May 21st, 2013
It’s been such a busy year that I’m only now getting around to reporting on some of the terrific places I’ve visited. In February I was greeted by giant sea turtles at Essex Elementary in VT, where I met a kindred spirit, librarian Carol Scrimgeour.
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April 8th, 2013
If Common Core is about encouraging inquiry, the people we should be consulting are trained librarians: the masters of guided, deep inquiry. Susan Raben at Lyon is a master librarian and clear communicator: she should be teaching thousands of educators nationwide about inquiry. Rachel Davidson, at Henking, is a new tech guru who taught me tons about QR codes and how to get kids creating content and truly interacting with the web, not just imbibing it mindlessly. Hey, administrators nationwide…need help with common core? Go look for the experienced, trained librarians you’ve been undervaluing and laying off. (Thankfully, not these two, whose administrators know they rock.) Librarians are the ones who know how to get kids thinking more deeply about text and content! And these were just two librarians/inquiry masters i met last week while doing school visits in Glenview, IL. This week I’m in schools again; who knows who I might meet.
March 29th, 2013
When I saw Steve Jenkins’ art for our new book, Eat Like a Bear (Sept 10, 2013, Holt), I was amazed. The bears’ bodies were so furry-looking. I emailed Steve about it. He told me their bodies were made of amate, Mexican bark paper. Bark paper? You know me and my love o’ plants. I had to find out more. Turns out that this paper is made from fig and mulberry trees by craftspeople in a few small villages in the mountains of Mexico. It has a really deep history. The Mayan and Aztec people held it sacred. The craft almost died out but survived in one Otomi village in Mexico. Oh, there’s so much more to the story, I almost wish I could write a book about it. Hmm…! Take a look at this article on the web and you’ll see why I fell under the spell of this complex bark paper story: Amate Art of Mexico
March 23rd, 2013
AAAS Science NetLinks has put up an excellent K-2 lesson on food chains that uses Vulture View and Trout Are Made of Trees. It links with Project 2061 Benchmark 5 The Living Environment; and National Science Standard C, Life Science. The National Science Teachers Association website has a section called NSTA RECOMMENDS which points out good resources for science teaching. Here Come the Humpbacks was just added with a full review.
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January 17th, 2013
Choosing snack to munch while going over proofs for Fall 2013 book illustrated by Steve Jenkins. Yup, blueberries!
December 2nd, 2012
There was a TED talk recently about vultures. I think educators might be interested in seeing it for their own background research. It’s only a little over six minutes long. You’ll want to look it over first before deciding whether it is appropriate for your elementary school students. The humor at the beginning would probably raise more sidetracking questions than it would actual vulture inquiry. So take a look and perhaps start two minutes twenty seconds in (2:20). Because the rest of it is good stuff for older elementary, middle school, and high school. There are quite a few carcasses involved and it is frank in environmental threats to vultures worldwide.
December 1st, 2012
Want to know what to plant to help native pollinators in your area? Check out the free guides on the website of the Pollinator Partnership. Wish I’d seen this before my book Touch A Butterfly: Wildlife Gardening For Kids went to press because I would have loved to list it and these folks are doing such important work. Touch a Butterfly: Wildlife Gardening With Kids will be available in bookstores April 23, 2013 and can also be ordered from www.roostbooks.com. They’re the publishers of the I LOVE DIRT book from a few years ago. It’s geared for families, educators, and interested kids in upper elementary grades, as well. It’s my 25 years of knowledge about seeing the landscape through the eyes of animals and gardening with their needs in mind. Probably my most personal work.
November 16th, 2012
Eat Like a Bear, my book illustrated by Steve Jenkins comes out in late 2012. But I’m already gathering like a bear for winter. The bears in that book are brown bears (grizzlies) but perhaps your classrooms want to study black bears. Here’s a great place to start. My cousin suggested that I might learn from this fellow and it seems he might do presentations in New England so perhaps some schools/organizations might want to work with him.
Ben Kilham presentations
He’s written books and has been featured in television programs. See here.
August 26th, 2012
My book Eat LIke a Bear comes out next Fall. It’s a picture book, for young ages, about grizzly bears. But I just read about a curriculum that might interest some educators who want to learn more about bears in order to create related curricula. It’s a STEM based study of bear biology: Curriculum Guide to the Bear Book. Eight lessons in science, math, and problem solving for high school ages. Perhaps it might be used/adapted for some younger students, as well? I have not seen it, but read about it in a NSTA publication. It’s done by Melissa Reynolds-Hogland, exec director of Bear Trust International. I am not very familiar with the various conservation organizations surrounding bear issues, including this one. So if any of you have experiences with the curriculum, and opinions about it that you’d like to share with me, feel free to contact me so I can update this post.