It’s not every day that a little known BBC game show sweeps a Middle School . . .
“Just a Minute” is a British radio and television game show where players have 60 seconds to speak continuously about a randomly chosen and unrehearsed subject. They can be “challenged” by other players if they break any of the rules of the game, which are as follows:
- No Hesitating
- No Repetition
- No Derivation
So, while thinking about ways to work with the 6s on speaking and listening skills (or ‘oracy’, a word I just discovered, following ‘literacy’), the little known BBC game show leapt to mind. But how to modify for MSers?
I set up these rules for the 6s:
- Players are given a random subject to discuss for 60 seconds.
- Successfully talking for 60 seconds gets you 5 points
- Other plays can challenge you on each rule, and if your challenge is upheld, you gain a point. But you must listen and think carefully, for if you challenge somebody and it is overruled, you lose a point – to prevent students from just listening in order to criticize.
And I modified the grounds for a challenge a bit, since these are MSers, not linguistically fastidious Britons:
- No Hesitating – Short pauses are OK, but stalling for longer periods of time or second-guessing loses one point. Only a handful of ‘um’s, ‘uh’s, ‘yeah’s, ‘like’s, and other stalling words.
- No Repetition – Words and phrases are OK to repeat, but ideas should always be elaborated on, not just restated or repeated.
- No Derivation – Players must stick to the subject, with all tangents and asides connecting back to the subject in a convincing way.
Let the games begin! Here are some of the contestants performances:
Random Subject: Evil
Random Subject: Movie Posters
Random Subject: Famous Painters
Random Subject: Naming Babies
And here is my attempt to take on NYC Soccer, Nuerons, and Minecraft for 60 seconds each – the students really enjoyed taking me to task for my hesitations, repetitions, and derivations:
Anyways, once the 8s saw it on the boards, they wanted to play too – and it seemed unfair to deny the 7s the chance – and so by the end of the day, the whole middle school had a new way to practice public speaking and thinking-out-loud and -on-your-feet.