Snake on a Playground

Tuesday was a gorgeous day outside. The sun was bright, there was a nice breeze and the kids we running around like they had been let loose from the zoo. It was one of those recesses where I was tending to lots of falls, splinters and a couple of bee scares.

A former preschool teacher had just stopped by to visit when we hear "Ssssnnnnaaakkkee!!!" Honestly, I ignored it. My kids love to pretend they are all sorts of things from ninjas to dragons to tigers so pretending they were snakes was nothing new. Then the kid who I don't see from the time the playground gate opens until we line up comes running over. "Ms. Kessler, Ms. Kessler....There. Is. A. Snake!!"

I walk over to investigate. All kids are on the concrete section and I'm being really brave as "the snake hunter". I walk around for a minute or two and see nothing. I go in all the different directions they are sure they hear hissing and see the grass moving and then there it is. He (snakes are boys, lady bugs are girls...just the way it is) looked at me and slithered away. At my school, there is a "procedure" for EVERYTHING. Not being clear on the snake procedure I decide to radio the office. The obvious things are suggested: kids stay off grass, don't touch it...etc.

Then my principal (the same guy my kids think is on the front of the quarter) comes out in his shades with a purple medical glove on. The stories of how big the snake is had already started. The kids are pretty sure: it was at least 6ft long, had a rattle, was a boa constrictor, they could hear it hissing from 50 ft away, it had a bulge it it's belly so it probably ate a cat....

Truth: There was a snake, he was about a foot and a half long, he didn't hiss, there was no bulge or rattle. I would bet he was a Garter Snake.

Keeping the kids away from the snake was easy, keeping them calm was not. We came inside and everyone who passed us in the hall knew about the snake. She tried to have a math lesson but it turned into a science lesson about snakes. All of the snake books are checked out of our classroom library now. I have 17 snake experts in my room, if you have questions I'm sure they would love to share.

P.S. Purple glove mission was unsuccessful...still unclear what the eventual plan was. :-)


  1. Great post filled with imagery and the imagination of your class. I'm glad we haven't run into a snake at recess. I'm not sure we have a procedure for that either.

  2. Cute story, but I hate snakes. Your principal's purple glove mission is too funny. Glad to know that you now have so many "snake experts" in your class. I'm sure their parents heard all about their recess! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Your story is wonderful, and you told it so well! I especially love "At my school, there is a "procedure" for EVERYTHING. Not being clear on the snake procedure I decide to radio the office." I love it! Talk about motivating kids to read, wow! I really enjoyed this!

  4. I love how your students became so engrossed with snakes after their "adventure" and sighting of one. The power and excitement of experience cannot be overlooked.
    Hope they get a "snake procedure" in your handbook soon! :)

  5. Nicole,
    I loved this post! It sounds like quite an adventure. I liked the way one of your students came over and said, "There. Is. A. Snake.". The way you move from short sentences to longer ones really helps with the pace of the writing. I found myself speeding up and slowing down in just the right parts. I could just hear hear the kids yelling, "SSSNNNNAAAAAKKKKKEEEEE!" My favorite line had to be, "Keeping the kids away from the snake was easy, keeping them calm was not." I can only imagine!

    I'm sure the snake tales will be told for years to come.


  6. Thanks for the snake story, Nicole - I'm glad I came back to read it! :) No one in your class will ever forget the snake day - guaranteed!


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