This week's art class project was about peacocks, continuing our bird unit. I needed a good, quick introduction to peafowl, which I found in the Plano Library. Colorful Peacocks, by Deborah Underwood, published by Lerner, was an excellent start, and the children retained the information. They especially liked learning the terms for the peafowl family--peacock, peahen, and peachick. Kids are kids, and they will forever like to snicker about bathroom words. The students were also impressed that a peacock grows its tailfeathers and becomes a grown-up at age three. I bet they get possession of the remote control, too.
My little students were born into a completely different technological world than their teachers. We have trouble rewinding the VHS tape about birds using the "universal remote". It's definitely a universe removed for me. If we handed the remote off to our college interns they'd have the video set instantly and tell us we were using an outdated media format.
In 1960 we went on a Colorado vacation and visited the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. The strongest memory is of the peacocks hollering "yelp" as we walked among the animal cages. I was amazed that a bird so beautiful could have such an ugly call.
Wanting to share the call of the peacock with the kids, I went Googling. Finding peacock sounds online was easy. Getting one saved and burned on a cd was a struggle. Windows Media Player rejected my burning proposals on grounds of copyrighted materials. My cd player rejected my burnt offerings with no explanation. After an hour of effort, I had one peacock yelp burned on a cd that only played on a computer.
All over the world billions of people are legally and illegally downloading copyrighted music and videos. They do it as easily as I flick a light switch ... or dial the kitchen rotary phone!
© 2008 Nancy L. Ruder