9.28.2007

peanut butter jelly time

Pandemonium = peanut butter + jelly + bread + twenty-five 5th graders (half of whom possess writing skills that could be described, at best, as marginal.)

"Write directions on how to make a peanut butter jelly sandwich - for a person who has never seen or made one before." It's a classic assignment on functional writing, I had it myself in third grade. However, I was never asked to test the results, and I've always liked messy classrooms better than clean ones, sooo ....

Borrowing a page from Mamacita's book, I hauled in several jars of peanut butter, some Welch's grape jelly, two loaves of bread, and some plastic cutlery. The kids, not knowing we'd actually use their directions, wrote up the assignment yesterday. When they returned from recess this morning, the PB & J along with the bread were sitting on the counter, ready to go.

In lieu of photos, which I can't post, let me just say it was a colorful and sticky morning. Students were called up to randomly choose someone else's directions and follow them to a T. Some kids wrote that you should "put the jelly on the bread." So, the jelly jar was placed on the slice of bread. Some wrote, "Spread the peanut butter and jelly all over the bread," so PB & J got spread on the top, bottom, and sides of each slice. Some wrote that you should "put PB on the bread, using a butterknife." Note the lack of directions for spreading the peanut butter. So, PB was scooped out and put, in a small blob, on the slice of bread. Some kids had forgotten to write that the sandwich artist should use a butterknife. So, egged on by screams of laughter, little hands went into the peanut butter jar and little fingers smeared the PB all over the bread. I know someone's going to ask me if I made them wash their hands thoroughly first, and my answer is, what do you think?

All in all, it was a smash. Everyone had a sammy (or a non-sammy, as it were) and everyone had a good time. Well, check that, one boy who ended up with no PB or J on his bread looked downright forlorn, but that's life, gotta love it.

4 comments:

Dan said...

you know, i could see similar results in my police writing class if we conducted such an assignment. hehe. what's that say about my class?

damned_cat said...

that they're not quite smarter than a fifth grader?

Dan said...

yes. thanks for pointing out the obvious there jeff foxworthy.


the verification is "pbeiyj." that's scary.

Maka said...

That is sooo cool- you are an AWESOME teacher!!! If I were 9 or 10 Iʻd be begging to be in your class hahaha... sounds like your kids had a blast!