12 April 2011

something to sink your teeth into

A while back, my students were working on building a model of a colonial village out of re-used household materials (soup cans, yogurt containers, cereal boxes, and the like). They were working together nicely, few harsh words were exchanged, they were using tape responsibly...in short, everything was going great. Two kiddos needed some rubber bands, so I handed them a grocery bag filled with them that I had discovered in a cupboard while rummaging through everything I had inherited with my classroom at the beginning of the year. I listened to them whispering and giggling together while digging through the rubber bands for the sizes they needed, then heard them gasp in horror as they dropped the bag and back away from it quickly.

"Girls! What's the matter?!" I asked.
"A muela! There's a tooth in the bag!" one responded.
"What are you talking about?"
"Yes, there's a tooth all rotten in there!" the other little girl answered.
"No, there can't be! It must be an old yellow rubber band bunched up or something," I insisted.

They brought over the bag to show me, and sure enough, there was an old, rotting molar lying among the rubber bands--easily one of the grossest things I've seen in the classroom. Hearing my gasp, the rest of my class rushed over to see the offending object. After everyone had a peek, I promptly closed the bag and stuffed it in the trash can, and we all shared a nervous chuckle about the weirdness of it all.

I ask you, what sequence of events could have led to this tooth being in the rubber band bag? The only thing I can think of is that two students were fighting over the rubber band bag (those babies are hot commodities, after all), and one kid's tooth got knocked out in the process. But if you lost said tooth, wouldn't you want to get it out of the bag so you could redeem it for some tooth fairy moolah? It just doesn't make sense.

One thing's for sure, though: it definitely made me feel better about the disorderly state of some of my classrooms in the past. Because no matter how messy they were, I can guarantee you that no one ever found a body part in any of them!

Image found here.

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