I first did a Silent Library program back in the fall for Teen Read Week, & learned two things:
1.) Teens completely fail at being quiet, let alone silent.
2.) They love doing all sorts of silly challenges.
I knew I wanted to do it again, as the kids had a blast & I thought it’d be really fun to tie it into the multicultural theme. I planned out twelve challenges, & created a Powerpoint both to create a fun atmosphere & to teach them something about what they’d be doing. Initially, I had planned for about half of them to do each challenge, but by about the fifth one, everyone wanted to try everything – & who am I to stop curiosity? It was definitely no longer Silent Library, but we all know that if I’d advertised it simply as “Come try different food & activities from around the world!” few teens would have shown. Calling it Silent Library with the tagline “Challenge yourself MTV style to try different things from around the world!” meant I had 30 rowdy teens ready for anything.
The twelve challenges:
01) Hat Dance: Mexico
Using this YouTube video of a high school project, the teens danced along.
02) Try hummus: Middle East
Plain hummus scooped onto pita chips
03) Eat a fried plantain chip: Puerto Rico
Sliced plantain fried on an electric skillet in olive oil, sprinkled with a bit of sugar & salt.
05) Coconut water: Tropics
I rationed out about a 2 oz of water for each teen – some of them loved it, others hated it.
06) Talking drums: Africa
Teens echoed a rhythm of my choice with sticks on the floor.
07) Don’t point the brie: France
I served brie, rind & all, on a chunk of French bread. Most teens were brave enough to try the rind, even after learning that it’s mold!
08) Embrace your inner yogi: India
I led teens through a modified Sun Salutation sequence.
09) Mmm… raw fish: Japan
Using chopsticks, teens ate true sushi made with raw fish
10) Eat your avocados!: Mexico
Teens were challenged to eat 1/4 of an avocado without the use of their hands; I also had some chips & guac on hand so they could try it.
11) Better change your lox!: Scandinavia
I served mini-bagels with a smear of cream cheese topped with lox – everyone tried it!
12) Be Lord of the Dance: Ireland
Teens did their best imitation of Irish dancing using the finale from Feet of Flames.
I portioned out the food beforehand; with the only thing that needed cooked was the fried plantains. Set-up took about an hour, & the program itself lasted about an hour & a half. Beforehand, I asked if anyone had any known allergies & told them if we’d be eating anything that contained those foods (as someone with a wheat allergy, I’m completely understanding). Luckily, I didn’t have anyone allergic to fish, so we were good to go!
I will ABSOLUTELY do this again, possibly using some of the stranger food out there. This was so fun, & such a fabulous way to kick off Summer Reading – thanks to MTV for making this show so popular!