Have You Ever Licked a Banana Slug?

I have, at least I think I did in the sixth grade during Outdoor Ed. Those nasty little slimy mollusks.

I never thought I would actually enjoy finding them, until a parent suggested that I take my first graders to look for some. You know what that means: time to learn about banana slugs (yuck)! I tried to find a good book about them to read with my class, and I actually found NOTHING! Believe me, I searched. If I missed something, please let me know in the comments below.

I did find a lot of information online, reading a little here and there. I taught my students all about their habitat and why they need to hang around redwood trees. We drew sketches of the things we would find on our hikes. I gained a whole new respect for them; they are actually totally cool! (Ignore their reproductive cycle to keep it G-rated!)

At one point, I confess, I unintentionally I told my class a big lie. I said that banana slugs don’t camouflage at all. OOPS!?! I took them outside with my fake banana slugs and had a whole brilliant lesson planned. Then some bright SIX YEAR OLD says, “Oh look! They do camouflage!” I paused and quickly changed my lesson. YOU WOULD THINK that a little, slimy, fluorescent slug wouldn’t be able to hide at all, but they can. They can hide really well! I always love it when some smarty pants kid is more observant than I am. It makes me feel like I’ve done my job and they learned something!

On our field trip to Purisima Creek Redwood Reserve we found over 200 banana slugs as we hiked. It was a lot of work to find them, but a lot of fun to count them! I completely recommend taking your people on a hike to find these beautiful and interesting creatures under the cool canopy of redwood trees.

This is in honor of the awesome kiddos in my class that really wanted to squish one and didn’t on our hike -at least I don’t think they did!

Goodbye – For Now

I used my favorite mug one last time before packing it away. Boxes are half empty all over my room. The walls are blank, ready for next year.

Goodbye for now. The sweet days of summer are ahead, right after I finish packing…

The End is Near

The dumpsters are full. Teachers are cleaning everything out and putting it away for next year. Students are excited for summer. Teachers are too. Mostly.

I’m not ready to say goodbye to my first graders. They are ready for second grade, but I am not. I’ll miss them and the way they work together, laugh too loudly, and tell me that I’m funny. I’ll miss the way they know all my routines, but are so eager to learn that they can’t help but interrupt. We talk about it and they catch themselves. You can see the words on their lips waiting to come out. Such restraint for six year olds.

My students love construction paper, scissors, tape, glue, and staples. They beg for them every single day. When I say we don’t have time for extra crafts, it seems their world has ended. You should see their creations that are fueled by imagination, creativity, and too much tape. Sometimes I wish I could stop all my other lessons and let them create.

Goodbye little one. Follow your heart in second grade, create new, and wonderful things, do your best and don’t forget that your first grade teacher loves you more than you’ll ever know.

Chasing Chickens

My school is in the middle of Happy Valley, located in the beautiful yet quirky town of Pacifica. One day, we had chickens take up residence on our campus, followed by a rooster. It seemed to happen overnight. Then came the rabbits- lots of rabbits. Then an entire Animal Center. You should have seen the children’s faces when they came to school and held rabbits, chicks, chickens, and goats. Goats at school! Who knew!?!

Cara from Montara

I love teaching. That’s really an understatement. I thrive on the smell of fresh tempera paint and the sight of a pile of freshly sharpened pencils; they get my brain thinking. They remind me of the students who I am responsible for. Those sweet darling children that need me to make the world of learning FUN!

What am I going to teach today? How am I going to teach it? Do I need to bring anything from home? Do I need inspiration from the Dollar Spot or the Internet? Join me on my teaching journey. I’ll share all sorts of ideas, lessons, photos, and whatever is making my teacher’s heart flutter!

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