Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Watermelon Shark

I'm so sorry it took so long to get another post up; I was having terrible troubles with sizing and placing photos.  I now have a tiny understanding of HTML...who would've guessed that!  It sure wasn't on my summer "To Do" list...  I'm really glad to be back.

This January, my pal, Lindsay, introduced me to Pinterest.  Wow…what a wealth of ideas!  If you have not checked it out, it’s pretty neat.  There is a large variety of topics to choose from and you can peruse with or without joining.  You need to be e-invited by someone who belongs if you want to make your own digital pin boards.  Anyway, back to the shark story.

I began to show my students some neat food ideas and child-appropriate jokes from Pinterest as they visited and ate lunch.  One day in early spring, I brought up this image of a watermelon shark from the National Watermelon Promotion Board at www.watermelon.org in their Carvings section: 
“You’ve gotta make that for us, Ms. L-G!” 
I replied that that I would practice and hopefully bring them one at the end of the school year.

The last week of school, I was making individually-tailored word clouds for students and staff (another Pinterest idea!), and time was passing by very quickly.  I bought the watermelon, studied the pictures a little bit, but it was 12:30 a.m., Wednesday night, I was still making clouds, and Thursday would be the last day for students.  Instead of staying up until 3 a.m., I decided to take in all of my tools and have the students help me make it!  We projected the well-detailed tutorial on the SMARTBoard from http://sunscholars.blogspot.ca/search?q=Watermelon+shark , took out our popsicle stick name cup, and drew for turns so only two kids had sharp objects at a time.  The others visited and had a real popsicle to help them pass the time.  The tutorial from Sunscholars blogspot is really good but I will describe the photos a bit.

  • Pick an oblong watermelon vs. a spherical one if they are available so you have a more-elongated, sharky shape to work with. Toward one end, take a slightly slanted slice off (nice alliteration, eh?) to make the base on which the shark head will sit.  The stem at the top won’t be at the top now, and it should face the way you want the mouth to open.  
  • Set the shark facing you on a cutting board or non-serving piece; things are going to get messy and although it may become gruesome, juicy everywhere is probably not the effect you’re looking for.  Plus, the juice doesn’t look like blood anyway!
  • Picture where you want the V-shaped mouth to be, perhaps from the stem about 10 cm/4 inches down.  DON’T CUT YET!  You need to leave an additional 2.5 cm/1 inch LESS (making more mouth) where the teeth will be. 
  • NOW cut the mouth V.  It’ll look like the mouth is too small until you get the teeth in there.  If you think the mouth will be WAY too small, now is the time to enlarge it.  BTW, one may use the words “maw” or “yaw” may be used to describe the gaping mouth of a shark.  Thought you’d want to know…decent points for game of Scrabble, too. 


You can see in the left side picture where the stem would have been (the lines would have intersected at that spot).  On the right side, you can see where I started the first tooth at the top and how we started scooping out the melon balls.  Hopefully, you can also see that I peeled off quite a bit of white ("pith" in a watermelon, too?) and that made for wiggly teeth.  Peel off as little white as possible.

WOAH!  STOP!  LIGHTBULB!  I just thought of a great way to plan out the shark's maw!  (See what I did there? ;-)  )  Do you have any big rubber bands and toothpicks or very hygienic pushpins?  You could stick the sharp-object-of-choice (SOOC) where the “hinge” of the mouth would be, pull the elastic flat, stretch the ends of the elastic from the front of the mouth over the SOOC, and adjust the two elastic sections to the desired yaw opening PLUS teeth allowance.  You could even use two elastics if you wanted to see where the whole teeth section would be.  Back to the steps...

  • Now having a clear vision of where the teeth will be, use a small, sharp knife or V-shaped cutter to pare away the one inch of green rind. Cut VERY shallowly (spell-check did not complain about that word), otherwise your shark teeth will be as wiggly as a 6-year-olds! You want a nice, fat band of white for the pearly pointies (spell-check does NOT care for that word but I do not care).
  • Before making the teeth, you need to create the cavernous mouth by scooping out the watermelon. If you have a melon baller, you can scoop out nice little spheres to serve out of the yaw (haw haw) later. We had two containers: one for melon balls, and one for the scraps. One kid suggested that we put the scraps in instead of the balls because it’d look more gory!  True, true…
  • When you estimate that you’re approaching the bottom o’ the mouth, do a check. It’s a good idea to leave at least an inch of flesh between the mouth and the surface underneath to limit the juice leakage. There will be some but a lot just gets messy. Use a metal spoon to tidy up the inside of the mouth; you want the redness but it doesn’t need to look like poor Sharky has a lot of lacerations in there.
  • Teeth Time!  Back to using the sharp little knife or take out your V-shaped cutter if you have one. I knew I would use it again someday! For the latter tool, align the point to the top of the white section for the top row of teeth, slowly push in, whereby cutting out the holes between the teeth. If you’re using a knife, cut upward at 45 degree angles to the top of the white part from the bottom of the tooth point.
  • When you’re ready for the bottom row, flip over the V-shaped cutter to point-down position to do the same procedure, or cut down from tooth point to bottom of the white section.
I shall warn you now that you may lose a tooth here or there…perhaps six times.  I heard that this happened to someone…  Should this happen, fear not.  Effective dental surgery is but a half-toothpick away.  Our shark was in need of some work; I have a good dental plan through ASEBP so it wasn’t a problem. ;-) 
  • Time for the little details like gills, holes for the eyes, and the fin.  You know what?  Just check out the link   http://sunscholars.blogspot.ca/search?q=Watermelon+shark if you can’t see it in my pictures.   It would be hard for me not to copy the text; the work above has been from my pictures and my memory and, therefore, paraphrasing with giving credit and, hopefully, avoiding my goal of not plagiarizing!
I hope you have someone in your house or neighbourhood who likes black olives; one must sacrifice the majority of a can of black olives just for two sharky eyes. 

                                          I think the eyes look AWESOME. 

Any other fans of the Jaws movies out there?   (The first two anyway…)  I love Quint’s monologue about the sinking of the USS Indianapolis.
 Sometimes that shark, he looks right into you. Right into your eyes.  You know the thing about a shark, he’s got lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll’s eye. When he comes at ya, doesn’t seem to be livin’. Until he bites ya and those black eyes roll over white.” – Robert Shaw, Jaws, 1975.
You can watch that clip on YouTube.  I just did.  Just Google "Jaws monologue."  No link = less chance of copyright infringement.  ;-) 

Almost done! 
  • Prepare a tray for your shark display.  (Good rhyming, eh?)  Sun Scholars suggested covering a silver foil tray with plastic wrap, having kids draw watery blue and green squiggles all over it, and then covering it again with plastic wrap.  Other pictures show a shark head surrounded by fruit.  My students liked the gummy fish in the water idea, so that’s what we did.  I also bought gummy worms for more variety of prey.  Sea snakes?  A huge sturgeon like the man from the UK caught last week?  It worked for us!  We layered fish and melon balls in the mouth and scattered fish around in the “water.” 


So…are you going to try to create a watermelon shark? 
If you’re local, I’d help you! 
If you are local and ask really nicely, I would probably just make one for you.  J 
I told you I loved this kind of stuff!

Thanks for coming back to the island!
Swim safely away, my friends…duh-dun…duh-dun….duh-dun duh-dun duh-dun duh-dun…


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