Find Your Niche

I might be starting my 24th year of teaching at my 10th school, but there are a couple of things about me that have managed to stay the same. One of them is my propensity to find bugs as pets. I absolutely love creepy crawly pets, particularly since they come without a need for any forms. πŸ™‚ I might not have a classroom of my own this year, but this doesn’t stop my class pet dreams.

I think that it’s like a sign when you happen to stumble upon a collection of bugs on your very first day at a new school. When I spoke to the vice principal and was reassured that these are just potato bugs, I knew that I had to collect them. I might not have a stationary classroom, but I do have a travelling one. πŸ™‚

A previous administrator of mine, Kristi, inspired me to find a container and create a habitat. You know that you’re going to get staff talking when they see you collecting bugs, grass, and leaves on the first day of school.

While I wasn’t quite at the point of moving around with my wagon yet, the potato bugs were safe in there for the day. The next morning, when I got to school, my vice principalanother friendly member of the 7:00 club πŸ™‚ — asked me about the bugs. I had to go check on them. Maybe I wasn’t ready to start this inquiry with kids yet, but adults can inquire too.

I think that the addition of water made a difference, although now I wonder if the bugs are trying to crawl away from the impending flood. πŸ™‚ Either way, they are most definitely moving! No matter what I might have on my plate in the morning, I need to start my day checking on these critters.

Best of all, come Friday, I was ready to take the Bug Buggy on the road. πŸ™‚

While I didn’t get the bugs into the classrooms yet, I was fortunate enough to find snails outside with a group of kindergarten students on Thursday.

Working alongside the classroom educators, we extended this learning on Friday. Now, I have books to bring in to share with the class on Monday. I was connecting with the classroom teacher last night, and she suggested bringing the provocation inside. We’re going to work on this together.

As I write this post, I’m wondering if my travelling bugs might further extend this learning around living things, and provide even more opportunities for vocabulary development, reading, writing, oral language, and literacy in the content areas. We all have our niche: authentic opportunities to support reading, writing, and vocabulary development, I think might be mine. What’s yours? The next time that you find a bug, insect, or creepy crawly critter, I hope that you can find as much joy in them as I do … and as kids do as well! We talk a lot in education about mental health and well-being, and providing children with opportunities to enjoy their childhood. Could a potato bug do just that?! For 3-8 year olds, it might surprisingly do the trick — with a little added dose of happiness for staff too! πŸ™‚


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