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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Card sharks

Since today is Tuesday, we had our after-school enrichment program. I run the Basketball Club, but this is the first time in about three or four weeks that we've actually gone outside to play basketball. Before today, the previous weeks had been cold or rainy, so my group had stayed inside in Mrs. Educator's room and played games. Two favorites of the kids: Connect Four and Uno.
Playing Uno with the kids is hilarious. They spend most of the time peering over the tops of their cards, looking like the poodles from that famous painting, and they almost never know when it's actually their turn. The play will come to them, I'll look at them, and they get all squinty eyed, like I'm about to call their bluff. And I can inevitably count on one kid to try to play a red three on top of a blue seven. I always hate to be the one to burst his bubble when he has one card left, there's a green four on top of the discard pile, and he giddily lays down his last card with a look of triumph on his face.
"Ummm, C, you can't play that yellow skip card now..."
It's a really good thing that we are not playing poker, or anything for money for that matter, because these kids can't hide their cards for one thing, and they don't conceal their emotions either. They're about as subtle as an eighty-foot tall lizard in downtown Tokyo. As the cards are dealt out one by one to begin the game, the kids greet each card with a cry of, "YES!" or, "I got my favorite card!" Whenever I play a wild card and change the color, I'm serenaded with either, "THANK YOU MISTER TEACHER!!" or, "NOOOOOOO!! NOT RED!!!"
But really and truly, despite the fact that it makes for a longer day, I do enjoy seeing these kids out of the context of my classroom, where I tend to get frustrated with them easily. I like being able to take a step back and play games with them, instead of chastising them for adding two monetary amounts together to find the amount of change someone should receive.
Plus, I can totally kick their butts at Connect Four.

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