“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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚

“Poetree”

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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! πŸ™‚ 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! πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ™‚

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

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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

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For Day 2 of National Picture Book Month, I highlighted β€œEraser”. This is a great story to β€ͺhelp 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. πŸ™‚

β€œMistakes 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!

How I Co-Hosted a Night of Literacies

This 2018-2019 school year I co-organized our literacy night with my amazing co-teaching partner, Lindsey Pyell. πŸ™‚ We wanted to approach the topic of literacy night in a more global and multimodal way, so we modified the name to be our:

Night of Literacies

Night of Literacies Engagement Card by Kalynda Pearce

The goal was to highlight all of the vast literacies all around us, and how each genre has its own reading, writing, listening, and speaking approach to its practice and proficiency. Rather than focus solely on an English Language Arts approach, we challenged our grade levels to think of a genre of literacy to focus on, and we provided the examples of math literacy, science literacy, career-based literacies, etc. After much discussion in teams and in leadership, we decided on the following: (Click HERE for the PDF). 

We were thrilled (as were our families) to have the PTA support our event, and to have community partnerships with one of our high schools, the mayor, district office leadership, paramedics, firemen, and the police!

Night of Literacies Community Partnerships

You might notice that math literacy wasn’t one of the stops, but Lindsey and I supported this literacy by having math prompts on butcher paper covered lunchroom tables (where the PTA was handing out ice cream sandwiches). HERE is a link to those prompts.

Our grade level teams really stepped up to the plate to offer amazing literacy engagement ideas. For example, 2nd grade had leaf rubbings, which turned into scientific diagrams, with Observational Science; 1st grade had families reflect on what GRIT meant to them and how it help them to soar, with GRIT Literacy; and 5th grade had two sessions, one that focused on coding and one that took families through the design and trial process with airplane making for Science Literacy. πŸ™‚

First grade’s GRIT literacy was also a collaborative art project, where families put their ideas on individual feathers, that created a powerful photo-capturing display. Here is a picture of me with my GRIT wings.

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Our teachers are so clever, creative, and hard working! They truly made the night a success and helped to give families an interactive taste of what a day at our school is like.

I am so very grateful to Lindsey Pyell, for working so hard with me for last month or so, for thinking through the big and small details with me…and for getting us these amazing matching shirts! πŸ™‚

I hope this helps you and your school think through your own Night of Literacies, stretching definitions and visuals of what literacy is and looks like in action. Upon reflection, here are some tips we have learned in the process:

  • DO have staff members be among your list of guest readers. Our students loved having our PE teacher read and it was great for them to see him in that light. He is such an avid reader!
  • DO have it toward the end of the week. The beginning of the week is just tough for a later night, but…
  • DON’T back it up to a longer weekend. Our attendance was much lower than expected. We didn’t back it up to a holiday, but to a Teacher Work Day, so many families got a jump start on their extra day.
  • DO think through multiple announcement methods. I presented at PTA, made flyers, and it was sent home electronically, but I think more effort could have been explored. We tried to save on copies, with the electronic mailing, but next time maybe a QR-Code could be sent home, in addition to some copies, that linked to the flyer.
  • Most Importantly, DO love the engagement moments, no matter the turn out. Our lower number of attendees provided breathing space in the sessions and allowed for teachers to work individually with families, which was such a heart-warming site to see.

Below is an example of our flyer, in case this sparks an idea or two for you. Click HERE for the PDF.

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Happy Literacy-ing!

–Kalynda

Girl-Centered Sci-Fi Novels: A Share from Brightly

Many of my colleagues have asked me to post more about early readers and novels. While I do have that as part of my goal, I haven’t been able to reach that far…yet, minus some of my more recent posts for early readers. In the meantime I want to share a post I came across from Melissa Taylor who writes for Brightly:

11 Girl-Centered Sci-Fi Novels

for Middle Grade Readers

By Melissa Taylor from Brightly

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To access her list, click HERE. To learn more about Brightly, click HERE.

While I haven’t read all of her suggested titles (but I’m adding them to my list), I have read The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm. Check out what I wrote about this cute and clever story HERE. It was one of my featured books. πŸ™‚

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Scientific Names, Pet Names, Your Name…Books that Spark this Discussion

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Cute K-2 story, but what I liked best was the additional information after the story, where a scientist explains how adorabilis got its name. After reading this, I would re-read the story and discuss the names of the other ocean animals, taking a closer look at their features, explaining that scientists observe closely in order to identify, group, and name species. Students could then look into how their favorite animal received their name.

You could also follow it up with this story…

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And even though there are no strong science ties, it does have a personal connection to family pets and naming in general. To name is a personal and historical act. And on that note, this is also one of my favorites:

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