Posts Tagged ‘monarch caterpillars’

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I try not to complain. I try to see the good in each day. Really, there is good in each day. But yesterday I got this haiku from a friend in Facebook Messenger.

It made me laugh, and I couldn’t resist playing along.

Haiku of my life at 5:00 on Monday.

My ribs are bruised
Coffee has lost its sweetness
Raindrops in my hair.

Margaret Simon
Sliding with “Tuffy”, age 60 and age 28 months.

This photo gives a clue to my injury. See that rather thick siding on the slide, just thick enough to bruise a rib on the way down. Can’t a Mamère have any fun!?

But I will not leave this post without hope. I am currently nurturing about 20 monarch caterpillars in my kitchen. Last week before a hard freeze, I got a text from Jennie who tends the garden at a local school: “There’s a bunch of monarchs at Sugarland. Do you have any desire to bring them in from cold? Thank you, Caterpillar hero!” On my way home I stopped by the school, found an open gate, and cut lots of milkweed with caterpillars feasting. I’m posting updates periodically on Instragram.

My January Kitchen

A net enclosure
holds milkweed to feed
future beauty-wings

Margaret Simon, (c) January 2022
Monarch caterpillars, January 2022

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I have a confession to make. I forgot to post this today. When I started this weekly prompt, I decided to do it on Thursdays because that’s the day Laura Purdie Salas would post her 15 Words or Less prompt. Thursdays felt right.

In this time of every-day-is-just-like-the-last, I forgot it was Thursday. The good news is my caterpillar has started to pupate. This monarch caterpillar was hanging on to a milkweed plant I bought last weekend. When I found the little thing, I put the whole plant into the butterfly net. Yesterday I couldn’t find the caterpillar. I looked and looked and finally saw that it was curled up under a leaf.

Please write a small poem (15 words or so) in the comments. Support other writers by commenting on their poems. I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling a definite kinship with this caterpillar.

Curled up
in the blanket
of your love,
I will emerge

Margaret Simon, draft

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See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life


My fifth grade students were testing, and since my classroom is a computer lab, I was left with no place to teach my third grader.  What does a teacher do when it’s a beautiful spring day and there is no space in the school?  Go outside.  Kaia and I went to the garden.  I had with me paint chips and the book Because of Winn Dixie, so we wrote poems and read aloud.  When we took a break and walked around the garden, we discovered a patch of milkweed and counted four monarch caterpillars.

The next day we were offered the French classroom, but we made some time to go out and check the garden.  Our count went up to eleven.

On Thursday when we went outside, there was a garden group who comes once a month to tend to the garden, teach 4H students and hold garden club after school.  Today there was a naturalist who was speaking on monarch butterflies.  She taught us a few things.  One thing, do not trust your count because there are always more than you can see.

She showed Kaia how to touch a caterpillar.  They do not sting or harm you, but you could harm their delicate feet.  Kaia spotted some crawling all the way over on the concrete slab away from the garden.  She rushed over to tell the naturalist about this.  She explained to us that monarch caterpillars travel away from the host plant when they are ready to pupate.  She gently picked these two up and carried them back to the garden area.

I decided to come back after school and gather a few caterpillars to take home.  Meadow (yes, the naturalist’s name is Meadow) gave me instructions on how to care for them.  It’s a good thing she did.  I thought I had only brought home four caterpillars fat and ready for pupation, but as the days went on, there appeared 3 more in the net habitat.

The four made chrysalises on the plastic top of the container, but I’ve had to feed the three that appeared.  I’ve been gathering (stealing) milkweed from our church school’s garden to keep them fed. I hope I haven’t brought home even more caterpillars unknowing.  So far, so good. I’ll post updates on my Instagram and Facebook pages.

The science of nature fascinates me.  I think I’d like to be a naturalist like Meadow when I grow up.

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National Poetry Month 2019: I am playing with poetry alongside Mary Lee Hahn, Jone Rush MacCulloch.Christie Wyman, Molly Hogan, and Catherine Flynn.

William Carlos Williams’ poetry has something to teach us about imagery and noticing the ordinary.  His famous poem about the wheelbarrow describes a specific image.  My students immediately imagined the setting as a farm.  Using magnetic poetry words, we found images to create our own “So Much Depends Upon” poems. 

The fifth graders are in state testing this week.  They test on computers.  Since my classroom is in a corner one of the computer labs, I had to find another place to teach.  It was a gorgeous spring day, so we went outside to the garden.  Kaia wrote this magnetic poem:

So much depends upon
a misty garden
spring smell symphony
near the white sea.

We were looking around the garden and found four monarch caterpillars eating the milkweed.  Kaia talked about all she was learning in science about the caterpillars.  Gathering words from the air (not using any toys), I wrote the following poem:

So much depends

the tall

with sunspots

hungry caterpillars

the school garden

You can read more student poems at our Kidblog site. 

(A word about WordPress.  I am having trouble with formatting my posts.  They look correctly aligned to the left margin in the editor mode, but when published, everything changes to centered.  I am getting frustrated with this and don’t know how to fix it.  Does anyone reading this post know what’s going on with the wordpress editor?)



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