Wednesday, October 22, 2014

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Common Core Masters: Librarians

April 8th, 2013

Susan Raben, LibrarianIf 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. RachelDavidsonHey, 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.

If You’re Hoppy sings

August 9th, 2011

 Here, some rockin’ awesome Mississippi librarians show me how they sing If You’re Hoppy, incorporating the slight variations from the traditional If You’re Happy song. (I admit I never imagined folks singing it, only saying it out loud. But I’ve heard lots of librarians are singing it for story hour.)  The facebook author page with the video.

If You’re Hoppy!

April 22nd, 2011

If You’re Hoppy has been hopping into libraries, book stores, arms. SLJ said “Sure to be a storytime staple, with many repeat performances.” For storytime fun, check out my article and photos of hopping animals, plus links to hopping animal video and a craft on the Under the Green Willow blog. There’s a recent roundup of early reader bunny books on the Cleveland.com site. I also found a cool librarian  who has a biblobop party plan for libraries. Huge list of hopping, bouncing books, too. http://storytiming.wordpress.com/2010/10/25/nobody-puts-baby-in-the-corner/

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.

Education Student University Presentation

October 19th, 2010

Education student Jamie Steigerwalt recently wrote to me about what she presented in class as part of an author/book study. With her permission, I’m reprinting it here.

I just wanted to send you a quick note to let you know how my presentation went last night. Everything went well and my class was very excited to hear about you.  I must admit, it was so easy to talk about you and your books.  I chose to do my activities on Hush Little Puppy, Stars Beneath Your Bed, and Splish, Splash, Animal Baths.  I did a phonics activity with Hush Little Puppy and focused on rhyming.  

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Inspiration at Seven Hills-Lotspeich in Cincinnati, Ohio

March 8th, 2010

I was greeted by a parking sign, marching ants, and the wonderful Marcia Snyder, librarian at Seven Hills—Lotspeich in Cincinnati, Ohio. The classrooms had done dioramas of undersea scenes for Turtle, Turtle, Watch Out! and even made a 3-D pasta machine and listed their own desired “suprpwrs” in celebration of Noodle Man: the Pasta Superhero.

This was the first time I’d seen activities for the new Turtle, Turtle, Watch Out. There were turtle shape poems which looked like ancient, beautiful style art. What about these wild pine cone birds for Bird, Bird, Bird? Extraordinary.

What a lovely school. The science teacher, Ms. Wildfong, showed me the science building. They have lots of animals. It really feels like a science-in-action place.

The music teacher, Ms. Wilson, shared the use of Bird, Bird, Bird: a Chirping Chant. She was teaching kids the half and quarter notes and how to use the staff by getting them to sound out and choose among a few notes to set this book to music.

The art teacher, Ms. Knoop was a wonder. Love her! She’s made a creative space, complete with old plastic toy color wheel, great supply drawers, and projects galore. She partners with another teacher to do a whole big unit on fibers. Ms. Knoop brings in wool from her sheep and they dye it with natural plant dyes and spin it. Wow. Hands on science and history and art all at the same time.

Thanks, Seven Hills, for an inspiring day. Your students and staff are great! Lunching with with these joyful, dedicated educators was a pleasure. Their ideas popped like popcorn. Really, it was like being in some of the great creative meetings I had at National Geographic. You walk away uplifted and refreshed.

James Cameron’s Movie Avatar Plants, Animals, and Fungi

January 1st, 2010

Are your students buzzing about the movie Avatar?  Here’s how you might tie-in an extra credit biology  research project for motivated students. Ask them to research and report back on some of these real-life wonders which I noticed were echoed in the movie’s animation:

Christmas Tree Worms. One of the early scenes in the fantasy part of the movie shows the characters walking through the forest and touching some large feather duster type organisms that, when touched, disappear into the

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I received a real snail mail!

November 19th, 2009

One Is a Snail, Ten Is a CrabI received a real snail mail, carried by a snail today, November 19, 2009. Jeff sent me an email Jun 17, 2008 via a service called www.realsnailmail.net. This service is dedicated to slowness. The message took 17 months, 2 days and was carried by agent #6, named Agatha. You send them an email, then a real snail, with transmitters on its back, eventually transmits the message to another email service. You know we are snail fans, partly because of our book, One Is a Snail, Ten Is a Crab. So we had to try it! You can try it, too.

Storytime tips for working with toddlers

June 22nd, 2009

There’s nothing like watching an experienced librarian working with young kids during storytime. It’s a dance! It’s an art. Experience helps. But what if you are just starting out?

Perhaps this resource will help. It is a checklist for evaluating the literacy value of storytimes.  It is provided by ALA and is based on the literacy work of Elaine Czarnecki and Gilda Martinez and John Hopkins University, Center for Reading Excellence. It’s not written as tips, per se. But you can work backwards to see what techniques enrich the reading experience.

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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