Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Teachable Moments

Recently I've been writing to reflect on my year in first grade. This is possibly my favorite incident of the entire year and worthy of sharing.

One day during math centers a boy began to yell, "Miss L, this girl has an egg". Assuming it was some plastic egg the girl had brought from home I reminded the yeller that we don’t yell across the classroom. “Write me a note and tell me” I responded, going back to teaching my guided math group. The next thing I know kids are screaming. I look up to find the girl holding a broken egg shell colored in purple crayon.
“What happened???” I asked, flabbergasted that yellow yoke was running down the girl's arm and onto the table. “Why is there egg on the table?”
“Where’s the baby chicken, Miss L?” she asked, tipping the shell so that all of the yoke fell onto the table. “I don’t see the baby chicken. I broke it to see the baby chicken!!”
“Baby chicken!?” another boy yelled, running over to the table and smearing his hands in the yellow yoke. “Where?”
I stood there dumbfounded. In the middle of math workshop, totally away from any cooking supplies or groceries, someone had managed to break an egg on top of the table. A real egg. With yoke now oozing on two children’s hands.
“Miss L!! Eggs come from the farm. They come from big chickens!” someone yelled wildly, waving his yoke-covered hands.
After getting the egg cleaned up and making sure the egg-cuplrit understood she would spend her recess scrubbing the table, we had a mini-economics lesson to discover how the egg made it from the mother chicken to our math workshop. One girl explained it concisely, “Miss L. The farmer gave the eggs to the grocery store. Her mom bought the eggs at the store and put them in the refrigerator. She took it out of the refrigerator and put it in her bookbag. Then she brought it to school”. If nothing else we learned:
1) Raw eggs can make you sick so you have to clean really, really well.
2) Breaking an egg does not = a cute chick.
3) The story of how an egg goes from a chicken to the table, even if it is the math table.

To this day I have no idea how the egg made it all the way to school in her bookbag without breaking, nor how she was able to sneak the egg out of her book bag and break it during math.

This so would not have happened to me if I'd gone to law school.

1 comment:

Jenny said...

What a fantastic story. You've just illustrated, beautifully, the challenges and joys of teaching. Those kids learned more from that unexpected, unplanned lesson than my kids learn most weeks!