Friday, December 18, 2009

December 18, 2009 Day 33 Winter Break Post Card #1

From: your butterflies

Dear Kindergarten friends:

We are very excited for our winter break! Today is Day 1 of our winter vacation. It's great that we can left today because we heard there is snow on the way tonight. Teacher Ann came in early this morning and fed us our favorite winter snack (Gatorade Pompoms!) before she packed us up to go.

Teacher Ann said we are "home" now but we are a little confused.

Mexico is over 2,000 miles away so we thought it would take about 2 months to get there. We thought we would fly for days and days. We thought that when we arrived in Mexico, we would see millions more butterflies, just like us, and that the warmth of the oyamel trees would shelter us for the winter.

As it turns out, we're the only butterflies here at our winter "home." It only took us 30 minutes to get here and we didn't have to fly. We are not really sure how we got here. We are happily warm and safe but there are no oyamel trees in sight. We think we can see a Frasier fir in the distance but we are still in our terrarium and cannot fly to it.

There were blossoms of Phlox waiting for us when we arrived. Mmmmm! Phlox nectar has a natural, flowery fragrance and the flavor of summer gardens and blue skies.

We don't think we're in Mexico but we like it here!

your friends the Monarchs.

December 18, 2009 Day 33 Suggestions

Today we begin our winter break. Our school closes today and re-opens on January 4. We spent time today talking about how to take care of our monarchs over break. The kindergartners agreed that:

The butterflies shouldn't stay at school; it will be too cold and there won't be anyone to feed them. They should go home to Teacher Ann's house (like they did over Thanksgiving break).

and described what needs to be done:

The butterflies need to have sunshine and be warm.
They need to be fed. You can give them more Gatorade on the pompoms.
Maybe you can get them a flower, too.
They need a safe place to live, drink, and fly around.

The kindergartners remember we released butterflies in September but think it is too cold to release them now. Though we are unsure how long the butterflies will live, we agreed it is important to take care of them as long as we are able to do so.

We agreed that after the living part of the butterfly is gone, we will care for their dry bodies under glass instead of burying them. If they die over winter break, Teacher Ann will save the bodies on a bed of cotton under the glass frame and bring them back to school on January 4th.

December 17, 2009 Day 32 Butterflies flock to the feeding trays...

After spending the morning in the larger screened terrarium hanging from the ceiling, the butterflies were transferred back to the feeding trays where they drank heartily, dipping their proboscis deep into the pompoms.

December 16, 2009 Day 31 Butterflies move to a sunny spot!

After feeding the butterflies in the smaller terrarium, kindergartners transferred the butterflies to a larger screened terrarium today for their morning exercise. The butterflies flew to the side of the larger terrarium and rested in the sunlight, fanning their wings. It was exciting to watch them fly across the terrarium.

Several kindergartners said that the green screened terrarium reminds them of a really large chrysalis. All that hard work becoming butterflies, only to find themselves back inside another chrysalis! It's better this way, the kindergartners reasoned; they can be inside with their butterfly friends rather than all alone.

One kindergartner commented on how beautiful the butterflies are with the sun shining through their opened wings; "It makes their colors so bright and beautiful," she said.

While waiting turns to help transfer the butterflies between terrariums, kindergartners kept busy with the "bug eye" scopes, taking a "look" at the world the way a butterfly views it.

December 16, 2009 Day 31 Butterfly Tickles