Stars Beneath Your Bed: The Surprising Story of Dust is a natural for fulfilling the new science standards. That’s one of the things I learned when I attended NSTA and spoke on a panel of authors organized by Carrie Launius and hosted by Wendy Saul. Each of the educators at the conference gave activities to go with various books. Carrie worked with teacher to get them to consider how the book deals with cross-cutting concepts:
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. Continue reading “Vegetable Art, Trout Trees and More!”
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.
I 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.
Who wouldn’t love books at this school in Lexington, SC? Librarian D’Etta Broam is a book dynamo. Yes, she really did meet me in this vulture hat to honor Vulture View. Of course, there was that on camera interview I did with their local vulture puppet, “Bill,” who rather likes the word REEK! Continue reading “Vultures and Books Rule at Pleasant Hill”