Nick often benefits from many of the lessons I'm preparing for my elementary school students. I think this year my tax write-offs for things I bought for students will be especially peculiar. For two weeks I had 1,500 ladybugs and nearly 100 worms in my refrigerator. I sometimes think I have the weirdest (and the coolest) job in the world.
Right now, I'm teaching a summer school program with an ecological focus, and my students and I even put in a school garden. It's been hard work and a lot of research. Nick loves previewing the video clips and shopping for supplies with me. Oh, and playing with the ladybugs. That, too.
Since I'm creating the lessons and projects from scratch, I try to teach Nick some of what I'm working on with my K-5 students. My philosophy of teaching relies on realia, which just means using real stuff to teach whenever possible. This works just as well for teaching Nick. Last week I let him release a bucket of worms and several hundred ladybugs into our vegetable garden. It was really cool to see how excited he got at those little critters.
The ladybugs were indeed a bit freaky when they crawled around en masse, but Nick loved touching them and learning about their bodies.
I even taught him the insect song we sing at school.
"Head and thorax, abdomen, abdomen,
Head and thorax, abdomen, abdomen,
six legs, two antennae, compound eyes,
don't forget the ones with wings, ones with wings!
We were really surprised to find many ladybugs still hanging out on the plants this weekend, especially on my tomato plants. I had thought many of them would fly away, but my tomatoes must have had lots of aphids.
This week, I'm going to be bringing home some of the books I read with my students about gardens and wildlife.
Poor Henry. He'll have to wait until he's a little older to join us on our science adventures. I'm too afraid he'd have eaten the worms and ladybugs. Actually, I'm pretty sure Henry would have done just that.