Monday, September 29, 2014

How Ralph Waldo Emerson (the snail) got his name

So, in yesterday's post, I told all about how we came to have a snail as our classroom pet.  Truly, snails are the perfect pet.  They are small, easy to care for, not loud, not stinky, fascinating to watch......the list goes on and on.  

Anyway, as I indicated last time, Speedy Jones Turbo, our classroom snail has some FRIENDS!!!  Yes, we now have 3 garden snails as pets in our classroom.  Prior to the two new additions, we had discussed the necessity of acquiring another snail, perhaps as a "back-up" snail in case Speedy (ahem) didn't make it.  The weekend after this discussion took place, Mrs. DeNier and one of the first grade teachers in my building, Mr. McKean, both scoured their yards for snails to bring to school, with no luck whatsoever.  I, on the other hand, did not look for snails in my yard AT ALL (even though I live on almost 2 acres and have plenty of room to search).  When I walked out to my garage that Monday morning to leave for work, I saw a snail on the outside of the garage, stuck to the wall.  I went inside to get a Dixie cup to transport it to school.   On my way inside, I saw ANOTHER snail on the sidewalk.  This was quite remarkable since I have lived in my current home for 11 years and cannot recall EVER seeing snails just hanging around. 

So, I drove to work that day with two little Dixie cups full of snail in the cup-holders of my van.  One of the snails crawled to the top of the cup during the drive and perched itself right on the rim of the cup, making me quite nervous about losing him in the van on the way to school.  Luckily, I was able to nudge him gently back into the cup and transport him safely into the snail habitat in our classroom.

Naturally, the littles were MAJORLY excited to come to school on Monday and find out that we had acquired two new snails.   We did not hurry to name the new snails for some reason.  However, we did find some snail coloring pages that I put out at the art center for coloring.  One afternoon, Miss Moritz decided to sit with the littles and color her own snail.  Being a precise and meticulous artist, she took her time and created a beautiful snail to hang on our small classroom refrigerator.  She decided to name her snail, Ralph, which she wrote at the bottom of her paper.  She then asked Mrs. DeNier what Ralph's middle name should be.  Mrs. DeNier randomly suggested "Waldo", thinking of "Where's Waldo?".  As they went to tape the snail picture on the refrigerator, they noticed that the brand name of the refrigerator (which was conveniently and serendipitously located to the RIGHT of the taped-up snail picture) was EMERSON.  It quickly dawned on them that this was a SIGN that one of our newest snails should be named, Ralph Waldo Emerson. 

News of Ralph and his name spread throughout the land school.  (Okay, that is a bit of an exaggeration.  I think just Mr.  McKean was told of Ralph during his lunchroom duty.)  Within the day, Mr. McKean came to me with a "Ralph Waldo Emerson" quote in honor of the newest snail.  I promised to include this quote in my blog post.  Fortunately, the quote is actually a perfect one to include in a post that relates to young children.  

"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

This quote is ideal for young children because it truly reflects their complete and utter lack of pretense.  They just are who they are.  They make no effort to disguise their thoughts and feelings.  For this reason, it is very refreshing to be around littles.  They demonstrate the ability to be true to oneself on a daily basis.  I love it.

Our other snail has been named Carlo Spiderman which is a combination of two names suggested by the littles.  I guess his last name is Snail.  We didn't get past Carlo Spiderman for some reason.  
Below on the top left you can see the snail picture that was the inspiration for Ralph Waldo Emerson's name.

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