By SHEA STASKOWSKI
Ward Stewart students in Itaska Rosmond’s fourth grade class have been eating worms.
During reading class, the students read the book “How to Eat Fried Worms” by Thomas Rockwell. In the book, the main character is dared to eat a worm a day for 15 days to win money. Each day, the worm is disguised in different condiments and toppings to make it more edible.
So to spice up reading class, Rosamond thought it would be great to get her students to eat the worms (cooked hot dogs cut into thin strips) right along with the main character.
“Doing anything that is interactive, cooperative and fun motivates students,” Rosamond said. “Motivating students means they have a personal connection to the activity, as well as having an invested interest in the outcome.
“This equals more learning that is likely to stay with them and build on their experiences,” she added.
For three weeks, students used their imaginations to empathize with the main character as they ate their one worm a day. And each day brought a new flavor to try. Grimaces and all, the students took the project seriously and tried their hardest to make it through some of the less appetizing worms.
“My favorite part has been seeing students excited everyday to come to reading class,” Rosamond said. “They want to know what exciting worm recipe they’ll be trying today. Wanting to be there is half the battle!”
For student Kaylie Beth Hobart, the worm smothered in peaches, cherries, oranges, whipped cream and jelly beans was her least favorite, but that didn’t stop her from being a good sport and eating her worm.
“You know sometimes when you’re reading a book how you want to be there with the character?” Hobart asked. “Well, with this assignment, you actually get to see and taste what he is seeing and tasting — It’s really cool.”
Students were encouraged to eat their worm in full, and students who finished their worms got to put their name on a large graph outside of the classroom.
Based on the graph, Rosamond’s students had the hardest time getting through the horseradish, ketchup and mustard worm as only 17 of her 24 students put their name on the graph.
“I hated the horseradish one,” LeMichael Ward said. “It tasted all sour.”
The favorite worm of the class was the worm fried in cornmeal, lemon and parsley as all students finished that one.
“I hope that students use this experience to remember all the skills we’ve done while having fun with the unit,” Rosamond said. “At the very least, taking risks to try something new is always a good thing. Developing confidence in themselves is critical to their success.”