Tuesday, August 26, 2008


For the last seven or eight years, I've done an icebreaker game with my students on the first day of every class. I ask them to call out rapid fire, without thinking or dithering, the following information: hometown, major, favorite movie, last music they heard before they came to class, and the superpower they would choose if they could.

I've heard a lot of answers over the years -- two or three seminars a semester, two semesters a year. But Monday was the very first time a student named my favorite movie as his favorite movie.

"Lawrence of Arabia," said the eighteen-year-old freshman down at the other end of the room, and you could have knocked me over with a feather. How in the twenty-first century does Lawrence of Arabia become a kid's favorite movie before he gets to college?


Tim Sisk said...

I used the same technique (which I stole from you) this semester in my comp class, only slightly altered. Since I'm not a movie person, I left that one out, but I did do hometown, major, last music listened to, and super power, with limitations. I told the students that I would not accept invisibility or flight because those two aren't interesting super powers.

Wanna know what Mr. Sisk said? Sure ya do! "I'm Tim Sisk, I'm a perpetual English major from Horn Lake, MS, the last song I listened to was M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes," so I keep hearing gunshots and cash registers in my head, and my super power would be the uncanny ability to give my adversaries restless legs syndrome with a twitch of my nose." Yeah, I rehearsed, but it went over well.

Have a good semester!

Eric B. said...

I slightly prefer Bridge on the River Kwai over Lawrence. I've been meaning to re-watch Lawrence of Arabia for a while now. However I've just finished reading David Fromkin's A Peace to End All Peace and I worry that knowing the history better will take some of the magic out of the film.

the secret knitter said...

Well, I don't know that I would have called it my favorite movie at the age of eighteen, but I recall being really excited to have located Lawrence on two(!) VHS tapes so I could watch it during one New Year's Eve when I was in high school. Not sure why I was so enthusiastic to see it at the time, although I'm guessing my knowledge of it was linked to the re-release back when.