Scene 1: New teacher faced with a room full of ninth graders none too keen on a boring punctuation unit. Students look at her askance, suspicious. New teacher smells mutiny in the air.
Scene 2, later that night: New teacher toils into the wee hours, researching teaching techniques. Eureka! moment arrives at 3am.
Scene 3: Bleary-eyed new teacher introduces the Punctuation Olympics, a week-long team competition incorporating art, drama, creative writing, collaborative learning, lessons taught by students, and a flurry of handouts and instructions. Oh, and some punctuation. Students are at once stunned, delighted, and horrified.
And well they should have been. Horrified, that is. Although my intentions were good, I made more than a few rookie mistakes, and in the end, I learned more about teaching and how students learn than the students learned about punctuation.