ANIMAL NOSE

ANIMAL NOSE
Look what's coming in December!!!!! Click on this photo to find out about my school visits on SANDRA MARKLE SPEAKS!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

HAVE A BLIZZARD OF FUN!





I grew up in northern Ohio and I've been to Antarctica so I KNOW  SNOW!

If you live where winter is snowy, here are some ways to explore and have fun.


Collect Snowflakes


While no two snowflakes are ever exactly alike (as far as anyone knows), they are all hexagone--six-sided crystals. Snowflakes take several main shapes.

If you want to catch some snowflakes, chill a clean glass slide or a small mirror in the refrigerator. Take the cold glass outside and allow a few flakes to collect on it. You may need a magnifying glass to see the snowflakes if they are very small.

To preserve snowflakes so you can even take them inside with you you'll need a can of plastic spray--the kind artists use on chalk drawings.



Chill the spray along with the clean glass slide. Carry the glass slide outside on a piece of cardboard. This keeps your body heat from warming the glass. Spray the glass lightly with the plastic coating. Let snowflakes collect on the glass. Take the preserved snowflakes inside and let the plastic coating completely dry (about fifteen minutes).


Check out this book about Wilson Bentley.
His photos of snowflakes became world famous.

Now you can examine the snowflakes with a magnifying glass or a microscope if you have one. No need to rush. These snowflakes will stay crystal-clear forever.


What is it?!

Look at the bottom of the blog to find out....

Treat The Birds




You can get a good look at birds that spend the winter in your neighborhood, if you invite them to dinner. An easy treat to make is a peanut butter pinecone. Loop a string around the top of a pine cone and tie a knot. Next, smear peanut butter on the cone and roll the cone in birdseed. Then have an adult partner hang the pinecone where birds will be able to perch and eat. 

Now, keep watch. Use bird books and search on-line to help you identify the birds visiting your bird diner. Also, answer these questions:
1. What time of day do the birds come to eat? 
2. Do the birds come more on stormy or sunny days?
3. Do the birds take turns and feed one at a time? Or do they compete to eat?
4. Which birds usually chase other birds away?

Create a colorful bar graph to share the data you collect about your dinner guests.

Remember, to replace your pinecone with a fresh treat from time-to-time to keep the dinners coming back for more.

And when you're ready to warm up inside, curl up with one of my newest books.

















Do you know what this is?




It's a photo taken in the Arctic of a cup of hot tea tossed into the air. The liquid was boiling hot but instantly froze into tiny crystals.

HAVE A BLIZZARD OF FUN!





I grew up in northern Ohio and I've been to Antarctica so I KNOW snow!

If you live where winter is snowy, here are some ways to explore and have fun.


Collect Snowflakes


While no two snowflakes are ever exactly alike (as far as anyone knows), they are all hexagone--six-sided crystals. Snowflakes take several main shapes.

If you want to catch some snowflakes, chill a clean glass slide or a small mirror in the refrigerator. Take the cold glass outside and allow a few flakes to collect on it. You may need a magnifying glass to see the snowflakes if they are very small.

To preserve snowflakes so you can even take them inside with you you'll need a can of plastic spray--the kind artists use on chalk drawings.



Chill the spray along with the clean glass slide. Carry the glass slide outside on a piece of cardboard. This keeps your body heat from warming the glass. Spray the glass lightly with the plastic coating. Let snowflakes collect on the glass. Take the preserved snowflakes inside and let the plastic coating completely dry (about fifteen minutes).


Check out this book about Wilson Bentley.
His photos of snowflakes became world famous.

Now you can examine the snowflakes with a magnifying glass or a microscope if you have one. No need to rush. These snowflakes will stay crystal-clear forever.


What is it?!

Look at the bottom of the blog to find out....

Treat The Birds




You can get a good look at birds that spend the winter in your neighborhood, if you invite them to dinner. An easy treat to make is a peanut butter pinecone. Loop a string around the top of a pine cone and tie a knot. Next, smear peanut butter on the cone and roll the cone in birdseed. Then have an adult partner hang the pinecone where birds will be able to perch and eat. 

Now, keep watch. Use bird books and search on-line to help you identify the birds visiting your bird diner. Also, answer these questions:
1. What time of day do the birds come to eat? 
2. Do the birds come more on stormy or sunny days?
3. Do the birds take turns and feed one at a time? Or do they compete to eat?
4. Which birds usually chase other birds away?

Create a colorful bar graph to share the data you collect about your dinner guests.

Remember, to replace your pinecone with a fresh treat from time-to-time to keep the dinners coming back for more.

And when you're ready to warm up inside, curl up with one of my newest books.

















Do you know what this is?




It's a photo taken in the Arctic of a cup of hot tea tossed into the air. The liquid was boiling hot but instantly froze into tiny crystals.

Friday, October 28, 2016

JOIN THE READ-IN ACROSS AMERICA


LOVE all those happy readers. Welcome to the READ-IN Scott Fillner's fourth graders
at Bowmen Elementary in Cedar Rapids, Iowa


SOMETHING EXCITING is happening!  

My publisher Tumblehome Learning is hosting GASPARILLA’S GOLD READ-IN ACROSS AMERICA in honor of the publication of my very first Middle Grade novel GASPARILLA’S GOLD. Here are the details of this SPECIAL event!

From November 1, 2016 (the official publication date) through January 31, 2017, every class that signs up for GASPARILLA’S GOLD READ-IN ACROSS AMERICA will receive the following:


·      Classroom set of my novel GASPARILLA’S GOLD—25 paperback copies for students and a hardbound teachers copy. (See story overview below.)
·      Classroom set of bookmarks.
·      Discovery Pack of activities designed to enrich this whole class reading experience.


All for $125.00 (less than half-price and it includes FREE shipping). 

Here's the link to get started. SIGN UP NOW









TEN classes that sign up for GASPARILLA’S GOLD READ-IN ACROSS AMERICA will also receive a FREE Skype visit with me (a $250 value). More about this will soon be posted on the Tumblehome Learning website

And there’s more!

Every class that signs up for GASPARILLA’S GOLD READ-IN ACROSS AMERICA also receives access to additional learning experiences and fun activities on Tumblehome Learning’s website and my blog. There will also be an opportunity for classes to share student book reviews and Tumblehome Learning will publish a selection of these on their website (with class and school credits).

PLUS— Every class that signs up for GASPARILLA’S GOLD READ-IN ACROSS AMERICA will become part of the Class Database. So your class will immediately gain reading buddies to connect with in other schools and states to multiply the fun of puzzling out the mysteries as Gus, Fiona and Coop hunt for pirate treasure. Then your class can share cheering for Gus and Fiona as they join forces to save a rare (and totally cute) Florida panther cub from poachers.




I can’t wait to share 
GASPARILLA’S GOLD READ-IN ACROSS AMERICA 
with you!





GASPARILLA’S GOLD (story overview) Gus goes to spend the summer with his aunt in Florida and help out at her wildlife shelter. Then he discovers a carved whale’s tooth and is caught up in solving clues that could reveal the long hidden site of the pirate Gasparilla’s buried gold. But Gus also gets caught up in an even wilder race to save a rare Florida panther cub from poachers. A search for pirate treasure becomes much more . . .

GASPARILLA’S GOLD 
READ-IN ACROSS AMERICA 
is going to be a blast! 




Saturday, October 8, 2016

HAPPY DINOSAUR MONTH!

Wow! Who knew we could have an excuse to have fun exploring dinosaurs. But October is it! I LOVE that October is INTERNATIONAL DINOSAUR MONTH!


Dig In
Here are some sites where you can find lots of fun things to do and ways for children to investigate.

Science Made Fun
This site is packed with info about dinosaur record holders. For example do you know which dinosaur is the smallest when fully-grown? Or which kind was the first ever to be discovered in North America? You will once you visit this site.


Can you make up a story about what's going on in this picture?

Child Care Lounge: Dinosaur Activities
Songs and crafts add fun and games to learning about dinosaurs.

Enchanted Learning: Dinosaur Quizes

Ten questions, word unscrambles, crosswords and name hunts. There's lots of dino-fun here. 

And don't miss the jokes! You'll find the answers to these and more.

Why did the Archaeopteryx catch the worm?

What do you get when dinosaurs crash their cars?

Breaking News: Dinosaur Egg Discovered


Check out this latest discovery of dinosaur eggs. Also, take a look inside my book to see how the latest technology let scientists study baby dinosaurs. And learn what they were like and how they developed.
See a real baby dinosaur on page 35


 Encourage children to imagine dinosaur eggs were discovered at their school or at home in their backyard. Have them become reporters to bring this breaking news to the world.

South Pole Dinosaurs
Dr. Christian Sidor with fossil

Hard as it is to believe, during the Age of Dinosaurs the world's climate was very different. In fact, it was a time of Greenhouse kind of warming. So there were forests in Antarctica where the land is now covered with thick ice sheets. Scientist Dr. Vanessa Bowman reported that the rainforests of New Zealand with their fern trees show what the Antarctic forests were once like. In fact, Robert Falcon Scott found fossilized plants there in 1912. Since, explorers have discovered fossilized, bush-sized beech trees and remains of ginkgos, another ancient kind of tree. And dinosaur bones have also been discovered.
Leaellynasaura
What's fascinating about these dinosaur remains isn't that they lived in Antarctica. It's that they had to deal with the polar night. Though the climate was clearly warmer in that ancient time, there still would have been the long period of dark. Professor Thomas Rich has found several of the now eight known species (kinds) of Antarctic dinosaurs. And the only complete skeleton found was for LeaellynasauraThis provided a big clue as to how the dinosaurs managed. Its skull had extra big eye sockets so it probably had big eyes--what it would have needed to see in the long night. 

[Don't miss the sweet story of how this dinosaur got its name.]

So what kinds of dinosaurs once lived near the South Pole? Here's the names of three. Click on the name of each to link to a site where you can begin learning more about that dinosaur. If you're interested go online to discover more about one or more of these dinosaurs. And create a 12-page mini-picture book about the dinosaur.

 Antarctopelta, meaning “Antarctic shield.” Discovered in 1986. Believed to be an ankylosaurus type of armored plant eater.

Cryolophosaurus

Cryolophosaurus, means “coldcrested lizard.” Approximately 20–26 feet (6–8 m) long, this massive creature must have required a hefty diet, including other dinosaurs.

Glacialisaurus, meaning “frozen lizard.” The entire dinosaur must have been 20–25 feet (6–8 m) long and weighed an estimated 4–6 tons.

Now, imagine that you have travelled to Antarctica. And you're part of a team that has found the fossil remains of a brand new kind of dinosaur. Read this story about someone who lived that exciting adventure. Then make up a story about being along on this expedition.

Have Dino Dreams

Dinosaurs are also perfect for launching all sorts of creative thinking. Let children look at this picture and:
1. Imagine living in that city.
2. Draw another kind of dinosaur that's hosting a city.
3. Dream up a class pet dinosaur. 

And enjoy some of these fun reads:
How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?

Dinosaur Dig

Sunday, September 4, 2016

CELEBRATE NATIONAL WILDLIFE MONTH and SHARE A MEMORY

This is National Wildlife Month. I share my appreciation of wildlife in many of my books. But one book shares one of my own special wildlife memories. Children can join me in sharing that experience in Butterfly Tree (Peachtree Publishers). 





First, the heart of this book is about making a memory—taking time to do something together you can remember sharing forever. Talk about and then write about a special time you remember sharing with someone. 


*Where and when did it happen?

*What happened?

*What was the key moment of that shared time?




Of course, there are also places we’d like to go and things we’d like to do to make memories. Talk about and then write about something you’d like to share doing together.







Now, explore the special memory Jilly and her mother share in Butterfly Tree.




When Jilly first spots something strange in the sky out over Lake Erie, what does she think it looks like?  Read and discover.


Describing what something looks like by comparing it to something else is called a metaphor. Basically, something unfamiliar is described by telling how it’s like something familiar. A metaphor can be a powerful way to use words to paint a picture in someone’s mind. Try it.

Sit quietly for a few minutes either indoors or outside. Look around. Pick out something to focus on. Then think how you could describe what it looks like to someone who’s never seen it by comparing it to something else--something familiar. 

Next, share your metaphor. Ask the person to describe the visual image your words painted in their mind. Trade metaphors back and forth to work together building a description.

Here are some places and times you could use metaphors to partner building a description others can enjoy too.
*A sunset

*A stormy day

*An animal in action: a bird taking flight; a squirrel in a tree; a cat playing





When Jilly first sees the orange cloud in the sky, she makes lots of guesses of what it might be. Each of those guesses probably instantly made Jilly think of a different possibility for where the cloud came from and why it’s over Lake Erie. What did Jilly imagine the cloud might be? Read and discover.



Spend some time cloud watching with someone. Look out a window or go outside on a wonderfully cloudy day. Focus on one cloud that looks like an animal, an object, or something totally magical. Tell a short story about that cloud and what you imagined about it. 

Then write your cloud story. Be sure to include at least one metaphor to help your reader see what you’re describing.




Jilly’s ready to run away because of the orange cloud she’s spotted, but her Mom suggests they go searching for where the cloud landed. 

What orange things do Jilly and her Mom discover in the woods before they find the orange cloud? Read and discover.


What happens to reveal what the orange cloud really is? Don't miss reading to find out!




Mom says she remembers seeing the butterflies when she was a girl. Why do you think she didn’t just tell Jilly what the orange cloud was?



Now, discover more about monarch butterflies. 


The Circle of Life

Look at these images of the stages of a monarch butterfly’s life cycle. 




Egg
The female lays her eggs on the leaves of milkweed plants. Caterpillars hatch out in about four days.


Caterpillar
Caterpillars eat their egg case and keep on eating. They eat the milkweed leaves they’re on. They eat nearly twenty-four hours a day for about two weeks.


Pupa
The caterpillar spins a silk pad on the under side of a leaf. It grips this with tiny legs, called prolegs. It hangs in a J-shape and molts. This way it sheds its exoskeleton, or outer covering. 

That hardens to form a chrysalis, a protective case. Inside the chrysalis, digestive juices break down a lot of the caterpillar’s old body. Using energy from stored up fats, a new body grows from the old one bit by bit.



Adult
After about two weeks, an adult monarch butterfly emerges from its chrysalis. It takes several hours for its wings to fully inflate and harden. Then it flies off to feed on nectar, the sweet liquid produced by flowers. It lives from two to eight weeks. During this time, the males and females mate. Then the females lay their eggs, starting the cycle over again. 


Butterfly Inside
Experience what happens when a caterpillar turns into a butterfly. Cut out and color an adult monarch

Then fold this up small and push it inside a balloon. 
Have an adult partner blow up a balloon just enough to partly inflate it. Tie the neck to seal the balloon.

Cover the balloon with paper mache. To do this, first snip newspaper into strips about an inch (2.5 cm) wide and 6 inches (25 cm) long. Cut at least 25 strips. In a bowl, mix one-half cup flour with enough water to make a runny paste. Dip one paper strp into the glue mixture. Hold the strip over the bowl and slide between your thumb and fingers to remove excess paste. Smooth the strip onto the balloon. Repeat until the whole balloon is covered up to the neck. Smooth your fingers over the wet balloon. This will help seal the edges of the paper strips. Set the balloon in a clean, dry bowl. Turn frequently for a few hours to help it dry evenly. Leave overnight.

The balloon now represents the chrysalis inside which the caterpillar is changing into an adult butterfly. Use scissors to carefully snip into the balloon just below the neck. That will pop the balloon. It will deflate and separate from the inside of the paper mache. Carefully pull out the balloon. Open it and pull out the folded up adult. Unfold the adult slowly. 

In real life, the adult butterfly’s body gives off a special chemical that helps break open the chrysalis. Then the adult crawls out and hangs upside down from its chrysalis. Its abdomen squeezes over and over, pumping fluid into the wings. The big wings slowly unfold. The butterfly flaps these wings while they dry and become strong. Then it’s ready to fly. 


Scavenger Hunt

Now, go on an on-line scavenger hunt to track down the answers to these questions.




How can you help monarch butterflies?



Why is a viceroy butterfly colored to mimic a monarch butterfly?

Also, don’t miss the fun, interactive jigsaw puzzles on this site.





Where do monarch butterflies go to escape cold winters?
Watch the slide show at The Magic of Monarch Butterfly Migration


Also find out what is the longest any monarch butterfly has flown to date during its migration?


Wonder how monarch know where they’re going when they migrate?

Journey North’s Monarch Butterfly Migration Tracking Project reports
“This is a question that scientists are still working to answer. People working at the University of Kansas with Chip Taylor have shown that they use the sun, and also probably the earth’s magnetic field to know which way is south during the fall migration. But we don’t know how they find the specific spots in Mexico. Personally, I’m not sure that we’ll ever be able to answer this one—which I think is kind of nice. I like mysteries!”



Now, in honor of National Wildlife Day, jump into the amazing story of what's being done to help a rare big cat, the Amur leopard.





Friday, August 26, 2016

QUCK--BEFORE SUMMER IS TOTALLY OVER!

Okay, some places it's time for school to start again. But there is still going to be summer weather for a while even where winters get icy cold.  So here are ten things you should definitely try while you can enjoy getting outside.




1.  Make something out of mud. Even better do it after it's rained. What is that mud like? How is different from dry dirt? Is there one way it's still the same? Take pictures of what you made and send me one to share here. 


2. Play flashlight tag in the dark. 



3. Go on a shadow hunt to find the following shadows. But take an adult along because grown-ups need to have fun too:
a. Find a shadow with a bright hole in it.
b. Find the biggest shadow you can. Figure out what made it.
c. Find the littlest shadow you can. Figure out what made it.  

4. Fly a kite. But make one first. Here are sites with easy how-to instructions.


5. Make a FOOT painting. Sure, you've probably done fingerprinting. But have you ever painted with your feet? It will really let you STEP UP as an artist. Try mixing your own paints first. Here's some how-to sites to help you. Then send a picture of your art work. I'll share it on my blog. :-)!

 

6. Look at the world through a magnifying glass. Especially something you never thought to look at closely before. See anything that surprised you?  



7. Put on a puppet show with puppets you make yourself. Here's some sites with ideas to help you do just that.



8. Learn one constellation you didn't know in the night sky. Find out what story people used to tell about it. Then make up a new story yourself.

Here's my favorite constellation ORION. And here's a couple of sites with star stories, including ones about Orion.





Hope you have fun with these activities. I'll share more soon. And, of course, I'm always as close as reading one of my books. Like BUTTERFLY TREE. It's about a special kind of surprise that happened to me once right about this time of year. 



Or imagine WHAT IF YOU HAD ANIMAL TEETH!?