The sun came out and the weather was beautiful for our visit to the Children’s Gathering Day School in Wakefield today. It was so much fun returning to Wakefield, and to another school I’ve visited in the past. This year’s students had just finished studying the sea and were able to tell me the name of each sea animal I brought. I was very impressed! Students asked some great questions about the horseshoe crab, and most everyone patted his smooth shell. Many students enjoyed holding the jonah and hermit crabs, but the biggest hit was once again, the slippery footed moon snail. Stay tuned… the next book that I’m illustrating this summer has the moon snail as its star. Thanks to the wonderful staff of the Children’s Gathering Day School for inviting us in for a fun day with some great kids!
We are very excited to learn that “The Bumpy, Lumpy Horseshoe Crab” book has just reached the Amazon Best Seller Rank of #92 in children’s books about marine life. Thank you so much to everyone who has purchased a book. Enjoy!!
Thanks to Andover Rompers Nursery School in Andover for inviting us in for a fun two day visit. It was great to be back, and catch up with the wonderful teachers there. Students were very excited to spend time with the sea animals, and the dog whelk finally rose to the status of a favorite animal. Usually that status is reserved for the jonah crab, the green crab, the lobster, the horseshoe crab, or the moon snail, which also were tops for favorite animals. While packing up, I was treated to a rehearsal of their graduation concert, which sounded wonderful. Have a fun graduation party, and a spectacular summer!
Thanks to Lynn and the rest of her professional staff for a most enjoyable visit to the Carriage House Nursery School in Cohasset. It was a delight to work with students who were so engaged in the study of marine life at the coast. The kids were telling their grown ups at dismissal about all the sea animals they met, and I bet they might be seeing the same kinds of animals at the water’s edge this summer. It was also wonderful to read the story, “The Bumpy, Lumpy Horseshoe Crab” to students who live fairly close to Powder Point Bridge in Duxbury, where the book was set. I spent two fun days in Cohasset, and send a big “hello” to all of the students and staff at Carriage House Nursery School.
Most teachers choose to study marine life in the Springtime, with Summer on it’s way. But did you know that the Fall is an even better time to learn about the fascinating coastal marine life? As educators, we all know how important it is to activate prior knowledge and background information when teaching students. In the Spring, the ocean and beach are distant memories for many students, especially the really young ones. But in the Fall, most students have spent at least a day or two at the beach while on Summer break, leaving them with a fresh impression of what the sea is like. They may have found some sea animals or shells while walking along the water’s edge. This creates invaluable building blocks for teachers to use as a foundation, making additional information more meaningful and better retained.
And if a visit to the tidal flats or tidepools is on the field trip agenda, the Fall is full of sunny, warm days, and the ocean water is at its warmest in the Fall. Planning a trip to the shore in the Spring can be tricky, with many cool, raw days, and the ocean water usually topping off somewhere in the 50 degree range.
Therefore if there’s any wiggle room in the timing of your curriculum, you may want to consider sea and marine life as a Fall unit. There will still be plenty of time to pick apples and carve pumpkins, and it could be cleverly integrated with a Christopher Columbus or Thanksgiving theme. Did you know that Pilgrims often ate lobsters when food was scarce, and even fed them to their pigs at times? Did you also know that Native Americans taught the new settlers how to grind horseshoe crab shells to make fertilizer for their gardens? As you can see, the Fall is the perfect time to study about coastal marine life!
The sun finally came out as we pulled into Children’s Development Center in Hamilton this morning. We met a great bunch of children who were captivated by the sea animals they saw. Thanks to the staff and students for inviting us in. It was a wonderful morning, and I couldn’t have asked for a more passionate audience. I was especially impressed by how well students were able to identify each animal by name. The jonah crabs and hermit crabs were a real hit, as was the ever popular, soft and slimy moon snail! We even saw some barnacles eating. Thanks for a great morning!
Another damp day outside didn’t stop the fun at Creation and Learning Station today. Thanks to the enthusiastic staff and students for inviting us in to share some amazing sea animals. Students asked great questions, and especially enjoyed the little green crabs, and the soft and slippery moon snails. And everyone held or patted the horseshoe crab sporting some pretty fancy limpets. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to spend the morning with you!
The best time to search for sea animals at the tidal flats is, of course, at low tide, when the ocean’s water is shallow and has slipped away from the shore. However, if you wait for a spring tide, when the Moon is either full or new, the low tide will be extremely low, uncovering even more of the sandy bottom than at other low tides. This is because during spring tides, the Moon and the Sun line up with the Earth, causing their gravitational pull on the ocean’s water to be extremely strong. (The name spring tides has nothing to do with the Spring season, even though the name might indicate that it does.) The worst time to look for sea animals on the tidal flats is during neap tides, when the Moon is quartered, and the Sun and Moon are at right angles to each other. With the Sun and Moon being perpendicular to each other, their gravitational pulls cancel each other out, and the tides are weak.
Thanks to Barbara Brady and her wonderful staff for inviting us to the Golden Rule Nursery School today. The children were really attentive, and remembered lots of fun facts about the sea animals they were watching and holding. It’s much more fun to have the sea come to your school when it’s cool and rainy outside, than to take your class to the sea! Thanks for a great day!
In April, Sally MacLaughlin’s second grade class in Lincoln, Maine was busy studying the ocean biome. They read the book, “The Bumpy, Lumpy Horseshoe Crab” as part of this unit, and watched the two videos from the janicepetrie.com website. The second graders enjoyed all three, and were surprised that the horseshoe crab’s closest relatives are scorpions and spiders. The book was also used as the focus point of their classroom bulletin board. Because Lincoln isn’t a coastal community, Sally used a molted horseshoe crab shell to teach students about horseshoe crabs. This ocean unit culminates with their spring concert, that has an ocean theme as well.