Did anyone tell you it’s cold and flu season? Bah. We had our flu shots so we wouldn’t catch the flu this year. Oh… wait.
Saddest part is that I sent Miss M to school on February 11th when she was still sniffling and coughing. She could have been home resting but it was the day that I was scheduled to participate in the “Clean up the Classroom with Clorox” in her class. It is a program put together by Clorox that teaches kids about germs. They publicize it and provide kits to use during the peak of ‘everyone-at-school-seems-to-be-getting-sick” season. I had coordinated the event with her teacher, Mr. KT, and he had an awesome lesson plan that I couldn’t wait to see.
When I showed up, Mr. KT had already started talking to the class. He was going over some basic information about germs followed by asking the kids about them. I remember being more focused on listening to Miss M sniffle and cough than on what he was actually saying. My ears perked up when I heard one of the boys in class say “Maybe (Miss M) is sick because she caught some germs!” Perfect. Thank you, Miss M, for being the poster child for our “Clean up the Classroom” event.
After his introduction came the really cool part - the part he told me about ahead of time. He selected a few students and had them congregate in an area of the room where the other kids couldn’t see them. He proceeded to make a few of them ‘sick’ by applying oil and glitter to their hands. (He used cooking oil, but said vitamin oil or baby oil also would work.) Two students were now carrying germs. While they approached the rest of the class with their hands hidden behind their backs, Mr. KT explained that for the next 30 seconds everyone was to walk around shaking hands and doing high-fives.
You can’t see germs, but you can certainly see glitter germs and the results put it into visual perspective. Forty seconds later, the entire class, including Mr. KT and myself, were infected. Some only had small amounts of glitter germs on them while others had tons. And that was only with kids touching hands – it didn’t incorporate people touching objects, their clothes or their faces. The experiment was a huge success.
After infecting the class, Mr. KT read the kids a book called “Germs! Germs! Germs!” that he had checked out from the school library. Utilizing a poster of a sample classroom that was in the kit provided by Clorox, he had the kids affix stickers to the poster in areas of the classroom that they thought might contain germs.
He proceeded to provide each child with a Clorox wipe to have them go around and get rid of the germs. Just a note though, as part of the event, Clorox requested that adults be the ones to use the products. In this case, Mr. KT incorporated wipes that they already had on hand in the classroom (which also happened to be Clorox), explained to the children that these were only to be used when an adult says ‘okay’ and that they needed to wash their hands when they were done. The kids were very excited to head around the classroom and clean it all up. Thanks to the discussion during the sticker project, they set out to clean everything including door knobs, tables, play areas and cabinets.
They returned to the poster board to adhere “I am a Germbuster” stickers over the top of the “Ick” “Yuck” and “Gross” ones that they had previously placed.
We walked away with the knowledge that kids better understood germs, how easily they transfer, places that they may be – along with good methods to get rid of them.
Best of all, they now have a very clean classroom and the information on how to prevent the spread of germs.
If you’re a teacher, be sure to stop by the Clean up the Classroom with Clorox website to request a kit or to get lesson plans, tips and information on cleaning their classrooms. Parents can also log in and get a coupon for free Clorox Disinfecting Wipes for their teacher when they purchase two Clorox products.