"I think we donated so much rice that all those poor people around the world are going to get fat," one of my students announced the other day.
"Good!" another student declared emphatically. "I hope so."
They were referring to freerice.com, the cool website game I've been forcing students to play. It's a fun way to learn vocabulary and donate rice at the same time. Some of my students were really getting into it, so I offered this extra-credit opportunity to all my classes: For every 1,000 grains of rice they donated, I'd give one extra-credit "stamp." It would be too complicated to explain the whole thing here, but basically, some students needed quite a few stamps to get an A on a recent assignment.
Donating 1,000 grains of rice means they'd have to get 50 correct vocabulary words, which could take, I don't know, 15 or 20 minutes.
But here's something that never fails to amaze me: Some students will do anything to get an A on an assignment. Sure, the vast majority won't, but those who want an A live and die by the promise of extra credit.
Out of all my classes, about 25 kids did freerice for the extra credit. Ten of them donated more than 10,000 grains each. One student donated 30,000 grains himself. (Which means he got 1,500 words right!)
"How long did it take you?" I asked the top rice donor.
"I don't know," he said, "maybe three hours."
"Well, I hope you learned some new words!"
Later, I heard two students talking rice. One was a girl who always pretends she doesn't care about her grades. She had donated 8,000 grains.
"You're such a nerd," her friend said.
"No, it was just for fun," she said.
"You did all that just for some extra credit!"
"No, it was fun," she said. "And anyway, I was just sitting around, bored."
I walked over, smiled, and said, "Oh, I always knew you cared about your grade in my class."
"No, I don't!" she said and darted out of my room. "I hate you!"
I'll have to remember to tease her about it in front of the whole class.