K is for K

| May 4, 2014

Many of us have been in this situation before: the ice-breaker activity designed to learn people’s names. It’s incredibly easy and simply entails stating a unique adjective that starts with the letter of your first name, and then your first name. “Cool Calvin.” “Awesome Annie.” “Super Samuel.” Etc. And, as you go around a circle, you have to say your own and everyone else’s name/ adjective who came before you (which, I suppose, is the trickier part of it). I must have participated in this ice breaker about 7 times throughout my middle and high school years, with various teachers, classes, or extracurricular activities.

As someone whose first name starts with the letter “K,” let me tell you that it is actually really hard to think of adjectives for. There’s “kind,” but without a doubt there was always someone else whose first name also started with “K” who would say it before I could. What am I left with? Kooky? Sorry, not feeling like being a part of the Addams Family. Normally, I would just have to do the super lame substitution. “Kool Kelsey… like, cool but with a ‘k.’” Or some other “c”-starting adjective that could phonetically pass. Either way, I felt a lot more anxiety about it than I should have and always ended up with a disappointing adjective that would then be repeated 10 more times as the circle continued.

Thinking back, this might actually be where a lot of my disdain towards alliteration stems from. Although ice-breakers are fun, and this one is very practical in terms of learning people’s names, I made a vow upon entering the field of Education that I would never make my students engage with this particular one. I personally feel there are better ways to learn students’ names than forcing them to scramble for adjectives.

A “Kool K”… nope, still just as lame.

At any rate, trying to think of a good word for the letter “K” brought up these old memories of “K.” Getting back to the arbitrary nature of words and letters and symbols, I can’t help but wonder: why “k”? “C” was doing fine on its own. Aside from when it occasionally sounds like “s.” Actually, why not get rid of “c,” and then replace its words with either k’s or s’s, since it seems like the more malleable letter? Then it would have been a lot easier to choose a word for this post, as well.