Kindergarten teacher Lorna Cordero shared her four-year-old’s excitement about hearing an animal calling outside their home in the evening. She was pretty sure the sound came from a toad or a frog but didn’t know which species. Opening their iPad and opening the window of their home, the mother and son searched for “Virginia frog and toad calls” and investigated the calls of local ones on the Virginia Herpetological Society website (to hear the calls, click on the small icon of a speaker). They found a matching call. “I was pretty sure it was a frog because the call went like this, b-r-r-r-r-r-r-t, not long like b-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r. That would probably be an American Toad.” They played the recorded call at the window, and then heard the call from the yard. Getting a flashlight and his father, the son went outside to continue the investigation. “We first thought it was a toad, but after listening to the call several times we found it was a Cope’s gray tree frog, a Virginia native. When my son and husband went looking that they took the iPad and played the sound but didn’t see anything. The next day as I was watering my plants I heard the frog in my backyard. We found it between the siding and the white gutter of our house. We think that after listening to the call from the iPad it came to check if there was really another frog.”
Cordero shares her interest in the natural world with her students in her dual language classroom at Bailey’s Elementary School for the Arts and Sciences. They raise beetles from (mealworm) larvae and count the population as the larvae go through the life stage changes, record their weather observations and compare their seasonal records, and discuss the shapes of plant leaves before weeding around the pea plants in their garden.