Every year around Martin Luther King Day, I do the “Brown Egg, White Egg Experiment” with my students. I have done it for as long as I remember and it is truly one of my favorite lessons to teach. We talk about the differences between the two eggs and how they are not alike. Then, I crack them into a clear bowl and the kids all realize that inside that shell, they are exactly the same. It amazes me every year, but the kids totally “get it.” It is so visual and right to the point. We talk about how on the outside none of us look like each other but inside we are exactly alike.
This year, I also read them the book, “Martin’s Big Words, The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” This Caldecott winning book, written by Doreen Rappaport, was new to me, but will now be added to my library to read every year. The illustrations were stunning and my students were captivated by them. The words were taken directly from quotes of his own but geared towards children and told in words that they would understand. The message was clear. Martin used words instead of violence. He felt that kindness could overpower hatred.
I knew that the lesson had been learned when one of my students prompted a group of children to write a “kindness note,” (his words) to a child in another class who had not been treating others nicely. They came up with a note, that was made up of kind things about her. He told me that he was going to “be like Martin” and use kindness because if enough people were nice to her, maybe she’d see how great it was and then she’d be nice to everyone else.
If only everyone could think like a Kindergartener!! The innocence of children….it is truly a beautiful thing!