Yesterday, 8 of our 25 first graders were out sick; five with fevers. The day before, one of my students made history with the most violent stomach bug anyone in the front office can recall; the green of his skin has earned equally effusive descriptions.
Some years ago, when I studied pond life with my 8th grade science students, I bought this pair, one amoeba and one paramecium, from a young entrepreneur-artist named Jabebo who I saw annually at a science convention. I sometimes used these earrings as extra credit identification questions on a lab exam. (Check out Jabebo at http://www.jabebo.com/)
Today, I used them to start a conversation about germs. None of my 3rd graders knew what I had dangling from my ears today. After a series of wild guesses (Monsters? Fried Eggs? Paint palettes?) they began to zero in: Fungi? Plankton? "Now you're on the right track," I whispered. "These living things are so small that you can't see them."
"Germs!" said Addie.
"Germs," I agreed. Then we discussed the importance of washing our hands. I'm glad the weekend has arrived. I hope that the germs will have been washed away by Monday.