In the past few days, the Myers-Briggs personality quiz has been making its rounds through my friends and family on Facebook. After hearing us talk about the personality traits of all of the grown-ups in his life, my ten year old asked if he could take the test too. "Please, please, please?" he begged. "It looks like so much fun!"
These kinds of quizzes are fun for adults and kids alike. How come? I think it's because everyone wants to reveal a hidden part of themselves. The quizzes cast a light onto those parts of our personality that we can't quite glimpse, living as we do inside ourselves. Whether the quiz is something as solid as the Myers-Briggs or as frivolous as "Which Star Wars Character Are You?", participants want to find out if their hunches about who they are and what they're like withstand deeper probing. (Funniest quiz: One friend of mine took the "Which Tooth Are You?" quiz.)
These quizzes are contagious, and with good reason. So then the question becomes--how can I use this in my classroom? In "The Forest and the Trees", I wrote a quiz to help young readers figure out what kind of reader they are. Simply put, efferent readers like to read to gather facts and information, while aesthetic readers read for the experience of being deep in a book. The quiz helps students to think about their preferences and understand what they like and why. Efferent readers prefer nonfiction books, books they can sink their teeth into; they can get frustrated with books that are all about feelings. And aesthetic readers (like me!) will focus so much on the inner lives of the characters and their feelings that sometimes they will lose track of plot details.
After taking the quiz, one sixth grader exclaimed, "It's like they know everything about me!" I think this quiz will be a good choice for early October, once students are comfortable with independent reading routines. As a teacher, I look forward to seeing what the quizzes show, because it will help me to guide the students toward books they will enjoy. I can also help students understand how they can overcome their particular inclinations--for example, aesthetic readers like me will have to work a little harder to get the facts from a passage.
What other quizzes have you found to use with students? Have you noticed how much they love to take these little tests?
P.S. For those who know me: My Myers-Briggs is Introverted-Intuitive-Feeling-Perceiving. In the "Which Anne of Green Gables Character Are You?" quiz, I cheated so that I could come out as Anne. And, in "Which Kind of Dancer Are You?", I was a ballerina. Big surprise.