Craze-y Times


If you look up ‘craze’ in the dictionary it is defined as ‘something completely irrelevant that other people are into, which you reluctantly try to understand just as it starts to go out of fashion’. From 3D movies in the fifties to, well, 3D movies in the noughties, there is always something that you simply MUST be aware of if you are to be accepted as part of the human race. How many of us, for example, have felt compelled to hum crazy frog whilst bay-blading in crocs as we upload photos of ourselves planking, that we took with a selfie stick, but not before we turn it into a gif and upload it to prism on our way to a gangnam style flash mob outside the local hipster pop-up cronut café?

Adopting crazes is just what we do, and, what with the internet not ever being switched off, we are never more than one swipe, or notification, away from the new number one craze.

The saving grace of all this is, in fact, the actual technology that spews it into our eyeball in the first place. So rapid is the delivery of the next craze, and the next craze, and the next craze, that any particular hatred, towards the current fad, will quickly be replaced by the familiar feeling of bewilderment, as you spot everyone around you doing something you just don’t understand. However, this technological ‘saving grace’ is a double edged sword as it also serves as an indication of how pathetic our 21st century attention span has become. It seems that we have lost, or at the very least devolved, our patience.

There is still one place on earth however, where longer lasting crazes can still be found: the school playground. Children, it seems, for all their faults, still exhibit some resilience when it comes to adopting a new craze. And, what’s more, they’ve been doing it for years.

Now, obviously some of these crazes were commercially driven: Pogs, Tamagotchi, Pokémon, football stickers, marbles, spokey dokes, push pops and clackers were all handed to children on an ad man’s pay check, but, self-manufactured crazes have always been a key staple of playground trends. Take, for example, the paper fortune teller, bonsai ties, playing slaps, giving yourself a 99er, seeing who could say ‘jobby’ the loudest in class, and taking part in the Vicks challenge.

All of these could only come from the imagination of a bored child and, as a result, these crazes spread more rapidly than the goo from an alien birth pod on a hot summer’s day.

The wonderful thing about playground crazes is that, as far as teachers are concerned, they come from nowhere. One break duty you’re busy trying to settle the usual arguments on the football pitch, and the next, you’re wondering why there are all these miniature elastic bands clogging up the drains. Take the current trend of flipping water. Who would have predicted that, in September 2016, the majority of children across the country would be spending their time trying to get partially full bottles of water to land upright?

As usual it is up to the adults in the school to deal with this latest craze and there are several approaches that teachers up and down the land will be trying.

Oh flip

This nonsense needs to stop before it gets out of hand. Oh sure, today it’s some children throwing plastic bottles onto a table, but what about tomorrow? What happens when everyone is doing it all the time? What happens when they start using glass bottles? Or start filling the bottles with acid, or wee? It will be conker-gate all over again. All it will take is a parent to get a bottle land on their foot and they’ll go to the press. Or the ‘gangs’ will start snap-chatting the failed attempts of their rivals and in retaliation one of them will squeeze their enemy into a massive bottle and throw them into the canal. I can’t have that. The next 7-year-old seen with a water bottle: put them in detention. This is going to be a flipping terrible year.

It’s hip to flip

I don’t know where this has come from but I love it. There must be some YouTube video tutorials out there so I can practise at the weekend. Imagine their faces when I rock up on Monday and, BOOM, double flip a bottle in one. And not just any old bottle, an Evian sports cap, the most challenging bottle flip known to man. Maybe I’ll start an after school club and we can have an end of year tournament. This is going to be a flipping great year.

Flipping Exploitative

I don’t understand it. I have no interest in seeing anybody flip a bottle or in learning how to do it myself. But, I didn’t understand Tech Decks either; didn’t stop me from creating a whole class reward system around them. All I need to do is an assembly on Monday, carping on about how it shows resilience, put up a flip chart, as in a chart to record bottle flips not an actual flip chart, and link it to achieving their literacy targets, change golden time to ‘flipping golden time’ and we’re halfway to having the best behaved class in the school. This is going to be a flipping easy year.

Flip centered learning

The kids love it but they don’t realise the incredible amount of maths behind it. They’re not even aware of how the level of water, crossed with the starting angle of the flip motion, affects the bottle’s trajectory. I mean it’s simple! Well, they’re going to learn and I’m going to teach them. I just need to rewrite the entire syllabus – scrap the Pokémon Go lesson plan – and buy eight sets of thirty different bottles so that we can explore how the plastic density impacts on the bottle’s revolution once it’s in the air. This is going to be a flipping educational year.

Give a flip

Oh look, some children are flipping bottles. Wonder how long that will last – oh, they’ve stopped.

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