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Dragonflies, Crayfish, and Frogs

“I think we are going to find a dragonfly,” said Lily Bonnacio.


“I hope we find a frog,” said Miles Thomas.


Members of Rosella Mulone Perez’ kindergarten class walked outside buzzing with excitement. They were headed to the pond next to JFK elementary school to observe animals in their habitat as part of an “All About” books writing project. Clipboards in hand, they were tasked with observing and sketching. As they walked the path to the pond, they met up with Susan Boehm’s AP Environmental class armed with nets and waders–they were tasked with finding the animals the kindergartners were going to draw and write about. 


It was the perfect day for finding creatures–it had just rained and the water level was high. Students from the AP class fanned out around the pond amongst the cattails. They scooped aquatic insects called backswimmers into buckets. Michael X found a snail under a rock which he showed to the young scientists. A shout could be heard from across the pond. Wearing waders, Rocine X, yelled “I found a frog!” She carried it over in a big green net. On her way, the frog–which appeared to be a young bullfrog– jumped out and the kindergartners went wild. It was caught again and put into the bucket which everyone crowded around. 


“When you sketch the frog, notice the eyes–where are the eyes? Where are the ears? And notice the webbed feet,” said Perez.


As the drama of the creatures unfolded, the kindergartners sketched what they observed: snails, crawfish, backswimmers, dragonflies, moths, ladybugs, stone flies and frogs. Using their Fundations skills, they also sounded out and labeled their drawings. The plan is to use their work to study and write about each of the animals they find in the pond and then create conservation signs–with the help of the AP Environmental students–which they will place around the pond for the community. Earlier this spring, the kindergartners wrote persuasive letters to principal Dr. Zamperlin, to ask permission to place the signs–which he considered and granted. The signs are being paid for by a grant provided by the Brewster Education Foundation. 


At the end, four white buckets were filled with life suggesting that the pond was healthy including a small bullfrog and a large bullfrog which the kindergartners had named “Queenie” and “King.” 


“I think we won the lottery today,” said Perez.


“Bye Queenie! Bye King!” the students called as the frogs were put back into the pond. 


The frogs stayed at the top of the water for an extra beat as if to say goodbye to their new friends.