Here's a silly classroom thing to brighten your mood.

Last summer I gathered a couple groups of 11th graders together in June for Summer Camp. At some point during the first week, related in no way, I was watching an episode of Casey Neistat's vlogs. In the middle of an episode, for a whopping two seconds or so, he has a moment where his daughter is watching silly kid song videos. Specifically, Baby Shark:

I wish I could remember the episode (and I spent a long time trying to find it again), and the context of the discussion that lead to this. But towards the end of Summer Camp Session 1, I played Baby Shark for the kids. The next day they demanded more. Then on the last day I asked for feedback:

This song is old. It's some traditional summer camp song that I had never heard. But it's infectious, apparently, because by the end of Session 2, kids had learned the dance, were showing their younger siblings, and were bringing me videos of little cousins dancing along to this shark song.

School year starts. Summer camp kids are like, PLAY THE BABY SHARK. The rest are befuddled. But it spreads. Soon the whole cheerleading squad knows the song. Kids in band are singing it to each other. Kids in band who have no idea about the origin are singing it to each other and doing the dance moves. Cheerleaders are CHASING ME DOWN singing the song. Heck, I'm driving the volleyball team back from an event and the older ones sing it FULL VOLUME on the bus ride home. Later on one of my 9th grade players (who would not know the origin) sings it at random in practice.



Now they're asking when the Thanksgiving and Christmas versions come out.

The drum major arranged the song for multiple instruments. He video taped himself and four others playing it on brass instruments. He learned to play it on the guitar. Another student learned it on the piano. The two volunteered to play it in the talent show while a bunch of goof balls dance around in shark costumes (and omg was it not hard to find volunteers for THAT).

Not done.

There was a fall festival at a local elementary school, some of my students were volunteering and MISTER THEY HAD STUFFED SHARKS AND I TOOK SOME FOR YOU.

The kids take turns with them at their table. One kid had them dancing along to Michael Jackson while I was playing music. Another boy, I swear I am not kidding, uses one as a comfort animal because it helps him concentrate (and IT WORKS).

The whole thing has just taken on a life of its own. I just don't even know what to say. Kids are great. I'm not sure what this has to do with teaching math, but it seems to help.

Don't underestimate the selling point of silly things.

Unrelated duct tape shark from long before the madness.

AuthorJonathan Claydon