Express lane to learning

Recently, I was out shopping, and came upon something that’s not usually found for sale on the shelves at local grocers. Insight.

Funnily enough, it was probably there all along. I must have blown past a bunch of times while buzzing about my mental list of must buys. But this time, finding insight was meant to be. I’ll explain in 10 items or fewer.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/kirrilyrobert/2355105082/ CC by 2.0

https://www.flickr.com/photos/kirrilyrobert/2355105082/ CC by 2.0

Usually, upon walking into a store, I’m pre-occupied with my mental shopping list, figuring whether something is a good deal or not, and by getting out as quickly as possible. This requires the use of several life, mental Math, and critical literacy skills.

The act of shopping really requires planning and strategic thinking to figure out when a store will have the least amount of people as possible in it so that we may park, pickup a cart, procure, pay, and part. It is impossible to ignore the thought required for such seemingly innocuous trips that are made for our milk, bread, and eggs etc.

From now on, and armed with this understanding, I am going to use my trips to the store to seek out and share its valuable lessons. There’s knowledge to acquire about Math(Measurement or Number Sense), to Media Literacy(package design, use of space), and to the development of crucial future life/socialization skills in every aisle.

Consider the yogurt section for a moment; there’s something for everyone in that part of the dairy case. Where else could so many products co-exist so peacefully? In fact where else could such diversity exist(except Canada)? Here gluten free, lactose free, peanut free, Halal, Kosher, vegan, and meatatarian are available to all at the grocery store and share an inclusive space.

Then there’s the produce section.

While perusing here, I saw couples discussing, quite demonstratively, which bunch of Rapini to buy. Then I spied the apple aisle. There was a person who felt compelled to touch all of the apples in the case. I witnessed a grape thieve looking from side to side and then pop a few into her mouth. Here were real lessons on relationships, human behaviour, and decision making all before me waiting to be picked and extended into the classroom.

It’s like that in the classroom or a head of Iceberg(lettuce). Teachers work hard to make learning engaging, extendable, and relevant everyday.What most outsiders see is only the first leaf, layer or ply.*

Speaking of plies. I thought it would be fun for my students to calculate which toilet paper at the store was the better deal based on size and number of sheets per roll.

Talk about a real life problem. Initially, I went around snapping pictures of the different packages and their details to build the questions. The class discovered that there’s a lot going on that can confuse consumers. We came away wiser for the time knowing we wouldn’t get rolled over by the manufacturers next time. IMG_3962

Your turn

Have you ever considered or taken a class to the local grocer? What about a super-type store à la WalMart(wish I could still write Zeller’s here)?

Or how about a homework assignment to include children in the planning and shopping? Who knows it might become fun, or democratize the food choices in some households. It may even lead to conversational and debating skills.

There’s a line forming behind me. Happy shopping. Thank you for reading. Please share and take time to comment to keep the conversation going.

*You thought I’d say tip since iceberg was used, but no!

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Updated: February 20, 2017 — 4:05 pm

The Author

Will Gourley

Grade 5 lead learner and SERT at Adrienne Clarkson PS in the YRDSB. Focused on disruptive, divergent, and modern learning. Member of the global TED-Ed(Club) movement, 1 of 90 TED Ed Innovative Educators, and Global Math Project Ambassador. Twitter @willgourley Proudly blogging here and at https://escheweducationalist.wordpress.com/

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