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Judith Jango-Cohen

Nonfiction Author and Photographer

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Science Snippet: Silver Swords and Fairy Slippers


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.

Indian blanket, Indian Blanketflower, Sundance, Firewheel, Gaill
Firewheel, Gaillardia pulchella

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

Shrimp Plant   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

Author_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_110

Indian Paintbrush, Castilleja miniata

Here are two other fun activities:

1. Chose one or two of the plants above and write a fairy tale about magical “look-alikes.”
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

Author_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_100

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

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

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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

See our photography web site: http://www.agpix.com/cohen 

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

See our photography web site: http://www.agpix.com/cohen 

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.

AUTHOR PROGRAMS/VISITS BROCHURE 


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

See our photography web site: http://www.agpix.com/cohen 

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

See our photography web site: http://www.agpix.com/cohen 

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The Blabbermouth Blog

Literary Agent Linda Epstein's Yakkety Yakking

Marie Lamba, author

Some thoughts from author and agent Marie Lamba

Mrs. Jennifer Cimini, M.Ed.

Positively passionate 4th grade teacher, mom, being myself and helping others!

Sam Kane's Corner

Educating for an interconnected world one story at a time

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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