Buzzy the Fly, who reached notoriety in a blog entry just last week, has passed away. He went quietly, perched on a tissue on my classroom desk, undoubtedly of old age. He had been buzzing around the classroom for just about four weeks.
I was prepared to give him a simple funeral -- wrapping him in the tissue and dropping him in the wastepaper basket -- but the students insisted that Buzzy deserved a more formal burial. Well, since everything really is a writing prompt, I told them they would each have to write a eulogy to be delivered at graveside. And, indeed, they did.
My pal Bob Greenberger, visiting for the day, served as our gravedigger, scooping a hole under a tree outside the classroom building while the students read their tributes to our class mascot. "I have never liked flies," wrote one of the girls, "but you were the first fly I liked." Another apologized for trying to swat Buzzy when he landed on her head: "I should have realized you were just interested in my writing."
Once we'd all said our farewells, I pushed the dirt back into the grave and erected the marker, made from a pencil and a piece of paper. We had a moment of silence and then the kids went off for their afternoon break.
I can only imagine the reactions of the parents when they asked their kids last night what we did in class and were told, "Oh, we had a funeral for a fly."