We have legions of new salamander defenders!
Lucky me: I have had the chance to visit several schools since the launch of Salamander Sky in March, from pre-kindergarten to grade 6. Kids big and small love learning about mysterious creatures that come out at night in their own backyards.
Last month I headed down to three schools in the Middlebury area. I met 400 new friends at the Mary Hogan School. The gym was full of kids excited to learn about these secretive creatures, to see recent pictures of the crossing, and to meet herpetologist Jim Andrews and Audubon salamander crossing guard Carol Ramsayer.
Then I headed to Beeman Elementary for a a inquistive group of about 60 kids ready to learn about salamanders. They were treated to Carol’s mini salamander crossing set up and helped me take care of Sky, my pet (fake) spotted salamander. Thanks so much to Susie Snow for hosting us, and for writing up this blog post about the event!
Then it was off to Vergennes Elementary School. I met about 100 kids in the library. They asked me all sorts of questions (even how old I was!) and were eager to have signed books.
Last but not least, I visited the Sharon Elementary School Pre-Kindergarten classes. After a morning of farm to school learning, the kids came in excited to hear about salamanders and how they could help protect them. They had been learning all about nature, spring and ponds, so this fit right in. I was so excited to sign a book for each student and was brought to tears when one student hugged the book tightly, beaming from ear to ear as she walked away.
Thanks to all of the amazing librarians, teachers and book sellers who helped coordinate this visits! It is such a joy to share in a love of nature, reading, and exploration by sharing Salamander Sky with young readers.
I had the lovely opportunity to present to an inspiring, passionate group of educators and children’s book authors yesterday morning at the amazing Bear Pond Books. They came out to my workshop called Picture Books and Project Based Learning. It focused on how teachers can use picture books as a launching pad for engaging, exciting project based learning experiences with their students.
For the workshop and beyond, I created two new resources. One, is an Educator’s Guide to Project Based Learning. This resource details the science themes and the Next Generation Science Standards that can be met from the concepts presented in Salamander Sky, and a discussion guide with activities for pre-reading, during reading, and post reading, as well as additional media that can support learning.
For those teachers focused on project based learning, I created this website that features each stage of project based learning with ideas for how Salamander Sky can guide and inspire these projects. There are so many ways students can share their learning, tell a science story, and create original works that benefit the community and world.
Please feel free to be in touch with questions, ideas, or to share what you are up to with students!
It’s been a whirlwind since one nor’easter after another and the release date of Salamander Sky on March 9th, 2018. I waited with baited breath to see if we would have books in time for the launch and just barely in time they came– to the lovely Bear Pond books!
North Branch Nature Center, Montpelier
March 10th, 2018:
The book tour started with a bang with a standing room only crowd at the North Branch Nature Center. It was an all ages group that came out to celebrate salamanders, nature, and our new picture book, Salamander Sky. The event had a book talk and reading, presentations from two naturalists, hands on stations for kids, and large, gorgeous salamander cookies. Kids large and small were introduced to the beautiful spotted salamander, and promised to look out for this delightful creature this spring.