A visitor from the Mesozoic era is traveling around Thomson to help second graders at Thomson Elementary learn mapping skills. Tina Swann's social studies class sent their class pet, "Spike," on a two-week journey around their school. Spike is a small stuffed green dinosaur who lives in a plastic pail.
"We wrote names on pieces of paper and voted for his name," Angelique Perez said.
Spike watches as Mirror Publisher Jason Smith works on the newspaper.
The children "adopted" Spike as their class pet, and wanted him to stay with them, because "He's happy with us," according to Crystal Heard. But Mrs. Swann had other plans for Spike. Mrs. Swann said her idea came from reading in Chicken Soup for the Soul about a teen who sent a stuffed animal out to see how many lives it could touch.
"We are doing our map unit, and we are mapping our classroom, mapping our houses, that sort of thing," Mrs. Swann said. "So when I read that, I wondered how many places our class pet could go, and thought of incorporating our mapping with it."
As Spike made his way to different locations in the school, an e-mail was sent to Mrs. Swann's class, and the students would map his location on a map of the school.
A journal also accompanies Spike, so the students may read details of the places he visited and what he learned during his stay.
"It got so exciting, with him traveling through the school. ...But we have yet to see Spike come back to our class," Mrs. Swann said.
It seems Spike likes traveling in the new millennium. After spending time in the Principal's office, the gym, the Guidance Counselor's office, the playground, and the lunchroom, he managed to venture out into the rest of the world to visit Appling, Augusta, and Mississippi. Spike is now traveling to businesses around Thomson. He spent a few days before Thanksgiving in the office of The McDuffie Mirror.
"Everybody got so excited about it, that we kept it going. Even though we had (an earlier date listed in his journal), he hasn't been back. We want to see how far we could let it go, and how far he could go and where all he would travel to with his journal," Mrs. Swann said.
Mrs. Swann asks that Spike be returned to their classroom before the students have Christmas holidays beginning December 18. She plans to map his wanderings and read his journal to the children before they go home for the holidays.
"They know he's been to Pre-K, and they know he's been to PE, and they know he's been to Mississippi... we were able to track on our map from the emails I received, but they don't know what the journal says‚ ... I don't know either. I want to experience it for the first time with the children when they read it for the first time. They helped me decide where to send him and what to name him. They're excited about it," Mrs. Swann said.