Thursday, April 16, 2015

The calming value of avocados.

"I'm taking a break.... I'm looking at avocados."

I'm not kidding.  A student actually said the above quote today in my classroom.  She had been working, diligently, on a project, and had stopped -- apparently intentionally -- to view images of avocados.  

Another student, upon hearing the above comment, simply got up, walked to the back whiteboard, and wrote down the quote.  (It wasn't the first random quote to grace the back board -- just the newest one.  Last week, a student randomly raised his hand and offered to sell me a burial plot near Philadelphia.)

Seriously?  I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.

Stress Relievers

 Given that this is PSSA week at the junior high, I queried the bleary-eyed eighth graders who wandered in my room for Information Literacy coaching during Tribe Time.  As they worked, they were more than a bit punchy, after a day of PSSA Language Arts testing.  We took a short break, and I asked them if they'd ever considered avocados to be particularly calming.

Giggles, then instant quiet, as they surreptitiously googled pictures.

In an informal survey, the following additions were made to the list of stress relievers:

  • popping bubble wrap
  • sliding scissors through lamination
  • pictures of baby armadillos
  • zen garden raking
  • zentangling
  • and one particular student became obsessed about the calming influences of blueberries AND avocados, while commenting that bananas and strawberries provided the opposite effect.

An unscientific study, to be sure.  

During weeks like this, it's this sort of banter that creates relationships, inside jokes, and the fodder for yearbook inscriptions years down the road.  They may never remember the prompt on the PSSA that was particularly paralyzing, but I'm hoping that they smile when they see guacamole.

According to the folks at Q'doba, Guacamole is Freedom. 

Let's hope their advertising campaign applies to freedom from the stress of standardized testing.