Monday, April 22, 2013

Ohhhh deer, Virginia

Don't get me wrong.  I do love Virginia.  It is beautiful.  I appreciate its scenery every day on my hour commute to and from work.  It's my time of zen.  But I do believe that someone in the department of education is trying to exceed the limitations of my medication.

Here's the new addition to the life cycle portion of our standards:

In order to meet this standard, it is expected that students will
·         describe changes in the life cycles of a butterfly and a white-tailed deer.
·         compare and contrast life cycles of a butterfly and a white-tailed deer.
·         identify the stages in the life cycle of a flowering plant.
·         construct and interpret models/diagrams of animal and plant life cycles.

Ummmm... am I just crazy?  Does this make sense?  Can you compare and contrast the butterfly AND the white tailed deer?  But never mind that- let's press forward into the resources that are provided by the Old Dominion.

Please take a quick moment to peruse, and note that someone in the brain tank decided that the best way to get across to second graders that deer "grow" and "change" is to show them their teeth.  I want you to understand that at a certain point this year I was handed four bags of deer jawbone that were sort of "fresh" and told I would have to clean them before having the children handling them. Can I tell you that I said "Oh, Honey, NO!" But luckily I was not the only one who said so, and haven't heard of the jawbones since.

But I still had to get this taught.  A sticky point to be sure.  First stop, Amazon.



These were the only three that I had any success with.  There are others, but they don't offer a table of contents, or a glossary, and therefore makes it a bit difficult for your second graders to find any good information. I am considering getting guided reading sets of the first two.  Click pictures for links.  I'm pretty sure it's the second one that has a table in one of the last pages that offer up all of the deer statistics.  What none of these books offered in any concrete way was information on the lifecycle of a deer.  Even the Virginia web site doesn't offer this information!  I ended up printing off any reasonable article about deer for kids I could find on the internet to supplement our research materials- and in the end, used this video from the Virginia site, and some pieced together info to write this one simple paragraph about the life cycle of the white tail deer:
A doe gives birth in June to twin fawns.  Fawns weigh 4 to 6 pounds and have spotted fur to blend in with their surroundings.  Bucks begin to grow antlers when they are a year old.  Deer become adults at two years of age.
And this is not ground breaking by any means.  Frustration.
I had my kids make peek-a-boo posters to record our information on deer.

 I guided them through the drawing (which is not spectacular) so that they would draw BIG.  For some reason, eight year olds love to draw teeny.  As I gave them a heading topic for the card, they would search with a partner in a book or article for the answer and then we'd compose the sentence together.  Teaching them all one animal this way has set them up to know what to look for when they create one for an animal of their choice as their research reports.
You'll have to turn your head for the next two.  I can't get the picture flipped around.  FRUSTRATION again.  One of my kids asked if he could draw his deer in the night time, which I think was an excuse to get the coloring over super quickly- but I decided not to fight it.  In the last tab they got to pick any fact they wanted to put in.  NightVision went with "Deer can smell danger!!!" Which I admit, makes me snort every time I pass it in the hallway.

Virginia folks, what are YOU doing with this white tailed deer deal?  I feel like I've got to come up with a way to beat those teeth! In reflection, I probably wouldn't have minded showing jawbones to the kids.  If someone ELSE cleaned them first.

1 comment:

  1. Remind me to send you my stuff! I've made our entire life cycles unit from scratch, and I did it with an interactive PPT, notes, and a little project illustrating and describing the three stages (fawn, yearling, buck/doe).

    When it comes to comparing and contrasting, we're going to focus on the physical differences from stage to stage, and then how the stages still mark pretty distinctive parts of life for both the deer and the butterfly.

    And yeah... jawbones? Oh heck no.

    Mrs. Plum
    There's No Place Like Second Grade