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Southern Eyes

I am the daughter of a 30-year veteran pre-school teacher and have just as many years experience as an aunt, Sunday School teacher and mom. So I thought I had seen it all when it comes to Easter egg hunts. But two McDuffie County teachers taught me a new lesson last week.

Nothing seems to illustrate spring and new life better than a group of excited children racing across a field scattered with colored plastic eggs. It's a nice picture, but it's a short-lived one. The egg hunts these days have turned into, well... egg pick-ups, with the eggs all just laying out in plain view. It makes sense, with 20 children in a class and the allotted hunt spot divided and shared with other classes, reducing it to approximately 10x15 feet. Which means the egg "hunt" time has been reduced to 10-15 seconds. For the dozen hunts I attended last week, it took longer for the teacher to define the boundaries and say "ready, set, go!" than it did for all the eggs to be picked up. Those kids ran like little jack rabbits (pun intended).

But Ms. Lamar, a first grade teacher at Maxwell Elementary, added a little playful rivalry to her class egg hunt. The girls went outside first and scattered the eggs for the boys to find. After collecting them, the boys then scattered more eggs for the girls to find. Each student had double fun, because they participated in both the hiding and the seeking.

And the golden egg goes to all the first grade teachers at Dearing Elementary. Using a Sharpie, they marked the eggs with numbers, assigned each student a number, and told them they only could pick up eggs marked with that number. What an ingenious way to divide the eggs and their contents evenly while making the event more of an actual hunt.

An added benefit the teachers hadn't predicted was how the students helped each other. A few learned all their buddies' numbers, and would run their eggs over to them if they happened upon them. Others turned the event into a classmate-hunt. If the egg they picked up wasn't theirs, they didn't rest until they found it's proper owner. A common sound during the entire hunt was shouts of "I found an 11, who is 11?" First grade students darted back and forth like jack rabbits, too, but they were working hard at locating the right classmate for the particular egg in their hand. Not only did it take more time, but with all the obvious displays of consideration, everyone won. You can join the experience by checking out the egg hunt photos on page 1C. Remain seated, though. I've seen enough jack rabbits for one year.

Web posted on Thursday, March 27, 2008

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