The students knew from our studies that after creating her egg sac, the garden spider dies. At the start of every day they ran over to the wooden frame to see how Charlotte was faring. She surprised us by weaving a few more webs and continuing to eat grasshoppers. But then she moved to the corner of the frame and stayed there for several days. What Rosita wrote at that point proved that my students' connection with Charlotte transcended language barriers. Rosita is able to read and write in Spanish but knows only a few words in English. Because most of the instruction is in English, Rosita rarely appeared to be paying attention. But she was paying attention to Charlotte.
This is what Rosita contributed to our class newsletter:
Tenemos una araña en la clase que se llama Charlotte. Es una araña de jardin. Ella atrapó saltamontes y los envolvió con su telerana. Charlotte ya tuvo sus huevos. Charlotte hizo una bolsita para que los metiera sus huevos. Charlotte ya no está en la tela que hizo. Charlotte está en la esquina. Charlotte ya no tiene el color amarillo. Ahora el color que tiene es gris. Charlotte no se mueve de su telarana. Charlotte se va a morir cuando nacen los huevos.
We have a spider in the class whose name is Charlotte. She is a garden spider. She catches grasshoppers and wraps them with her web. Charlotte already laid her eggs. Charlotte made a little bag to put her eggs in. Charlotte is no longer in the web that she made. She is in the corner. Charlotte is no longer yellow. She is gray. She doesn't move from her web. Charlotte is going to die when her babies are born.
Rosita's observations were borne out the next morning.
"Oh no, Charlotte is dying!" moaned Maisee.