It Just Takes Time

Today, my lesson plans just went out the window.  We were met with the excitement that one of our caterpillars emerged from its chrysalis over the weekend.  When the students came in this morning, they noticed it immediately.  The classroom was all a-buzz over the development.  They were very excited.


Later that morning, we were reading our National Geographic Explorer magazine.  The story we were reading was about animals who use their colors to communicate.  We just finished reading about the mandarinfish.  The mandarinfish uses its colors to warn predators to stay away.  Its colors tell predators that he is not very tasty.  In fact, if a predator were to eat the mandarinfish, it could be its last meal.  That is because mandarinfish are poisonous.

I tried to connect this fact to one that we had learned about our Monarch butterflies.  We learned that the Monarch butterfly also uses its colors to warn predators that it is not very tasty.  It was at this particular moment when the second of our butterflies decided to emerge from its chrysalis.  One of my students raised his hand and said, “The butterfly is coming out!”  We all hurried over to our butterfly habitat.  I grabbed my iPad and filmed the whole thing.  You should have heard the excitement in my classroom when this happened.  It was amazing.  And, I got the whole thing on video!


We noticed how the new butterfly’s wings were not very big at all. . . compared to the first one.  We noticed how huge the butterfly’s abdomen was.  That’s because it needed to get the blood circulating out towards its wings.  This whole thing happened right before recess.  When we returned from recess, the wings had expanded.  I used this time to have the kids talk and write about what they observed and noticed.

Later that evening, I got to thinking how things happen in their own time.  After a rocky start to the school year, my students are finally getting themselves together.  Expectations are being met.  Behavior is improving.  Just like a caterpillar emerges from its chrysalis when it is ready, the same holds true for my students.  By the end of the year, I hope they emerge as capable third graders.  Not all students will get there at the same time.  Until then, I will practice patience and nurture their development as we go through the year.


Back To School Night

Tonight was Back To School Night for my youngest daughter who is in middle school.  I get to take the teacher hat off and be a mom on this evening.  I was amazed by the energy and enthusiasm of my child’s teachers.  Every single one of them talked about how they wanted their students to succeed.  I feel like my daughter is very lucky to have such wonderful teachers for her first year in middle school.

My own Back To School Night is tomorrow night.  I hope to bring that same energy and enthusiasm to the parents of my classroom.  This is going to be an exciting year of learning, and I hope I can show that to parents.  I want to encourage my parents to let their child take more responsibility for their learning, and I want them to know that their children are capable of doing things independently.  I realize that it is hard to let go and trust that your child will figure things out.  But, they do.  I want my parents to understand that I have high expectations, and I believe all my students can reach them.

Tomorrow will be my twenty-sixth Back To School Night.  I can’t believe it.  You would think that after twenty-five years Back To School Night would be easy.  The truth is I still get nervous.  My heart beats fast.  My palms get clammy.  I break into a sweat.  I have to do a lot of self-talk before the event.  I know what I am doing, and I know what I am talking about.  Nevertheless, I will be happy when tomorrow night is finally over!