Thursday, October 22, 2015

Great Green Globs of Teachable Moments

The other day my son wandered into the kitchen singing an old classic for the elementary school set, Great Green Gobs of Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts (or GGGoGGGG as it's known online by the kids these days). My mom taught it to me when I was around 5 and I guess I taught it to my son a couple years ago. I don't remember teaching it to him, I assumed he'd learned it at school, but he swears it was me. For whatever reason it's become quite popular at our house the last week.

If you're not familiar with the song, it is sung to the tune of The Old Grey Mare*, and goes like this.
Great green globs of greasy grimy gopher guts,
mutilated monkey meat,
little dirty birdie feet!

All mixed up in all-purpose porpoise pus.
Gee I forgot my spoon!

(After a few rounds it ends with "But I've got my straw!" followed by gross slurping noises.)
*If you're not familiar with The Old Grey Mare you really need to brush up on your 1850s civic political operatives.

Beyond the nostalgia factor I ended up being really happy the song came up at this point in the kids' lives. Right now they're really into asking questions about things they don't know. They're not embarrassed by not knowing something, which I'm trying to encourage. It turns out they didn't know what most of the things in the song were.

"Dad, what's a gopher?"
"Dad, what are guts?"
"Dad, what's mutilated?"
"Dad, what's a porpoise?"
"Dad, what's pus?"

I love when my kids ask these questions because it shows me the gaps in their knowledge and the things I have not yet found time to teach them. I also love living in an age where I can go online and show them exactly what we're talking about. It's become such a staple of our time together that in a stunning reversal of the common trope my kids are often telling "just look it up" if I don't know the answer to something.

By the end of breakfast the kids knew four things they hadn't known when they woke up. Not bad for the 90 minutes before the school bus. The best part though wasn't the incidental educational opportunity, it was watching them squirm and giggle as they sang the song while brushing teeth and hair and on the way to the bus stop. Knowing what all those things are made the song all the more disgusting and fun to belt out.

And isn't that really the point of learning?

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