Thursday, January 18, 2018

Why Teachers Should Embrace the Slime

Are you a teacher that hates slime? Let's chat, because here are three reasons why I think teachers should embrace the slime fad.

embrace the slime

Just a Fad

I seriously thought slime would go away after a few months, but here we are, years into this, and slime is still going strong. 

Let me share a story.

I was teaching a lesson that required my fourth graders to use Sta-Flo with chalk. I had no idea you could use Sta-Flo to make slime. (I know, I know...get a clue, right?)

This was a two-week project. So, they were working with Sta-Flo for two weeks. There were no problems the first week. However, the second week, a couple of students started trying to sneak some of the Sta-Flo with them out of class. I saw one try to put some in an empty chip bag they'd gotten at lunch. (You know it was a Sun Chips bag since it came out of the cafeteria, right?) 

They'd realized they would be using Sta-Flo two weeks in a row and had made plans to try to take some of it from my room the second week of the project. Not cool. 

So, as not cool as this behavior was, I ended up using it as a teachable moment. I talked to the kids about taking things that don't belong to them. I followed through with the consequences on the behavior charts we use. I contacted homeroom teachers and parents. That was all I could do really.

What I Realized

I finally realized that those kids, who really are good kids (as I believe all kids are), just wanted to participate in this really cool thing that is all over pop culture right now. Most of them don't have any other way to acquire the materials to make slime. I teach in a high-poverty school. 

I am by no means making a lame excuse for taking things that don't belong to you. I am 100% saying I had the opportunity to teach. I did what was in my power to do. (I want to make that very clear.)

Anyway, it did ultimately make me feel sad that they were so desperate to do it that they would take something from me. These are kids with whom I have great relationships. I've been teaching them for a few years. I know even our own children that we are raising at home will betray our close relationships as they grow. Our jobs are to help them learn, though. 

Thinking along that line made me change the way I thought about the whole concept of slime. I realized there were some reasons why teachers should embrace it rather than loathe it (I see you, teachers of Facebook...wink wink).

3 Reasons Teachers Should Embrace the Slime

  1. Some kids don't have the means to make slime. I notice a lot of teachers sharing that students are taking their supplies from the classroom to make slime just as they were in the story I shared. We can use this to teach them not to take things that don't belong to them. We can also teach them about grace and forgiveness when they do make this mistake.
  2. Slime is science. Think about all of the science connections that can be made with slime: chemical and physical changes, mixtures, etc. Use it to integrate science!
  3. Slime is sensory. With the increased academic demands placed on students AND the increased use of technology, students crave sensory experiences. 

Find a Way to Make It Work

I think it is worth it to try to find a way to make slime work in the classroom. I let some of my fourth graders make it during class as an early finisher activity. I'm looking into ways to make slime with the students as a reward for our Positive Behavior System. There have to be a ton of other ways to make it work in the school setting. Do you have any ideas?

I know my opinion may be unpopular, but I've given it a lot of consideration. I would love to hear your thoughts, but I encourage you to be constructive. This is a happy place! 

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  1. Slime is the BANE of my existence currently, but you do have some very valid points!

    1. I felt like about slime at first too. Then, I guess I just got tired of being tired of it. Big change of heart for me.

      Thanks for this comment, Amy!!

  2. Slime is all the rage at our school too. We've embraced it! NewsELA has several articles about making slime and how students have made making slime a business. Students have enjoyed digging into the articles and then making slime after a Slime article study.

    1. Oh my gosh! Meagan! That's so cool. BUSINESS!!!!! NewsELA!!!!
      I love it!

      Thanks so much for this comment!

  3. I hate slime so much! It makes me cringe! We do allow at playtime though, just not during lesson time

    1. Hey Peppi! Thanks for this comment. It makes me think about fidget things. I have a tub in my room with some fidget/sensory items. There are some students who really can't seem concentrate without those. Do you guys have any rules or anything about that kind of stuff? I am just curious what other schools' policies might be. Hadn't thought about it until I read your comment, though. So, thanks for that!

  4. Totally agree! I had a girl get it in her hair so I was really put off by it... but in retrospect I should have had a better talk with them about be careful. #embracetheslime haha

    1. Whew! I bet that was a mess. Did they have to cut it out?

      Thanks for this comment!