“Did you get a class pet today?,” a parent who I had a conference with after-school asked me today.
It took me a moment, because we didn’t. After a few moments, I knew what she was referring to.
“I guess you could say we got short-term class pets,” I replied.
She leaned in, wanting to hear more.
On Friday, boxes of mealworms were delivered to my classroom for a new science unit. Less than thrilled was an understatement for how I was feeling. Especially, because all over the instructions on the box it read, “must refrigerate before use.” Great. Mealworms next to my lunch was not going to happen- back to packing peanut butter & jelly or ice packs until this unit ends. I mentally pictured the weeks on a mental calendar -ugh.
I left Friday with the mealworms refrigerating. I knew what was coming on Monday morning.
This morning (yes, Monday), I had to transfer several mealworms to two different containers. I had to drop the food source, raw potato slices, into each container. I squirmed with each movement.
At this moment, I was thankful for the COVID supplies I had brought into my classroom that provided an extra layer of protection from the spoon to my hands to avoid touching the mealworms at all costs.
The mealworms couldn’t go back in the fridge as students needed to see them actively eating the food source. But, I had to hide them somewhere where the kids wouldn’t see them until science time. In a socially distanced classroom, this was harder than I thought.
I could put them under my desk. But, one kick and- disaster.
I could put them under the cabinet. But, I shouldn’t leave them in the dark. Wouldn’t be the worst thing…. I thought to myself, momentarily.
I settled on behind the easel. I reminded myself to proceed with caution for any easel use before our science block.
With each anchor chart reference and demonstrations, I was reminded of what lay ahead of me at 11:15am.
The time came. Snack ended and, “Take out your science folders after you sanitize your hands,” I transitioned the class.
“I’m looking for a volunteer,” I asked my in-person cohort.
Hands shot up and waved in the air. I carefully selected a name out of the jar.
“Alright, J, you’re up!,” I stated as he did a celebratory cheer.
“So, have you heard of mealworms?”