Friday, November 4, 2011

A Chinese Play-Dough Incident

*Kindra went to Taiyuan, China in 2010 and then again to Ukraine in 2011! Basically she is amazing. Today she shares a memorable teaching moment as well as a warning to check one's clay......*

I want to share with you one of my favorite memories from my iLP classroom!
I was teaching the arts & crafts 'play area' and wanted to have an extra-creative lesson plan. I searched through all of our teaching supplies and found several plastic containers of play-dough. Memories of growing up and loving play-dough came flooding back to me, and I thought, this will be perfect—my kids will love it! I opened up the containers and that familiar smell came wafting out. However, my only mistake was that I didn’t “feel” the dough to see if it was still pliable…

I walk into my classroom with several six-year-old Chinese children on my tail. Everyone sits down and I begin my lesson. After we finish talking about the container I open one up. Then I pass out some play-dough to the children. Little did I know that the play-dough had lost all elasticity. The children began smearing it all over their hands and in half-a-second the table was COVERED in a gooey play-dough mess.

I tried not to panic and took in a deep breath, how do I get these kids to stop? One by one my kids start looking up at me and could sense my frustration. Without hesitation they wanted to help me clean this up. They grabbed the empty play-doh containers and ran off to the bathroom. They began filling up all the containers with water from the sink and would dump it on the table and start scrubbing the dough off with their bare hands. They went back and forth taking several trips until the tabletop was spotless. They were like a herd of busy bees running back and forth and they didn’t want me to help them. After the whole ordeal I thanked all of them with a piece of candy, and the hugs I got back in return were priceless!

I love this memory because it is a great example of the culture in China. People will go out of their way to help you even if it inconveniences them. Throughout the semester my kids helped me with things I struggled with, from moving chairs for me to giving me much-needed hugs.


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