Shrek would have been so proud on this day. Really, he would have.
“Oh good golly, I almost forgot!” I shrieked, about to sit down with the 2nd and 3rd graders to start a reading lesson. “I’m so glad you said that. Thanks for reminding me.”
I called all of the kids over to the community area, where they sat on the still bare floor (We haven’t gotten around to getting a rug in our design project quite yet.), some visibly annoyed that I started and stopped them so quickly.
“Alright, get ready… Catch!”
And I started throwing onions at them.
Okay, I didn’t throw onions at them, per se, but I started tossing them to them so they could catch them. The kids reluctantly began giggling, and one of the kids, in particular, said, “Oh, we’re doing the onion thing!”
On the Friday before, I was trying to get the older group of kids to “dig deeper” in the text. I have some extremely bright and quick students, but one of the downsides of that, is that they are used to seeing reading as something passive, a task to be completed quickly and literally. They’ve been trained to think that, if they read the text once, and they know all the words, that they get it, and they should move onto the next thing.
But I’m trying to change that.
“Ok, now that everyone’s got an onion, I want you to take some of the first layer off.” The kids followed suit, and little pieces of translucent onion skin lied on the ground around the kids, making crinkling sounds as their feet moved them around on the floor.
“The first time you read a book,” I continued, “this is what happens. We only peel off small, small layers. We don’t really get to the meat of the book.”
“Yea!” one of my students surprisingly called out. “You need to read it like two or three or four times to get the real meaning!” And we proceeded to “read” the onion several more times. We dug in, peeling off layer by layer and chunk by chunk. By the time we finished, the room reeked of onion, there was a mess all over the floor, and all the kids were giggling, some of them even to the point of tears, which is exactly what happens when you read a good book a couple of times, right?
Or maybe it was just the onions. I suppose I’ll never know.