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.
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.
I had the pleasure of visiting Pioneer Elementary in March. Wow, the art teacher was a burst of creativity, working on such incredible projects with the kids. Many other teachers were doing amazing work, as well. See some of it below! Click on each photo to see it in greater detail.
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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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My chant books are a celebration of words, rhythm, rhyme, and biodiversity. To celebrate my upcoming (June 16th, 2011) vegetable chant, I’ve assembled sound samples to help in teaching and understanding these books.
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Author/educator Shirley Duke’s Simply Science blog has a lovely review of Vulture View and some follow up activities. Hooray! Check the link here.
See author/curriculum consultant/teacher Kate Narita’s blog April 5, 2010 for Vulture View activities.
Also, on April 18, 2010, I answered questions about the book, as well.
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.
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.