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
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.
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.
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.
My eyes are peeled for resources that connect to children’s nutrition. Here’s what’s come across my platter recently.
First, Annette Triplett from the University of Missouri extension office shared with me a coloring book and book From The Farm to You about a tomato’s journey. Interesting! I had not recently thought about extension offices and their role in agricultural education and nutrition education. Of course! They’ve been doing it for years. Great place to start for support in sharing nutrition/agriculture…your local extension office.
While at NAEYC in Atlanta I came across a booth for www.PortionSizeMatters.com. The have portion size plates for children. Great idea, begun by a nutritionist.
On the other end of the spectrum, articles that are important and of concern related to children’s nutrition:
Interesting article regarding “The Clean Plate Club”
First Course of Veggies May Appeal to Hungry Preschoolers
Love these folks! They’ll pump you up for changing the world, whether it relates to veggies, or not!
First, here are some inspiring TED talks about vegetable garden power:
Seriously. You gotta see this guy’s talk through to the end. He’s a wild man, on a mission, empowering so many kids! Continue reading “Go Go Grapes Salutes Revolutionaries!”
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.