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El albergue

El albergue

Friday, June 22, 2012

Exotic American Culture


Do you remember how the last week of school always was when you were little?  All those schoolbooks got put away for good (after all, next year you were getting new ones), and you waltzed through end of the year activities getting more and more excited for the impending summer holidays.  Well, the same has been going on at the school I’m working in – all the kids are getting exponentially more rambunctious as classes draw to a close, the noise level in the classrooms sometimes reaching unprecedented levels in the enthusiasm they express for different activities we’ve been doing, extended sessions of Simon Says being a particular favorite, although coloring special pictures meets with nearly as much joy and abandonment.  Wednesday afternoon, I had a brilliant idea for how to fill out the lesson-less hours ahead of us on Thursday…I had to prepare a treat for the next round students who had put up that magical 20th sticker on the reading chart…so, why not take the opportunity to give a class on American culture? 

Sounds like such a treat, right?  But it was!!!  How can a lesson be a treat for second and third graders, you ask?  Never fear, it was delightful. 

In each class, I called forth the students who had just completed the Reading Champs chart…I reached into my mysterious plastic bag…and pulled out paper towels…and two knives…laughing at the cries of “Oh no!  She’s going to kill us!” I dramatically whipped out a loaf of bread…a jar of strawberry jam…and……………a jar of peanut butter! 

I asked who had ever tried peanut butter before, and was met with maybe one or two raised hands.  Then I told them that in America kids their age eat a lot of peanut butter, especially in the form of sandwiches with jam (heck, I do to!).  There were murmurs of incredulity mixed with interest.  Then I showed them how to make these exotic treats.

ME: First, you take a piece of bread, and put peanut butter on it.
STUDENTS: It looks like caca!  Bleck!  Haha!
ME: Then you take a second piece of bread and put jam on it.
STUDENTS: Yum!  Ooooo!
ME: Then you put the two pieces together.
STUDENTS: NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

Then, as I made lots of sandwiches and cut them up into four pieces for taste testing, the special Reading Champs helped hand out the snack to all the students who wanted to try it.  There were a couple kids who handed it back after taking a nibble, frowns of dislike contorting their small faces, but for the most part everyone liked it.  Then there were the students who originally claimed they didn’t want any, but who asked for a bit once they saw how many of their friends were enjoying it.  Success!

Now, I wonder how many will go home and ask their parents for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches…I also wonder what the parents will think of this (to them) CRAZY food pairing.  It’s so funny to think of such a classic as peanut butter and jelly being something completely exotic. 

It makes me smile.

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