How many times have you had your students/kids engaged in a great activity or lesson, and then one kid RUINS it for the entire group? Yeah, been there, done that many times over.
Every year I have to give my "Don't be an onion" speech. Don't get me wrong, I love onions. Onion rings, green onions, sauteed onions, onion soup, onion dip, Animal Style onions...and the list goes on. But there's a time and a place for an onion. And for my "Don't Be an Onion" speech, I bring all my students to the carpet so I have their (hopefully) undivided attention. I tell it nice and slow to build up the anticipation. And so...here's my speech:
"Okay kids, for this, I don't want you to say ANYthing. The only thing you're going to do when I ask you a question, is for you to raise your hand if you like what I say. Okay, I want you to think about a bowl. A big bowl. A HUGE bowl, if you want. Now, in your brain, I want you think about your FAVORITE ice cream. Don't tell me what it is, just imagine your FAVORITE ice cream. Now, load up your big, huge bowl with as much of your favorite ice cream as you want. Now, raise your hand if this is something you'd like. (everyone raises hand) Great! Now I want you to imagine your huge bowl of ice cream and I'm going to squirt chocolate syrup or hot fudge all over your ice cream. Do you still want it? If so, raise your hand. (everyone raises hand) Super! Now, I'm going to squirt whip cream, if you want, all over your big bowl of ice cream and chocolate. Do you still want it? (everyone raises hand) Okay, think of your favorite sprinkles. Maybe your favorite sprinkles are chocolate sprinkles, or rainbow sprinkles, or even nuts. Whatever your favorite sprinkles are, I'm going to sprinkle them aaaaallllll over your ice cream, chocolate, and whip cream. Do you still want it? (everyone raises their hand) Now, I'm going to put as many cherries on top of your ice cream, and chocolate, and whip cream, and sprinkles as you want. Do you still want it? (everyone raises hand) Okay, for the last topping, I'm going sprinkle chopped onions all over the top of your whip cream. Do you still want it? (kids make an ewww sound, and are confused. No one raises hand) See how one thing can ruin a really good thing? Don't be an onion. Don't be the one person who ruins something fun for everyone."
I tell you, it's funny to hear them tell each other not to be an onion while waiting in line, or on the carpet during a story. They get it. They know when something good is being wasted.