Nature Explorer

Just another WordPress.com site

World Book Night April 29, 2012

Filed under: Books,Gratitude — explorergarden @ 6:22 am

April 23 was World Book Night. I had the great honor of being selected as a Book Giver. I had written an essay describing how I became a reader, the book that turned me into a reader — Annie Oakley, Little Sure Shot — which I read in grade 2 or 3 (and still own) and why I wanted to be able to give someone else that experience of becoming a reader. I picked up my books last weekend, but had no time on April 23 to pass them out. The trick was, they had to be given to reluctant readers — folks who don’t read a lot. And the book I was given to pass out was a wonderful book — but it was for adults. As a teacher, I encounter many children who don’t love to read yet. Passing books out to adults seemed daunting….

So this morning, I went to our largest, busiest municipal park with my box of books. A Shakespeare Festival was underway — I was worried there would be no reluctant readers in the crowd. But I was wrong. Adults don’t read because 1. We don’t have time; 2. We don’t know what to read; and 3. We read all sorts of stuff we HAVE to read, so the great joy of reading disappears….

That is, until we rediscover it.

Today I experienced the great joy of connecting people with a great book — The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao, but Junot Diaz, winner of the Pullitser Prize for Literature a few years back. I read it a year or so ago. I was worried passing it out because it is NOT light reading. It is great, compelling reading. But it is pretty intense. I walked around the park telling people I was giving away books for World Book Night, but said that I was not allowed to give books to people who would already describe themselves as book worms, or who already had their noses buried in books. Then I asked them how they would describe themselves as readers. Many said they read a lot — a book a week, one man said. But many said they have no time, but would love a good book. I gave away a box of books in about an hour. I had some really nice conversations with people about books and reading, about this book in particular, and about what they were doing at the park. Two photography students took books — and also took pictures of my patched pants. My city is so beautifully diverse, it felt so wonderful to connect with all kinds of people — all ages, ethnicities, genders and socio-economic levels — over something as magnificent as a book, that we all can share and enjoy.

So, thank you, World Book Night, for allowing me to share my love of reading with strangers in such a beautiful experience!

Here’s the link to World Book Night. http://www.us.worldbooknight.org/

 

Wow! The Most Beautiful Word for a Science Teacher’s Ears

Filed under: Everything Under the Sun — explorergarden @ 5:59 am

We started a unit on the Microscopic World last week. I set up our microscopes — good ones, it turns out! Up to 400X! — and started passing out slides for students to look at. In ever class someone said the magic words. “Wow! Look at this!” It was beautiful.

I ordered live paramecia and amoebas, as well as slides of bacteria and agar plates to grow cultures. I can’t wait to hear those words again when we take samples from the creek, compost, yogurt,blue cheese — everywhere! –and look at what is living in it! Wow! Look at This!

 

Wow! The Most Beautiful Word for a Science Teacher’s Ears

Filed under: Everything Under the Sun — explorergarden @ 5:58 am

We started a unit on the Microscopic World last week. I set up our microscopes — good ones, it turns out! Up to 400X! — and started passing out slides for students to look at. In ever class someone said the magic words. “Wow! Look at this!” It was beautiful.

I ordered live paramecia and amoebas, as well as slides of bacteria and agar plates to grow cultures. I can’t wait to hear those words again when we take samples from the creek, compost, yogurt,blue cheese — everywhere! –and look at what is living in it! Wow! Look at This!

 

Chick-a-Vision

Filed under: Animals,Environmental Education — explorergarden @ 5:46 am

We have been spending a lot of time watching Chick-a-Vision lately. You see, Frances Chick got some new friends last week. Well, not exactly friends. When the three slightly larger chicks entered the big dog crate that Frances is now living in, it was clear that Frances was in distress. You could almost see the wheels of her little mind at work:

“Who are these people? And why are they in my space?”

The three chicks moved as a pack — or as a gang, as the case seemed to be. Frances retreated to the top of a cardboard box and turned her back. When the chicken pack would advance, Frances would retreat — into the box, behind the box, around the feeder — anywhere but near the fluffy threesome. She moved swifly and decisively. There was no question. Frances was freaked out.

Nonetheless, the process has been entertaining — even if it is at Franny’s expense. Each night, we’ve been watching the chicken sitcom  on our Chick-a-Vision. We don’t have, nor have ever had, a television, so we’ve never had the experience of watching TV while eating dinner. But the kennel is set up near the kitchen table. With a light on in the crate, and the wire door open, we can watch what the chickens are up to while we eat dinner. The gang is like the Three Stooges. Frannie is like the poor normal person who encounters the Stooges: bothered and bewildered by the whole experience.

We think the main issue for Frances was that she had never seen a chicken before the gang moved in. She may not have realized she was a chicken. She might have considered herself a person. What a rude awakening! Like getting three pushy sibling at the same time.

A week later, however, Franny is beginning to adjust. She will eat with the others now – – Cleopatra, Bruce (the Boss) and (a tentative name) Houdini (for an escape attempt). But she still will not lie down with the crowd. REalistically, they hardly lie down with each other — they are always pushing the others off the roost.

Tomorrow, we build a coop out of our play structure!

 

 

Neighborhood Garden Coop April 16, 2012

Filed under: Everything Under the Sun — explorergarden @ 4:05 am

Some neighbors and I have begun sharing produce once a month. It was organized by a very enterprising woman who put an ad in our tiny local newspaper. Now once a month anyone who has extra produce — lemons, oranges, loquats, greens, flowers — anything! — brings it to her house and she divides it up into bags for each person. Here’s the latest haul. I brought bundles of sweet peas and came away with lemons, chives and sage.Image

 

 

Orangutan Poe-m April 10, 2012

Filed under: Animals,Books,Gratitude — explorergarden @ 4:41 am

The Big Read has come to our town, a NEA funded program to get everyone in our city to read, and be inspired by, the same author. Shades of Poe is a month long event in which readings of Edgar Allan Poe’s work — and art and literature inspired by Poe — are staged throughout town.

Click on this link to hear The Big Read’s award-winning poem inspired by Poe’s poem, “The Raven,” written by a brilliant thirteen-year-old writer, Ronan Elliott — my son — and read by a fabulous actor Walter Ritter.

 

 
I Love Nature Books

I check out more picture books than my six-year old twins put together - especially those on science and nature. I hope my reviews will be a useful resource to you!

Downsizing Dad

Discovering the mysteries of family as I help my Dad simplify his life.

prayer & practice

Just another WordPress.com site

Raising Literate Humans

Join me on my journey to raise my children to read the word and read the world.

Klarinet

Simple life with cacti

Explorergarden's Weblog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Great Mentor Texts

This WordPress.com site is the cat’s pajamas

Nature Explorer

Just another WordPress.com site

There's a Book for That

Where book love and the joy of a classroom community are shared

Emily Louise Heard

Painting Happiness

GARDEN OF EADY

Bring new life to your garden!

Reflections on Leadership and Learning

Sharing my learning experiences

The Reading Zone

I am a reader, a teacher, a writer, a thinker, a reviewer, and a dreamer of dreams.

TWO WRITING TEACHERS

A meeting place for a world of reflective writers.

Waking Brain Cells

"I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells." — Dr. Seuss

Nerdy Book Club

A community of readers

Bug Gwen

Entomology. Ranting. Nerdery.