Monday, April 11, 2011
A Trip To The Dentist
We have a seriously creative kindergarten teacher. She and the other classes included an edible car race in their science unit this past month. Cooper loved participating. (In fact he's still making things out of food a month later.)
I learned a lot by volunteering during this event. So, if you're a teacher and you're interested in what parents think of this event, read on! (Otherwise, it's going to be pretty boring.)
1. Increase the brag factor. Remember that these kids spend a lot of time and their parents a lot of stress putting these cars together. Encourage older students, other teachers, the principal, and other parents to stroll around the car tables before the event begins asking children questions about how they put it together, what materials they used, and how they think they will do. If you have a lot of time have each student say this into a microphone before they push their car down the ramp.
2. Timing the cars in not necessary in this age group. Seriously. Just mark the ending point on the track with a Sharpie and write their name next to it. Likewise, having a "leader board" is not necessary. And if you don't have a winner -- but awards for every student -- don't mess with this at all.
3. It doesn't take that long to have each child push their car down the ramp. So, make a big deal about announcing who it is and encourage all the kids to cheer each individual competitor. Maybe have them slap the floor for a drum roll before and during each car rolling down the ramp.
4. Use dark colors for the ramp paper. I used yellow (and this was my bad) and it throws every picture out of whack. It was highly reflective and made for some serious color saturation. It is intrusive to all the pictures. I thought it would be high contrast to the cars and really make them stand out. But it didn't. Use dark or muted colors. Don't use white!
5. Set up the refreshment buffet table to have two sides. This creates two lines and moves children through a lot faster. And if you're group is bigger than 30 set up two buffet tables so that there are 4 lines making it through the food.
6. Don't bother with a medic table. We thought this would be necessary to help children who had broken cars. But if you only run the cars once, it doesn't matter. And we found that overachieving parents showed up with their own supplies and helped their own children. Our medic table was mistaken as a treat table and we had kids picking at other student's car parts all morning.
7. For awards, elevate the ceremony. So, if you can, put the kids on a pedestal or a stage. This is the thing the parent paparazzi goes crazy about and every picture will suck if the kids are down below the gigantic grownups.
OK That's about it. Good luck and start buying up appropriate edible car parts and hoarding them. You won't be able to find a good candy cane in March, believe me.
It should come as no surprise that Cooper's award from the edible car race was, "A Trip To The Dentist".