One day this week, late in the day, the classroom was a flurry of activity as we transitioned from Math to Science. Pencils fell, notebooks slapped desktops, and children scurried about in an attempt to get cleaned up and set up for our next activity. As the children pulled out their science notebooks and began to get settled, I noticed an unusual second upsurge of noise and movement. “Look!” Sara gasped. As I turned my head, a shadow caught my eye. Almost instantly I realized, “That’s no shadow!” My stomach dropped. Cries of, “An anole! One of the anoles got loose!” rippled through the classroom. I tried to steady my voice and my hands. Why was I so afraid of these tiny little creatures? “Okay guys, it will be alright”, I soothed. Who was I kidding? They were thrilled! I was the only one regretting that no thick dictionary or thesaurus had been set on the cover of each terrarium that morning! “It’s Buddy! Buddy is not in his cage!” Ani said.
Despite my fear, I grabbed my camera from my desk drawer and cautiously approached the window screen. Buddy the Anole was casually climbing it with his special extended toes that help him climb trees and apparently screens as well! “Do those things bite?” someone asked nervously as I sloooowly inched closer, more for my protection than for Buddy’s! “They don’t bite”, I stated. I moved more purposefully toward him as I thought to myself, “I don’t know! Do they bite?? Ugh! Why had I never check that little tidbit?!”) I clicked the camera on to video and started to record. “How do you think he got here?” I asked the group. An uneven chorus of replies answered my query. “Could be…” I said to the group in general. Then the words, “And then he slithered over there” came from a nearby student scientist. “Look at his toes. Do you think he slithered or do you think he has pretty good climbing toes?” I asked. “CLIMBING TOES!” they responded as one. You bet! I clicked off the video, took a few quick snapshots and mumbled, “How are we going to get him down?” Apparently I had not said this as softly as I thought.
A round of “I WILL! I WILL!” echoed from seemingly every desk in the room. Matt’s voice added the comforting words, “I hold them all the time. My sister has one!” Sold! I beckoned him over. Hmmm. That anole was significantly higher than he was. “Grab a chair, please.” I said. He dutifully dragged his chair over in front of the large, long brown shelf that functioned as a mailbox system for the class. As he climbed up, I realized this was still not going to be good enough. “Hoooold on” I cautioned in a sing-song voice. I lifted him up onto the top of the cabinet. “Be careful, please!” I cautioned nervously. He leaned forward and stretched out his hands. Gingerly, he used both hands to try to unhook Buddy’s feet from the minuscule screen holes while supporting his underbelly. Buddy scrambled away and up a few more inches on the screen. Matt tried again and this time was able to unhook the little feet and cup Buddy safely in his hands. “Got him!” he breathed triumphantly! I lifted him down with his passenger in tow and I held my breath as Matt wrangled the lime green, defeated Buddy back into his terrarium. “Thanks Matt!” I said feeling both grateful and relieved. “You’re welcome” he replied with a smile and he sauntered back to his seat, pleased with himself. I smiled back and reached behind me to grab a bunch of thesauruses and piled them on top of each terrarium! No one was getting out again! “Okay class, it is time to examine some crickets. Matt?”