Too Much Fun (Books2Eat, Riga, Latvia).

Posted by jlubans on March 27, 2013

As the Trace Adkins song goes, “I Ain't Never Had Too Much Fun” and that applies to the good work by my students on their team projects, Books2Eat (B2E)*.
When we diagnosed how the four team projects went, it did cross my mind that when groups are having this much fun, it might get in the way of fully understanding the team theory, dynamics and development. It’s like you have to suffer a bit to really grasp the concept. Well, I’ll take fun over suffering. It is possible to learn while enjoying what you and your team are doing.

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Caption: About to break into song after producing the torta! (Taken from their team's video production.)

The team plus/deltas (What worked? What Could Have Gone Better?) were highly positive, with only a few suggestions for improvement. Along with the fun, it seems that extensive team building took place and that most, if not all, were well satisfied with their role and the result of the team effort. (I should note that on the B2E day, I kept the teams together on another, unrelated assignment. Their behavior was close knit, leaning in, everyone contributing, no one holding back. I would suggest that these dynamics were a carry-over from the B2E experience.)
This is my second time using the B2E process to teach team concepts in Latvia.**

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Caption: Students doing a post-prandial plus/delta
This year I added a personal plus/delta. These were somewhat more introspective than the team plus/deltas. I found the individual plus/delta valuable in helping the student diagnose just how she contributed and what she would do differently:
Most were quite pleased, even proud, with their contribution and accomplishemnt, e.g.. “Singing, what I rarely do.”
Here are some quotes from the What I would do differently side:
“Worry less.”
“Listen more to my team members.”
“I would maybe choose another team, because person needs to be able to work with different people and that is experience. “
“Speak up (more) in meeting.”
“Don’t speak when it isn’t necessary.”
“Don’t rely always on improvisation.”
“I would tell more about what I am going to do (to my team mates before doing it)”.

* The selected books and the B2E production:
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Ēriks Ādamsons. Čigānmeitēns Ringla (Gypsy girl Ringla)
The product:
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Caption: Thematic analysis of the Gypsy Girl Ringla.

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Joka pēc alfabēts (just for fun alphabet)
The product:

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Dzidra Rinkule-Zemzare, "No kā visi izbijās" (Who Scared All?)
The product (A marzipan yellow balloon!):
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Caption. No longer scary. About to be consumed!

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Hedgehog's Wand

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Caption: Like I said, there's no such thing as too much fun.

**The Assignment: Books2Eat Team Project
(A global bibliophilic and gustatory celebration of literature!)

Teams of 3 or 4 students will plan, produce, and present a Books2Eat entry representing a Latvian children’s book, folk tale or folk song.

Besides the creation of the baked and decorated item, the team will select the title, describe the chosen book or folk song – with a full English description of book/song and author – gather ideas from previous entries displayed on the Books2Eat “The Annual April 1 International Edible Book Festival”) website, design the cake or cookie, test the ingredients –– and, prepare the product. And, present the entry at our class on Day 6.

Each Books2Eat entry must display one or more of these qualities:
Cleverness in overcoming adversity.
Leadership by a least-likely follower.
The Golden Rule applied.
Collaboration, working with others to succeed.
Speaking up when others are too afraid to say anything.
Using resources wisely.

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