As a history teacher, I enjoy telling stories. Fortunately, my students at Kibuye Hope Academy love to hear a good yarn. Tales of my youth in Appalachia garner some special interest. Accounts of a little Uncle Scott being chased by turkeys and horse-sized dogs always produce some snickering. However, their reaction to hearing of how my family slaughtered chickens on my grandparents’ farm was received with slightly less enthusiasm. Hearing these stories is educational in their own way, but nothing can replace the hands-on learning of a KHA learning experience day.
Aunt Julie T. orchestrated an in-depth study of chickens that took us from the classroom, to the chopping block, and into the kitchen. Elementary students learned about the use of informational texts as they put together presentations on how to raise and care for chickens. The middle schoolers researched their questions about chickens online (which came first the chicken or the egg?). We learned that chickens are attracted to red and the fear of chickens is alektrophobia.
The term, alektrophobia comes from the Greek myth of Ares, Aphrodite, and Alectryon. After Alectryon failed to deliver a timely wake-up call to Ares and Aphrodite, he was turned into a rooster and cursed to announce the coming dawn forevermore. You can learn about this story and so much more at www.chickensinliterature.com (it’s a real site).
Once the students had gathered some general chicken knowledge it was time to apply it in the field. With the purchase of several local chickens, some hot water, and a couple Burundian guides, the students learned how the chickens get from running along the paths of Kibuye to our dinner tables. A few moments fraught with stomach churning for those of us with weaker constitutions quickly passed into a fascination with feather plucking. Every student was engaged in the following dissection (even if not everyone was strictly hands-on during this hands-on activity), and pointing out the different organs, naming their functions.
After a large dose of hand sanitizer, the kids were off to the kitchen to learn about eggs. The middle school baked quiche and frittata while the younger students made deviled eggs and omelets. We feasted together as we listened to the presentations from the different grades prepared earlier in the day. It was another successful KHA learning experience day, where students and adults delighted in learning together.
Although we never solved which came first, the chicken or the egg, we did learn what to call a chicken that stares at lettuce … chicken sees a salad. Get it? Chicken sees a salad, chicken caesar salad. One of the consequences of being a middle school teacher is that jokes like this become hilarious, and this was by far the best chicken joke in day laden with many egg-cellent puns.