Sunday, April 20, 2014

April on the road (school visits)

Gordon School Shines: Shadow Puppet Plays

December 18th, 2011

I just returned from four days as the Karla Harry Visiting Author at the Gordon School, in Providence, RI. The time at Gordon was one of the highlights of my career.Here are some of the shadow plays the kindergarten and 3rd graders did. The teachers and librarians collaborated to create this exciting exploration of light, shadow, and literature. They did Trout Are Made of Trees, Vulture View, and Honk, Honk, Goose. 

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Travels and Rah, Rah, Radishes Extensions

October 17th, 2011

Erika Thulin Dawes, Ed.D of Lesley University wrote about some terrific extension ideas for Rah, Rah, Radishes: A Vegetable Chant over at  The Classroom Bookshelf . Lots of helpful links, too. HUGELY useful information.

Jeff and I just returned from a 4,600 mile roadtrip to research at desert sites (White Sands, Painted Desert, Meteor Crater). I gave two programs at the spectacular Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden. I also spoke at a conference for early childhood teachers coordinated by Jennifer Haggart of the Early Childhood Consortium of the Omaha Area. 

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Bloggers Lovin’ Radishes

July 5th, 2011

Back from steamy, sparkly ALA in New Orleans to find that folks are lovin’ Rah, Rah, Radishes.  Katie Davis brought Rah, Rah, Radishes: a Vegetable Chant along with two other books to discuss them in her segment on Good Morning, CT.

See what A Year of Reading has to say. Shirley Duke posted extension activities here: Simply Science Blog. Back to photographing fruit for Go, Go, Grapes: a Fruit Chant, which is out next year. Mangosteen, anyone?

American Library Association Annual Conf

June 21st, 2011

Come see me in New Orleans! I’ll be with 9 other nonfiction authors speaking at the Nonfiction Book Blast Sunday Morning at 8am-10am. I’m also doing signings for Greenwillow/Harpercollins, Holt, Beach Lane/S&S, and Charlesbridge. Info on the session and signings schedule for all of us is on the Nonfiction Book Blast site.

Sea Turtle Science News and Helpers

February 21st, 2011

Scientists may have unlocked how sea turtles navigate! Check out this BBC news piece. 8th graders were  featured on CNN for selling sea turtle art to help these endangered animals. Yes, I’m still following sea turtle news because they’re one of my favorite animals. A newly revised, newly illustrated edition of Turtle, Turtle, Watch Out! came out last year!

Global Education Conference

November 15th, 2010

Author Dorothy Hinshaw Patent and I are speaking Tuesday, November 16th at 4 pm Eastern Time at the Global Education Conference. It’s all free and online on the Elluminate platform. You click on the session you want to attend and there’s a click through to quickly download the free software to your computer. You can participate, ask questions, chat, and so on. The bandwidth needed is minimal. A microphone is needed if you want to verbally ask a question but you can type them, instead. The Elluminate software works for both IBM and Mac. Look for Dorothy’s name on our session. The topic is CONNECTION. We will be talking about connecting kids to nature and writing along with brief coverage of some intricate ecological connections that will fascinate your students.

The conference runs Nov 15-19th. 397 sessions from 62 countries!

Check it out! Just select your time zone to see what’s happening.

Sessions are recorded for viewing later, too.

Conference Talks and Signings

April 18th, 2010

Meet me at the International Reading Association (IRA) National Conference in Chicago!

Monday April 26th, 2-3 p.m. Signing at Henry Holt booth

Tuesday April 27th, 9-10 a.m. Signing at Charlesbridge booth

Thank you to Isabel Baker at the Book Vine, who hosted me at DVAEYC, the Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children, where I spoke last week. (Philadelphia was awesome!) Isabel specializes in children’s books perfect for the youngest students and the educators who work with them. Her business is in Illinois but she ships far and wide.

Liberty Union-Thurston Elementary’s Creativity

March 17th, 2010

I am excited to share with you a few of the creative educational activities at Liberty Union-Thurston Elementary School in Baltimore, Ohio. These projects were done in relationship to my books in advance of my 2-day visit to their schools. They’ve had some great authors, including Ron Hirschi, who did stream walks with them some years ago. (In DECEMBER, they said. Cold toes but worth it.) It seems they have an ongoing nature and stream study in this school. Hooray! Kids will learn so much from seeing nature and science in action.

Ah, the halls were festooned with beautiful bumblebees and flowers. A shiny paper mirror said “Look here to see the author.” How wonderful for each student to see a young author in themselves.  We had some of the first art celebration of He’s a Howler: a howler paper quilt. Beautiful!

Many of the students were studying geography. They had done drawings and short writing pieces about the features of continents to go with my continent books.

One classroom did a hilarious counting riff on One is a Snail, Ten is a Crab. They did counting by eyes.

One class analyzed and classified the information in Bumblebee Queen.

Another class created new versions of the fish chant but with ocean fish. They created fish cutouts, wrote reports about features and behavior. Then they drew a fanciful sea/town scene where the fish swam. It was nonfiction with a visual fiction twist, in the spirit of Trout, Trout, Trout. Hooray!

One of my favorites was the bird poetry written by the fourth graders. Using Vulture View as a model, the teacher had created a form with key words and phrases from Vulture View. Students each drew a bird species and filled in what that bird would or would not eat and how it would move. Brilliant.

A highlight of my visit was two small sessions with young authors and illustrators. I will never forget my discussions with them! I hope that Reading Rainbow Book entry goes well.

This is a fine school with energetic educators and students that are excited to learn. The students were well prepared for my visit and worked well together in the assembly setting. The faculty welcomed me. Students and staff have much to be proud of; together they have made an environment for learning. As an author, it was a pleasure to visit.

Thank you, librarian Ms. Brown, for bringing me in to share this joyful place with you.

Seven Hills-Doherty An Author’s Dream School

March 8th, 2010

SEVEN HILLS-DOHERTY

I’d just been to Seven Hills-Lotspeich. How could another school day be just as fun? Well, if you’re at the other Seven Hills Campus—Doherty. It can! This Cincinnatti school just percolates with life. If I were going to be a teacher, I’d want to work in one of the Seven Hills Schools.

Why? Because excellent schools need faculty that care for one another, that lunch together, that chat and exchange ideas.  This school has it on both campuses. Education can be joyous when staff share that passion for helping students. But left alone in classrooms, teachers can grow isolated, like stay-at-home moms who love their kids but need some grownup time now and then. Staff development makes it sound all technical. That is helpful. But the core of the best schools I have seen is a caring staff community: community that nurtures creative teachers and does not squash them. You could see it at work, hear it at work during my lunch with some of the Doherty teachers.

Seven Hills also has another community that uplifts the place. The parents. Wow. They pitch in for all kinds of things. At the whirling center of joy is librarian Linda Wolfe who I had the pleasure of spending the day with.

She is a dynamo who knows children’s literature inside out. She created wonderful activities to go with my books. Just look at what they did with Vulture View. She found some kind of scratch paper that is black with silver underneath. The students cut out vultures and scratched through to make the beautiful silvering of the feathers.

She describes how she introduces Trout Are Made of Trees to her students. To celebrate the book, she used a scale/math/art activity. She gave kids large photos of the aquatic insects. Then the children had to draw them, as accurately as possible, on the tiny pieces of paper. It’s a good thinking project. You can just imagine how many neurons fire when trying to duplicate but shrink an image.

In the halls were more art projects to celebrate If You Should Hear a Honey Guide; Dig, Wait, Listen; and other books. Penguins for Antarctica. Maps of South America. There was art of many kinds.

Among my favorites was an organizational project done by Mr. Schmidt’s class. They took my books and graphed them in various ways to show the content and relationships in the books. It’s a good way to prepare for writing books of their own.

I saw and experienced all of this in one short school day at Seven Hills Doherty. Just imagine what a student could learn in a school year of being with these hard working, creative educators.

About Me
April Sayre

April Pulley Sayre is an award-winning children’s book author of over 55 natural history books for children and adults. Her read-aloud nonfiction books, known for their lyricism and scientific precision, have been translated into French, Dutch, Japanese, and Korean. She is best known for pioneering literary ways to immerse young readers in natural events via creative storytelling and unusual perspectives.

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