It’s Been Awhile…

Hello Everyone!

It has definitely been awhile since I last updated, posted, researched, and the list goes on, even into many other aspects of my life, as I have worked to navigate the waters that are 2020.

I hope you are all well and navigating the waves the best that you can, because, truly, that exactly what we ought to do…the best we can and knowing that “the best we can” looks very different every day, sometimes every second of the day.

Grace.

I remember at the start of 2020, I had my middle school students do some reflection and goal setting for 2020, and I did the work alongside them. We completed one of those “What’s My Word” activities (like you see below…our was from “The Think Builder”).

My word was “Transition”. Really.

I had no idea the layers, nor the duration, that that word was going to take on in my life, and in all our lives.

So what was my reason for selecting it? What 2020 transitions did I see for myself?

For one, I knew I was going to resign from my current teaching position as a middle school Science & ELL Co-Teacher. My last four school years as a co-teacher had its opportunities and its joy, but it also had its struggles. The big one was that I didn’t feel it was the role for me. I thought about pursuing my love of having my own classroom, especially at the elementary level, but I hesitated. What I needed was a pause from the traditional, and I craved an exploration of the “what if…” of life. I plan to write more about those “what if…” prompts in the next coming weeks, but I will summarize and say…

Currently I am living in Mexico.

I decided to PBL (Project Based Learning) my own life and pursue some passion projects, of which, international travel was among them. Not the vaca type of travel, but the grounded, connection to community, daily living type of travel. Additionally, I wanted to pursue my love of picture books and science more, dive into this site and share even more with all of you!

But then, as you know…Covid-19 happened.

However I still went forward with my plans and am so glad I did. I have absolutely loved it here. I have been here for a little more than five weeks and plan to stay for a total of two months.

So, why the delayed TLC for this site?

Well, for one, there was exploration of the city, the stores, and truly saying “buen día” to every one I have met.

And, two…you know when you have someone you respect and adore ask you for a favor? Well, that happened, even before I left in early September. A 3rd grade teacher at one of our local elementary schools had her baby early and a message appeared from the principal asking me if I would fill in as the long-term sub.

Not fully knowing how that would work out with my departure date, and so much unknown (aka the daily lives of us all), I say “yes”, and we did, indeed work it out. During “red” (online only) and even during “yellow” (hybrid). Then, after 8-weeks of connecting and teaching those awesome 3rd graders, I had to say goodbye for now.

Now, I am here. Grateful, still navigating the changing waters, and turning my mind and heart to my passion projects.

Thanks for sticking with me, visiting the site, and sharing it with others. I appreciate it! The site may change over the next couple of weeks, but what won’t change is my love of sharing science stories, those we live and those we read, with all of you!

Sending my very best to each of you!

–Kalynda

Got an Upcoming Amazon Purchase?

Hello and Thank You! 

If you are planning an upcoming purchase on Amazon, please consider accessing Amazon through this link.  This link takes you straight to Amazon while also supporting my efforts toward contributing science ideas and resources for teachers and students. 🙂

You can find this link through this post (consider bookmarking it 🙏) or by going to my Fictional Stories in Science website, and clicking on the links I post to books and resources on Amazon

Does that mean you have to buy a science picture book? No, not at all. 

Once you access Amazon through one of my links, you can then search Amazon for the product you wanted to buy, and continue with your purchase as normal. 

How does that help me and my work? By using my site’s link first, Amazon gives me a very small commission for a variety of products…and every little bit helps. 

Thank You! 🙏

Happy International Women’s Day

Me & My Awesome Mom

Before I share all the amazing science themed picture books you could read this week to celebrate International Women’s Day, I want to start this post with a shoutout to my amazing mom! This is a picture of us February 2019, a night when she was honored as the co-founder of IABE (Idaho Association for Bilingual Education). They were celebrating 40 Years of IABE, and she was among other IABE leaders on a panel for kickoff night. While this alone is impressive, her whole life she has been a leader, role model, rock, and advocate for me, and thousands, in her role as an educator and community member. Love you mom! ❤️

And, like many of the leaders in the picture books I highlight below, she was a scientist in the way that she was a problem solver, and used questions, observations, and data to help her solve problems. 🙌

Sound similar to the role models in your life?

Wouldn’t that be a wonderful science practices project for your classroom? A project where students reflect on the role models in their life and how they engage in the science practices! That could be a big endeavor, so maybe narrow it down to ONE practice at a time, like ASKING QUESTIONS and DEFINING PROBLEMS. It could be a multimodal project that helps them connect to the scientists around them and in them! ❤️

Gosh, I can’t help but also see a future bulletin board display! 😍

(Want to learn more about multimodality in the classroom? Check out this post by Solid Professor)

Now for those picture books! 😃

Here are a few of my favorite…

Purchase on Amazon HERE
Purchase on Amazon HERE
Purchase on Amazon HERE
Purchase on Amazon HERE
Purchase on Amazon HERE
Purchase on Amazon HERE

And here are a few on my TO READ list:

Purchase on Amazon HERE
Purchase on Amazon HERE
Purchase on Amazon HERE

And…don’t forget to checkout my SCIENCE TOPIC BOOK LIST tab, for a link to more science themed books, like my growing list of books on SCIENCE CAREERS!

Happy Reading and Happy Celebrating the International Women Scientists in your life! ❤️

–Kalynda

Science Sites for Education: March 7, 2020 Highlights

Hello! Happy Saturday!

Check out this PDF for my latest compilation of Science Sites for Education posts!

Happy Resources! Happy Classroom!

–Kalynda

Women Supporting Women 👊🏽

Today I had the joy of presenting at a local elementary for their International Women’s Day celebration. This invite was extended and accepted by 17 women in our community, to showcase their expertise, creativity, and leadership (and science). 😊

I went to showcase my new, small, and growing business, KPQ Creations, a business I run with my mom and sister, where we use our creativity to make items with fabric and paper. (Below is a picture from a recent craft event)

This International Women’s Day event was created and organized by Quincey Rowe, a leader and role model inside and outside the classroom.

Students, K-5, were able to visit our booths, learn, ask questions, and interact with us. This was organized around the gym, and students were given 1/2 sheets that had a grid of options to explore. I was unable to leave my booth to play and learn, but a friend captured the explorations on my phone. 🙏

I hope to be able to participate next year. Perhaps I will share what it is like to run a website, and encourage students to explore and share their passions. ❤️ I also cannot wait to see this event grow, not only locally, but across schools.

Inspired? I hope so. You can start today for next year’s event. 😀

Thanks Quincey, for the opportunity and the inspiration! ❤️

Happy International Women’s Day!

—Kalynda

To learn more about my small business KPQ Creations and our inventory, see our public Facebook album page, by clicking HERE. I hope to bring this business to new levels this year (maybe even Etsy, so stay tuned).

Science Sites for Education: February 29, 2020 Highlights

Recently I added a page to this website called, Science Sites for Education. If you click on that tab, you will learn about my Facebook page, where I share sites that I have learned about that have the potential to positively impact the K-12+ science classroom. My goal is to post a site a day, but some weeks are more successful than others. This week I successfully posted a site a day, and I created a PDF highlights those posts. You can find that PDF HERE.

Visit HERE to access the PDF

If you like these site shares, be sure to “like” my Facebook page, and share it, and this labor of love, with your colleagues and friends.

Thank You and Happy Learning!

–Kalynda

Hour of Code: Prep Time

Organize an Hour of Code during Computer Science Education Week, December 9th-15th.

Source: Hour of Code

There are many ways to get your class, grade level team, content area team, and school involved. Here are some of those ways/resources:

  • Code.org
    • This site has resources for students and teachers (divided by elementary, middle, and high school). It also has background knowledge about the event, and ways to help promote it.
  • Computer Science Education Week: Hour of Code
    • This site has a walk-through video about the Hour of Code, tips for teachers, and a link for Hour of Code tutorials.
  • Hour of Code
    • This site has activities, how-tos, and ways to promote it.
Click HERE for this link.

What is another way to get started and prepared for an Hour of Code???

You could read a book 🙂

Like this one:

OR….

OR…

Check out other great STEM Picture Books on Amazon.

Whichever way you approach the Hour of Code, your students will be glad you did. 🙂

Happy Coding!

–Kalynda

Preparing for the Holidays?

How about giving the gift that gives this season?

You might be thinking I mean books…and if so, you are both right and not completely right. 🙂

The other night I went out to celebrate my friend’s birthday. The days leading up to that night, I kept thinking about what I could give her as a gift. It couldn’t just be anything for this longtime friend. I wanted to give a gift that was her, a person who not only gives so much of herself, but also has a passion for books.

Hmmm.

Then…BOOM, of course…a donation of books for those that are in need of them. I am surprised by how long it took me to come up with this idea. My boyfriend and I have been giving each other (and some family members) gifts where we donate, in their name, to an organization that supports a cause they are passionate about. We have been doing this for quite some time, because truly, although we have needs, and often a tight budget to fulfill those needs, we deeply know that we have enough. This isn’t the case for all.

The organization I decided on for my dear friend is called Project Night Night.

Click HERE to access their site to learn more.

Project Night Night helps “homeless children have sweeter dreams” by providing them a package that has “a new security blanket, an age- appropriate children’s book, and a stuffed animal — all nestled inside of a new canvas tote bag” (see above photo). They have donated over 25,000 Night Night packages each year! LOVE!

I found their organization (and many others) through a simple Google search. My search brought me to a post by Chronicle Books that lists “17 US-Based Charities That Put Books in the Hands of Children”.

Click HERE to access this post.

The gift was received warmly and I am so glad that I was able to give and to find this site.

I know I will be giving the gift of books again many times over, and this list will help me…and I hope it also helps you give the gift that gives…for any occasion.

Happy Giving!

–Kalynda

#teamtrees

Have you heard about #teamtrees? If not, it is my joy to share this invitation to participate and to help.

Click HERE for the link to donate.

YouTuber MrBeast started this invitation movement to make a positive environmental impact, by raising funds to plant 20 million trees around the globe. With $1 per tree, his efforts have spread and individuals, and classrooms, like my 8th grade science class, have joined in and donated. You can learn a bit more from this video by Inside Edition:

Click HERE to access the video.

Want to get your class involved?

A great way to start the class brainstorming session is to start with a read aloud. Below are some of my favorites:

Click HERE to purchase on Amazon.

This was one of the books I purchased through a grant I wrote for an elementary school, to increase their access to stories that share science identities. You can read more about that grant from my post Books on Display. And my follow-up post New Science-Themed Picture Books on Display.

Some additional great reads for your classroom, to help start your own #teamtrees donation are:

Click HERE to purchase on Amazon.
Click HERE to purchase on Amazon.

This story, Planting the Trees of Kenya, was on of my past featured books. To learn more about the science, literacy, and science identity connections of this book, please see that blog post by clicking HERE.

Happy Fund Raising!

#teamtrees!

–Kalynda

Cultural Fabric: Follow-Up

About a month ago, I shared a Cultural Fabric activity that I invited my school to participate in. Please see my post Cultural Fabric: Class Building Activity for more information, including a link to a PDF for instructions.

To my delight, they did 🙂, and I am here to share with you some of those results!

My Cultural Fabric Example

Each grade level team (there are two per grade at the middle school where I teach) shared this idea with their advisory class. I really appreciated how the teachers embraced the activity and saw the activity as an invitation to have a class discussion about cultures, about differences, about togetherness…about our strength.

Once the “us” squares were collected, they were turned into “quilts” that were displayed during the week of conferences (and are still up today!). Here are some of those images:

Sadly, I was not at school during conferences to see and capture the initial thoughts and emotions (I was presenting at the NSTA Area Conference in Salt Lake), but many of my colleagues mentioned how wonderful the experience was, and how well it was received. One of my teammates expressed that many students had their parents capture their picture next to their piece of their team quilt. Yay! Happy!

Also, I want to say thank you to you…my viewers! I noticed on my blog data, that this activity was a popular “view”. Thank You! I do hope you share it (and this site) with your teammates as a possible future idea.

And…to help you do that, I made an additional PDF that provides instructions for students, rather than the PDF I originally wrote for teachers, to capture the idea.

My school wants to do it again next year, which will give us time to think of a new key…perhaps a genetics based one. 🙂

Happy Sharing, Communicating, and Embracing Differences!

–Kalynda