Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Butterflies are Free

In Nate's class, there are many distractions.

First, we have the toads. The kids love the toads.

Shhhh. Don't tell anyone, but when the toads were here over the break, I let Nate and his buddy Q handle the toads. The toads seemed to enjoy their time in the boys hands. Maybe because I made the boys wash their hands with hot water and no soap, and then dip their hands in the toad tank, so they were wet, hot, and not-smelly-at-all. The toads almost seemed to enjoy climbing up into the boys' hands. And then, if you're not paying attention, Toxanne will just climb right up your arm.

It's kind of creepy, actually. They feel like jello jigglers that have been left out to dry out a bit, and then have been sprayed down, so they're a little bit wet, but kind of mooshy, and very jiggly. And they sort of stick to you.


Anyways, the kids in the classroom know that they are not allowed to touch the toads, but they still set up camp near the toad tank, and watch their every move. I like to think it's educational. But I think the boys are just waiting so they can say things like "I saw Poison go poop, and you didn't!" and "I wonder if they burp after they swallow a cricket whole"

Then we've got the praying mantis egg case. It's like watching paint dry. Nothing's really happening, but the kids keep vigilant.

I've somehow managed to keep ten poinsettias alive and blooming since the first of December. Those plants distract the kids, ever since I said that the leaves ooze poison if they're cut. Heh.

And now, there's a big butterfly house in the classroom, because the kids have been watching Painted Lady metamorphosis. We got the little caterpillars when they were about the size of grains of rice. They grew at an alarming rate, and within a week were as long as my finger nail. Then a week later, they were as long as the first joint of my thumb, and *blammo*! they were spinning their little chrysalis thingies.

Alas, the butterflies hatched over the mid-winter break, so the kids didn't get to see that little miracle (well, except for the kid who's dad took the butterfly house home. He watched, and took notes. Very diligent child there. Or maybe he just likes recounting the tale of the butterfly that emerged without legs, and the one that got stuck in its chrysalis and suffocated, and stuff like that. Heh.

Anyways, we're waiting for nice weather to release the butterflies, and it looks like we'll be waiting a while, as a bit storm moved in today, so I thought I'd better get in some photo opportunities before they all croaked.

(oh, speaking of croaking, I wonder if the toads would eat the butterflies if they were offered... classroom cannibalism, y'know)

I went into the classroom this afternoon, and set up shop in the back room of the class. And while the kids were writing letters to their penpals, I took the kids back one at a time for a little photo shoot.

I thought I'd put the butterflies on a slice of orange (this is a Moro Blood Orange), and have the kids hold the orange, but the blood orange was too acidic and tangy, and the butterflies didn't like it One Bit, so I had to resort to wedges of a clementine.

Some of the kids' "Butterfly Portraits" turned out REALLY well. I was amazed that my camera actually took such great photos while the storm was pounding down around us. It must be that spiffy external flash.

I'm exploring the Picasaweb online link to Walgreens photo lab, and will be picking up the portraits tomorrow morning before I go to tutor in the classroom. This way, each kid gets a photo for their homework folder tomorrow. And I'm bringing my camera back tomorrow, too. I missed getting shots of two of the kids (that had to leave early today). And then the Canon of Butterfly Holders will be complete.

Honestly, I could've taken photos of the kids holding the butterflies All Day Long. What fun!

I wonder if I'll be able to get them to hold the praying mantises so easily, if they ever hatch...

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