Watching Caterpillars

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.

Is it…?”

“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.

18 thoughts on “Watching Caterpillars

  1. Patty says:

    Oh, the names! That’s what I miss from the classroom.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lakshmi Bhat says:

    So nice and the children will remember these moments long after they have left school.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. margaretsmn says:

    Oh, this makes my monarch momma heart so happy.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Debbie Lynn says:

    I love their enthusiasm and interest. They will remember the year of the monarchs and will probably remember their names for years to come. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  5. maryleehahn says:

    You KNOW how much I love this!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wonderful! I love watching (and naming) our caterpillar “grandkids” every year…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. humbleswede says:

    This is great. It’s also the first year in a while that I haven’t had a caterpillar to shelter and observe. I’m glad this is going to be a serial publication.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Denise Krebs says:

    Molly, what a delightful read I enjoyed this morning with my tea, while you and the children are checking progress on the monarch family–Hugo, Chrysalissy, Bob Weezer, and Butter. Such amazing names. I’m going to remember Chrysalissy! I’m missing teaching today!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Bob Weezer?? Outstanding!!

    I love this for many reasons, but most of all, this is what education is all about. They won’t remember the lessons on caterpillars, but will certainly remember the names, the fact you let them poll during quiet time, and that eventual release.

    Thank you for your slice today! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Linda Mitchell says:

    My faith in humanity is restored. Bless Hugo and all the little caterpillars in his care.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. […] in their butterfly tent. I’ve already written about some of our caterpillar adventures (here), but what’s really struck me is that my students seem much more unaware of the process of […]

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