Bug me, please!

Monarch butterfly

That I have an appreciation of and fascination with insects is no secret as I have written about it many times previously.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Some of my earliest posts formed a series in which I suggested using Eric Carle‘s Very Hungry Caterpillar story for developing critical literary, encouraging children to question the authenticity of what they read and the qualifications and intentions of the author.

Carle’s purpose with the story was to entertain, not to teach, and he was therefore unconcerned about inaccuracies in the butterfly life cycle.

The book, popular for its bright colourful illustrations and inspiring story of an ordinary caterpillar who becomes a beautiful butterfly achieves the author’s goal to entertain.

In a more recent post Revisiting The Very Hungry Caterpillar I provided a summary of, and links to, each of the four original posts which explained my recommendation that this very popular book was more relevant to teaching critical literacy than science.

© Bec Colvin

© Bec Colvin

Acknowledging the importance of maintaining Wondering in the everyday and an attachment with nature in wild spaces, I described my excitement at being able to observe every stage of the ladybird’s life cycle up close in my own backyard; an excitement that had perhaps exceeded observing the butterfly life cycle in the classroom with our live butterfly kits which had allowed us to Breathe – a sense of wonder!  I even shared a section of a television interview in this post about Talking Interviews.

I talked about some insect themed classroom and teaching resources in The comfort zone. Others are listed on my page Early Childhood Teaching Resources and are available in my Teachers Pay Teachers and Teach in a Box stores. These, and many more, will be available on my readilearn website when it launches later in the year. Here is a sneak peek at some that will be included:

9 square insect puzzle Busy Bees 100 chart Busy Bees and Insects subitising Busy Bees birthday chart Busy Bees Celebrate 100 days of school One Lonely Ladybird

But the truth is I don’t really love all insects. I’m not too keen on cockroaches, though the native Australian giant burrowing cockroaches are pretty cool. And although I am aware of vital roles of insects in the environment

  • as a food source for many animals
  • as pollinators for flowering plants
  • as decomposers

and I know that without them we’d basically not have an environment, in fact, we wouldn’t be; I often wonder whether we would be all that worse off without disease-spreading mosquitoes and flies. However, it seems that they too are vital to the health of our planet, whether we like them or not. It’s a bit of a “can’t live with them and can’t live without them” situation.

This brings me to the flash fiction prompt set by Charli Mills of The Carrot Ranch this week. She has challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) include insects in a story. How could I resist? In fact, the real challenge was choosing what to put in and what to leave out of the post, and how to not be predictable in my response.

Surprise!

It took just one, then the word was out. The streets were abuzz with the news – a triumph of social media.

“Kyle’s having a barbecue. Tell everyone. Don’t bring anything. There’s always plenty.”

The excitement was palpable as guests swarmed towards Kyle’s. Some, initially unsure, flapped about nervously. Others, more experienced, felt they were dancing on the ceiling. Eventually all were on their way.  The waft of seared flesh left no doubt about the location.

Kyle was ready when they arrived. “Who invited you?” he grinned and waved, as he knocked them out with the can of spray.

Well, what would you do?

#9 on this list of Ten thing about flies you may not know says,

“The use of pesticides on crops to try to kill flies and insects is actually causing more damage to the ecosystem than the flies themselves.”

It’s something to think about next time you reach for that fly swat or can of insect spray.

I’ll leave you with a bit of nostalgia with a television advertisement, starring Louie,  from my childhood days.

Thank you

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

34 thoughts on “Bug me, please!

  1. Bec

    Hi Nor, thanks for sharing another great blog post! I love the FF & it’s nice to (re)watch the video of you discussing the butterfly lessons. I also am so excited to see what the Readilearn website is going to look like!!! I can’t wait to see it!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Dayne. That’s very kind. You’re right, it is a fiction book. Unfortunately a lot of people decide to include it in their science programs! 🙂

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  2. Bette A. Stevens

    Another wonderful post worth sharing, Nora. Although I taught grades 4-8 in US, I find that when it comes to our teaching philosophies, we’re on the same page. Kids and kindness are what it’s all about. I enjoyed listening to your video clip as well. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Bette. It’s wonderful when we connect with like-minded people, isn’t it? Kids and kindness – what a lovely succinct way of putting it!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  3. annadelconte

    Love your little fly story. It reminds me of the Steve Parish Insect series with such titles as Crazy Crickets, Doug the Dung Beetle, Max the Mealworm and Sneaky Stick Insects just to name a few. Our kids love them. Informative and humorous at the same time.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Norah Post author

      I love that you mentioned the Steve Parish Insect series. One of my friends, Narinda Sandry, took the photographs, and her sister, Rebecca Johnson, wrote the texts for some of them. Narinda told me some very funny stories about taking the photographs of the dung beetles. I’m not sure which others they did together. You would be able to see on the copyright page.

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  4. C. Jai Ferry

    What a fun story (and informative post overall)! But I was sad when the can appeared. I understand why it appeared, but I was sad. I think I might have a higher tolerance for insects than many people (as long as they don’t get in my hair — then all bets are off). 🙂

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks for reading and commenting C. Jai. I’m not sure how high my tolerance levels are. As long as they leave me alone, I’ll leave them alone!

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  5. macjam47

    My sons and grandsons loved The Very Hungry Caterpillar and my little granddaughter is enjoying it now. I don’t think every book has to be an accurate lesson for children. Books for young children are more about learning to love reading.
    The can of spray at the grill out is always handy at our house. We may be Earth friendly in all other manner, but flies and mosquitos are a horse of a different color.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      That love of reading is definitely something to be encouraged, isn’t it. The Hungry Caterpillar, and Carle’s other books, have done much to encourage that. They have so much to offer to those on the path to literacy.
      I know what you mean about flies and mosquitoes. It’s difficult to welcome them to our gatherings, isn’t it?
      Thanks for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  6. Sarah Brentyn

    No. Just no. No cockroaches are cool. And mosquitos and flies. And spiders. Argh! 🐝🐛🐌🐞🐜🕷 Eew!!!

    Nice post. Love all the ways you’ve tied this to your new site materials. And I still need to get a butterfly kit. Fun flash!

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Steven

      I have to agree with Norah on this one. Those native burrowing cockroaches are kind of cool and compared to the pesky varieties, I dare say they even look a little… cute.

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
      1. Norah Post author

        Thanks for agreeing with me, Steven. I haven’t had one as a pet myself, but I know some who did. Their backs are very smooth. They are amazing, and I very much appreciate the job they do.

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    2. Norah Post author

      I know, I know. I agree. I did admit to the same. I’m pleased you enjoyed the flash.
      A butterfly kit is great – but so is growing butterfly-friendly plants in your garden. We have some beautiful butterflies visit here, but observing the life cycle can be a challenge. That’s where the kit is good!
      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
        1. Norah Post author

          That’s interesting. It’s nice to have the bees around too. As long as you don’t get stung! But they are so important for our environment.
          I love all the little icons you put in your comments. I don’t know how to do that on my PC. Do you do it on a PC or Mac?

          Liked by 1 person

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              1. Sarah Brentyn

                Are you kidding? I’m horrible. 😜 It’s difficult, takes twice as long, and there are some blogs I can’t comment on from my phone so I read them and sometimes forget to go back and comment. Eek!

                Liked by 1 person

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                1. Norah Post author

                  Okay. Now you make me feel better. I’ve given up using my iPad, and never used my phone, for commenting as editing is just so difficult. Thanks. 🙂

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  7. Pingback: Bee Inspired « Carrot Ranch Communications

  8. Charli Mills

    You took up the challenge with gusto and used associative words like “abuzz” and “swarmed.” Very clever! In Idaho, it would be wasps headed to the party. The flies are bad in the spring, then they go away — to other parties, perhaps? The wasps are the only insects we actively kill and that’s to prevent them from building their nests on our porches. They can build elsewhere on the property. We have thriving bees and ladybugs (although I love ladybirds as a name). Insects are fascinating and a great resource to use in teaching. Great materials you are developing! And what a fun flash! Yes, it surprised me!

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Norah Post author

      Like you, I am happy to share my world with the insects. I’d just rather not share my home! The pretty bees, butterflies and ladybugs get lots of kudos for their looks (isn’t that the way of it) while the less attractive worker insects tend to be ignored (again, isn’t that the way of it?) I’m not suggesting bees, butterflies and ladybugs don’t do an important job. They do, but so do lots of others that never rate a mention. Perhaps I should change that sometime! Hmm.
      I’m pleased I surprised you with the flash. I thought you’d be expecting butterflies! 🙂

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  9. Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

    Loved this post Norah especially that trip down memory lane where I sang along. Strange how many advertisements from childhood I and probably you and many others can still sing without any hesitations such as aeoroplane jelly, vegemite and Uncle Toby’s Porridge. Your flash was so Australian.The first whiff and they swarm in from everywhere. Also good to see you using insects in your teaching tools. Perhaps that would help raise the insect from instantly squashable to icky but necessary.

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks for your encouraging comment, Irene. I’m pleased you enjoyed the trip down memory lane, as any “Happy Little Vegemite” should. I think Louie is the most vivid to me and comes to mind quite often as those flies buzz around whenever we have a barbecue.
      I think we’ve discussed the value of mosquitoes before. Seems without them many animals, including us further up the food chain, would go hungry. They are definitely in the icky but necessary category – just not singing in my ear at night-time! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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  10. thecontentedcrafter

    My kids loved that book over 40 years ago Norah – it has stood the test of time very well! We raised Monarchs in our garden for years as a direct result 🙂 Loved seeing you on video and enjoyed the accent too 🙂 I remember the fly spray ad, though I haven’t used spray for many, many years as it is toxic and does do harm the environment [which has been known for a long time]. I’m a fly swatter advocate when the need arises…… though I really don’t like that either. What a wide ranging post, all leading up to that wonderful story, which I guessed just prior to the denouement 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Norah Post author

      That would have been wonderful raising Monarchs in your garden. They are such a beautiful species; stunning at every stage. We had them in the classroom the first few years, then got the Varied Eggfly after that because the Monarch’s food plant is poisonous. The Varied Eggfly is a stunning butterfly but its chrysalis and caterpillar are no match for the Monarch’s. (Shh! Don’t tell it I said so.)
      Good for you not using insecticides and resorting only to swatting when necessary. We had a barbecue lunch here on Sunday and it wasn’t long before the flies descended in their droves. (I’d already written my flash so I found it quite amusing.) We didn’t welcome them in the way that Kyle did but our arms got a workout waving the Great Australian Salute!
      I’m pleased you enjoyed the post, Pauline. Thanks for your lovely comment.

      Liked by 1 person

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  11. Annecdotist

    I love this post, Norah, it’s so you! The Very Hungry Caterpillar replay; the numerous links (you’ll be taking the crown from me); THREE videos (great as ever, to see you arguing your case, and I love that nostalgic advert though not a brand we had over here). And I’m pleased that insects are featuring so much in your learning materials – a great celebration of your interests.
    Then I really love the flash – because of the prompt I guessed the partygoers were flies, but your clever choice of words meant it could work equally well for people. But their surprise mirrored mine, as I hadn’t guessed Kyle wasn’t an insect – fabulous punchline.

    Liked by 3 people

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    1. Norah Post author

      I would never hope to steal your crown, Anne. I think you reign supreme! But I couldn’t resist linking with a topic such as insects. It wouldn’t have seemed right to not reflect on previous shares. And that wasn’t even all of them!
      I very much appreciate the enthusiasm of your response and am pleased you enjoyed the flash. Thanks, as always for your wonderful support and comment.

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