This Week's Contestant
|Theme:||Sears Secret Santa Sweepstakes|
"What are some three-letter words that would make sense there?" "What vowel should we buy to go with the 'ng' at the end of that word?" While those might not be the typical work place conversations that most people have, discussing puzzle solutions and phonics patterns are common topics of conversation in my third grade classroom. In fact, playing Wheel of Fortune is often a fun treat and way to review spelling rules with my twenty third graders! I mean, can it get any better? Spinning the wheel on our interactive whiteboard, while reviewing the week's spelling! The only thing that could be better- spinning the real wheel with the real Pat and Vanna! So when I received an email asking me to submit a short video clip on why I would make a great contestant, my brain (and video camera) immediately got rolling!
With my small flip cam (and help of my mom), I filmed a short clip explaining how I used Wheel of Fortune in my classroom. Then I crossed my fingers, and hit submit! Would it work? Would they be impressed? What did my hair look like in that video? To my relief, a few days later I got an email saying that my video (and hair) obviously weren't terrible, because I had been asked to attend a Wheel of Fortune audition in Boston. I was that much closer, but then there was that pesky problem- the audition was on a school day! So I sheepishly asked my principal if I could take the day off to try out for Wheel of Fortune, and while I think she may have thought I was a bit crazy, she said yes.
When I approached the Lenox Hotel in Boston, where the audition was to be held, the streets were filled with people. Were all of them invited to the audition too? Luckily, no. The bystanders were there watching a movie being filmed on the streets of Boston, but inside the hotel lobby were the other hopefuls trying out. We nervously chatted, and were eventually lead into the ballroom where the official audition would take place. Over the next few hours, we played several practice puzzles and even took a timed test. My brain raced, as I tried to solve each puzzle and make the "right" letter call. My students' advice rang in my head, "Just try your best and we will be proud of you." But would my best be enough?
At the end of the day, the casting team told us that a few lucky individuals would be called either that night or the next day to fly to LA and film an upcoming show in October. For the next 36 hours, I guarded my phone. With each ring, my heart raced and sank. Did my aunt really need to talk to my mom? No, I was not interested in whatever that salesperson was trying to sell me on the phone. I just wanted "the call." The next day, I still hadn't received a call, so I decided that I needed to go for a walk to calm my nerves. It was okay. I had tried my best. But to my surprise, when I returned from my walk (convinced that I hadn't made it), my answering machine was flashing! I was in!
After a small (or quite large) freak-out, I called my friends and family, and booked my ticket to LA. When I went to school the next day, my class was also thrilled. I had really made it. When it got closer to leaving, my students made a fantastic poster to cheer me on, and gave me one last piece of parting advice. "Just pretend you are playing in the classroom with us." So did it work? You will just have to tune in on Monday, November 14th to find out!