Heidi L’Heureux (kindergarten teacher) tells the story of her kindergarten class’ learning adventure leading up to and after a visit from an unusual pet.
Squeals and laughter came from the kindergarten classroom as our young learners pounded, kneaded and rolled bread dough, forming the sticky balls into long squiggly snakes. “It looks like Mojave!” shouted one child. Mojave, Kate’s python, had come to our classroom earlier that day. His long awaited visit had come after weeks of investigating and learning about snakes.
“Why are you learning about snakes?” many have asked. The story goes like this…
During a discussion at lunch when some students were talking about their pet dogs, Kate shyly said, “I don’t have a dog, I have a different pet. It’s a snake. It’s a ball python.”
“Do you really have a snake?” another student asked.
The next day Kate came to school with a snakeskin.
When the class was posed the the question: How can we find out more? The answers were…
“Look at your phone!”
“Look at your laptop!”
“Maybe Ms. Pretzel (sic, Ms.Pretz, Elementary School Librarian) has some books! We can ask her.”
And so began our learning journey, driven by the children and their questions about snakes. Snakes were woven into all the aspects of our day: reading, writing, math, science and art.
“Let’s measure it to see how long it is…”
Leon compared the length of Kate’s snakeskin to a rubber snake found in the classroom. This led to discovering other ways to measure the real snakeskin as well as the rubber snake and then even our own friends.
Jasmine mentioned that her mom had worked at a zoo and brought in some snake skins, too. Suddenly we were surrounded by them!
Curious children poured through non-fiction books, that they got in the library, in order to find out more about snakes. This helped us understand the many parts of an informational text.
The big day finally arrived! Kate’s snake, Mojave, came to visit our class. We were surprised that he came to school in a backpack. We observed him as he slithered across the classroom floor and even got to very gently touch his scaly skin.
Inspired by Mojave’s visit that day, the children giggled and laughed as they kneaded and rolled their dough to form delicious bread snakes.
And so goes our learning journey all about snakes. And it all started from a simple comment at lunch, “I don’t have a dog. I have a different pet. It’s a snake.”