Student of Doom

Cartoon of a boy and a teacher. The student says, "I think you are giving me bad grades merely because I am a prophet of doom."
Cartoon of a boy and a teacher. The student says, “I think you are giving me bad grades merely because I am a prophet of doom.”

Testing those Props

Cartoon of a mom and her son. The son has a dirty face. The mom says, "Something tells me you enjoyed this morning'€™s class."

The other day, I had a great lesson in testing all your props before presenting a lesson.

The monthly theme in my class has been grace. The classroom has been decorated like a candy shop and the opening activities have used sweets as props. This is part of the curriculum at

Last week’s lesson called for inviting kids to come up and “test” candy for the rest of the class. The samples included some pretzel M & M’s, gummi candy and Pop Rocks candy.

I went over the precautions. One thing I wanted to remember was to choose children that did not have food allergies. As the father of a peanut allergy sufferer, I didn’t want to put a family in the panic our family has felt in the past. I also wanted to be sure we had enough candy for the class and the kids could sample them without putting their hands into the bag and spreading germs. (My wife says I’m much more responsible than I used to be!)

I had my samples ready to go. I had sample cups for the candy and I decided to pour the sweets into them. Everything was fine with the chocolate and gummi candy. I should have suspected something when the carbonated candy was in individual packets. After all, what causes the candy to pop?

I poured it anyway then went about the business of making sure the room was ready for the students. When I returned a few minutes later, something told me I should recheck the candy. That was when I discovered the Pop Rocks candy had fused together in the bottom of the cup. Of course! The candy reacts to moisture!

I tried to get the candy out of the cup by tapping on the bottom of the cup. Big mistake! The candy exploded all over my shirt. Now I was REALLy in character. The kids got a kick out of the fact I was not only eating the candy, but wearing it. The pink Pop Rocks blended so well with my navy blue shirt!

Luckily, I had enough candy to go to plan B. When it was time for the activity, I had the kids close their eyes, I opened the packets and poured the candy into their hands.

I learned whether you are a guest speaker, or are teaching kids, be sure you test your props before the actual event. Weather and location can be a factor. The candy could be less likely to fuse on a February day than a humid August morning. Even if the curriculum looks complete, there is always room for a surprise or two!


Cartoon of a boy and girl. The boy says, “You should go out with me. I’m an award-winning student.”

Risk and Insurance

Cartoon of  a boy and a teacher. The boy says, “That was due today? Seriously? I need help.Where can I get some homework insurance?”