Each child was given two pieces of popcorn. They were asked to use their animal eyes and look carefully at their two pieces. They were asked not to speak.
Next, they were asked to smell them. Choosing one they were not going to eat ( this was cute ), they were asked to place it by their ear and listen to it as they pinched it and moved it around in their fingers.
The children were then asked to chew and swallow it slowly. We shared what we noticed. The children shared that they heard it, felt sharp edges, pieces getting stuck in their teeth, tasted salty, etc. One of the questions in their notebook was to think about how eating lunch mindfully in the cafeteria at school could be different if we ate more mindfully. Their answers were quieter, slower but no time for recess, no one would talk with their mouths full, neater, calmer, better. ;-) It would be nice to try mindful eating for even 5 minutes during lunch!
As a class we have been practicing our end of the year poem , No Difference by Shel Silverstein. To deepen our understanding of this thoughtful poem, we have drawn pictures, talked about bullying/teasing over our differences and how we are alike as well. We talked about Kindness and Compassion. (We call it the BIG C and have labelled incidents we encountered in our read alouds & daily experiences all year long).
This lesson was designed to help deepen their understanding to not judge each other by the way we look. I took two boxes one 'plain' and one 'pretty' ( their words) putting rocks in the plain one and M&Ms in the fancy one. ( Modified a similar idea from Traci @ Elementary Counselor Blog) I then asked them what gift they wanted to open and why. You can see the vote and their responses were to be expected. Most said the fancier, prettier box had something better inside. When I asked the two who picked the plain box why- one was able to express that the prettier box didn't always hold the best gifts. He then went on to say,
"The outside doesn't show what is really on the inside." The point of the poem and lesson! People are like M&Ms.. it doesn't matter what color they are on the outside it is what is in the inside that counts. Treat each other with kindness.