Calera Middle students enjoy ‘egg’citing project

Published 4:21 pm Monday, June 6, 2011

Calera Middle students Gabrielle Borcicky and Rahim Martin helped care for 16 chicks hatched from an incubator. (Contributed)

By MOLLIE BROWN / Community Columnist

Over the years I’ve received announcements for births, weddings, graduations and birthdays, but never one announcing the birth of a brood of chicks.

With the help of some teachers, school support staff and community resources, Calera Middle School fourth graders flew the coup — so to speak.

Teachers Lindsey Irvin and Sommer L’Hoste hatched the plan.

“It all started with our University of Montevallo intern, David Stover,” Irvin said. “We were brainstorming teaching ideas and he suggested hatching chicken eggs. When our maintenance supervisor, Wayne Etress, found out about the project, he called a friend in McCalla, Danna Morris, who has incubators.”

Stover, who has chickens on his land in Coosa County, donated 42 fertile eggs. Irvin and L’Hoste designed lesson plans that incorporated the amazing egg.

During the hatching process, students learned sequencing through studying the life cycle of the egg. They brushed up on expository writing skills by describing virtually everything you can do to an egg — boil it, scramble it, devil it, fry it, dye it.

Student Lauren described the process of making a quiche and admits she cuts the biggest piece for herself. Cole termed eggs as “fragile, little, small, weird and made of many things.” He said people like to eat them, but they can be hatched and experimented with.

Students told “eggs”tra funny jokes: Why did the baker get arrested? He was caught beating an egg. How did the egg become a comedian? Because he knew lots of yolks.

The project introduced students to one of Alabama’s largest agribusinesses. Irvin said chicken farming and egg production are critical aspects of Alabama’s contribution to our national and world economy.

Etress visited the classroom daily to check on the hatching progress. “Seeing smiles on the kids’ faces made it worth the extra time required to get the project going,” he said.

When Irvin stopped by the school on Mother’s Day, she found they had become parents. Three days later, they had a total of 16 feathered friends.

L’Hoste said because of limited field trips, teaching outside the classroom can be challenging.

“With some creative thinking you can take students outside the four walls of the classroom without leaving it,” L’Hoste said.

“It’s amazing how the collaborative effort tied all of our subject matter together,” Irvin said. “It’s projects like this and Suckers for Tsunami in which our students raised $3,300 for relief in Japan and Alabama that bring people together.”

Mollie Brown can be reached at