On a beautiful spring morning, my sixth graders, most of whom had turned twelve, wanted a new game to play, so I impulsively introduced them to one I’d just read about in a book of games—A Tisket, a Tasket. I didn’t realize at the time that this game is usually played with pre-schoolers! My gangly students sat cross-legged on the floor in a circle while one of them walked around the circle and everyone sang (or sort of chanted):

A tisket, a tasket,
A green and yellow basket.
I sent a letter to my love
And on the way I dropped it.
I dropped it, I dropped it…

At this point, the student who was circling dropped a ball of crumpled paper behind someone sitting in the circle. This person stood and chased the one who had dropped the paper around the circle until she returned to the place where he had been sitting and sat down. Then it was his turn to circle and drop the “letter” behind someone else.

The class wanted to play this “little kids’ game” forever, and it became one that they frequently clamored for! At this time in the year, our group was firmly established in trust, and we had months of friendly play behind us. The students weren’t worried about losing face by playing a baby game—they just wanted fun, and fun with a safe little romantic twist suited them just fine!

Terrance Kwame-Ross taught 6th graders at Eastern Heights School in St. Paul, MN. Currently, he is the former Executive Director of The Origins Program.

Published September 2008