I Went in for a Buddah Hand But . . .

I walked into the Hy-Vee store determined to get a Buddah Hand. However there were none to be seen. A young man was stocking the produce department. “Do you have any Buddah Hands?” I asked with a wistful note in my voice.

“No, we haven’t been able to get any lately,” he replied with a sympathetic look in his eye.

He could see that I was crushed. “Can I help you find something else?”

I explained that I needed some kind of strange food item to share with teachers to demonstrate the strategy of questioning. It had to be something no one would know. He picked up something that looked like a sweet gum tree ball, but it wasn’t a gum tree ball. It was a rambutan or otherwise known as a hairy lychee. Even though it looks prickly, it’s not.  He squeezed it and the shell popped open revealing a shiny white fruit. It looked a little like an eyeball. He told me to taste it. It was juicy and sweet with a large seed in the center. Well, it’s not a Buddah hand, but it’s weird enough to intrigue the teachers I thought. I selected ten and hoped that would be enough for the second grade teachers.

I decided to experiment with something different for the first grade teachers. They will be getting a pepino melon and a black radish. I am curious about these two items since I didn’t get to sample them. I will be anxious to see the teachers reactions.

pepino melon

I was introduced to the idea of using an unusual  food to encourage questioning in Tanny McGregor’s book Comprehension Connections.  It is a wonderful resource for introducing  comprehension strategies. She suggests that students experience the strategy in a sensory way before applying it to text.

black radish

So, I arrive at school with my treasures eager to see which teachers will have an adventurous spirit with the sampling of these items. Most of the teachers took the challenge to try the food they were offered. We charted the questions that they had. They discovered that once they tasted the food, they had more questions. It was a great learning experience for all. There were surprises to learn who was willing to take a risk and who wanted to observe. They were introduced to something new, a strategy and a food.

So if you can’t get a Buddah hand, you might be able to find something just as intriguing.

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19 thoughts on “I Went in for a Buddah Hand But . . .

  1. Oh my. A very interesting exercise. The photographs really make me understand the bravery of the teachers. Your slices inspire me to look deeper and to think, ask questions. I will check out the book.

  2. Your introduction and title captured my attention and interest! I am so glad you included a link to learn more about Buddah Hands. I’ve never heard of these! Um, random thought but try the adult beverage option of Lychee (Soho). It’s yummy. This sounds like a great lesson idea. Excited to try it out!

  3. Wow, all of those foods were new and so intriguing to me! That seems like such a fun way to work with questioning — I love that you let the teachers experience it for themselves! It was fun to hear what you were able to find even though you couldn’t get your original goal item! 🙂

  4. What a unique way to teach the strategy of questioning and to see who in your classroom has an adventurous spirit! Thanks for sharing this idea and this book.

  5. This will be used with my methods and strategies students. I have tried to focus a great deal on questioning. To the point of making each practice wait time after a question is answered — Students are very uncomfortable with quiet. I will bring in an interesting produce item and try it out on them. Hopefully they will then try it out on children. That is when the real learning happens!

  6. I had to read about the Buddha Hand, too. Wow, I’ve never heard of it, nor the black radish or the hairy lychee (lychee nuts, yes). This is a terrific idea for teachers. We have an H Mart here in Denver that has all things Asian & when we were studying cultures one year, we spent a day there, exploring, asking questions of the clerks, eating lunch of all sorts of new things, etc. It was a wonderful day, & a prep for a later longer trip. Questioning (encouraging curiosity rather than waiting for the answer to be bestowed) is such a key to good learners. Elsie, thanks for this reminder to me to try something new with the teachers.

  7. That Buddha Hand is awesome – I had to read up on it (thanks for the link!) and there was something so poetic about the way it looks and all. We used to buy lychees at the market in India – I remember turning up my nose at them once, and then my grandmother showing me how to carve one open and taste the fruit. Of course, we had had these at the table many times, in lovely silver bowls – “always look past what you first see”, I still remember her saying that. So true! Now I need to get this book on comprehension…thanks for the recommendation, Elsie!

  8. Tam says:

    Never heard this done before and never heard of these foods. That hairy lychee looks like it could bite! I would try them all. I love foods and new things. Post on your findings?

  9. Wow I love that idea! I am getting that book too 🙂
    Seems like I always read your posts Elsie, because I get them in my email but I don’t always click to leave a message but life just slowed down a bit and here I am,
    Bonnie

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