Monday, July 22, 2013

Chenilles et Papillons!

For the past several years, I have brought Monarch caterpillars into my classroom. I am fortunate to have a good friend, a retired teacher, who lives on a lovely nearby island, and raises monarchs each year. And she shares her caterpillars! If you have brought Monarchs into your classroom, you know how magical an experience it is for the students! Instant student engagement! The caterpillars are fascinating to watch as they eat, grow, create their chrysalis and eventually emerge. Here are some pictures from inside the mosquito net where they were kept safe.






It was definitely a challenge to keep the enclosure from being jostled, so the solution was to mark a no entry zone on the floor with masking tape, directly in front of the enclosure table. Phew!



We had a total of 8 caterpillars this year! These two rascals were the first to emerge, and wouldn't you know it, they emerged on a Saturday morning, when all the kids were away! I carefully transport them home to watch over them as they waited for their wings to dry. I also took a lot of pictures to show the kids on Monday. The butterflies stayed together on this plant until 5:30pm and then they took off together!

The butterflies are obviously great for Science units on insects, plants, life cycles and habitats, but we also did a lot of other work based on the Monarchs. We kept journals of the caterpillars activities and practised drawing them in our art notebooks. In Math, I like to start the year with patterning, so my Grade 1/2's created their own pattern caterpillars out of paper chains.


I like to visit a local framing shop and ask for their matte boards cast offs. Then I cut them into rectangles and they make a sturdy base for plasticine pictures. The students were asked to create an image of the Monarchs at a point in their development. They were expected to show pattern and texture in their art work. Here is our class Monarch art, and a few close-ups.





In keeping with our Patterning unit, the students were also asked to create a dance made up of a repeating pattern of movements. They could do this in partners or alone. They presented their dance to the class, explaining the pattern, and completed a simple sheet to visually represent their dance (You can see the sheet in the bottom left corner of the photo of all the plasticine butterfly art). It turned out to be a quick, easy and ACTIVE way to get the kids to demonstrate their knowledge. They loved it, and I got a quick Math assessment out of it, as well as Physical Education and Dance assessments! Woohoo! Gotta love a triple duty task!

I also wanted to show you the first Art assignment of the year, no matter what grades I happen to be teaching. (Did you catch the plural of "grades"? I still haven't landed a single grade class. Sigh.) I give the kids the same matte boards and plasticine to create a self portrait. It's a great way to introduce texture and background. The results are always fantastic and unique to each child! Check these babies out!





Have a Terrific Tuesday et un mardi merveilleux


2 comments:

  1. Great ideas! I bet the students absolutely love watching the monarchs emerge.
    -Lisa
    Grade 4 Buzz

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  2. Hi Nicci, I've nominated your blog for the Liebster Award! Check out my blog post for more information!
    - Melissa
    Teacher Abroad

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