Thursday, November 20, 2008

That's what I'm talking about!

Last week I asked all of you to help me with some topic discussions for the eight 9th grade boys I had to lead in small group discussion tonight.

Well, you should be proud of yourself for offering up your awesome suggestions - because we had a blast!

What I did was write a different question on the back of 8 cards and randomly passed one card to each kid to answer. Here were the questions:

  • Greatest super hero
  • Best actor or comedian
  • Favorite type of car
  • Favorite hobby
  • Favorite band or song
  • Best video or online game
  • Favorite TV show
  • Favorite sport or team
When the first question burst into a 5 minute debate over who was the greatest super hero and I realized we only had 40 minutes of time left - I knew two things right away:
  1. I had a successful format
  2. I needed to shorten their responses to 2 minutes or less in order to get through the actual program material.
So, after each kid gave his answer, I also asked for a group consensus. Here's how they voted:

Greatest super hero
... Batman
The main debate was over whether or not he should even be considered a super hero. Is there really a question about that?

Best actor or comedian... Dave Chapelle and Kat Williams
I told them as the parent of high school boys I didn't want to know that they were watching these guys. They thought that was pretty funny.

Favorite type of car
... No consensus
In fact, the boys seemed almost indifferent to this question as if I was asking what their favorite vegetable was or something. They simply wanted "wheels that ran." Man, kids have sure changed since I was in high school.

Favorite hobby
... Computer stuff
I thought I might have heard someone whisper... "hobby?"

Favorite band or song
... What is Love
This one totally cracked me up. Somehow the theme song for Night at the Roxbury has become a cult favorite among teenage boys.

Best video or online game... Call of Duty, Guild Wars and Warhammer
I chose not to comment on my opinion of 9th graders playing this stuff.

Favorite TV show
... Family Guy
I asked them if they liked The Simpsons and they looked at me like I was their grandfather.

Favorite sport or team
... NY Jets
This one sparked another big debate over why the kid chose this team. "Why, do you only like teams that suck?" I think the real issue is that fact that the kid is a former cheese head from Wisconsin and he still thinks Favre has what it takes.

But the highlight of the night was when we took 5 minutes in the middle for our snack break, and one kid challenged another kid to stuff a huge jelly-filled donut into his mouth all at once. When everyone turned to me for my call on the matter I told him straight up... "Hey, if you start it you have to finish it."

Yes, I do believe I get these guys.


but Momma said...

I don't get 9th grade boys, despite the fact that I have one. And even though I'm a Cowboys fan, Farve's still got it Baby!! I mean Granddad!

Anonymous said...

Nice to see they chose Guild Wars as one of their fav games. Those kids have good taste.

About kids liking cars thing, yah they have changed. My Dad was a mechanic and while I had no interest in fixing cars I still thought they were pretty cool.

My dream car growing up was the El Camino. In my teens it was the buttkicking Grand National. Talk about a muscle car on steroids.

Roger Miller said...

So what questions do you have for next week? I really don't think the tamborine idea will work with this group, especially when their favorite song is 'What is love.' Of course I have to admit I like the commercials better than I liked the movie. :)

Michelle said...

Oh that could have been so much fun... if only to listen in and shake my head and then start panicking about the fact that in a mere 10 years, Mister Man will be a 9th grade boy.

Glad it worked for you!

Heather said...

So boys will actually talk when they're in 9th grade? I was starting to worry that K was using up all his words so early.

I think the argument against Batman as a superhero is that Batman had no super powers, he was self-made and relied on tools to fight the bad guys.

Huh. I didn't realize I was a 9th grade boy.

Elizabeth said...

Wow! Sounds like you guys are having way more fun than I did during my conformation classes!
Oh, and Chris C, I STILL want an El Camino. I guess that makes me emotionally stunted when it comes to cars, huh?

Chris C said...

Elizabeth how can that make you stunted? It's a car and a truck!

I say you are nostalgic and practical as opposed to stunted. :)

Corrina said...

How fun! You should ask your readers those questions! LOL

yellojkt said...

Those questions are better than most memes that get passed around.

Ed (zoesdad) said...

Do you think if I bookmark this post it will be there in 8 years when I have a 9th grade boy?

Anonymous said...

They might think you are cool if you play a few hits to get their attention.

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

but momma - Send your son on over. He'll have a good time in my group!

chris - I had a Roadrunner Lite, aka '71 Plymouth Satellite. Still a way cool car though.

roger - I'm not going to do this kind of thing every week. This was more of an ice breaker activity to get to know the boys and have them get comfortable with me. But I'm very happy to say it worked!

michelle - Hey, good idea... maybe I should set up a web cam and let everyone in on the fun!

heather - You're dead on. They actually had that exact same argument. Good job. You can do my next session.

elizabeth - Don't worry... they still have to do plenty of other confirmationy stuff. They are there for 1 1/2 hours. My small group is just the last 45 minutes.

chris - It's a wonder car/trucks didn't become more popular. Maybe they should try again huh?

corrina - Ok... go.

yellojkt - Feel free to take it. I'm saving it up for a future rainy day myself.

ed - I suppose that depends on whether Blogger is still around then. Or Google. Or the internet. Or...

bill - By the time this program is over our new CD should be finished. Maybe I'll pass out a copy to each kid as Confirmation gifts.

Ed said...

I think really the kid stuffing his mouth was secretly you! Go ahead, admit like the Jets and stuff your mouth with donut!

Mom Thumb said...

Sounds like a successful session!

Favre needs to follow Sarah to Alaska. Dude can't even pronounce his own name. Is a cheese head the same as an asshat?

Anonymous said...

Batman?! He doesn't even have any powers! He's just a rich guy in a rubber suit!

Avitable said...



Superman's much cooler.

cathouse teri said...

Wow! You did great! Just like you'd been doing it all your life! Good job. :)

cathouse teri said...

My commentage count has gone way downhill! Oh, how the might have fallen!

One more thing ~ You may want to limit the broadability of subjects, since it makes it hard to let it go any direction (especially if it's a direction you want it to go) and then maybe find a way to make it an opportunity to not just be a rap session where everyone is talking about nothing that matters.

But, if having fun is the goal, you sure accomplished it! Nuthin wrong with that. (My kids hate it about me that I turn everything into a lesson. Hee.)

*Teri gets on her horse and rides off in all directions*

cathouse teri said...

And when I'm done with my lengthy lesson, my daughter says, "Could you repeat that?"

Mom Thumb said...

Did you know ther is a website called It's stuffed animals from Sweden. Just thought you might want to know, cuz, you know.

eve cleveland said...

I had to come visit bc ve's post also reminded me of the movie, The Game- love that show.
Ahh, 9th grade boys. Who knew "What is Love?" had made a come back? I can't wait to pretend to be cool, again.

bon bon said...

great post! this makes me miss the fact that my boys are grown! they are the reason my laugh lines are as deep as they are. when they get together, it's still a source of liquid-passing-through-nostrils.

Anonymous said...

Nice brainworm. "Baby don't hurt me, no morrrrrrre."

Jen - Queen of Poo said...

Guild Wars rocks! When I play I often forget I'm playing with 9th grade boys, and sometimes I forget that I'm NOT one.

Babs (Beetle) said...

Mostly these things go better than we anticipate. Glad it went well for you. I think that once kids know you're happy to talk about things that THEY like, you're half way there.

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

ve - Yes, when I was in 9th grade I stuffed my mouth with donuts MANY times! The other night though I just used that experience to help coach that kid. "Open wider!"

mom thumb - Only if the cheese hat is made of Limburger.

memarie - That's what THEY kept saying!

avitable - Actually, Superman was the 2nd place runner up. I would have thought these kids would be too young to appreciate Superman. Batman probably won because of his recent movies.

teri - This exercise was just a "getting to know you" kind of thing for this week only. From now on I'm gonna be all bitniss! (yeah right)

mom thumb - Thanks for the peeandpoo link. Talk about being thoughtful. How sweet is that? :-)

eve - Thanks for coming over from VE's place. It's not quite a looney over here but it is a little cleaner.

bon bon - Did they make jelly donuts come out of your nose too? I'll miss my boys when they've moved on too. :-(

rick - I can see your head bobbing right now.

jen - You need to out yourself and post your avatar one of these days.

babs - You're right. They've loosened up tremendously since last week. I think I'm home free now!

Kathy said...

The Family Guy favorite kinda scares me. Have you seen it? I'm amazed the stuff they get away with. We're not in Kansas anymore.

Way to go, Jeff. You done good!

cathouse teri said...

Ya. As I said, if it was a getting-to-know-you thing, it went EXACTLY as it should. :)

And I'm sure you will be sooooooooooo totally business like from now on! haha

But actually, I was just saying that you can now take that momentum and use it.

Rickey said...

Ah yes, youth. So are you weeping for out nation's future yet?

Frankly, Rickey is far more concerned about this Twilight thing than he is about Family Guy. Just be glad they're not playing Grand Theft Auto yet...

Anonymous said...

My experience with kids is that they will say that a TV show like Family Guy is their favorite because it is so "wrong" even if they have only seen it once in the basement of a friends house. That way they sound like they are cool and that they get away with watching that crap. Yep, a few will be regulars at watching but the rest just think it is cool to say that.

Mrs. R said...

Sounds like you had a successful small group. Wonder what the other parents thought when their kids got home and found out what they talked about in religious ed... :)

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

kathy - Oh yeah... I've seen it plenty. The first thing that came to mind when they said that was "God, I hope they didn't see the one where Peter got his prostate exam!"

teri - I'm gonna run with it baby.

rickey - Sorry... I'm out of the loop on the Twilight thing. Are you talking about the new movie?

charli - I believe you're right. There are a few kids in my group that I seriously doubt are allowed to watch Family Guy, based on knowing their parents.

mrs r - I may see my group suddenly get smaller next week!

JD at I Do Things said...

Good job! It sounds like you really did "get" those guys. It's funny how uncool The Simpsons have become. Family Guy is definitely the cool cartoon of choice among my friends' kids in that age group.

JD at I Do Things

Amber said...

Wow, sounds like a lot of fun :o)

April said...

What is Love? Seriously? WTF?!?
I knew it'd go well. They had you!