Core scripture: “There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God.” (Ecclesiastes 2:24)
Message: I have this tradition. It has been done for years. As long as I can remember teaching. I teach my kids the components of an essay—you know, introduction, body, conclusion—and then I compare an essay to a sandwich.
But I don’t just talk about it. I show them. With a real sandwich that I make in front of them. The sandwich lesson is famous not so much for the delicious ingredients I lay out before them, however. It is famous because I get to introduce the kids to my long lost, separated at birth twin brother, Pierre. He gets to teach the lesson.
After going through all the not-so-exciting parts of the essay—no offense, Mr. Thesis Statement, but you are not that intriguing—I let the kids know that they are going to have a guest speaker for the remainder of the lesson. This peaks their excitement, and I fuel that excitement with a backstory of my “twin” brother.
You see, Pierre and I were separated at birth. He was raised in France, and after winning Master Chef Season 3, Pierre became a world renowned French chef. He has his own restaurant, Peirre’s Restaurant, and he flew in all the way from France to help me teach the lesson.
When I introduce Pierre, he never comes in from the back door. The poor guy must be hard of hearing or something, so I always have to go back and “find” him. Or I might just slip into the back room, throw on an apron and wig, coming back into the room as Pierre. The kids love it!
Putting on my best French accent, which one kid yesterday kept swearing over and over was indeed a Russian accent, I teach the remainder of the lesson as Pierre. The introduction is the top slice of bread. Thesis statement? Dijon mustard. Body paragraphs? Bologna, cheese, and lettuce. And of course, there is the conclusion with a restated thesis of more Dijon mustard. Quite tasty, I do say.
The climax of the lesson comes when Pierre cuts the sandwich in half. He takes a good bite of one side, describing the delicious morsels tantalizing his palate, and then he drops the mic. He explains the importance of paragraphs.
SOME students have all the ingredients of an essay, but they forget to use paragraphs. I know, totally sacrilegious! To prove this point, Pierre takes that half eaten sandwich and tosses it in a blender, explaining that these essays are very watered down. He drenches the sandwich with water, plops the lid on a blender, and liquifies the sandwich for all to see.
The visual is hammered in their pint-sized 7th grade brains at that point. Oh, I need layers in my essay! Paragraphs! I don’t want to give Mr. Daniels a blended sandwich! The boys ALWAYS want to drink that blended sandwich. One year I made the mistake of letting poor Josh do just that. I got a phone call two hours later. Josh puked in math class.
This lesson is a breath of fresh air. It allows us to laugh and have a little fun. It provides playful memories. It helps us let our guards down and just be goofy. We all need that sometimes. I encourage you to discover those moments in your own classroom.
Find the fun!
Challenge: How can you integrate laughter and fun into the curriculum? Are there any hands-on activities that bring learning to life? Embrace those precious moments and live them out in your classroom.
Clint speaks: I had one of our amazing paraprofessionals take a video of my sandwich lesson yesterday for absent students. Here it is: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1RJSYYHegjsOkTRM0KPsOPxr2QTl-w-Ec/view?usp=sharing
Prayer points: Lift up the following areas to the Lord …
- Praise God for times when you can enjoy laughter and fun with your students.
- Pray that you can seize opportunities for fun and laughter in your classroom.
Just for fun: The 7th grade boy is quite the unique species. When asking the kids what their favorite sandwich was, one gentleman said you needed to fart on your sandwich. I stopped him and asked if I heard him correctly. Oh yes, I had! I then asked permission to quote him in my blog, to which he got even more excited. Thanks for helping me out with a story here, Brandon! You da man!
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the moments where we can have fun with our students, enjoying their laughter and excitement. Amen.
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