Friday, April 15, 2011

Week of March 28, 2011

This week the classes explored text sets beginning with Jim Arnosky's book titled, Slow down for manatees. This book was inspired by true events. Did you know the most common danger manatees encounter are the sharp blades of boat propellers? This book relates the story of a manatee who was injured by being hit by a boat. Fishermen who spotted the manatee contacted the nearby aquarium to help the injured manatee. After being rescued, divers who examined the manatee discovered a wonderful surprise. She was carrying a calf. And so it was that this gorgeous, huge, once free manatee gave birth to her little one in a small tank. After healing, mother and calf were released back into the wild. Luckily, there are many people dedicated to rescuing injured manatees and who also respect their natural habitat. Signs were placed everywhere in shallow waters to warn boaters to SLOW DOWN for Manatees.

After listening to this wonderful story, we learned some amazing facts about manatees from a nonfiction book titled, Manatees. Some of the facts we learned were: they are vegetarians, they can grow to be about 10 feet long, they are mammals, they eat mangrove leaves, baby manatees stay with their mother for about 2 years, male manatees are called bulls, females are called cows, and baby manatees are called calves. Manatees can communicate by squealing and chirping. The elephant is their closest relative and the manatees are an endangered species. Only about 1400 manatees are alive in southern Florida.

Many people vacation in Florida including several families from our school. Don't forget when visiting and possibly boating in Florida to slow down for manatees.

Happy reading,

Mrs. Wetherell