Children's Nonfiction and Photography

Posts tagged ‘common core state standards’

Summer of the Glacier


Hiking on the Athabasca Glacier in Jasper National Park of Alberta, Canada

Hiking on the Athabasca Glacier in Jasper National Park of Alberta, Canada

This summer, our family discovered that hiking on a glacier is a thrilling way to stay cool. Our destination was the Canadian Rockies–a wonderland filled with glaciers, mountain trails, wildflowers, and wildlife.

Now that autumn is near, and we’ve begun the school year, we have memories to savor of our Summer of the Glaciers. Here are a few photos of our adventures.

Matt stands with pick ax on the Athabasca Glacier. Note the snowmobile in the background--for less intrepid souls.

Matt stands with pick ax on the Athabasca Glacier. Note the snowmobile in the background–for less intrepid souls.

Jennifer takes a swing.

Jennifer takes a swing.

I am photographing the Athabasca Glacier we had been hiking on.

 

Here we stand before the angel Glacier on Mount Edith Cavell. the peak was named for the WWI heroine. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Edith_Cavell

Here we stand before the Angel Glacier on Mount Edith Cavell. The peak was named for the WWI heroine. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Edith_Cavell

We ventured to Opal Hills, where we had previously met a Mama grizzly bear and two cubs. No “luck” this year. :->

We met bears this year, but only from the car.

We met bears this year, but only from the car.

Photographing wildflowers is a lovely way to rest on a hot, steep trail.

Photographing wildflowers is a lovely way to rest on a hot, steep trail.

Arrowleaf Balsamroot

Arrowleaf Balsamroot

 

Fairy Slipper or Calypso Orchid

Fairy Slipper or Calypso Orchid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you enjoyed your summer and I look forward to working with you this year.
You can view or download my school program brochure at:
AUTHOR PROGRAMS / VISITS BROCHURE
See our photography web site: http://www.agpix.com/cohen 

Hiker on Mt. Washington Summit, Appalachian Trail, New Hampshire

Poison Power


Pygmy Rattlesnake

Pygmy Rattlesnake

From Snow White’s poisonous apple to Harry Potter’s venomous basilisk, storybooks are filled with poisonous brews and venomous beasts.

Pacific Poison Oak

Pacific Poison Oak

Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy

Scalycap fungus

Scalycap fungus

People are fascinated by poisons, toxins, and venoms, says Mark Sidall, of the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Sidall is curator of the exhibition “The Power of Poison,” which will be on display until August 10, 2014. The exhibition explores poison’s roles in nature, myth, and human health. Visitors will discover how poison may be used as a defense against predators, a source of strength, or as a lethal weapon-turned-lifesaving treatment.


Author_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_52

Recently I had the opportunity to speak with Mark Sidall for Scholastic’s SuperScience magazine. The resulting story introduces three pairs of predator and prey facing off in toxic arms races. It describes how, over generations, these competitors’ defenses have become more extraordinary and their chemical weapons more extreme.

To read the story go to http://magazines.scholastic.com/news/2014/05/Poison-Power .

For information about the exhibition go to http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/current-exhibitions/the-power-of-poison .

You can view or download my school program brochure at:
AUTHOR PROGRAMS / VISITS BROCHURE

Hiker on Mt. Washington Summit, Appalachian Trail, New Hampshire

Macomber School Visit


Author_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_47

On a recent author visit to the Macomber School, I was greeted with this beautiful display of reports on some of my nonfiction books. Thank you to the teachers, secretaries, principal, and students for warmly welcoming me, participating enthusiastically, and singing sweetly. I had lots of fun with you all!

 

You can view or download my school program brochure:
AUTHOR PROGRAMS / VISITS BROCHURE

Hiker on Mt. Washington Summit, Appalachian Trail, New Hampshire

 

Adjective in Detail Poems


Author_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_46.jpg.

After a recent author program, the third grade teacher invited me to his classroom to read some of the writing his children were doing. That is when I discovered Adjective in Detail Poems. The formula is simple.

First pick your adjective and then write:

1) What your adjective is NOT

2) Three examples that show what your adjective is

3) Two examples of what your adjective sounds like

4) Another word for your adjective

5) One thing about your adjective

Here’s the poem I wrote.     Dew laden Spider Web

GRACEFUL
Graceful is not a clackety-clanking crash.
Graceful is a silky-swirling scarf.
Graceful is a dainty-tiptoeing dancer.
Graceful is a sparkly-spinning skater.
Graceful sounds like smooth-soothing music.
Graceful sounds like the whisper of floating snow.
Another word for graceful is elegant.
One thing about graceful is it makes your heart sing.

Now try your own!

 

You can view or download my school program brochure:

 

Hiker on Mt. Washington Summit, Appalachian Trail, New Hampshire

The Whales’ Voyage


Cape Ann Massachusetts Whale Watch, Tourboat and Humpback Whale,

Beneath the Atlantic Ocean, a humpback whale streaks skyward. It bursts into the air and then vanishes beneath the waves with a sparkling splash. Although whales are mammals, and not fish, they are comfortably at home in the water. But scientists have discovered something surprising about these water lovers . . . Their ancient ancestors lived on land. Here’s what the whales’ earliest known relative looked like:
Pakicetus attocki

Pakicetus attocki

By studying fossils and DNA evidence, scientists have learned much about the whales’ journey from land to sea.
They have also figured who the whales’ closest living relative is.
Do you think it's the beaver?

Do you think it’s the beaver?

Or is it the hippo?

Or is it the hippo?

Could it be the fur seal?

Could it be the fur seal?

You can find the answer in my Scholastic story, THE WHALES’ VOYAGE.

To get the fascinating facts, I interviewed  John Flynn, of the American Museum of Natural History. Flynn is  co-curator of the exhibition, “Whales: Giants of the Deep.”  The exhibition  leads visitors on adventures with models of these mighty creatures. Visitors can take a virtual dive with a sperm whale as it hunts for giant squid. Or they can crawl through a car-size replica of a blue whale’s heart. To learn more:  

 AMNH EXHIBITION

You can view or download my new school program brochure:

AUTHOR PROGRAMS / VISITS BROCHURE

Hiker on Mt. Washington Summit, Appalachian Trail, New Hampshire

Strengthen your “CORE” Nonfiction Workout 2


Meteorte Slices

Meteorte Slices

Invigorating Vocabulary

Using  classroom science magazines is an effective and stimulating way to support the Common Core’s Reading Informational Text standards. It is also a way to help you meet the key anchor standards in Reading, Writing, Speaking & Listening, and Language. And of course,  your children will be learning about science and current events.

Here is a link to a story I wrote for Scholastic about the Picturing Science exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History.  The Art of Science

After your students have read the story, they can investigate the activities I have developed relating to Vocabulary Acquisition and Use, one of the Anchor Standards for Reading. I have also included an Art as Science activity.

Madagascan Cichlid

Madagascan Cichlid

Part One:

Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases by using context clues 

Vocabulary word: DISSECT

The story explains, that instead of dissecting the fish to examine the tiny bones in their ears, Sparks uses a different technique. This technique allows him to keep all the parts that make up a fish’s ears intact. (together)

Since keeping all the parts that make up a fish’s ears intact is different from dissecting, what do you think dissecting means?

Look up the definition of dissecting. Write the meaning that best fits the word as it is used in sentence above.

Write three synonyms for dissect.

Glowing Coral

Glowing Coral

Vocabulary word: EMIT

The section on the Radiant Reef explains that fluorescent reef animals absorb blue light and emit green or red light. Another sentence says that these neon green and red creatures glow like aliens.

Since the fluorescent animals are glowing red and green, what do you think emit means?

Look up the definition of emit. Write the meaning that best fits the word as it is used in sentence above.

Write three synonyms for emit.

Part Two:

Vocabulary and Alliteration

Ladybird Beetles or Ladybugs

Ladybird Beetles or Ladybugs

Alliteration is the use of similar sounds at the beginning of words. For example,  Cichlids are a family of fish.

To make your own phrases using alliteration, look up synonyms for the word group. Choose three synonyms and write a phrase about a group of animals for each one. Here’s an example: a bunch of bugs

You can also add an adjective: a bunch of bustling bugs

Try another one.

In the story, I described the fluorescent reef animals as a dazzling display.

Look up synonyms for the word dazzling. Choose three synonyms and write a phrase using alliteration for each one. Here’s an example: shining ship

Juan Sebastian de Elcano Sailing Vessel at Night, Spanish Naval

Juan Sebastian de Elcano Sailing Vessel at Night, Spanish Naval

Part Three:

Art as Science

Find something from nature that has a pattern, such as a seashell, a turtle shell, a rock, an insect wing. Using a magnifying glass or a microscope, observe the pattern up close. Now fold a piece of paper in half. On one side draw a close-up picture of the pattern. On the other side draw the whole object. (Instead of making drawings, you can also take photos.) Post your close-up picture on a bulletin board with a piece of paper below for other students to write their guesses about what they think the object is. When everyone has made their guesses, open up up the paper and re-post it so your classmates can see if they’ve guessed correctly.

View or download a new brochure: AUTHOR PROGRAMS / VISIT BROCHURE


Hiker on Mt. Washington Summit, Appalachian Trail, New Hampshire

Art as Science


Armadillo Lizard

Armadillo Lizard

Get  in the mood for Halloween with scorpion heads, rodent teeth, and spider claws.  Fantastic photos of  these objects are part of the art show at New York’s American Museum of Natural History. The exhibition’s “artists” are the museum’s scientists. Their “artwork”—scientific pictures created with advanced imaging techniques. The exhibit features the work of:
John Sparks, who hunts for Madagascan cichlids in rivers crawling with crocodiles to study the fish’s hearing structures;
Madagascan Cichlid

Madagascan Cichlid

David Gruber, whose photos of neon green and red  fluorescent  reef creatures glow like aliens;

Glowing Coral

Glowing Coral

Ebel Denton,  who blasts meteorites  with electrons. Denton is curious about the composition of these space rocks, which were wandering through our solar system for billions of years before crashing to Earth;

Meteorte Slices

Meteorte Slices

Read the story I wrote for Scholastic about the exhibition at: Art as Science

The museum exhibition webpage is at:   AMNH Exhibition

View or download a new brochure: AUTHOR PROGRAMS / VISITS BROCHURE

Hiker on Mt. Washington Summit, Appalachian Trail, New Hampshire

Sam Kane's Corner

Educating for an interconnected world one story at a time

Shannon A Thompson

You need the world, and the world needs good people.

NESCBWI Kidlit Reblogger

A service of New England SCBWI. All opinions expressed belong to the individual bloggers and commenters who are solely responsible for their content.

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