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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Butterflies in the Garden

The weather was just beautiful today, and our shift immediately started off on the right foot, as we saw a butterfly visiting the butterfly bushes around the perimeter of the garden. A good thing in itself, this was even more exciting due to the fact that we were discussing butterflies with the kids. Our second grade class came out, and after a quick review of the garden rules, we explained the concept of the butterfly game. It is impossible, it seems, to explain the rules of a game to second-graders, and then expect them to wait quietly until you tell them to start. While the process may have been a bit chaotic, the kids (and us) had a lot of fun, and all of them knew the metamorphic stages of a butterfly by the end of the day. We tried moving the game to a more open space, so that our "butterflies" could have some space to fly around. This proved counterproductive, however, as it complicated to no end the process of maintaining some level of control over the game. After a second round of play, time was up for our second graders, and they had to go back to class. There was one more surprise, though, because a silkworm of some sorts had made a cocoon on our crape myrtle tree.
Between classes, we thinned some of the plants that needed thinning, especially the beets and cauliflower, and performed the never-ending task of weeding. As winter is approaching, we did not water anything, except for those plants that got replanted in the thinning process. I cannot believe how much the garden has grown since we began.
Since our second class missed the bug hunt last week, we only played the butterfly game once through with them. This was probably for the best, as they grew bored with it very early on. I feel that they either did not entirely grasp the concept of the game, or were to caught up in acting to actually play. Either way, we went to the compost pile with our bug bin, and had all of the kids catch sowbugs out of the decomposing grass. This was a lot more fun to the kids, and they spent the rest of their time in the garden looking at bugs. Especially the large cockroach that I added to the bin created quite a bit of excitement. At the end of their period, we showed these kids the cocoon as well. As they were lining up, I noticed more than a few pairs of cupped hands, and collection trip with the bug bin yielded at least five unfortunate new "pets". On the way out, we were blessed with yet another butterfly sighting, which flew right past the entire length of the line of kids going back to class, much to their appreciation.

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