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Plant Life
by Sue Granzella

In life science, I had been teaching my third-graders about seed dispersal. They’d learned about seeds carried on the wind, and by sticking to animal fur. I’d read to them about seeds that float on water, and plants with seeds embedded inside tasty fruits that tempt animals.

One rainy day, the class traipsed in from recess, following me to the rug. Once they were seated before me, I was dismayed to see a large smudge of mud on the carpet. Irritated that the children had still not learned to wipe their shoes before entering the room, I set down my book and adopted my stern-teacher face.

“It’s December,” I scolded. “This is our room, so we all must keep it clean. You still can’t wipe your shoes? Now the rug is muddy.”

They hung their heads; a few checked the bottoms of their shoes. When they looked repentant enough, I picked up my book, ready to read it to them.

Then I noticed a golden-brown smear of mud on top of my sneaker. How did it get on the TOP?

Suspicious, I examined the bottom of my other shoe, spotting the same tell-tale color. I slipped off both shoes, and tiptoed to the trash can. As the kids chattered back at the rug, I sniffed the mud-clump.


I returned, announcing: “The good news is that it wasn’t you. It was me. I’m sorry. The bad news is – it’s not mud.”

I watched their faces as truth slowly dawned. For those not as quick, I pointed to my shoe, holding my nose.

“NOOOOO! It’s poop! IT’S POOP!” They squealed and screamed, plugging their noses and laughing hysterically.

All, that is, except Carlos.

Very soberly, that attentive, science-minded child said, “I think we should plant it and see if anything grows.”