One of the students I work one-on-one with is obsessed with Nintendo 64 and loves Mario. We were working on a science-related project in a computer lab today. I looked over at his computer screen to make sure he was keeping up with me and noticed the sentence he was writing abruptly transitioned into a string of Mario-related words. He included "Nintendo 64" for good measure.
Now, this had happened before, but I didn't think too much about it. Just a kid who'd rather be playing video games, right? It wasn't until today that I realized N64 might be an especially effective tool for communicating lessons to him.
Today's English class presented significant learning challenges for this guy. He heard the teacher say "group project" and excused himself to the bathroom for the next ten minutes. By the time he came back, I had prepared a few sentences using action verbs (the lesson material for today) and N64. He rocked it! When we moved on to the real homework assignment - a "boring," non-N64 worksheet - he pushed right through with very few problems. It was absolutely awesome and rewarding for both of us.