Saturday, September 14, 2013

Connecting with Students

My year has begun.  Nine days in.  And every year has it's new set of challenges.  This year, one of the challenges is from me- I'm having trouble connecting.  Maybe I put too much emotion into last year.  Maybe I had too high expectations for myself for this year, and didn't give myself time to adjust.  Maybe...who knows.  I sure don't.  But I've just sort of been feeling like soda that's gone flat. 
I happened to notice that one of my students was having some struggles connecting as well.  New to the school, and a bit of a weird duck as well- he just wasn't finding a niche.  I believe it was the second day of school that he very animatedly told me about his favorite book about a pitcher plant.  I remembered that I'd seen at Lowe's in the houseplant sections some Venus Flytraps.  Not exactly the same thing, but the same idea.  And then I remembered I had this greenhousey sort of planter I had gotten out of the garage.
So, I sent the Mayor McCheese off with an Alexander Hamilton to get me as many flytraps as that could buy.  Turns out it equals two.  And then the next morning I sat down with the class and talked all about how I was inspired to get these plants for us by our new classmate.  We looked at two books from the library.  We looked up North and South Carolina on the map because the book told us that's where the plants came from.  We read the package on the plant and talked about why it needed what it needed. We talked about "soil" versus "dirt".  We talked about how the house traps heat.  We talked about "misting" versus "watering" and "moist" versus "wet".  We talked about how moss keeps moisture, and we could tell by the condensation in the bag before I added it to the top of our soil. 
We sent a great deal of time on how they actually eat and how they can't eat us.  Some of my boys were extremely disappointed.  Until we noticed that there actually was a fly inside the greenhouse already:
My view as soon as the fly was spotted.
Obviously, Venus flytraps are no where in my curriculum. But, oral language is- and we did a lot of talking.  And the vocabulary for soil and condensation is in my science standards- albeit later in the year. I also got to touch on some non-fiction text features, and looking at maps, and explaining how we live in the state of Virginia, and not elsewhere.  We all got to touch moss, and the plant, and create a schema for carnivorous plants.  Oh yeah, and I got to use the word schema.  And then they got to use the word schema.  And then we were all very big headed and smart scientists. 
The biggest blessing of the experience though is I feel a little less like flat soda.  Being able to do things with nature with my kids pumps me up.  And my little weird duck- he is now forever connected to our plant as the inspiration for the experience.  Two other little nature lovers have popped out of the crowd and spent some time with him on the playground looking for our plant's next meal. 

Anybody else feeling flat out there?  Try adding in a personal passion for a boost.
Anybody a champion at connecting to your year?  Give us some tips, kittens- I like my soda bubbly.

post signature


  1. This is such a fabulous story! I am so happy that you were able to find that missing link! I hope you have a wonderful year with your kiddos.


  2. Thank you for sharing that story. I got goosebumpy!

  3. Love this post! Sometimes it is so hard to find what gets kids excited! I am kind of excited about a Fly Trap....and I am not a nature learner:-)

    Chickadee Jubilee