16 Apr 2010, 8:04am
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butterfly leaves

at the french school last friday, i asked a class of kindergarten kids one at a time to describe to me drawings they had made of radish seedlings that they planted a few weeks before (so that i could transcribe captions for little books they’re making about the process). when they ran out of steam, i would point to parts of the drawings and ask, “qu’est-ce que c’est? qu’est-ce qu’on voit?” (what is that? what do you see?) to get them to identify the leaves, the roots, and so on, in french. when i pointed to the seed leaves he’d drawn, one of the little boys hesitated for a moment and then said, “les feuilles sont comme un papillon” (the leaves are like a butterfly).

(my baby arugula. the butterfly-shaped leaves are the seed leaves!)

my friend k. recently wrote this about seed leaves:

there are leaves on most seedling plants, on the stem toward the beginning of the root, which look different than other sprouting leaves and actually serve a different purpose: their job is to kick-start photosynthesis, get the plant to sprout up and out of the soil toward the sun. once this has taken place, these initial leaves can be buried over in transplantation, as their job is done.
([lesson:] living things develop systems of growth that are then outgrown; it is okay–and perhaps even preferable–to shed them in order to continue forward motion)

another kid had recently learned that the sky is the same thing as the air around us, and spent the whole day telling his classmates, “did you know you can touch the sky? with your whooole body! even the top of your head!”

so: the leaves are like butterflies, and did you know you can touch the sky!?


a.’s band played a rockin’ show on saturday night. you should check them out. here’s that link again: saxon and the satisfactions. they recently recorded a sweet five-song ep; the first run is all gone but they’ll reprint soon! $5!



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