The pickles at lunch were delicious. From many chats with my Chef Advantage friends, I have come to know that Miss Snow is responsible for these delicious treats.
Which brings me to today. We had pickles for lunch and the children around me munched away when one declared, “Miss Chari, I know that a pickle is a fruit because it has seeds!” My internal beam shone brightly. Those moments classifiying and reclassifying laminated food photographs seemed to have paid off. Still I prodded, “Pickles are delicious! Where do they come from? When I want a pickle can I just go pick one off of a pickle tree?”
He assured me, emphatically, “Yes!”
The beam dimmed a bit—but I noticed a friend across the table shaking her head. She clarified, “Pickles don’t grow on trees, they come from cucumbers!”
I wish I had words to convey the look of shock and wonder on his face when I confirmed this information. “Wait, wait. How do they do that?!?”
I did the best I could to describe cucumbers, vinegar and spices, when finally it dawned on me that there were some delicious teaching tools over at the teacher salad bar. I hopped up and returned to the table with a bowl of cucumbers. The children picked them apart and were delighted to find seeds. They tasted the seeds (if you can imagine, this) for comparison and also noted their size.
I was dying for a camera or phone to document the entire experience. It was rich with how inquiry fuels learning.
And then….he wanted to investigate oranges. “Miss Chari, are oranges a vegetable or a fruit?” “I don’t know I replied, you’ll have to open it up and look for seeds to be sure.” I thought my answer clever—a “teach to fish” kind of reply that would empower generations to come to classify food. “Will you help me peel it?’ I had to explain a stance I had adopted years ago. “Oh sweetie, I don’t peel oranges, but I can show you how to peel it yourself.” I realized my coaching wasn’t working when he grabbed a knife. I coached that out of his hands and he dug into that orange as if there was a Cracker Jack prize inside. That’s when it hit me. Those oranges were likely naval oranges.
I threw this tidbit in the mix likening them to Cuties. Although I lauded these delicious, easy-to-peel delights, they did pose a bit of a roadblock to the current situation. Oranges and cute tangerines are fruit, but they are genetically engineered to not produce seeds…I didn’t have the proper knowledge or vocabulary to get too deep into that…
I needed more pickles.
Once our class was dismissed I asked Miss Snow for more, explaining the urgency of this matter. They were out of pickles—except the sliced sandwich ones. She was generous and I added a few more cucumbers to the bowl to boot.
We headed out to recess when I asked him to come in and explain what he knew. This is what happened. I’m so proud to have been there to hear and learn alongside my students.