Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Thematic Book List - Clouds, Rain, and Snow

My last thematic list focused on water and the water cycle. It did not include books on clouds or any form of precipitation. These things are integral components in the water cycle and are necessary for returning water to the earth's surface.

Here's an annotated list of books that examine clouds and precipitation and the role they play in the water cycle and weather. You'll also find books here that celebrate rain and snow with lush images and sensory descriptions.

Nonfiction Picture Books
The Cloud Book (1984), written and illustrated by Tomie de Paola - This text focuses on different types of clouds: cirrus, cumulus, stratus, and other combinations of these three main types. The cloud types are described and presented with illustrated examples. Also included are myths about clouds and popular sayings inspired by clouds and the weather.

Clouds (2008), written by Anne Rockwell and illustrated by Frane Lessac - This book in the Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science series describes clouds, what they are made of, what they are called, and much more. The simple, engaging text in this stage 1 book makes the content accessible to a range of age groups.

The Man Who Named the Clouds (2006, OP), written by Julie Hanna and Joan Holub  and illustrated by Paige Billin-Frye - This biography of Luke Howard tells the story the "father of meteorology." Readers will learn about his life and determination to find new ways to study the weather. After studying Linnaeus and his system for scientifically classifying plants and animals, he used these ideas and developed a system for classifying clouds.

Shapes in the Sky: A Book About Clouds (2003), written by Josepha Sherman and illustrated by Omarr Wesley - This book will help readers understand that clouds come in different types and forms. The text explains how clouds are formed, how they are named, and how they  are distinguished from one another.

Vapor, Rain, and Snow: The Science of Clouds and Precipitation (2011), written by Paul Fleisher  - At nearly 50 pages, this book is filled with information about clouds and precipitation. It opens by explaining that "Weather is what happens in the air around us. But a lot of weather is really about water." In four chapters Fleisher describes water in the air, clouds, precipitation, and atmospheric phenomena like rainbows, halos, and sun dogs.

  
Down Comes the Rain (1997), written by Franklyn Branley and illustrated by James Graham Hale - This book in the Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science series follows the rain as it falls, evaporates, condenses, and falls again.

It's Raining! (2014), written and illustrated by Gail Gibbons - A perfect book for young readers, Gibbons explores rain with simple definitions, basic facts, and interesting bits of information. Readers will learn what rain is, where it comes from, and why it is necessary. Includes maps that show annual rainfall amounts around the world and information on storms.

Raindrops Roll (2015), by April Pulley Sayre - Gorgeous photographs accompany a lyrical text about water in the form of rain. Though the text is economical, it conveys a sense of wonder and beauty. Back matter examines the science of rain and includes facts about clouds, raindrop shapes, and the "abilities" of raindrops (hydrating insects, magnifying objects, and more). with facts about cloud formation, the shapes of raindrops and what they’re capable of—magnifying their surroundings, reflecting light, hydrating insects and more. Also included is a reading list for learning more.

Splish! Splash! A Book About Rain (2003), written by Josepha Sherman and illustrated by Jeff Yesh - This book uses fun pictures and simple vocabulary to explain where rain comes from and why rain is important to the earth and to humans. Sherman also delves into what happens when too much rain (flooding) or not enough rain (drought) occurs.

 
It's Snowing! (2011), written and illustrated by Gail Gibbons - A perfect book for young readers, Gibbons explores snow with simple definitions, basic facts, and interesting bits of information. Readers will learn what snow is, how it forms, regions where snow falls, and how to prepare for a snowstorm. Also includes information on the ways in which snow falls to the ground, such as sleet, flurries, and a winter storm.

The Secret Life of a Snowflake: An Up Close Look at the Art and Science of Snowflakes (2010), written by Kenneth Libbrecht  - The author of this book is a physicist at Caltech known for his passion for snow crystals. In this book aimed at 9-12 year olds, but appropriate for a much broader (and older) audience,  Libbrecht teaches readers what snow crystals and snowflakes are, where they come from, and how these amazing structures are created out of thin air. His own photographs beautifully complement the text.

All snowflakes begin with water vapor in air, but as they begin their journey toward the ground, changes in temperature and humidity determine their exact and unique shape. Libbrecht answers questions that many children (and adults) are apt to ask, such as "Why is snow white when the crystals that comprise snow are clear?" Libbrecht's web site, SnowCyrstals.com, provides a wealth of images and even more information for those readers who finish the book and want to learn more. I recommend starting with the Snowflake Primer and the Snow Crystal FAQs.

Snow is Falling (2000), written by Franklyn Branley and illustrated by Holly Keller - This book in the Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science series describes the benefits and importance of snow, as well as the danger of too much of it. Back matter includes experiments and activities for cold, snowy days.

Snowflake Bentley (1998), written by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and illustrated by Mary Azarian - This Caldecott Medal winner tells the true story of Wilson Bentley, a farmer who spent the better part of his life studying and photographing snowflakes. Willie's story is told from his childhood through his death. Accompanying the biography are a series of sidebars that contain additional facts about Bentley. The last page of the book contains a photo of Bentley at his camera (the same one at the top of the Wilson Snowflake Bentley home page), a quote about his love for photography, and three of his renowned snowflake images. This is the story of a remarkable man who pushed the limits of science and technology to create groundbreaking images of snowflakes. If the book inspires an interest in further study, you can view a number of his amazing photographs at The Bentley Snow Crystal Collection.

The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter's Wonder (2009), written by Mark Cassino with Jon Nelson  - Mark Cassino is a fine art and natural history photographer. Jon Nelson is a teacher and physicist who studies ice crystals and clouds. Together they have given us a stunning volume on the formation of snow. A perfect mixture of art and science, Cassino's photographs are accompanied by clearly written text that explains a very complex process in terms kids will understand. Readers will learn what snow is made from, how it forms, what shapes it takes, and more! Photos of snow crystals are included with a comparison of the enlarged images to a snow crystal of actual size. In the back matter you will find directions on how to catch snow crystals and examine them. For more ideas for extending the text, download a teacher's guide for this title at the Chronicle web site.

Poetry Books
 
One Big Rain: Poems for a Rainy Days (2014), compiled by Rita Gray and illustrated by Ryan O'Rourke - This collection of 20 poems about rain through the seasons opens with a haiku about the season. Four additional poems follow. Gray includes eight haiku, two poems translated from other languages (Norwegian and Spanish), works by well-known poets like Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg, and Eve Merriam, as well as works by poets whose names may not be familiar to readers. The illustrations in muted browns, grays, blacks and greens beautifully capture the mood and subject of the poems. The book opens with an introduction that describes rain through the seasons. Following the introduction is a note about haiku translations. Adapted from a work by poet and translator William J. Higginson, the emphasis is not on counting syllables, but on finding the best rhythm for the haiku in the new language.

Snow, Snow: Winter Poems for Children (2005), written by Jane Yolen with photographs by Jason Stemple - This collection of 13 beautifully crafted poems, inspired by stunning photographs of snowy woods, skiers, a snowmobile, and much more, will lead readers to see snow the wonder of snow and maybe even view it in a new way. One of my favorite poems in the collection begins "Somebody painted/The trees last night,/ Crept in and colored them/White on white."

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening (2001), written by Robert Frost and illustrated by Susan Jeffers - Frost's poem is beautifully imagined in this picture book adaptation.


Picture Books
There are many, many books about snow and rain, and far too many to mention here. Instead, I am sharing my very favorite on each subject.
Listen to the Rain (1988), written Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault and illustrated by James Endicott - This is a lyrically written and gorgeously illustrated book that celebrates the beauty, the mystery, the sounds, and the silences of the rain.

Snow (1998), written and illustrated by Uri Shulevitz - Even though the adults believe that it will not snow, a boy and his dog don't give up hope. This is a Caldecott honor book that beautifully portrays the transformation of a city when it snows.


Online Resources
For additional resources, consider these sites.

That's it for this essential part of the water cycle. Since we've hit upon important components of weather, that will be the topic of the next list. See you soon!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Thematic Book List - Water and the Water Cycle

Water is a miraculous substance. It is the only compound that commonly exists in all three phases (solid, liquid, gas) on Earth. The unique properties of water are a major factor in the ability of our planet to sustain life. 

Here's an annotated list of books on our most precious natural resource.

Nonfiction Picture Books
    
A Cool Drink of Water (2002), written by Barbara Kerley - This gorgeous book from National Geographic highlights the importance of water in our daily lives while showing how people around the world use and conserve water.

Did A Dinosaur Drink This Water? (2006), written and illustrated by Robert E. Wells - Wells tackles the water cycle and the idea that the Earth's water has been recycled since before the time of the dinosaurs. Readers see water move through all three states as it moves through streams, rivers, oceans, clouds, rain, and more. The text is written in a kid-friendly, understandable manner and asks and answers good questions. For ideas related to using this book in the classroom, check out the Robert E. Wells Science Series Teachers' Guide.

A Drop Around the World (1998), written by Barbara McKinney and illustrated by Michael S. Maydak - Follow one drop of water as it makes its way on an amazing journey around the world emphasizing how essential water is every environment and how it is necessary for life. Traveling with Drop, readers see water underground, in plants and animals, clouds, ice and snow, and more. Told in verse, readers get a hefty dose of science and view water in all three forms as a solid, liquid, and gas. With four pages of back matter on the science of water, this book provides a good introduction to water and the water cycle.

A Drop in the Ocean: The Story of Water (2004), written by Jacqui Bailey and illustrated by Matthew Lilly - This title in the Science Works series follows a water droplet from the time when it evaporates from the ocean and becomes the water vapor that makes up clouds, to the moment it falls as rain. Readers learn how water is cleaned and used before being returned again to the water cycle. Back matter includes an experiment, facts about water, and useful websites.

A Drop of Water (2006, OP), written and illustrated by Gordon Morrison - This book begins with a child exploring the water in a creek and imagining how a drop on his finger made its journey through the water cycle. Water connects everything in the story. Without it there are no clouds, no stream, no pond, no rain, no meadow, and none of the living things that rely on water for life. An illustrated appendix in the back describes the plants and animals encountered in the text.

A Drop of Water: A Book of Science and Wonder (1997), written and photographed by Walter Wick - This book is a stunning exploration of water in its many forms. Inspired by science books written for children more than 100 years ago, Wick was inspired to try the experiments listed and photograph them. The photographs show readers water in a way most have certainly not seen before. Wick carries out a number of these "old" experiments and in doing so captures water in stop-motion and highly magnified. The text that accompanies these photos is clearly written and not only informs but encourages exploration. Photos and text explore water's elastic surface, floating and sinking, soap bubbles and bubble shapes, moving molecules, ice, water vapor, condensation, evaporation, how clouds form, snowflakes, and much more. There is so much to learn here! Back matter includes ideas for readers to carry out their own observations and experiments.

Follow the Water from Brook to Ocean (2000), written and illustrated by Arthur Dorros - This title in the Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science series clearly illustrates where water comes from, how it travels, and where it goes. Readers will learn that water is always on the move, shaping our earth. They will also learn why it is important to keep water clean. (Check out this lesson from the Georgia Aquarium which contains good guiding questions to ask at specific points while reading the book.)

I Get Wet (2002), written by Vicki Cobb and illustrated by Julia Gorton - This title in the Science Play series looks at water. Using simple text and hands-on activities, Cobb encourages kids to explore and experiment to learn about the most basic properties of water. The boy in the book learns by pouring water into different containers, observing it drip and flow, and trying to absorb it with waxed paper and paper toweling. The interactive format of questions and answers guides readers through these activities using everyday objects.

One Well: The Story of Water on Earth (2007), written by Rochelle Strauss and illustrated by Rosemary Woods - In this book, Strauss tells the story of our planet's most precious resource and provides an instructive and often-times inspiring look at water. She reminds us that the amount of water on Earth hasn't ever changed. Since this water has been around for billions of year, it is entirely possible that the water you drink may have "quenched the thirst of a dinosaur" more than one hundred million years ago. The double page spreads provide both informational paragraphs and short, factual boxed insets, beginning with the distribution of water on earth, the water cycle, water's essential role in life on Earth and watery habitats. From here, the author looks at how people use, need and access water. The book concludes by looking at demands on the well, pollution, and saving our water.

The Snowflake: A Water Cycle Story (2003), written and illustrated by Neil Waldman - In this book about the water cycle, water takes many different forms, but it's the form of snow in which this journey begins. In January a snowflake lands on the peak of a mountain. Over the course of year the snowflake changes both location and form. In February it's blown into a mountain pond, where it melts in March. This tiny droplet sinks into an underground stream where it continues its journey. That water drop travels to a farm and evaporates into the clouds before it comes back down to the ground to travel even further. Eventually it becomes a snowflake once more. This book emphasizes the idea that resources on Earth are finite. Kids have a hard time with this notion, but Waldman makes this message clear as readers learn that the water we drink, wash in, and play in is part of an amazing cycle that repeats itself over and over and over again.

This Is The Rain (2001), written by Lola Schaefer and illustrated by Jane Wattenberg - This picture book about the cycling and recycling of water uses the familiar cumulative pattern of "The House That Jack Built." Bold, vibrant photo-collages accompany the text. It begins this way. "This is the ocean,/ blue and vast,/ that holds the rainwater from the past." Can you guess where this goes? Next comes the sun to warm the oceans, which eventually forms vapor that fills the clouds, which produce the rain that falls. Here's the text from the page on rain. "This is the rain,/ falling all day,/ that forms in clouds,/ low and gray,/ full of vapor, moist and light/ made when sunshine,/ hot and bright,/ warms the ocean, blue and vast,/ that holds the rainwater from the past." After passing through all stages of the water cycle, Schaefer circles back to the rain falling "somewhere every day." The book ends with a short note about the water cycle on planet earth.

Water (2002), written by Emily Neye and illustrated by Cindy Revell - In this Penguin Young Reader, Neye introduces beginning readers to water in its many forms. The text combines simple words, repetition, and visual clues to help readers learn about the properties of water.

Water, Water Everywhere
 (1995), written by Cynthia Overbeck Bix and Mark Rauzon - This Reading Rainbow selection celebrates the many forms and properties of water. Easy to understand text is complemented by gorgeous color photographs. Readers learn about the water cycle, how moving water changes the earth’s surface, the importance of water to life on our planet, and why conserving water and keeping it free from pollution is so important.


Picture Books
The Magic School Bus at the Waterworks (1988), written by Joanna Cole and illustrated by Bruce Degen - This very first book in the series takes Ms. Frizzle's students on a field trip to the waterworks. On their trip they learn that water is a substance that can naturally be found as a solid, liquid or gas. They also come to know the water cycle (personally!) and how water evaporates into a gas to form clouds, and how it later liquefies and falls to the ground as rain.


Poetry Books
 
All the Water in the World (2011), written by George Ella Lyon and illustrated by Katherine Tillotson - Where does water come from and where does it go? In this book length poem using occasional rhyme, readers learn who uses water, what it's used for, and why all living things depend upon water. The language is this one is exquisite with lines like this: "Thirsty air / licks it from lakes / sips it from ponds / guzzles it from oceans . . ." A terrific title about all the water in our world.

How to Cross a Pond: Poems About Water (2003, OP), written by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Meilo So - This collection of poems is one of three in a series of nature books. The trim size is small, but don't let that fool you. These little gems are filled with Meilo So's gorgeous India ink drawings on rice paper (all shades of blue in this work) and Singer's fabulous poems that in turn will make you laugh then nod and smile in agreement. Composed of 19 poems, Singer deftly captures water in a range of forms and places.

Splish Splash (2001), written by Joan Bransfield Graham and illustrated by Steve Scott - This collection of 21 concrete poems shows and describes water in a myriad of forms, including crocodile tears, ice cube, popsicle, snow, hail, dew and more. You can preview a number of the poems at Google Books.

Water Can Be... (2014), written by Laura Purdie Salas and illustrated by Violeta - This is a book length poem that begins with spring and cycles through the four seasons looking at the importance of water. The text is economical, but it doesn't miss a beat in highlighting the important functions and characteristics of water. For example, otter feeder relates to the fact the water in rivers sustains many of the life forms that otters eat. Back matter in the book does a terrific job of explaining the meaning of each water "nickname."

Water Music (2003), written by Jane Yolen with photographs by Jason Stemple - Inspired by gorgeous photos, this collection of 17 poems in a variety of  forms lyrically examines water in a range of forms, including soap bubbles, icicles, rivers, waterfalls, rain showers, and more. 

Water Rolls, Water Rises Water Rolls, Water Rises: El agua rueda, el agua sube (2014), written by Pat Mora and illustrated by Meilo So. In a series of free verse poems in English and Spanish, water rolls, rises, slithers, hums, twists, plunges, slumbers and moves across the Earth in varied forms and places. Mora’s three-line poems are filled with imagery and emotion. “Water rises/ into soft fog,/ weaves down the street, strokes and old cat.” (In Spanish: “El agua sube/ formando suave neblina/ que ondula pro la calle, acacia a un gate viejo.”) The lyrical movement of water described in verse is accompanied by Meilo So’s gorgeous mixed-media illustrations highlighting 16 landscapes from Iceland, to China, to Mexico, the United States and more. Back matter includes an author’s note and information about the images in the book. A joyous, bilingual celebration, this collection brings water to life.


Online Resources

For additional resources on water, consider these sites.
I also have a Pinterest board on this topic with many ideas and activities for instruction.
Follow Tricia's board Water/Water Cycle on Pinterest.

You'll notice that books on rain, snow, and clouds are sorely lacking in this list. That is the subject for the my next thematic list, so stay tuned!

P.S. - Put the following book on your TBR pile. It comes out in May and looks fabulous.
Water is Water, written by Miranda Paul and illustrated by Jason Chin.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Finding Math in Van Gogh's Starry Night

Turbulence is a concept that is difficult to model and understand. Amazingly, Van Gogh captured it in his work Starry Night.


Learn more by viewing the complete TED Ed lesson by Natalya St. Clair.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Dead Stuff: The Secret Ingredient In Our Food Chain

Here's a terrific video on "the brown food chain." Watch it and learn how pond scum and animal poop contribute enormous amounts of energy to our ecosystems.


Learn more by viewing the complete TED Ed lesson by John C. Moore.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

One Million (and One) Digits of Pi

The team at Numberphile printed one million decimal places of Pi onto a piece of paper. Can you guess how long it stretched? Or which digit appeared most often? Watch this video to learn the answers to these questions and more.


Once you've seen the video, check out the related TED Ed lesson.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Manic Monday - Part-Part-Whole Flip Cards

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
It's been a while since I've created anything for my math class, but after spending two days at the NCTM regional conference in Richmond, I was inspired to make some new resources. Today I'm sharing two sets of flip cards for working on subitizing, part-part-whole, missing addend problems, and basic facts.

Each set contains 55 cards covering addition facts from 0+0 through 9+9. You can access all 100 facts by using the Commutative property and covering a different part of the flip card. Here's what the packet and cards look like.


Once you print these back-to-back and cut along the dotted lines, you can select which part of the card you wish to "hide." Here's what a finished card looks like.

These flip card sets can be used to meet the following Common Core Standards for Math.
  • K.OA.5.  Fluently add and subtract within 5.
  • 1.OA.3.  Apply properties of operations as strategies to add and subtract. Examples: If 8 + 3 = 11 is known, then 3 + 8 = 11 is also known. (Commutative property of addition.) To add 2 + 6 + 4, the second two numbers can be added to make a ten, so 2 + 6 + 4 = 2 + 10 = 12. (Associative property of addition.)
  • 1.OA.4.  Understand subtraction as an unknown-addend problem. For example, subtract 10 – 8 by finding the number that makes 10 when added to 8.
  • 1.OA.5.  Relate counting to addition and subtraction (e.g., by counting on 2 to add 2).
  • 1.OA.6. Add and subtract within 20, demonstrating fluency for addition and subtraction within 10. Use strategies such as counting on; making ten (e.g., 8 + 6 = 8 + 2 + 4 = 10 + 4 = 14); decomposing a number leading to a ten (e.g., 13 – 4 = 13 – 3 – 1 = 10 – 1 = 9); using the relationship between addition and subtraction (e.g., knowing that 8 + 4 = 12, one knows 12 – 8 = 4); and creating equivalent but easier or known sums (e.g., adding 6 + 7 by creating the known equivalent 6 + 6 + 1 = 12 + 1 = 13).
  • 2.OA.2.  Fluently add and subtract within 20 using mental strategies. By end of Grade 2, know from memory all sums of two one-digit numbers.


I hope you get a chance to use these cards in your home or classroom. Please let me know if you try them and how you like them! 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Binoculars for Young Citizen Scientists

Between September-November (2014) the Cornell Lab of Ornithology will be awarding a classroom set of binoculars to approximately 6 schools where educators have made outstanding efforts to engage their students in citizen science.

Begin by putting your citizen science actions on the Action Map within the Citizen Science category.  The folks at Cornell will look through submissions monthly and select a handful to submit a formal application.

You can get more information about this at:
Binoculars for Young Citizen Scientists