Monday, January 28, 2008

The Orange Peels Are All Dried and Hard - Now What? Extending A Practical Life Exercise

Orange peel cutting has been very popular. However, when the children returned to the classroom after a long weekend, the peels were very dry and hard. Instead of tossing them, a new lesson and work emerged. I learned from one of the other teachers at the school, that her students were grating dried orange peel. This sounded similar to nutmeg and cinnamon stick grating which meant that I probably had all of the materials needed to quickly put together a tray during lunch. The head of our school had also gifted me with a package of fillable tea bags. I now knew that the orange grating and the tea bags were meant to be used together. I still needed to find in my crowed practical life storage cabinets a handled grater, a small spoon, one medium sized bowl, one smaller sized bowl, one medium sized tray and one smaller tray. Lastly, I needed a small stapler. After about 15 minutes, I had assembled all of these items and found a shared decorative pattern - the image of a bird/s.

I removed Indian corn work from the Practical Life area and positioned the orange peel grating work besides the orange peel cutting work. Then as the children flowed into the classroom, I made a mental outline of just how to present this new work.

After asking the children to come to the rug, I took one piece of fresh orange peel and another of dried orange peel and passed them around for all of the children to feel, smell and verbally label the contrasts between the two. "Damp," was a word one child used for the fresh peel. "Rough" was another child's description of the dried peel. All of the children noticed that the dried peel had a much milder orange scent than the fresh piece.

I also held out the grater and let each child touch and describe the back side of the grater. "Smooth." "Cold." These two words were repeatedly used by the children to describe the non-grating side. Then I flipped the grater over and asked each child to careful feel that side. "Scratchy," stated a young girl. "Sharp," was the word another girl used. I next instructed the children on what side of the grater to use and cautioned that they not rub their fingers or hands across its surface and to carefully hold the object to be grated with the tips of their fingers. All of these steps needed to be done to ensure the children were successful with a new tool - the hand held grater.

I put on my apron and began the lesson. After taking all of the materials off the tray and returning it to the shelf, I selected a small piece of dried orange peel from its bowl and began grating it over the larger bowl. It made a very distinctive sound which captured the children's attention, as had happened with the sound of the ribbon being pulled from its canister on the ribbon cutting work tray. Never underestimate the significance of points of interest. These guarantee your audience's attention.

After I grated the peel as much as I could, I placed the grater on the place mat and walked over to the provision shelf to get the small funnel. I carefully opened the tea bag and then spooned the larger pieces of peel into the opened mouth of the delicate bag. I then placed the funnel into the tea bag opening and then lifted the bowl with the gratings and poured them into the funnel. My next step was to staple close the tea bag.

Next, I asked my assistant to bring me a mug of hot water and a Lipton tea bag from the kitchen. As we waiting for her to return, I reminded the children that they should never touch boiling water or to attempt to make tea. That part of the work was to be done by an adult. After a couple of minutes my assistant return with the mug of hot water. I put the Lipton tea bag into the cup and then added the orange peel tea bag to it. I let it seep for a minute or two and then lifted the enclosed peels from the hot water so that the children could see how orange they were. As soon as the work was back on the shelf a child was using it. The orange peel tea bags were taken home as gifts for parents. I am thinking of adding a piece of cinnamon stick to the work. In the spring, we will crushed mint leaves and use them instead of the peels in the tea bags. The herb world awaits us.
To view a slide show of orange peel grating / tea bag exercise go to:

Click on orange peel grating set in right hand corner. Select slide show.

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