Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What I Learned About Shaving Cream Today

I learned that the old adage ‘a little dab will do you’ also works with shaving cream.  Let me paint the picture for you…

The Idea

I got the bright idea from a first grade teacher (you know who you are!) to let students spell their names out in shaving cream.  She said to put some shaving cream on each desk, let them smooth it out, then let them spell words in the cream.  Great! 

I showed up at school this morning armed with two cans of shaving cream.  I had visions of my sweet second graders obligingly spelling their words neatly in a nice section of shaving cream.  Their minds would absorb every letter visually, while their little fingers would remember the tactile sensations.  It would be great!  They did their part perfectly… I was the problem! 

Spelling Fun

My faux pas began as I squirted the anticipated shaving cream on each desk.  It went something like this… Squiiiiirt, squiiiiirt, squiiiiirt… hmm, doesn’t look like enough… squiiiiirt, squiiiiiirt….that ought to do it…one more for good measure, squiiiiiiiirt.   And off I would go to the next desk.   I was on the other side of the room (that would be the second half… as in desks 12-23) when I looked back and noticed how far each squirt of shaving cream went.   By then I was in too deep (no pun intended), so I finished the rest of the desks and let my little Hemmingways get busy.

“Okay, spell BROWSE,” I announced.  B-R-O-W-S-E…. I look across the room to see one little girl struggling with big stubborn clumps of shaving cream that were clinging to her hands.  Another child was trying to get the clumps off her hands by using the edge of her desk. Plunging ahead we got through our spelling list unscathed.  The students had a great time.  Then it was time to clean up.  Let the scathing begin.

The Clean Up

I decided to clean the desks off myself because of the sheer volume of shaving cream on each one.  We have a sink in the back of our classroom.  I sent students by table groups to clean the shaving cream from their hands while I tended to the desks. No problem, right?  Wrong!  It was hilarious… students waiting in line for their turn at the sink were getting creative with the shaving cream clinging to their hands. So there I was, trying to get 23 desks clean and the corresponding 23 students to PE in 5 minutes.   I looked up and saw shaving cream being smoothed up arms… on clothes… in hair…  Eeeek!  It took longer than 5 minutes.


Now, when I do this again (not if, but when), I will use only two squirts of shaving cream on each desk.  I will allow more clean-up time.  And finally, I will continue to laugh at my mistakes…er…learning experiences.

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  1. I never had a teacher like that but to tell the truth if I had I probably would have enjoyed learning more. Great job. OK, ok, but on the honest side good thing I'm not a teacher, cuz ewwwww I hate yuck and boy would my students be bored.

  2. Oh, and boy could I use some help on how to blog and make it more interesting. Your's is great

  3. I often find that teaching is like a good science experiment. You have objectives, all the materials, the procedure, the method, and have done the research. What you can't always predict is the variables and miscalulations. I enjoyed your spelling lesson episode and thought, "I have been there and done that before." The best reaction is to modify and try again. Well done.

  4. You are a brave soul! While it is a good idea wow, the mess had to be amazing.

  5. Diane, I have also done this activity with my students. I bought some large (cheap) plastic dinner plates and gave every student one, squirted the shaving cream onto the plate and off they went. They also had loads of fun! I liked using the plates because it contained the cream to one area and students could then take their plates to the sink and wash them up themselves. Just another idea!

  6. I'm going to do it your way next time Jessica!

  7. Try it and add some paint! My special needs group managed to get it on the ceiling - it's blue!!!!!