I always liked playing Pictionary at home with my sister and my mom, but at school, the stakes always got a little higher. I'm pretty competitive. Not to say that I'm a "sore loser" or a boasting winner, but I do get really into a competition and let's just say that I have to stifle my reaction to my win/loss of a game to conform with "acceptable" social standards. So, in school we would usually have "Library Time" a couple times a week. I always like this. Sometimes it was structured into a literary lesson or learning the (hah) Dewey decimal system and sometimes it was quiet reading time when I could roam the stacks and discover new worlds, new adventures, and new words. But, sometimes we would play library games. My favorite was Dictionary Pictionary until one incident (I'll get to it later.)
Dictionary Pictionary was a fairly ingenious educational game, I think. The class was divided into small teams each team had a dry erase board, a couple of markers, and a dictionary at their respective team table. One person from each team would be the "drawer/artist" and all the artists would go get the secret word from the librarian, like "horse" for example. Then all the artists would go back to their teams and when the librarian told everyone to start all the artists would draw and there teams would have to guess as quickly and quietly as possible so that the other teams wouldn't overhear. Then, once the word was guessed the team would have to look the secret word up in the dictionary and raise there hand when they found it. The librarian would come over and check it and if it was right, the team got a point. Whichever team had the most points at the end of the half hour won a special prize. I don't remember what the special prizes were, mostly because I don't ever remember being on a winning team.
One particular incident playing Dictionary Pictionary made me want to cry. It was my turn to draw the picture and the secret word was "cocoa." In my mind I would draw a picture of someone drinking a cup of hot chocolate/cocoa. Apparently I was the only one who'd ever heard of hot cocoa. My team was the last one to figure it out and of course blamed me while all the other teams giggled and stared at us. I tried to shake it off when the next round came and I passed off the drawing title to someone else. I may have overcompensated in the second round because I was so sure that I knew the word that it burst our of me like a Triple Crown pony out of the gate. I was right! But the 3 other teams heard me and flipped through their dictionaries and beat us again. Death glares from my team mates followed immediately.
Finally, in the last round, it was my turn to be the keeper of the dictionary, I was totally going to make up points for my team now. I love words. I was probably the only 7 year-old who loved her Oxford Picture Dictionary and considered it "light reading" for when she was bored or procrastinating doing homework. I don't remember the secret word or why I had so much trouble finding it in the dictionary that day, but I'm sure the fact that I had 4 judgemental 3rd graders breathing down my neck sighing and gasping and clucking their teeth at me the longer I took didn't help at all. From that day on, I became more aware of my classmates barbed jokes and teasing. I also noticed that in every group activity or team-building exercise our teachers forced upon us all of the disappointed sighs and eye-rolls became more prevalent from the other kids when I would join the team. I started to really enjoy free-time and silent reading time in the library more and more at that point.
So maybe it's the demons in my inner child's closet that made me snub Draw Something for so long. Maybe not. Maybe I live under a rock, I mean, I still don't understand the world's obsession with Angry Birds. But, when something becomes popular enough that the "main stream media" starts talking about it, I will at least give it a second look. So, I find Draw Something to be a useful way to pass the time when you're bored