Enter Thunderdome

I had my inaugural book club meeting this past Monday, and I think it went well! I had eight teens, which exceeded my expectations, and they were all very respectful about talking in turns and keeping indoor voices. Thunderdome went thusly:

– I had the rules written on a white board when they came in (there were not many. Basically: Talk one at a time, We vote on a winner, I’ll read/watch/play the winning recommendation), and we hashed them out as a group. I tried to keep things simple so it didn’t seem restrictive, which I think worked pretty well.

– Since it was the first meeting and we didn’t have anything specific to be discussing, I opened the floor for suggestions first thing. The big thing about THIS that I’ll be doing differently next month is to write titles down as they’re brought up.  The teens impressed me by engaging in discussion right off the bat – I thought I’d have to ask leading questions to get them talking about why they liked the things they suggested, and why they didn’t if they disagreed, but that happened pretty organically. I did start getting them to talk a little more analytically about their favorites, but once it was clear that we weren’t just naming stuff at random, that flowed really well.

– When the discussion started winding down, I wrote all the titles on the whiteboard and took a vote on which one I should experience for the next meeting. This was the trickiest part of the meeting, since it became clear that one of the teens was soliciting votes so she could win (the prize was a $5 Subway giftcard) but I’m honestly not sure that that was actually a problem? I’m going to have to give this part some thought, since I want to make sure the winner every month rotates and the same person doesn’t win every time, but I also want everyone to feel a part of the decision making process.

– It looks like I’ll be playing Grand Theft Auto 5, which will be…interesting? I’ve never played a GTA game before, so at least I’ll have some stuff to discuss with them next month. Our runners-up book and movie were The Fault in Our Stars and Saw: The Final Chapter.

The big trick will be seeing how many people show up to meeting #2! I also have to decide what the incentive will be for other people who choose to play the game with me; the $5 giftcard is the big winner prize, so I’m thinking something more like a candy bar or other snack? And then if everyone who comes opts to read/watch/play, we’ll order pizza or something. It’s a work in progress.

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