My pirates class was a success. Due to some no-shows,the class ended up having only 17 people, but I think they all had a good time, and I know for a fact they all got an enormous amount of candy. I overestimated the amount of time it would take them to come up with answers for my discussion questions, so I nearly ran out of material. Fortunately, I had the idea of throwing it open for questions, and I got some good ones. Mostly they asked about what kind of weapons the pirates used, which is not something I would have thought to talk about, but did have the answer to.
I used PowerPoint, but only to display the discussion questions one at a time. I also had an intro slide. After taking attendance, I loaded it up. “In this class I will lecture for two hours using a simple PowerPoint presentation.” Next slide. “NOT.” Next slide. “We’re going to play a game.” There were general cheers at that. I had three bags of candy to give out for answering questions right, but since there were only 17 people, I used only two bags. At first I gave out candy from a bag that had things like Airheads, sucking candy, Smarties, and mini bags of Swedish Fish. I allowed people to trade candies if they didn’t like what they had, which a lot of people didn’t. Let’s face it, a lot of that stuff is lame. Halfway through I announced that I would be switching candy, and brought out a bag of Hershey’s chocolate, Whoppers, Kit Kat, and Reese’s Cups. That got another cheer.
The class definitely lost steam by the last half hour, but that was okay, since they all had tons of candy by that point. They did pretty well in general on the questions, although the “come up with rules for your ship” question got some… intriguing responses. Examples: “Don’t throw anyone overboard without the Captain’s permission,” and “Anyone who breaks the rules gets no rum.” I don’t think they did very well at the true/false section, either. A lot of them were shocked that pirates did not make people walk the plank, and that they did not bury their treasure. There was one ringer who knew a lot about pirates, but not most of what I was talking about. And he got the question about pirates keeping parrots wrong — pirates did indeed have parrots aboard their ships, as a form of treasure. Parrots are valuable.
Anyway, they all had a good time, as did I. My other class, Functions and Other SAT Stumpers, is in two hours. It won’t be anywhere near as fun, particularly since my mom convinced me to give them a short quiz halfway through. I’ll just have to bribe them with my leftover bag of Tootsie Rolls.