The Classroom Package: Reading Fun

The following is taken from The Culture Connection Newsletter, written by OneWorld Classrooms Director Paul Hurteau when he lived and taught in Limoncocha, Ecuador:

Resident Tarantulas

Crunching cockroaches in my plate when I eat
Tank-like tarantulas on my toilet seat...
Taken from the poem, In A Rain Forest House

In response to the lines of poetry above, a fifth grader from Utica, NY, asked Paul Hurteau: "Did you REALLY have tarantulas crawling through your house in the rain forest?"

Paul responded:

"Yes.  In fact, the line in the poem was inspired by an actual event.  One morning shortly after I moved to the rain forest, I woke up and went to go to the bathroom.  I lifted up the toilet cover and there on the seat was a big hairy black tarantula. I'm glad I looked before I sat down!

I also had a pet tarantula.  I called it my pet, anyway.  It lived under a broken board on the side of my house.  I discovered it one day when I was walking down my steps on my way to school (like most rain forest dwelling places, my house was built on stilts).  After that, I checked for it each day - and started calling it George.  But when George started weaving a nest, apparently in preparation to lay eggs, I had to change her name - to Georgette.  Sadly (sniffle, sniffle) Georgette disappeared shortly after she made the nest.

I really like tarantulas, but some of my guests didn't appreciate them quite so much.  You've heard of 'ants in your pants?'  Well, one morning while getting dressed, a visiting friend put on pants with a tarantula in them!  He jumped around the house a bit - but didn't get bitten.  Another time one of my visiting friends, unbeknownst to her, slept with a tarantula - and smushed it to death in the process!  After she left, when dismantling my guest bed, I found the poor flattened thing under the foam mattress.  The next time I saw her, three months later, I told my friend who committed the crushing crime what happened - and she was shocked even then!

I was never bitten by a tarantula the whole time I lived in the rain forest - maybe because I was kind to Georgette.  I was bitten by a big black ant, called a conga, once and that was very, very painful, but that's another story....."



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Amazon Rain Forest  
The Galapagos Islands

Latin America Classrom Travel Resources

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