The monarch caterpillars are the first and last things the kids look at every day. It’s been a long time since I’ve had caterpillars in the classroom, and I’d forgotten that they are a continual source of wonder and conversation. They are a total distraction, yet totally delightful.
It hasn’t all been smooth sailing though, as we’ve already had some high drama. One afternoon, we thought for sure one of them was a goner. It hadn’t moved or eaten for quite a while. All afternoon it stayed in one spot, far away from tempting milkweed. Never moving. The kids snuck over occasionally to peek. Nothing changed. It didn’t move. At all. Then a dark substance appeared behind it. It still wasn’t moving. Uh oh.
“Is it dead?” several kids asked later, as we passed the tent on our way to the buses.
“I don’t know,” I replied. “It doesn’t look good. We’ll see what’s happening in the morning.”
Silently, I was already contemplating how we could tuck a caterpillar funeral into our schedule.
We left school with heavy hearts.
The next morning, as I greeted kids at the door, two boys approached me.
“Did he make it?”
“It did!” I enthused. ” Go see!”
The boys ran over to check things out. “Bob Weezer’s alive!” they called out in delight, high fiving each other. And so, in the midst of our collective relief, we all learned his name. (Later, we also learned that he was just chilling while he was shedding.)
Soon, the kids had christened two more of the visiting caterpillars: Chrysalissy and Butter. Debate raged about what to name the last one. It was down to two names: Tomato Tomahto and Hugo. C. asked me if he could poll the class during Quiet Time.
“Sure, ” I said. “Just make sure to whisper.”
He grabbed a piece of paper and created a tally chart with the two name options. Then, he quietly approached each classmate, asking them to vote.
At the end of Quiet Time, we were all on the edge of our seats. C stood up and made the announcement: It was a close contest, but…
Hugo won the day!
And now, we watch and wait.
Be sure to stay tuned for the next installment of Adventures with Bob Weezer, Hugo, Butter and Chrysalissy.