Children's Nonfiction and Photography

Posts tagged ‘common core state standards’

Silver Swords and Fairy Slippers


Blazing Star and a Tiny Admirer

Blazing Star and a Tiny Admirer

If you had a silver sword and a fairy slipper, what would you do with them? They sound like magical objects in a fairy tale. But you could plant them in your garden . . . because they are both flowers.

Six of these “look-alike” plants are pictured below. After studying their shapes and colors, try to guess their names. Then click on the photos for the answers–and for information about these interesting plants.

NAMES

Elephant Head   Rattlesnake Grass

Silver Sword   Bleeding Heart

Paintbrush   Fairy Slipper

Bleeding-heart, Bleeding Heart, Venus's car, Lady in a bath, Dut

Big Quaking Grass, Great Quaking Grass, Large Quaking Grass, Qua

Fairy Slipper, Calypso Orchid, Venus's slipper, Calypso bulbosa

Haleakala silversword Argyroxiphium sandwicense macrocephalum

Elephanthead Lousewort, Elephant's Head, Pedicularis groenlandic

Indian Paintbrush, Castilleja miniata

Here are two other fun activities:

1. Pick one or two of these “look-alikes” and write a fairy tale.
2. Make up your own “look-alike” flower. Draw it and name it. Then tell where it lives and give three interesting facts about it.

To see more exquisite flowers you can visit  my husband’s and my photography website at: http://www.agpix.com/cohen

View my program/author visit video at:

SCHOOL PROGRAM / AUTHOR VISIT VIDEO

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Read or download my school program/author visit brochure at:

Hiker in Borrego Palm Canyon, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, BoAUTHOR PROGRAMS/VISITS BROCHURE

Student Nonfiction Websites


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Here’s an innovative way to delve into nonfiction writing. Have your students create their own websites. After my visit to a third grade class, the inventive teacher, Mrs. Braham did just that.

Her students drew on their own experiences, choosing topics from sewing to soccer to computers to cats. Then, with the technical support of their media specialist, Mr. Pirollo, the children got going on their websites. Their results are showcased on http://weebly.com .

I was amazed at the great work of Mrs. Braham’s  students! They honed their nonfiction writing techniques, exercised their creativity, and as Mrs. Braham says, learned how to integrate technology into the curriculum.

Congratulations, children! Thank you for sharing your work! Below is a brief note for each of you. Hope you have lots of reading and writing time this summer.

Zachary: Thank you for teaching me about Chromebooks. 
Vincent: Hope you and your Dad have fun wrestling this summer.
Katie: I love your video about the homeless dog who was rescued.
Maeve: Excellent advice about not overfeeding and not tapping the fish tank–common mistakes.

Alligator Gar

Alligator Gar

Nadia: Great job: narrative opening, lots of cat information, fun captions, and adorable videos.
Caroline: Hope you and your “gaga” have fun “sewing with compassion” this summer.
Richard: What an exciting opening to your homepage. I see you’re a soccer whiz.
Lauren: I loved the section about emotions and the picture of the retrievers hugging.

Canoeing with Pet Dog

Canoeing with Pet Dog

Maeve: Great simile for explaining how to hold the violin bow. Have fun practicing this summer.
Joseph: Thanks for teaching me about all those wrestling moves. But I will take your advice and not try them at home.
Jonathan: I’m glad you didn’t give up after your first year playing basketball. Keep having fun.
Elizabeth: Great job with the Do’s and Don’ts of cat care.
Ismael: Now I know why dogs sniff so much. Have fun with your two pups this summer.
Hayden: You created an interesting introduction, with your narrative and steam train video.

Jupiter Locomotive, Golden Spike National Historic Site, Promontory Summit, Utah

Jupiter Locomotive, Golden Spike National Historic Site, Promontory Summit, Utah


Rebecca: I loved your photos of the snow monkeys hugging and the baby eating the banana. 
Hawa: Wow! After reading about hero dogs I was “blown away.”
Morgan: I hope you keep “doing your best” practicing gymnastics and writing stories.
Paul: That was a hilarious video of the black lab chasing the bubbles.
Vanessa: Excellent job explaining about gymnastic clothing and equipment. 
Christopher: Great simile–comparing the wrestler, Triple H, to a bulldozer.

Thanks again, children and Mrs. Braham. Maybe one day I will be reading your books!

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You can view my school program/author visit video at:

SCHOOL PROGRAM / AUTHOR VISIT VIDEO

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View or download my school program/author visit brochure at:

Hiker in Borrego Palm Canyon, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, BoAUTHOR PROGRAMS/VISITS BROCHURE

See my husband’s and my photography at: http://www.agpix.com/cohen

“Exciting Writing” with Mrs. Cimini’s Class


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National Poetry Month is a perfect time to highlight some of the lyrical and lively writing that Mrs. Cimini’s fourth grade students have created. After attending my “Exciting Writing” program, children practiced techniques provided in my follow-up materials to “make music” and “paint pictures.” These techniques apply not only to poetry, but also to prose. ( For related activities, see Teacher Pages: Making Music with Alliteration and Invigorating Vocabulary. )

Below are some the the wonderful writing samples that Mrs. Cimini sent me.

Students “made music” by generating phrases using alliteration:Author_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_104

Wreck it Ralph
Magnificent Minecraft
Noisy Nancy
big band
puny pig
loud lunchroom
chattering children
stubborn staples
naked noodles

Author_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_106Then they combined phrases to make sentences:

The Noisy nerd threw pumpkin pie at the Big Bad Wolf.
My mom makes marvelous meals.
The Wicked Witch had a puny pig and some chocolate chips.
The Big Bad Wolf played Magnificent Minecraft and then went out for french fries.

Children “painted pictures” by using vivid verbs.

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The loud, fat Chihuahua trudged over to me.
The wide horse trotted to his hay and gobbled it down.
The huge pet devoured dinner.
I crunched my food.
The plump Chihuahua nuzzled the other dog to get up.

Notice the descriptive adjectives they used too:
loud, fat, wide, huge, and plump

Another way students “painted pictures” was by creating clever similes:

The cat was as sneaky as a shadow.
The man’s belch was as loud as a BOMB!!!
The kitten is as cute as a toy.

Thank you to Mrs. Cimini and her students! To see more of the exciting things they are up to, visit their classroom blogAuthor_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_107

You can view my school program/author visit video at:

SCHOOL PROGRAM / AUTHOR VISIT VIDEO

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View or download my school program/author visit brochure at:

Hiker in Borrego Palm Canyon, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, BoAUTHOR PROGRAMS/VISITS BROCHURE

See my husband’s and my photography at: http://www.agpix.com/cohen

The Perfect Pizza


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Ahhh! Picture the perfect pizza slice: steamy and sizzling, with stretchy cheese dripping from the edges as you lift it from the pan. Its savory scent entices you, as your mouth waters to welcome that first bite.

I LOVE pizza. (Bet you do too!) So I was intrigued when Scholastic asked me to report on the science behind pizza cheese for March’e SuperScienceAuthor_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_103

My research brought me to materials engineer Bryony James, who is investigating the properties of pizza cheese. In her lab, at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, James has eight pizzas simmering. Each is topped with a different cheese. She wanted to find out what physical properties give pizza cheese those golden patches of toasty bubbles.

When James’s results were in, they explained why mozzarella is the pizza cheese champion. Mozzarella has just the right amounts of moisture, oil, and stretchiness to create that bubbly top that appeals to pizza lovers.

Here’s how the mouth-watering magic happens. When the pizza heats up, moisture evaporates to form steam. The steam expands the stretchy mozzarella to form bubbles. As the bubbles grow, oil slides off, allowing the bubbles to brown.

Author_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_102Scientists like James have been studying pizza cheese for more than a century, because cheese makers are always seeking out improved varieties. For example, when U.S. cheese makers shipped mozzarella across the country, it spoiled. So scientists engineered a drier mozzarella that stays fresh longer. When faster pizza ovens were invented in the ’80s, cheese needed to be tweaked so it wouldn’t melt quickly and burn. Today, scientists are experimenting with making pizza cheese with less fat and sodium. Their challenge: make a healthier pizza that also tastes good.

If you want more historical information to chew on, read The Power of Pizza.

Here’s a question to whet your appetite:

Cultural historians believe pizza became popular in the United States after World War II because:

1. American G.I.s grew to like it while serving in Italy.
2. It was easy to eat in front of the newly invented TV.
3. Lots of cars enabled take-out, delivery, and road food.
4. 1, 2, and 3

See paragraph nine for the answer.

Still hungry for more cheese information? Click on James’s picture above to watch a video of her describing her experiments and/or read the NPR story.

You can view my school program/author visit video at:

SCHOOL PROGRAM / AUTHOR VISIT VIDEO

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View or download my school program/author visit brochure at:

Hiker in Borrego Palm Canyon, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, BoAUTHOR PROGRAMS/VISITS BROCHURE

See my husband’s and my photography at: http://www.agpix.com/cohen

Craneville School Salute!


The snow was swirling on a blustery day in the Berkshires. But despite the frosty weather, I received a heartwarming welcome from the teachers, principal, custodian, and students at the Craneville School. Thank you all for a rewarding and exciting day. Thanks also to Rob Difazio for a skillful job organizing the visit and to Sascha for her colorful and cheery poster! 

Beautiful work Sascha!

BEAUTIFUL WORK, SASCHA!

I hope to hear from you again soon, when you send along your “Exciting Writing.” Please do!
P.S. How did your class’s alliteration and similes activities go, Mrs. Cimini?

You can view my school program/author visit video at:

SCHOOL PROGRAM / AUTHOR VISIT VIDEO

Author_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_100

You can view or download my school program/author visit brochure at:

Hiker in Borrego Palm Canyon, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, BoAUTHOR PROGRAMS/VISITS BROCHURE

See my husband’s and my photography at: http://www.agpix.com/cohen

Author Program/School Visit Video


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Previewing a program before an author visits is not always possible. In order to give teachers and parents a better idea of my programs, I am adding a short movie to this blog. So break out the popcorn and hope to see you soon!

SCHOOL PROGRAM / AUTHOR VISIT VIDEO

You can view or download my school program/author visit brochure at:

Hiker in Borrego Palm Canyon, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, BoAUTHOR PROGRAMS/VISITS BROCHURE See my husband’s and my photography at: http://www.agpix.com/cohen

Delightful Day at Dennett


Author_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_63When I walked through the doors of the Dennett Elementary School for an author visit, my first sight was a colorful display case filled with my photographs and books. I immediately felt welcome.

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The Librarian, Geri O’Reilly, showed me the creative response projects her students had written after viewing the photos on my blog.What a clever way to to stimulate her students’ imaginations and to prepare them for the program.

Working with the Dennett School community was fun and inspiring, as we delved into nonfiction, writing, and science. Thank you to the  teachers, custodian, principal, and students who gave me the gift of a delightful day!

You can view or download my school program brochure at:Hiker on Mt. Washington Summit, Appalachian Trail, New Hampshire
AUTHOR PROGRAMS/VISITS BROCHURE BROCHURE
See my husband’s and my photography at: http://www.agpix.com/cohen

 

 

 

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