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Educator Issues: 9/16/07 - 9/23/07

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Year of Firsts, Governor Visit and Snake Poop

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It has been a year of firsts. My Jungle Carpet Python, Flover, is about five feet long. Flover fully relieved himself of his waste materials as I held him on my shoulders. The students had a fantastic and horribly gross, smelly show as they watched the scales near his back end open and excrement the size of something a rottweiler might expel erupted. What made it even more awful was the fact that a snake does not urinate separately. It all comes at once. Thankfully his anus was not lying up against my chest or head, but was extended out just enough to allow the feces to splatter near my foot and splash up on my shoe and leg. I really could do nothing to stop this show of shoo shoo. The students exclaimed wildly. When Flover finished the filthy dropping, I moved to another area of the classroom. Our saintly custodian was called to come in and take care of the mess. I required the students to write an observation in which they described the appearance, sound, and smell. That had to be my least favorite first.
Students brought in two praying mantises. It just turned out that one was a male and one a female. They looked a bit lonely, so we put them together even though they tend to be cannibalistic carnivores. They mated! We discovered that they remained connected for just over 2 days! I've read the average for them is approximately 6 hours. I suspect the male chose not to disconnect for fear that the vicious female would eat him for her next meal! When they did finally detach, I rescued him and released him in the school courtyard. Within a week, she had left her egg case attached to the lid of the cage! We look forward to these hatching in the spring!
Governor Blunt visited our classroom! Mr. Cook said he knew of no other time in Jefferson Elementary's 50 years that a governor has EVER come to Jefferson. My students were the privileged ones to enjoy his visit. He observed students using handheld computers (PDA's), research using good old fashioned books, investigate cicadas, and explore a worm factory. The governor was even brave enough to hold a worm. I asked if he would like to hold Flover. He wisely declined and stayed poop free - unless that worm provided him with a gift. See more pictures here.