Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Kick ass lesson plan

My first year composition class read two articles this week. One is about reality TV and lists 10 reasons university students like reality dating programs.

From "Keeping it Real: Why We Like to Watch Reality Dating Television Shows," by Robert Samuels, pgs. 193-201 in Common Culture, Reading and Writing about American Popular Culture, fifth edition.

(pgs. 194-95) Top 10 reasons why university students like to watch reality dating programs:

1. It's fun to watch other people be rejected.
2. The people on these shows are just like us.
3. There are a lot of hot guys and girls on these shows.
4. You can learn a lot by watching other people's mistakes.
5. These shows are more real than other shows.
6. It's like going on a virtual date.
7. It's fun to guess who will be chosen.
8. You can see other people in an uncomfortable situation.
9. Everyone gets their fifteen minutes of fame.
10. These shows celebrate our narcissism and voyeurism.

For today's group exercise, I broke the class up into four groups. Each group had 15 minutes to develop a "pitch" for a reality television show. Their pitch had to appeal to at least two of the top 10 reasons listed above. The show did not necessarily have to be a dating show. They then had a minute or two to present their pitches and the class voted on which pitch they liked the best.

Once again, the students really got into this activity and seemed to have a lot of fun. Also, on a subliminal (i.e. subversive) level, they maybe learned a little about writing to an audience and expressed some creativity to boot.

Voting results from group activity on 9/27/06, re: reality television pitch ideas.

The executives at NBC (NIU Broadcasting Channel) have chosen Group number two, "The Jackass Apprentice," as the best reality TV show. Once the lawyers hammer out all the liability issues, it should be inserted into the mid-winter line-up.

Voting results:

Group 2 (Abby, Katherine, Jill, Becky)-- 29 points (5-1st, 4-2nd, 6-3rd)
Group 1 (Allison, Jen, Ashley, Matt, Audrey) "Sweet" -- 25 points (6-1st, 2-2nd, 3-3rd)
Group 4 (Tanis, Jenny, Lisa, Eric, Patrick) "Jailhouse Love" -- 25 points (5-1st, 3-2nd, 4-3rd)
Group 3 (Jennifer, Maryann, Harrison, Brittany) "Beer Pong Island" -- 24 points (2-1st, 7-2nd, 4-3rd)

Group two gets a check-plus participation grade for the day. Everybody else is transported to eastern Europe. You all get a Czech. (ha, ha attempt at lame humor). Note: First place votes are worth 3 points, 2nd -2, 3rd-1.

I originally graded the rankings by check-plus, check, check-minus, and no credit for the lowest ranked group, but they groused something fierce at that set-up.

Teaching is all about adaptation, baby!

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