears, she's devastated. Crap. Well, that one bit me in the butt. I told her they were "Renaissance Brownies."
Treat #3 was the main course to treat #2. It was a "mushy pasta dish." The ingredients involved pasta, tomato sauce, and cheese. I couldn't keep my mouth closed, and I retorted with, "Wow, that sounds like baked ziti." Forget it, I was screwed.
All in all, it was a great day. I mean, who knew that once a week I've actually been cooking an authentic Renaissance meal of mushy pasta and Renaissance Brownies? I didn't know I was that good.
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