Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Teacher's Pet

Yesterday, despite the Damocles' sword of a deadline hanging over my head, I went to do my every-other-week story time with Em's first grade class. They're great to read to...they really enjoy almost anything I bring, and the teacher loves my selections, and even encourages me to 'teach' a little as I go. So it's really rejuvenating for me. Then, after I read, I stay until the end of the day, helping in the classroom. Sometimes it's math work that they do, sometimes it's an art project, sometimes it's science.

Yesterday it was science. And art. And math/statistics/graphing. That's this teacher's specialty; she never lets a single teaching moment slide by. It's almost astonishing how persistent she is in making sure they learn something all the time.

So, anyway. The project. She had eggs, carrots, onions, string, cheesecloth and a crock pot, and announced that the kids were going to do some Easter egg dying. (Yes, I know. Time for a diatribe. Insert one here. Truth is, I had just finished reading a book called "The Matzoh Ball Fairy" and regaling the kids with stories about Egypt and slaves and unleavened bread. So I'm not too riled up.) First she showed the kids how to peel skin off of an onion, and then she took the brown skin and put it into the crock pot. Next, she took some of the carrot greens off the carrots. She put down a small square of cheesecloth, then a piece of a carrot leaf, then an egg, then another piece of a leaf on top. Then she tied it up into a little bundle, and declared that each of the kids was going to do one of these, and that they were going to put them into the crock pot with the onion skin. And she would add water and cook them for a few hours, and then they would take them out tomorrow in class. And then she made them take guesses as to what color the eggs would turn out, and what they would look like.

I was fascinated. I've never seen this done before, and I can't wait to find out what it looks like. Anyway, the kids started guessing. Some of the guesses were hysterical...purple, dark red, rainbow-colored. My daughter was the first and only one to realize that the leaf would make an imprint on the egg shell that would be different from whatever the rest of the shell color was. Yay, Em! But most of the kids guessed that the eggs would be dyed green. I was so caught up in the whole thing, and it was driving me nuts that none of them was guessing brown or considering the onion skin at all, so finally, I raised my hand, and the teacher called on me, and I guessed brown, the sole vote on the chart for that color. It was so funny, though, to watch the look on the kids' faces. "You're not supposed to guess!" "You're not supposed to raise your hand!" "You're not in first grade, Mrs. TC! This is only for first graders!" Oh, no, I told them. I've never stopped wanting to learn, and I've never stopped wanting to be taught.

At the end of the class, i went up to the teacher--she's about six million years old, frail and tiny, and is strict as can be, but I like her a lot--and asked her if I was right, or if the leaves were going to leach enough green into the water to make a difference in the color. She just laughed at me and said, "You'll just have to wait until tomorrow," and I wailed, "But I'm not coming to first grade tomorrow!" and Em, who was standing with me, just about died laughing at me.

But, man. I can't wait to see how those eggs turn out. And what color they are. And whether I'm the smartest 40-year-old first-grader out there, or whether I got it wrong...

I'll let you know when I know. I'm sure you're all holding your breath.

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