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Forced fun in AP English

 Student of the Week continues to be a great feature of AP English, but more is needed to keep the class fun. In between all the work and the criticism and the feelings of being overwhelmed, we have to fit in some humor and levity.

I call it “forced fun.”

Every student takes on a leadership role each quarter to make the class more enjoyable. Some are big jobs and take planning; others are more silly and spontaneous. Here are some that we’ve come up with so far:

1. Crazy Number Person. I ask for a number, and the Crazy Number Person gives me one. These numbers help me organize class activities or determine which student I’ll call on next.

2. Photographer. This student takes pictures during class and then posts them to our class website and Facebook page.

3. Field Trip Leader. This student organizes a literary field trip for the class. We’ve already had one informal trip (to see Khaled Hosseini, author of Kite Runner, speak), and one is coming up. It’s crucial to get out of the classroom.

4. Birthday Coordinator. Whenever it’s a student’s birthday, the birthday coordinator makes sure that person is celebrated. I’m horrible at remembering birthdays, so I’m grateful for this student’s commitment.

5. Breakfast Leader. Every Wednesday, our class meets in the morning, so this student gets her peers to sign up once a semester to bring a snack. Food is really important in building community.

6. Raffle Picker-Outer. Whenever there’s a raffle for a prize, the raffle picker-outer chooses the lucky ticket from the cup. But scandal may ensue: During the last raffle, the student chose himself!

There are more leadership roles, and some students still need to figure theirs out before the middle of October, when the quarter ends. (I grade them!) If you have ideas for “Forced Fun,” please let me know! 

Please share your brilliant insights!