“The Curious Garden”

I must be on a curiosity kick, because among my rainy afternoon reads is: The Curious Gardenwritten and illustrated by Peter Brown.

Liam lived in a dreary plant-less city. 😕 While others took cover from the rain, his outdoor heart took him outside and to the forgotten train tracks, that pulled on his curiosity. There he discovered “a lonely patch of color”, which he nourished (and was thereby nourished himself).

Discover Liam’s passion-filled journey that transformed a city, through this part word, part word-less book.

My favorite part of the story was the line:

“Liam may not have been a gardener, but he knew that he could help.”

YES! ❤️

Let us not let labels or perceived not knowing hold us back from helping and coming to know.

This story is a wonderful addition to any library, and plant unit, but that line makes it an impactful addition to one’s library!

“Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover” by Markus Motum

Did you know that the latest Mars rover, Curiosity, was named by a sixth-grader from Kansas? I didn’t, nor did I know so many of the intricate details that went into preparing the Mars rover.

A fascinating read, told by the fictional perspective of Curiosity, this story provides readers with the why and how of this landmark event. I loved the play between non-fiction and the fictional point of view. It reminds me of a RAFT prompt (will share that at the end).

The illustrations, also by author Markus Motum, are packed full of detail, but are not overwhelming. They could stand alone as a wordless book, but I, not knowing too much about Curiosity, am grateful for all the informational words, and I think you would be, too!

The personification of the robot, brings more readers/minds to this subject, and therefore more “curiosity”. I love that! 😀

Here is a link to add this book to your classroom, home, or library: https://www.amazon.com/Curiosity-Story-Rover-Markus-Motum/dp/0763695041/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?keywords=curiosity+the+story+of+a+mars+rover&qid=1561673157&s=books&sprefix=curiosity&sr=1-1

It is great for all curious minds.

Now for more about RAFT. RAFT is a writing strategy that explores genre, purpose, and the writing techniques that makes them successful. The “format” could be something word heavy, like an letter to an editor, or an op-ed, or it could be a text or a haiku. 😀

I recently completely a RAFT as an end-of-the-day assignment from a summer class I was taking. I choose to write a text to a friend about what the purpose of a claim is in argument writing. (Do you see the formative assessment in this? 😁). Notice I said I choose this. Another great aspect of a RAFT is all the choice for students.

To learn even more, please see the information provided about this strategy from Read. Write. Think. A wonderful teaching resource: http://www.readwritethink.org/professional-development/strategy-guides/using-raft-writing-strategy-30625.html

Happy Reading and Writing! ❤️

Whistler Public Library

When traveling, I love to go into the local bookstore and library. I enjoy seeing how they celebrate books, and I am so intrigued to see which books are highlighted—meaning given notice due to their placement (full cover on display, in a smaller labeled section, nestled into small book stands, etc.).

Today I am at the Whistler Public Library in beautiful British Columbia, Canada.

Here is a picture of their children’s section and a few of those quick grab books.

“The Story of Inventions”

Written by Anna Claybourne, Illustrated by Adam Larkum

To my delight, I came across this book at my local library. The novel-like binding intrigued me. I thought it might be written like a novel, diving deep into a couple of inventions and their backstory–similar to the documentary series “How we Got to Now”. Note: If you haven’t seen that series, it is something to check out. I loved the one on glass: https://ceramics.org/ceramic-tech-today/pbs-documentary-how-we-got-to-now-highlights-glasss-past. Here is a link to learn more about the series: https://www.pbs.org/how-we-got-to-now/about/about-the-series/

See the links above to learn more about this documentary series.

However this book isn’t written like a novel. Instead it tells the mini-story of 39 different inventions, from Inventing the Wheel to Taking Photos. It also includes an introduction about inventions themselves, a conclusion about ideas, and an invention timeline–I do love a good timeline. 🙂

The multiple illustrations that are peppered throughout the book has a similar format to a DK Smithsonian book, but the text has a narrative structure. It is truly a combination of narrative and informative prose–fun!

It is a great addition to any 2nd+ classroom, a home education program, or just as a fun read. The topic of inventions is always a hit. 🙂

“Poetree”

Image result for poetree

Written by Shauna LaVoy Reynolds

Illustrated by Shahrzad Maydani

This is a popular book, at least locally. I had wanted to share this post back in April, during National Poetry Month, but it just became available at the library. I think poets have a lot in common with scientists. They each observe the world around them in unique ways and have ways to capture those observations. They also both wonder, and they both employ their creativity as they interact with the world around them.

So, when I saw this book, while on my library site’s homepage. I just had to reserve it. It is about a young girl who writes a poem about spring and shares it with her community birch tree.

"Spring is here at last. I hope it doesn't end too fast. Like a bee I'll sniff each flower, And I'll enjoy each springy hour (so much)."

And the tree writes back…or does it?

A book about poetry, friendship, spring, observation, and interaction with nature, this book is a great collection to your classroom library.

Consider poetry as a pathway into science or through science or as a way to communicate what observed and learned. The two, poets and scientists, have a lot in common, and this pathway may just be the one that helps a student see the scientist in themselves (or the poet).

“What do they do with all that poo?”

Book Cover of "What do they do with all that poo?"

Amazon Link to Book

This book was an instant grab off of the library shelves for me. I mean, just look at it! The illustrations are fun and inviting and that title! 🙂 I knew this was a must-read for my kindergarten students, really, for any time of year (same goes for all of preK-2), and especially since they will soon go visit a local farm with exotic animals. They are also in the middle of their animal PBL, and are overflowing with questions! Love their excitement and energy.

This story, written by Jane Kurtz and illustrated by Allison Black, as two parallel stories on the pages. They have the top portion that provides information about how different animals poo, why, and a quick additional fact (like how often). Then they have the bottom portion that provides more information about the animal’s poo-story, often further explaining their why (great connection to adaptations!).

"Giraffe poop looks like marbles as it drops a long, long way."

What I love about both sets of stories, is how they are written–student friendly. While I love more information, some books that have this dual story, have a very wordy informative portion, that often isn’t supportive of a read aloud on the carpet. This one is! 🙂 You can easily read the full page to students without losing their attention. In fact, you might have an attention increase!

So…what do they do with all that poo? Yes, the author does tell you, after the animal exploration portion. And, I would tell you, but…the book is just too good to give away that information. Please check it out (or buy it) and read it to a class near you! 

National Picture Book Month

Wow, I am embarrassed to admit that I didn’t know that

November is National Picture Book Month!

How could I let that information slip by me??? Well, not again. This picture book fan will remember in the future. 🙂

To celebrate this happy month of beautiful picture books, I have the goal of posting either a picture book, or something about picture books, everyday on my corresponding Facebook Page: Fictional Stories in Science and on my Twitter Feed. Here are the ones I have highlighted these past few days:

NOVEMBER 1st

Image result for earth my first 4.54 billion years

I was happy to find this science-centered picture book at our Book Fair during Parent-Teacher Conferences. It is a colorfully packed story of Earth that teaches as well as delights. I could see it being used throughout the year for multiple reasons and for multiple grade levels. While reading I kept mentally returning to my 8th grade Earth Science days and geological time, as well as to last year’s 2nd grade unit on Dinosaurs and the spark we created in students to research and inform.

Click Here to Order on Amazon. 

NOVEMBER 2nd

Image result for eraser book

For Day 2 of National Picture Book Month, I highlighted “Eraser”. This is a great story to ‪help students understand how first drafts turn into finished drafts, and how we have many tools to help get us there. I love, and often use, a good eraser. 🙂

“Mistakes are proof we are trying.”

Click Here to Order on Amazon.

NOVEMBER 3rd

Please check out one of my FAVORITE TED Talks by Grace Lin about the Windows and Mirrors of our bookshelves. I encourage and challenge you to take a good look through your bookshelves…all of them, including those in your science section. Let your book selection both reflect and encourage all learners.

The video doesn’t play here on the site, but click HERE to watch it or click on the image below.

Grace Lin TED Talk on YouTube

NOVEMBER 4th

My 2nd Grade Co-teaching partner and I are going to use these two picture books soon to prompt perspective writing! The story A Tale of Two Beasts is a great way to open up a discussion about the interactions between humans and wildlife

Covers of "A Tale of Two Beasts" and "Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude"

Happy Reading!