I'm not above bribing my kids.
I've had to be out of the building a lot more this year since The Principal has asked me to go to a conference and participate in a "breaking ranks" group. This means meetings and being away from my kids. I love the idea of participating in a group that's looking for ways to improve things for the kids, but at the same time I hate leaving them with a sub.
I always hope the sub survives the day.
So, I've bribed them with a day in the lab using the microscopes to look at stuff. No grade, no assignment, just having fun looking at things. It worked and the payoff day was yesterday. Since yesterday was the last day of school before Thanksgiving break, and the kids were bouncing off the walls anyway, it worked out pretty well. They weren't going to focus on anything anyway.
I had brought in a bunch of things for them to look at - sugar, salt, pepper, flour, ginger, wool yarn, tea, and thread. One kid brought in a container of muddy puddle water, and another brought in pond water. I also had some prepared slide sets with things like mosquito eggs, dusts, liver cells, human blood, and things none of the kids could pronounce.
The best part of the day, for me, was listening to them as they looked at stuff.
"Oh dude, that's your fingernail? Gross!"
"There's things swimming in the water! Ewww!"
"Bone looks like swiss cheese!"
"You want to look at earwax? You're disgusting!"
"I'm not touching that water. It has things in it."
"Cool! Look at the salt!"
"Pepper looks like dirt. I'm not eating it again."
"That's corn? You mean we eat that?"
"You just pulled out your own eyelash to look at?"
Ah, the lives of seventh graders.