Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Day 279: Turtles

Day 279: Turtles, originally uploaded by susanvg.

The Turtle
The turtle lives 'twixt plated decks
Which practically conceal its sex.
I think it clever of the turtle
In such a fix to be so fertile.
Ogden Nash
How do collections start? My turtle collection began because I was the computer teacher and I loved logo, the programming language. Shelly the turtle, lived in my room. The first one was a small china turtle that came in a box of tea. Then I bought a turtle puppet. The moment you have two of something you have a collection and people start supplying you with turtles. I have everything from a large turtle pillow (from my daughter) to jewelery, to many turtle sculptures made of wood, stone, plastic, shells, glass... I am no longer in the classroom and the turtle is no longer part of my teaching life (though I still think Logo, Logowriter, Microworlds and subsequent incarnations of logo are powerful tools for teaching children to think and problem solve in an authentic way) yet I find it hard to part with them as each has a story and a connection to the person who gave it to me.

I can remember when one boy came into my computer lab with a paper bag and a shy smile. He had gone through his toys and picked out the plastic turtles to give to me. I have a couple of turtles which were given to me by a class at the end of the year. The glass one in the photograph is one. The ornate turtle is a candle which came from a very dear friend; I dare not burn it. And the yellow and green fellow is one I bought myself, in a clockwork and music player museum in Utrecht, Netherlands. It plays The Internationale, which I find somewhat amusing for a turtle.

So Ogden Nash - one turtle led to many. And along the way they inspired students to create, to solve the problems they set for themselves and to collaborate. You can read an article by one of my former students in LEARNing Landscapes. Select the article by Stewart Adam - his explorations with the turtle were in my class. Turtles are fertile indeed.


  1. Love the story tied to this photo...and the image made me smile as soon as I saw those happy turtle faces!

  2. Hi Susan,
    I went into Learning Landscapes and found Stuart Adams but that chapter wouldn't open for some reason. At any rate - I enjoyed seeing part of your colorful turtle collection. I collect rabbits - I believe you've met Lucinda.