Wednesday, June 1, 2011

visiting the frogs

We had tadpoles in our classroom. They were my first as well as the children's, and I learned as much as they did. It turns out that it's a very short season in a frog's life when it swims like a fish and eats little bits of spinach. Then suddenly it's a froglet and must be returned to the pond post haste, or it'll drown. I missed the chance to drop off our froglets, with their proud, brand-new little front legs, with our science teacher. She took the rest of the school's froglets back to the local nature center, from whence they came as eggs.

So my daughter and I loaded them in the car and took them ourselves. It was just before dark on a peaceful spring evening. I took photos of the froglets' homecoming to show my students, sad that they couldn't see them as frogs after all our careful observations and conversations about these little guys. My daughter and I wished them good fly hunting and all the good things in a froggie life, then released them back into the pond.

In the meantime, I was busily planning a trip to the Smithsonian American Art Museum in DC. Specifically, I wanted the children to see the folk art wing, where they could see art created with tin foil and bottle caps and bits of wood, and other stuff that would look familiar to them--and yet brand new--after our work with found materials. I couldn't wait for my low-income students to set foot in their very first art museum.

But it wasn't working out. The museum was hesitant to schedule a docent for a group so young, and if we waited until the museum opened to the general public, then we couldn't get a bus. I was disappointed and annoyed--the first field trip that I had conceived of from scratch and eagerly anticipated, and it wasn't gelling.

But then there I was with my lovely daughter, among frogs and birds and dappled sunlight, and I knew I'd found our field trip. We would come visit our frogs! It turned out that the nature center does a frog lesson just for our age group. We're going to take bag lunches and frolic around the pond for the better part of the day. It'll be grand.

We go on Friday. The children can hardly wait to see "their" frogs.

Next year, I'm going to figure out how to go the the Smithsonian American Art Museum AND the nature center. I love field trips.

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