For the last few weeks lizards have been on the mind and hands at Roots.
Discovering where lizards live. Searching for lizards. Catching lizards. Feeding lizards. Measuring lizards. Composing lizard songs. Comparing lizards. Making lizard habitats. Drawing lizards. Reading about lizards. All things lizard.
This included having some big feelings about lizards and friends. Kids had a variety of ways of going about caring for lizards. Some of them practiced their ideas about lizard care as they caught and observed lizards with great compassion. Some voiced concerns about lizards to others, “No more catching lizards!” “Let the lizards go!” And others just enjoyed the interactions with the lizards. From talking with and listening to kids I gathered that there were a range of feelings from passionate to worried to relaxed all in connection to the lizard experiences.
In our circle meeting on Friday we used a talking stick to give everyone opportunity to share what she thought or felt about catching lizards at school. Kids shared a range of ideas from saying that they really like catching lizards, that they catch lizards at home with their families, that in other contexts there had been rules about not catching lizards and that they had seen a hurt or dead lizard at school.
I shared a little about my observations and said that caring for the lizards and enjoying the lizards seem important to a lot of people. Then we passed the stick again so that everyone could share their ideas on how we can be care for and enjoy the lizards.
We came up with the following agreements to try out:
- Let lizards go at the end of the school day. (And be sure to check the box very carefully.)
- Try to find lizard food (long discussion here about the appropriateness of flies as lizard food) for any lizards being observed in our habitat.
- If a lizard wants to sit on your hand that is good. (They decided not to hold a lizard for prolonged times by its belly and to not hold by tails at all.)
- Let lizards go outside (as opposed to in the classroom).
Kids did lots of thinking and creating in their lizard explorations that align with various learning standards. I am pretty excited about their self-selected lizard projects in measurement, writing non fiction texts, understanding the needs of living creatures, ethics and plenty more. What compels me to write this though, is the beauty of this time as such an integrated experience, where interest in and learning about science and more is deeply connected to our minds and bodies as emotional, social and nature-connected beings. All of this “academic” work is driven by and totally interconnected to the mind and body’s emotional experiences with our families, with peers, with facilitators, with the natural world and with ourselves.