Monday, March 15, 2010

Vernal Pools

At this time of year, I love to put on muddy shoes and explore vernal pools. There are so many neat creatures that I never knew existed! Caught in a plastic cup, they are surprisingly common creatures that can easily be viewed with a 5x or 10x microscope. Students loved looking at them--especially when we realized that we were looking at a variety called "Cyclops".

This week, students are reading "Migrating Mole Salamanders". (It's a short text that I wrote. If you're interested in a copy, send me a message--I haven't posted it online yet.) We were all fascinated by the thought of mole salamanders migrating all around us. Although I resolved to go out and try to look for them, the first rainy March night happened after a marathon 12 hour parent conference day. No mole salamanders for me--yet!

In addition to the vernal pool pieces in Text Structure Resources, students might also enjoy "Find Out About Fairy Shrimp." This tells about fairy shrimp, tiny little creatures that live in vernal pools. It's a great text to use to show students how to add to their schema as they read.

How do students like all of this vernal pool stuff? Well, last week, a student brought in skunk cabbage flowers. That's right, skunk cabbage flowers! "I thought they'd be neat to see under the microscopes," he said. And he was absolutely right. Magnified, a skunk cabbage flower is really beautiful. (And it was just a little smelly.)

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