Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Egg Drop



It was my second year as a DRE, and I had been inspired to write my own curriculum for our 1st-3rd grade class called "The Seven Principles and Dr. Seuss". I was still pretty fresh from graduate school, with more theory than practice under my belt. I wanted this to be a multiple intelligences curriculum, with each lesson working a different form of intelligence: musical, artistic, interpersonal, etc. Being even more rigid, I laid down the order of rotation (so it would be consistent and predictable) for how the lessons would cycle through those intelligences.

So the 2nd Principle was Horton Hatches an Egg, but it also "had" to be musical. I struggled with that, then thought of those egg shakers you can buy for rhythm band instruments. We could have made them from easter eggs, but I didn't happen to have a supply of plastic easter eggs on hand, so I morphed it into just any sort of shakers. It wasn't ideal, but whatever - the kids should enjoy it and then they could shake them to "From You I Receive, to You I Give" and it would all make sense with the 2nd Principle.

It was the day of that lesson, and we had a big class (in retrospect, it was a small class, but it was big for what we were used to back then), crammed into a tiny 1/2 of a classroom with cubicle dividers between them and the preschoolers. The teacher did a good job reading the story, but then we sat down to make the shakers. It was a tight space, and beans were falling everywhere. The teacher was frazzled. But the kids were laughing and having fun.

My son was in that class. He was six years old, and was my little shadow, always going to work with me. I asked him how the class had been.

"Well, Mom, I had fun - but I didn't see any connection between the story and the activity."

I was both proud of him for seeing the problem and naming it, and frustrated with myself for failing to make a better lesson plan.

This year we pulled that curriculum off the shelf to do it again. And this gave me a chance to re-do this lesson plan, a second chance to get this right. I now know that when I am planning I need to picture the kids themselves, and imagine what will make sense to them and be fun - not what will follow some strict theory or plan. What makes sense and will be fun with "Horton"? An egg-drop, baby. :)

And they loved it.


(If you don't know what an egg drop is, it's a some-what classic activity where you give kids an egg and challenge them to design a way for it to fall without cracking. In our case, I hardboiled the eggs (less messy) and gave the kids packing materials.)

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