Seizing The Moment …!

April 20, 2012 § Leave a comment



We all have the ability to take a moment and recognize the abundant opportunities that surround us to help a child learn. At Counterpane we are not only allowed but also encouraged to take the time to exercise that ability.

Today a poor silverfish, over-nighting in the sink, had no idea what it was in for when it woke up to the bright lights shining in the Counterpane kitchen. A child saw the silverfish and the teacher saw an opportunity, ultimately to make a profound impact on the life and career of a six year old. This particular six year old struggled with writing …

The guide says to the student “Do you think we should leave it there?”

“Ewww! YEAH!”

“Hmmm…,” she continues, “Would you like to prepare food here and find it?”

“Well, no.” Still staring wide-eyed at the many-legged creature.

“Can you think of a way to remove it?”

Accustomed to catching and admiring spiders, flies, bees and whatever other insects meander their way into Primary, I get a glass and paper napkin to capture the creepy critter, fully intent on freeing it to the outside and letting it find its way in the wild.

The teacher steps in and suggests to the student, “Maybe you would like to write

about this in your journal?”

“Oh, no WAY!”

She presses just a little farther, “Perhaps you would like to share this with the class?”

“Oh, yeah!” he says, more excited.

We switch to a clear plastic cup and paper plate, and the REAL fun begins. Silverfish can be quick, so you have to be quicker. Unfortunately, in the process the poor silverfish lost a leg, which continued to wiggle on the table. Although it was just a second or two before I removed the disembodied leg, it was enough for the student to squeak, jump, and giggle about it.

Once the insect was in the classroom, another student noted it wasn’t a silverfish because, “It had more legs than a silverfish. It had fangs. It was bigger than a silverfish. It is a centipede. Cave centipedes have a stripe down their back. It is not silver.”

Immediately, insect books were checked out of the library for students to browse looking for silverfish and centipedes. It was found, “It is a house centipede! Case closed,” said an exuberant student.

Later that day as I passed by the Lower School door I heard,  “PSSST! Mom! Look!” The boy is BEAMING with pride and excitement. “LOOK!” he whispers to me, pointing to the silverfish displayed on the table next to the door, along with his journal of the experience. “The teacher let me put the bug here with my journal entry for EVERYONE to see…BUT, only ONE at a time!” Later in the afternoon he had the further privilege of walking around the circle and sharing his experience and new, still active, leggy friend with the class. A classmate had the privilege of taking the silverfish home.

Consider the abundance of learning opportunities available to us each day? this one concluded with children wanting to study centipedes.

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