2019 Kevy Awards Part 1

Post date: Jun 6, 2019 3:51:12 PM

Welcome back to the second annual Kevy awards. I started the Kevy’s last year and had a blast writing it so I’m back for more. This is my way of looking back and reflecting on the just completed school year. Was it better than the last? Let’s find out!

I've divided the awards into 2 (which might end up being 3) parts. Enjoy part 1!

Today’s Kevy Awards:

Board Game of the Year

Best Quote

Best New Thing

Best Activity (As chosen by the audience)

Board Game of the Year

Sushi Go Party - From the makers last year’s winner Go Nuts for Donuts comes a similar game with a collection mechanic. In this game you pick pieces of sushi from you hand of cards then pass them to another player. They take another piece and so on. Each type of sushi is worth different amounts of points depending on various criteria. The game is easy to play but tough to master. Kids and teachers both loved it.

Super Fight - In this game you select a character ranging from Gandhi to the Terminator. You then select a super power ranging from “is 100 stories tall” to “can’t stop dancing.” You are then assigned another random superpower to complete your fighter. Players then debate over whose newly created superhero would win in a fight. It’s not complicated but it is a ton of fun and allowed us teachers to share some great lessons on reasoning skills with our kids who played.

Spicy Uno - Uno has always been popular in my class but this year was probably its biggest year. Surely Internet memes about Reverse cards helped but the real addition was the spicy rule set. In Spicy when you play a 6 you must slap the table. The last player to do so draws 2 cards. When you play a 7 no one may speak in any way until another 7 is played. With a zero you may trades hands with another player. These are all simple additions but really added to the game.

And the winner is… Spicy Uno!

While it wasn’t my favorite game to play it certainly was for the students. Breathing life into an old classic is pretty cool and I’m glad we found this variant. Also, play games with your students at lunch. You’ll thank me.

Best Quote

“$40, a Suitcase and a One-way Ticket” - Dr. Disneyland

Early the year my class was visited by Dr. Jeffrey Barnes, author of Wisdom of Walt. He teaches the history of Disneyland at Cal Baptist University. I had him come talk to them as a kick off to their year-long passion projects. The presentation was incredible but nothing stuck with my kids, or me, more than his quote about Walt Disney’s decision to leave the Midwest and come to California to seek his dream. It really drove home the idea to my kids that if they are passionate about something nothing should stop them from going for it.

“Good kids struggle too.” - Giselle

Giselle was one of my best students. I had her in both 7th and 8th grade. She was never a problem and near the end of the year I thanked her for being in my elective class though she probably needed me and my support less than anyone. She didn’t say anything then but when she wrote her end of the year reflection she went into all the things I, and the class, had done for her. She talked about her struggles with confidence throughout 7th grade and how much more of a leader she had become. I talked to her again and thanked for her honesty and appreciation. I told her that I was a lot like her as a student. Everything looked great on the outside but I had issues too. That’s when she hit me with “Good kids struggle too.” Yes, they certainly do.

“I've always appreciated your encouragement to me and others. You made me love something I never knew I could be somewhat good in it. I want learn more about everything from the Romans to the Pirates because of you. I don't know if you realized it but you really helped me bring my self-esteem up. From the smallest things, like saying I did a great job, they meant a lot to me even though I don't show it. I think it was the letter that you sent that really made me realize that i was worth something” - Sarah

And speaking of good kids who struggle… Sarah is a very good kid who struggles with the need to be perfect. She is the poster child for Perfection Paralysis to the point where she’d rather not turn something in and take a zero on it than turn it in less than perfect. Her grades really suffered as a result. When she wrote the above on her end of the year reflection I was floored. She’s right, she didn’t show it. I wasn’t sure I was ever making a bit of difference for her though I certainly made the effort. This quote sums up very well why I treat my kids the way I do.

Elective That Shall Not Be Named has been a life changing experience and opened my eyes to a world full of hopes and dreams that I want to complete. For example, I really want to major in history. I always enjoyed history, but you, Mr.Roughton, made me have a better understanding, and made it fun to learn. - Celeste

I read this one in the middle of one of my classes and teared up immediately. Lots of kids say nice things about me but this comment from Celeste was special. Celeste largely keeps to herself. She’s kind and polite but hates showing any vulnerability. I did not expect this from her at all. I never even picked up that she enjoyed history!

And the winner is… a tie!

Yeah right, like I can pick just one. Giselle’s is probably the one that will most impact how I look at my next set of students but all four quotes will stick with me for a very long time.

Best New Thing

Underground Railroad Breakout - Someone on Twitter asked if there were any good Breakouts based on the Underground Railroad. When nobody responded I decided to make one. I’ve had mixed success with Breakouts (you’ll notice the Constitution one I also built this year is not a nominee) but I felt the topic was a good fit for one and I was right. The puzzles are cool and based, largely, on real (or at least legendary) codes used on the Railroad. The best part came from my colleague Anthony Gomez who suggested using glow in the dark stars as a big dipper to point to the final prize just like it led escaping slaves. It was awesome!

Building a Government - I wanted a new first day lesson for my 8th graders. They all had me in 7th so doing my usual self-introduction was pointless. I came up with the idea of having them rebuild society after a zombie apocalypse. While the lesson didn’t go exactly as planned (they were supposed to find it difficult but not that difficult…) it was still memorable and set a great tone for the year. Mostly because of this intro video.

Time Warp - It isn’t often that I make a new lesson that is so popular that I make 3 more of the same style in the same year. In fact, it has been years since a new type of lesson was added to the rotation. Time Warp is a digital choose your own adventure story where students play the role of a historical figure trying to survive various situations. I have them on the Reformation, Age of Exploration, Westward Movement and Civil War. They got progressively better throughout the year and I have plenty of ideas for more to come. The kids absolutely loved them. While I didn’t like how much time and effort each took to build (okay, I’m lying, I love doing this nerdy stuff) it was worth it for their reactions and learning.

And the winner is… Time Warp. While none of the individual Time Warps hit the full experience of the Breakout and they don’t have nearly as cool of an intro as the Government lesson they are a huge change in content delivery in my classroom. I foresee using the techniques I’ve learned creating them in many different lessons in the future and I have no doubt they will remain popular among the students.

Best Activity

Lecture Notes - I call them Lecture notes here for simplicity but they are really stories. Teachers know what lectures are and I’m tired of being told they don’t work and kids hate them. Oh really?

My favorite activity this year was notes because I learned a lot from them and all the presentations were super cool. - Melanie

Note, notes were fun and funny other than writing a lot we still got to use our own words in a way where we can understand it. - Raul

I liked writing notes because the presentations you made were very entertaining and, it made it easy to remember these things. Also i like how some slides were funny but also giving us information. - Sam

Notes because there interesting and makes you feel like you were there . Asher

CYOA (Choose Your Own Adventure) - In CYOA my students choose from a list of 75 activities ranging from paper bag puppets to research reports in order to demonstrate mastery of a standard.

CYOA I enjoyed the option of choosing a creative work that we would on by our free will . - Shawn

Mine was CYOA because it was creative and fun but was also about school at the same time. - Ramon

My favorite activity we did this year was CYOA because I got to incorporate my favorite hobby of all time which is drawing. CYOA was also my favorite because we got to have fun with it but still learn something at the same time.-Yvette

Culture Shocks - These are a series of mini-activities built around exploring the daily life of a civilization. With China, for example, we did a chopstick challenge and played with Tangrams.

Culture shocks were my favorite activities because we got to see different perspectives of people in history and see what they went through. - Alexa

I enjoyed culture shocks because it would be really fun and I enjoyed learning new things. - Karen

Culture shocks because it was really fun and funny to mess around being all these types of people and it was an awesome experience to do that. - Alex

And the winner is… a tie! For the second year in a row we have a tie. What was interesting about this year’s results is that it was not evenly spread among the periods. While each period had students who enjoyed all three types they had clear preferences. Period 3 really liked CYOA, Period 5 was all about culture shocks and period 6 most loved the lectures. Why is that? I have no idea, but it is interesting. A note here that Time Warp did start popping up on some lists even though we only did it twice in each grade level. I expect it to make the nominees next year!