Good Luck/Bad Luck

New from Angie:
Just for fun I did a new activity today.  I made a half-sheet of paper that was titled “Good luck or bad luck?”  and I wrote 7 sentences:

  1. Your favorite team wins an important game.
  2. A black cat walks in front of you.
  3. You fall on the floor in the cafeteria of the school.
  4. You find money in the street.
  5. It is snowing and there is no school.
  6. You lose your cell phone.
  7. Your grandfather gives you a car.

I had the students read and write in “good luck” or “bad luck” after each one, then they turned the paper over and wrote their own scenarios.  Here are some of them:

  • You fall on the ice.
  • You eat a very delicious dinner.
  • You wear your good-luck pants.
  • A man steals your car.
  • You lose your car.
  • You fall on a banana and break your arm.
  • Your family loses a thousand dollars.
  • Your computer is broken.
  • My dog is broken. (this was a hit with the students)
  • Manchester United wins this weekend.
  • Malick loses his ear.

Anyway, you get the idea….I had a student stand up and read their sentence, and we all decided if it was good or bad luck, and then that student got to pick the next person.  Aside from my usual behavior problems, it was a pretty relaxing 15 minutes for me.



6 thoughts on “Good Luck/Bad Luck”

  1. Alisa Shapiro-Rosenberg

    “(What) good luck!” and “(What) bad luck!” can join the rejoinders hall of fame after a ‘game like this!

  2. In addition to fun with the language, this is an opportunity to teach students perspective. Have them take the same sentences as say why something they labeled “bad luck” could actually have been “good luck” and vice versa. Here is a story to illustrate:
    One of the well-known stories from the Chinese culture is the story of a poor old farmer
    who had a single horse on which he depended for everything. The horse pulled the
    plough, drew the wagon, and was the farmer’s sole means of transportation. One day a
    bee stung the horse and in panic he ran away into the hills. The old farmer searched for
    him, but couldn’t find him. His neighbors in the village came and said to the old man,
    “We’re sorry about your bad luck in losing your horse.” But the old farmer shrugged and
    said, “Bad luck, good luck—who is to say?”
    A week later the old farmer’s horse returned, accompanied by twelve wild horses whom
    he had apparently encountered in the hills and brought back home with him. The farmer
    was able to corral these animals and they were an unexpected windfall. News spread
    through the village. The man’s neighbors came to him and said, “Congratulations on your
    good luck!” But once again the old farmer simply shrugged and said, “Good luck, bad
    luck—who is to say?”
    Then the farmer’s son began breaking the wild horses so they could be sold or put to
    work in the field. As he was doing this the son was thrown from one of the horses and his
    leg was broken in three places. When word of the accident spread, the neighbors came
    and said, “We’re so sorry about your son getting hurt.” The old farmer simply shrugged
    and said, “Bad luck, good luck—who is to say?”
    Two weeks later a war broke out between the provinces of China. The army marched
    through the village conscripting every able-bodied youth they found there. But because
    the son had a broken leg, he didn’t have to go off to war. Later that turned out to save his
    life, for everyone in the village who was drafted was killed in battle.
    The Jesuit priest and writer Anthony de Mello made an extensive study of stories like this
    from many cultures. He drew two basic conclusions from this story. First, we humans are
    in no position to make final judgments on the things that happen to us. A certain event
    may have every appearance of the bad at the time it occurs, like a valued horse running
    away, or a son’s leg getting broken. And yet, in the mysterious unfolding of life, who
    knows how the story will finally turn out?
    As a Jesuit priest and a person of faith, de Mello’s second conclusion was this: God is at
    work for good in our lives. The One who created the universe and gives us humans great
    freedom to act for good or for evil, is a God who is capable of taking the worst of things
    and working the best out of them. We can have confidence in this One who wills nothing
    but good for those who love him. (This will download a pdf file)

  3. There was some frustration among students because they didn’t want to pin a lot of their scenarios down to good or bad luck, and they didn’t have the language to defend their point of view. I extended this activity for a couple of days by having students read the scenarios they created (92 of them among 3 blocks – we ran out of interest before we ran out of scenarios). In the TL, There was a lot of, “It’s not good or bad, it’s just luck” as well as the old fallback, “It depends”. My favorite was the student who responded to “You fall on the stairs” with (TL) “Maybe you fall on the arm of a beautiful person!” Personally I am in love with the “incorrect” language that the students come out with, just the way we marvel at the creativity of language of toddlers as they learn. It was all I could do not to share all 92 of their sentences with you guys.

    1. “Personally I am in love with the “incorrect” language that the students come out with”
      You probably heard BVP’s episode on “errors” and how that is a misnomer. Well, Complexity Theorist Diane Larsen-Freeman recommends we call them “innovations.” Cool 🙂

  4. This reminds me of last year when I showed a short video of different people licking a frozen pole. Talk about compelling input! Talk about bad luck, or plain stupidity!!!

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