Careful the things you say. Children will listen Careful the things you do. Children will see and learn Children may not obey, but children will listen Children will look to you for which way to turn to learn what to be Careful before you say “Listen to me”. Children will listen – Stephen Sondheim
So a few months ago in my 7th period class, we finished up our day’s activities with about 5-6 minutes to spare. Always one to engage bell-to-bell, I threw up on the projector a video from a youtube channel called “Bad Lip Reading”. It’s a list of videos that have had the audio track removed and then replaced with a track of what the people on the video looked like they might have said to someone only reading lips. In my opinion it’s one of the funniest things on the net right now. There’s a whole list of political candidates and music videos to choose from. The one that we chose was the newest at the time, a Rick Perry campaign ad.
We watched it and laughed. Everyone seemed engaged. the bell rang and that was it, I thought.
About three weeks later, on a Friday, we again had a few minutes at the end of 7th period and a couple kids asked if I’d put the Rick Perry video up. There were newer ones that I also liked, but not as funny as Rick Perry, so I agreed. To my shock, about four boys proceeded to completely recite the words right along with the video with perfect inflection, pace, and timing. These same boys, who are good students but also good friends with one another, I was convinced decided to tune out to the fun and just whisper to each other the last few minutes of class.
I was talking about those videos with a colleague of mine today, and recounting how those boys went home and obviously spent quite a bit of time to mimic those videos. It served as my reminder of the day that we never know how the things we say or do may influence others. I was convinced that these students weren’t even paying attention, but they were inspired enough to go home and memorize these bits of comedy. It always seems to be those moments for me when I think I’m having the least impact, that I find later that I had the most.
I wonder if they stopped with the Rick Perry video. Might they have tried to research the videos used to hear the original audio? Could this be something that I could tap into to allow these students to show synthesis by creating their own videos? I think I’ll explore it.
BTW, here’s the video if you’ve not seen it yet: