Or when a former teacher was moving to California and we helped our friends make goodbye cards, which they filled with advice like "Watch out for snakes" and "Take a bunch of tigers in your car."
For Earth Day, I thought I'd try a prompt like this one:
and that played into what they said. I asked the class what they do to take care of the Earth . . .
"I kiss it."
"I hug it."
"I get a thing and put it in the water and then I catch a fish and my dad eats it."
"When it's dark, [whispers] fish, fish, fish."
"I pick up trash."
"I pick up fish."
"My daddy picks up gumballs."
"Rake stuff and then I pick up stuff with a . . . a . . ."
"A TRASH FORK?"
"I pick up duckies from the park!"
"Pick up some duckies."
Adorable, but barely understandable out of context. This was not the only instance in which Earth Day did not really go as planned in our classroom.
We did make a delicious dirt pie that was a hit; the kids especially loved being allowed to smash up the oreos. We also attempted this cute project, without great success:
Getting the jello out of the straws was not easily done, and maintaining the worm shape was impossible, so I passed out the straws at snack time and instructed the class to squeeze or drink the jello out of the straws as they wished. The best part: no one minded that they didn't have real gummy worms to eat with snack; they were perfectly delighted to have bendy straws and jello. When you're a kid, what else do you really need?
Before every meal, the class sings
"The Earth is good to me
and so I thank the Earth
for giving me
the things I need:
the sun and the rain and the appleseed.
The Earth is good to me."
After this song one breakfast, I tried to manage these competing misconceptions:
Three-year-old, pointing to the sky, thus, space: "The Earth is up there!"
Me: We're on the Earth!
Four-year-old: "The Earth is a book!" (Presumably the environmental book above)
Me: The Earth is the planet we live on!
Four-and-a-half-year old: "The Earth is under the ground!"
Me: The Earth is the ground!