Ughh… Honestly I found myself pretty down today. I listened to people’s conversations at tables around mine at breakfast, my husband came back with reports that it was definitely the "water cooler" topic at his work. Seriously, is this legend gone?!? By the time I arrived home all I wanted to do was curl up on the sofa and I clicked the television to a place that I have found entertaining, educational, and comforting over the past few years. Yep… Animal Planet. They were showing one of Steve’s episodes of his expedition to Antartica. I was thinking as I watched, children around the nation have come to rely on him as good clean educational entertainment. I wonder how they are coping. What are they saying on the playgrounds around the world. It was then that I opened my email and received the following from DEN Member Brett Harvey… better grab a kleenex first…
"Our staff development meeting last week was on getting kids do some expressive free writing even in science. So today being the first day back, I showed some old clips of some of Steve’s classic dangerous encounters – the spitting cobra http://animal.discovery.com/fansites/crochunter/expedition/dispatch_07.html – click on Close Call Clips to see videos – none on Unitedstreaming but this worked OK. Then I had them write on the prompt, "What impact has Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter had on education around the world? on you personally?" Amazingly all the kids were writing solid for 6 minutes – no pens stopped!
A lot of the news agencies are trying to capture his mark on society by writing about his catchphrases like "Crikey" but I think more it was his ability to bring the world of wild animal life into your home through your television. Watching Steve got me excited to teach my kids about biology and motivated me to even bring my own animals in and give kids an more authentic experience. He had a passion for learning that was an example to all educators. He was the kind of person that made you want to do what he did for a living. That’s not true of most other jobs! Right after visiting the news pages I found myself on the DEN site reading out your blog and finding out what the reaction was from friends on the inside of Discovery. How cool was it to read your story and the same emotions that many at Discovery probably have? It made DEN take on another dimension, for at least a moment.
Thanks Brett for reminding us how to bring real world situations to our classroom and allowing the students to have a voice in this tragedy.
Feel free to have your students post to the blog about their favorite episodes and memories of our favorite Crocodile Hunter.