I had to write this down, otherwise I might forget it. I’m a big sports fan. Not HUGE, just big. I like watching ESPN when I can. SportsCenter, Around the Horn, and PTI. The guys (and gals) on SportsCenter are absolutely hilarious. (I hung out with Neil Everett one night and tried to convince him to give me a shout out on SportsCenter or work me into one of his catch phrases…”Bartender…Makers Mark!!” But that’s beside the point) Around the Horn has an outstanding array of panelists hosted by a fellow New Jersyan, Tony Reali.
But, Pardon the Interruption takes the cake. This is a sports talk show hosted by two sports reporters, Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon. What makes this show great is the back and forth that Tony and Mike have. They almost never agree and almost always argue over the current news stories. Many times it’s as if one of the two hosts takes the opposing side just to start an argument. Apparently, arguments make for good TV.
The show is usually broken up in different segments. There is a Headlines segment where the hosts run down 5 or 6 of the top sporting news stories. Each story is talked about for only 1:30 minutes. The next segment is called Five Good Minutes. This is where they spend 5 minutes talking to a sports figure, sports writer, or analyst. The third segment various between a few different segments. Sometimes its Odds Makers where the hosts place certain odds on future sporting outcomes. There is also Role Play. In this segment they hold a face on a stick in front of their face and “act the part.” Psychic Hotline is where the hosts predict what will happen. During Over/Under the hosts argue whether a sports figure will go over or under a specific numbered stat. And Good Cop/Bad Cop is where the hosts are forced to take opposing sides of an argument.
That brings me to my idea. I want to hold a PTI episode in my classroom. I will give each student a partner (or two) and a run-down of the topics they will discuss. They must keep the conversation going for the full minute and a half. Then when the buzzer rings, they move on to the next topic. The goal is to talk intellectually about the topic.
For the second segment, they’ll have to interview a historical figure. They will have a list of questions they would like to ask. Of course, someone will have to play the role of that historical figure.
Segment three is where they’ll have a chance to pick one of the options explained above. For Odds Makers I would ask them questions like: What are the odds that Rome will fall? or What are the odds that Alexander the Great will conquer the world? For Over/Under I’ll ask them questions like: Over/Under: 50 years to build a pyramid….or Over/Under: 199 years of peace and prosperity for the Roman Empire.
I want them to recreate the show. Every segment. From Headlines to Happy Time.
What I like about the show is what I want to achieve in my classroom. Have the students think about issues with a different lens. Force them to take the other side. The side that they are not comfortable with. The side that sticks up for the bad guy. In my opinion, if they can argue both sides of an issue, then they truly know the material.
Now I just have to figure out how to assess the activity.