Monarchs in Flight

I will be on a 6:10am flight to Mexico City on Saturday morning!  I am so very excited about this fellowship.  Over the course of eight days I will visit Mexico City, the monarch reserves El Rosario and Sierra Chincua, Museum of Anthropology, Alternare, Morelia, Patzcuaro, Tzintzunzan, Janitzio, Lady of Guadalupe shrine, Teotihuacan, Pyramid of the Sun, Templo Mayor, and the National Palace.

Seeing the monarchs is supposed to be a magical experience.  I have my writer’s notebook packed and I am hoping to get a lot of writing done.  The poem below is a Native American blessing that my classes and I say when we release our monarchs each fall.

If anyone desires a wish to come true they must first capture a butterfly and whisper that wish to it.

Since a butterfly can make no sound, the butterfly can not reveal the wish to anyone but the Great Spirit who hears and sees all.

In gratitude for giving the beautiful butterfly its freedom, the Great Spirit always grants the wish.

So, according to legend, by making a wish and giving the butterfly its freedom, the wish will be taken to the heavens and be granted.

The following line is often added when the Legend is read prior to releasing butterflies at a wedding:

We have gathered to grant this couple all our best wishes and are about to set these butterflies free in trust that all these wishes will be granted.

I will be gone for 8 days.  Stay safe and keep blogging!!

Mexico!

I have great news…..this weekend I received word that I have received a fellowship from EIRC/Geraldine Dodge Foundation to visit Michoacan, Mexico! For those unfamiliar with this part of Mexico, I will be visiting the Monarch butterfly sanctuaries right before the butterflies begin their migration back to the north.

I AM SO EXCITED!

Now, I just need to get permission from my district to go on the trip. I will use both of my professional days, but will need two more from the district. Wish me luck!

Blog Action Day

So I’m a little late…..

This is my contribution to Blog Action Day, an attempt to bring the global community of bloggers together to explore one issue: the environment. Today’s the day! If you have your own blog, why not join in?

Novels with an Environmental Theme:
-The Talking Earth (Jean Craighead George): Billie Wind is a Seminole Indian whose father works for NASA. She doesn’t believe in the legends and beliefs of the traditional Seminoles. Instead, she “wants answers”. Billie is punished by the elder council and sent to live in the Everglades until she believes in the little people and talking animals. Her journey takes her through the Great Swamp, meeting all sorts of creatures. Her perspective on life changes by the end of the book. A great book for dealing with over-development and endangered species.

-California Blue (David Klass): John Rodgers lives in a small logging town in California. While running in the forest one day, he stumbles upon a strange chrysalis. It turns out that an extremely rare butterfly makes its home in the redwoods. John is thrust into the middle of a vicious fight between environmentalists and loggers in his hometown- loggers that include his father.

-And Then There Was One: The Mysteries of Extinction (Sierra Club Books): While this is not a novel, I do love this book. A great non-fiction book, the author cites specific animals and explains how humans are impacting their lives. While it is a very serious topic, the information is presented in a fun and interesting manner.

-The Lorax (Dr. Seuss): This is my favorite book with an environmental theme. I read it aloud 5-6 times each year and also perform it as reader’s theater. The Lorax ties into my journeys theme, environmentalism, and so much more! Of course, I always use The Lorax with my monarch butterflies, and my students love it!

-Pond Scum (Alan Silderberg): Eleven-year-old Oliver enjoys tormenting insects, but his life takes a turn when his family moves into an old house which an assortment of animals do not want to vacate! A fun book, great for reluctant readers.

-First Light (Rebecca Stead): Peter’s father is a glaciologist and his mother is a geneticist. The family moves to Greenland temporarily so that his father can research the effects of global warming on glaciers. Thea lives in a secret world under the glacial ice. Their two worlds collide and Thea and Peter discover that their destinies are more intertwined than they ever could have imagined.

There are many more novels with an environmental theme out there. This is just a quick glance at some! Let me know if you want to add any more to the list!

A new monarch picture book!

Thanks to Cynthia Lord I have a new picture book to add to my ever-growing Amazon wishlist.
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Thanks to my constant obsession with my monarchs, I will definitely be purchasing it right away! Plus, I know a lot of my students will be able to relate to Velma’s issue with teachers comparing her to her older sisters!

Donors Choose

After waffling for a bit, I just submitted my first proposal to Donorschoose.org. For those who don’t know, “DonorsChoose is a simple way to provide students in need with resources that our public schools often lack. At this not-for-profit web site, teachers submit project proposals for materials or experiences their students need to learn. These ideas become classroom reality when concerned individuals, whom we call Citizen Philanthropists, choose projects to fund.” Anyone can choose a project to fund, and you can fund with any amount you want. It’s really a great site and there are so many great proposals!

I originally went to the site because I need supplies for my monarch butterfly unit for the rest of the year. I used to buy everything myself, but with a mortgage payment and bills now I can’t afford to do that! As it turns out, as a new member you can only request certain items from a preselected list on DonorsChoose. Well, I spoke to my class and they asked for books. Lots and lots of books, as they said! I took a survey and got a list of 25 books (fiction and non-fiction) they are dying to read and submitted a proposal. It is currently in review and I am anxious to see what happens. My students will be THRILLED to get new books for the classroom library and I will be thrilled to not have to spend my own money!

Now, I still need to find a way to get my monarch supplies funded. It’s only $100, but I honestly can’t justify spending my own money on it when I have so many bills to pay! This being a grown-up thing really has its downfalls! Before this year, I had gotten into the habit of buying everything for my classroom with my own money, because we don’t get any type of budget. I probably spent close to $2000 each year. I’ve already spent close to $300 on this year and I just can’t do it anymore. If you are feeling generous and want to help us, feel free. ;)

Click the link to donate to our classroom! You can enter any amount you like- we’ll take $0.50!

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_xclick&business=evil_twin2327%40yahoo%2ecom&item_name=Help%20Us%20Raise%20Monarchs%21&buyer_credit_promo_code=&buyer_credit_product_category=&buyer_credit_shipping_method=&buyer_credit_user_address_change=&no_shipping=1&no_note=1&tax=0&currency_code=USD&lc=US&bn=PP%2dDonationsBF&charset=UTF%2d8

We need $100 to get the following (from LiveMonarch):
500 Mixed and Milkweed seeds for your region
Online tutorial “Adopt a Caterpillar” a 30 day personal learning experience for each child
One Sock Enclosure perfect for outdoor protection of your special critters
One Small Caterpillar Castle.
One Large Caterpillar Castle.
One Jumbo Caterpillar Castle.
Watering Floral Picks to keep field collected cuttings alive.
25 Rooted Milkweed Cuttings – certificate provided or request immediate shipment below.
Ten Monarch caterpillars – certificate provided, redeem when your plants are ready.
Four Monarch Pupae – certificate provided, redeem whenever you want them.
200+ Free Milkweed Seeds native to your region.
*Northern – Asclepias Speciosia – can survive a hard frost and long winter.
*Southern – Asclepias Curassavica – Fast growing favorite for egg laying and warmer climates.
Mini Posters: “Missing” Have you seen a Monarch?
Lifecycle sheet for all aspects of the Monarch Butterfly: basic quick review of all developmental stages.
Butterfly refuge garden sign
Adopt A Butterfly Handouts

Back to School Night

I am exhausted tonight. It has been a very long week! Wednesday was Back to School Night, and I have felt like a zombie ever since. It is stressful and exhausting preparing for the 45 minutes when 25 pairs of adult eyes will be staring at you, scrutinizing your every word (and your outfit!), and never cracking a smile.

I lucked out this year! My parents were very relaxed and even laughed a few times during my slide show. I feel pretty confident moving forward this year. Luckily, no one seemed turned off by my reading workshop ideals and my goal of every child reading something they enjoy, and not necessarily something I assign. I also ended up with a bunch of donations to the classroom library, which makes me very happy!! Oh, and nothing beats being able to turn to the monarchs in my classroom when I run out of information during my presentation. The parents are all fascinated by the monarch butterflies and I can talk about them forever! It was a great way to end the night.

Today my students finished up their symbolic monarchs for Journey North’s Symbolic Migration (

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