mystery The answer to last week's clues may be found at the bottom of this column. 

The winner of the February contest is Susan Braunstein of Holy Name of Jesus School in New Rochelle, New York.
She has won a classroom set of Dawn’s nature books for her school.

Teachers and Parents: I invite you to enter our weekly mystery contest. It's fun and easy!
Just read the clues below. They describe an aspect of nature—a plant, animal, mineral, habitat, or natural process.
When you're ready to make your guess about who or what I am, click ENTER NOW.

Winners are selected monthly. Please note, books are shipped only to US addresses.
Who Am I?
spacerglass1 Clue 1:  I live in Africa in dense tropical rain forests, where I'm a great tree climber with my long arms.
glass1 Clue 2:  I'm a social animal and live in a group. My average lifespan is 30-35 years.
glass1 Clue 3:  I mainly eat plants, but occasionally I'll hunt and eat meat.
glass1 Clue 4: Jane Goodall discovered that I make and use tools.
Do you think you know who I am? ENTER NOW.
Entries should be submitted no later than noon on Friday.
If you guessed correctly, you’re automatically entered into the drawing for a set of nature books from Dawn Publications.
A contest winner will be announced the first week of the month.
Throughout the school year, clues for a new Who Am I are posted no later than Sunday night, so you can use them with your class on Monday morning. Good luck!
The answer to last week's mystery was: FOX

Teachers, click here to get ideas about how to use the contest with your students.

Coming Soon: National Wildlife Week

National Wildlife Week
, an event sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation, is March 9-15.

Prep your students for a week of awareness about wildlife using  the book Lifetimes.

The book presents 24 “lifetimes.” Beginning with “A lifetime for a mayfly is about one day” and including a lifetime for an earthworm is about six years, for a giant sequoia is about 2,000 years, and for the universe is about 15 to 20 billion years.

LESSON PLAN: Same/Different
After reading about chimpanzees, students list similarities and differences between chimps and humans. They then expand the concept to other objects, both natural and man-made.

Suggested Grade Level: K-3

  • The book, Lifetimes, written by teacher David Rice
  • Paper and pencil for each student
  1. Read aloud Lifetimes. Then read again the page about chimpanzees.
  2. As a class, list the characteristics of chimps based on the information in the book. Add information they may know from other sources. Then list some of the  characteristics of humans.
  3. Using the lists as a starting point, ask students to identify similarities between chimps and humans by making statements that begin with the word “both.” For example: Both chimps and humans can learn to use tools. Both have forward facing eyes. Both are carried by their mothers when they are young.
  4. Have students state differences following these examples: A chimp usually sleeps in a tree, and a human usually sleeps in a bed.  A chimp doesn’t wear clothes, and a human usually wears some type of clothing.
  5. After compiling a long list, divide the class into small groups of 3-5 students and have them list similarities and differences for the “Other Pairs” (below). After about 15 minutes, have students choose their best ideas and share them with the whole class.
Other Pairs: submarine-fish, window-mirror, blade of grass-fully grown tree, sun-lamp, hand-foot, sky-ocean, orange-apple, lake-puddle, flashlight-candle, table-chair

Each plant or animal in the book is practically a lesson plan in itself, with “tell about it,” “think about it,” and “look it up” challenges.

Common Core ELA Standards (K-3)
Reading Informational Text: Key Ideas and Details: K.1, 1.1, 2.1, 3.1; K.3, 1.3, 2.3, 3.3
Speaking and Listening: Comprehension and Collaboration: K.1, 1.1, 2.1, 3.1

Next Generation Science Standards (DCI)
Life Sciences:
LS1.A: Structure and Function
LS1.B: Growth and Development of Organisms
Ls1.C: Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms
LS1.D: Information Processing


Where Does the Snow Go?

Most of North America is experiencing dramatic weather—snow, rain, sleet, or drought. That makes this a perfect time to study the WATER CYCLE.


Pitter and Patter are two drops of rain that fall from a cloud and take different routes as they travel through the water cycle. In this activity, students listen to a read-aloud of the book Pitter and Patter, and then write their own creative story about one of Pitter and Patter’s friends, called PLOP—either a snowflake or another raindrop. Students’ stories should answer the question, “Where does the snow (or rain) go?”

It’s easy to expand your lesson using the additional information and activities from the back of the book about states of matter, watershedshabitats, and human impacts.

Suggested Grade Level: K-3



  1. Read aloud the story about Pitter and Patter.
  2. Referring to the two pages in the book titled “Explore More—For Kids,” review Pitter and Patter’s journey through the water cycle beginning and ending with the gray cloud.
  3. Using the Pitter, Patter, and PLOP handout, instruct students to write a story about Pitter and Patter’s friend PLOP! The reverse side of the handout can be used for an illustration. Younger students can begin with the illustration and add a short narrative.
  4. Invite children to share their finished stories with the class or in small groups.

Common Core Standards (ELA K-3)

  • Reading: Informational Text: Key Ideas and Details (K.1, 1.1, 2.1, 3.1); Integration and Knowledge of Ideas (K.7, 1.7, 2.7, 3.7)
  • Writing: Text Types and Purposes (K.3, 1.3, 2.3, 3.3)

Next Generation Science Standards (DCI K-3)

  • PS1: Matter and Interactions—A: Structure and Properties of Matter; B: Chemical Reactions
  • ESS2: Earth’s Systems—C: The Roles of Water in the Earth’s Surface Processes
  • LS2: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics—A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems

Pitter and Patter meet lots of fun critters during their water cycle journey…here are a couple of them:


Over on a Mountain

You can easily integrate science into different subject areas using cross-curricular activities. The following lesson connects language arts and life science, with some geography added through illustrations.

Animal Actions

Over on a Mountain, Somewhere in the World introduces children to various mountain animals and the continent where they live. In this activity, students match mountain animals with their behaviors.

[This lesson is also available as pdf download.]

Suggested Grade Level: K-3

Materials Needed
  1. Give a bookmark to each student. Read aloud Over on a Mountain, Somewhere in the World, ending after you read the page about the penguin.
  2. Ask children, “What actions to do remember the animals doing?” Tell them they can use their bookmarks as clues. Listen to responses, but don’t comment on accuracy.
  3. Tell students you’re going to reread the part of each verse that describes the animal actions. These actions describe their behavior. Invite them to listen carefully to the words that describe what the animal is doing. When they hear the behavior of “their” animal, they should hold up their bookmark. (Action words/verbs: roll, eat, climb, sleep, forage, leap, soar, pounce, huddle, and waddle.)
  4. Then reread the book from the beginning, but this time only read the second verses and don’t show the illustrations. For example, on the first page you would read, “Roll said the mother. I roll, said the one. So they rolled in the dirt, grazing in the morning sun.”
  5. Ask students why the animals behaved as they did. Find out by reading the additional information about each animal in the back pages of the book.

Optional extension activities

  • Younger children can sing the song “Over in a Mountain” to the tune of “Over in the Meadow,” acting out the animals’ behaviors.
  • Older children can list one or more synonyms for each of the action words. For example, soar=fly, sleep=nap, leap=jump. This would be a good opportunity to introduce an age-appropriate dictionary or thesaurus. Ask students, “What reasons do you think the author had for choosing the words she did?”

Common Core Standards (ELA K-3)
Reading: Informational Text
~Key Ideas and Details (K.1, 2.1, 3.1)
~Integration and Knowledge of Ideas (K.7, 1.7, 2.7, 3.7)

Next Generation Science Standards (DCI K-3)
~LS1: From Molecules to Organisms:
   A. Structures and Processes
   B. Growth and Development of Organisms
   D. Information Processing
~LS3: Heredity:
   A. Inheritance of Traits


Noisy Birds in Your Backyard

NBIRD_COVER2Whether you live in the city, suburbs, or rural area, birds are some of the most common wildlife you’re likely to see…and hear! So common, in fact, it’s easy to take them for granted.

The following lesson brings birds into focus for you and your students.

This lesson is a perfect tie-in to The Great Backyard Bird 2015GBBC_ChickadeeFlyer-231x300Count, a world-wide citizen science project. Next weekend, Feb. 13-16, people from 135 countries will be counting the birds they see in their own backyards and neighborhoods. The data they post online will be compiled by scientists to create a “real time snapshot” of birds in the world.

Even if you don’t participate in the GBBC, Noisy Bird Sing-Along will engage your students and get them interested in birds.

LESSON PLAN: Gotta Have a Habitat
In this activity, students use the book Noisy Bird Sing-Along to learn about 12 common birds. In addition to illustrating bird sounds, readers learn the basic habitat requirements of birds. They then go outside to discover what bird habitat is available on their school grounds.
Note: This lesson is available as a pdf on the Dawn Publications website. 

Suggested Grade Level: K-3

~The book Noisy Bird Sing-Along
~Habitat chart to write on board (click here and scroll down the page for the chart)
~Map of school grounds, one per pair of students

Teacher Prep
~Draw a simple map of the school grounds that shows the building(s) and roads. Make copies.

  1. Read aloud Noisy Bird Sing-Along. Students will have fun making the noises for each bird!
  2. Ask: “What do birds need to survive?” List their responses on the board.
  3. Then group their responses into four categories: food, water, cover (shelter) and space. “Cover” includes nesting areas, places to sleep or rest, and places to hide or escape. “Space” includes the amount and kind of area needed to hunt, feed, and live as well as migration routes. Tell students that a “habitat” is a place that gives birds these four things that birds need to in order to survive.
  4. Read aloud Noisy Bird Sing-Along again, having students listen for the four components of a habitat. Also look at the illustrations for habitat information. After reading each page, fill in as many categories as possible on the chart. Read additional info about each bird from the back of the book  (also available here) and add to the chart. Compare the kinds of food, cover, and space each bird needs.
  5. Divide the class into pairs. Give each pair a map and pencils. Have students spread out around the school grounds to draw on the map any sources of food, water, cover, or space for birds.
  6. Back inside, have students compare their maps. Ask students what kinds of birds might be attracted to the school grounds. Ask if there is anything they could do to make their school grounds a better habitat for birds. Follow through by doing as many habitat habitat suggestions as possible.
Common Core Standards (ELA K-3)
Reading: Informational Text
~ Craft and Structure (K.1, 1.1, 2.1, 3.1)
~ Integration and Knowledge of Ideas (K.7, 1.7, 2.7, 3.7)

Next Generation Science Standards (DCI K-3)
LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
~ A: Structure and Function
~ B: Growth and Development of Organisms
~ C: Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms
~ D: Information Processing
LS4: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
~D: Biodiversity and Humans
ESS3: Earth’s Systems
~ A: Natural Resources

PenWoodpecker-iab-228x300 This lesson is adapted from Bird Sleuth’s Feathered Friends Activities, a collection of monthly lessons about birds. You can download an entire year of activities.

The title of this lesson is from a fun and lively song by the Banana Slug String Band.

Echoes Show the Way

A baby was born to J-pod—an endangered family of orcas (killer whales) that live in the San Juan Islands. They’re regularly seen in the waters between Seattle, WA, and Vancouver, BC.

The oldest member of the family is 103 years old! As the matriarch, people have named her “Granny” and her 78-member family is “Granny’s Clan.”
Read more about the birth.

Orcas travel with their families in a dark undersea world. Like other dolphins, orcas use sounds to navigate, find food, communicate, and stay together.
They use a special adaptation called echolocation to “see” with sounds. Interestingly, there have been recent news reports that humans can develop the ability to use echolocation, too.Read more.

Echoes Show the Way
In this activity, students simulate echolocation as they role-play “seeing with sounds” to find food and avoid obstacles in the ocean’s darkness. This activity is adapted from the author’s set of lessons on titled Seeing with Sounds.

Suggested Grade Level: K-4

Depending on the size of your class, write names on cards: at least one orca, a few salmon, a few rocks, many ocean

  1. Read aloud the book Granny’s Clan. You may ask questions such as: How does echolocation help orcas survive in a dark underwater environment? How do orcas “see with sounds?” Why is echolocation more effective than orca
    eyesight in locating fish in dark waters?
  2. Have students draw a card to determine their roles for the game. Have students tape their cards on the front of their shirts.
  3. Explain that the object of the activity is for the blindfolded “orca” to use echolocation to find the “salmon” while avoiding the “rocks.” When the orca tags a salmon by touching it, the salmon is caught and leaves the ocean circle.
  4. Begin by having the “ocean” students form a large circle. The ocean boundary keeps the orca inside. Blindfold the orca and ask him/her to wait outside ocean circle. Have the rocks stand, sit, or lay inside circle. Have the salmon walk slowly inside circle. Give the orca a clicker and guide him/her into the center of the ocean circle.
  5. Explain that the orca will use the clicker to discover what’s in its path. Each time the orca clicks, the salmon immediately reply by saying “salmon,” and the rocks immediately reply “rock.” Instruct the orca to find the salmon and avoid the rocks by listening to the sounds of their voices. If the orca bumps against the rock, it considered an injury. When the orca has 3 injuries, it dies and must leave the center of the circle and become part of the ocean. Choose a new orca and continue play.
  6. After all of the salmon are tagged, switch roles and repeat the activity, allowing students to play different roles.
  7. Debrief the activity by asking the following questions: Was it hard to find your way and locate objects without your eyesight? Why? Was it easier to catch salmon with several orcas? What different ways do humans see in the
    dark? How would your life be different if you had to use sound echoes to navigate?
Additional Tips:
  • After reading aloud the story, read or paraphrase some of the “Dive Deeper” information at the end of the story. 
  • Rather than having students draw their own cards, you may assign roles, especially for the orcas.
  • Some young children may be afraid to be blindfolded. If so, have them play the role of the ocean or tie the blindfold so that they can slightly see underneath it.
  • This activity is meant to be fast-paced. If the energy lags, you may choose additional students to be orcas (like the members of Granny’s Clan) and have them enter circle. 
  • Play a practice round first to give the salmon and rocks a feel for how immediate their responses need to be.
  • For very young children it’s often more exciting to have an adult play the role of the orca.
  • Older children will also enjoy this game. I’ve used a variation with 7th-8th graders.

Common Core Standards (ELA K-4)

  • Reading and Literature: Key Ideas and Details (K.1, 1.1, 2.1, 3.1, 4.1)

Next Generation Science Standards (K-4)

  • LS1.A: Structure and Function
  • LS1C: Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms
  • LS1.D: Information Processing
  • LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
  • LS4.D: Biological Evolution


Forest Bright, Forest Night

It’s nighttime in the forest, but not all animals are asleep.  “Sun sinks, moon winks. Hello, forest night…Yip and yowl, foxes prowl.”

But when the “Moon goes down, sun grows round. Hello, forest day…Whittle and rap, woodpeckers tap.”

The book Forest Bright, Forest Night introduces children to animal behavior through catchy rhymes.
The book’s illustrations dramatically show the difference between day and night as reader actually FLIPS the book over—one way shows day, the other way shows night.

LESSON PLAN: Classify It!
In this lesson children first classify animals by their sleeping habits: nocturnal (awake at night) and diurnal (awake during the day). Then children sort ALL of the animals according to their family: mammal, bird, reptile, insect, or amphibian.

Suggested Grade Level: K-2rf

  • A copy of the book, Forest Bright, Forest Night
  • Chart/butcher paper or chalk board/white board with the headings: mammal, bird, fish, insect, amphibian, reptile
  1. Tell students that scientists often group objects, plants and animals by common characteristics so they can be more easily studied and understood.
  2. Show students the cover of the book Forest Bright, Forest Night. Discuss the title and the animals.
  3. Read the story aloud and ask children to identify the waking and sleeping animals on each page.
  4. After reading the story, refer to the chart created on butcher paper with the headings: mammal, bird, fish, insect, amphibian, reptile.
  5. Explain that each category has certain characteristics. Mammals have fur. Birds have feathers and beaks. Reptiles have scales. Insects have six legs. Fish live under water and have gills. Amphibians live near water and have moist skin.
  6. Go through the pages of Forest Bright, Forest Night a second time, and classify each animal in the book by the characteristics above.

Common Core Standards (ELA K-2)

  • Reading and Literature: Key Ideas and Details (K.3, 1.3, 2.3); Integration and Knowledge of Ideas (K.7, 1.7, 2.7)

Next Generation Science Standards (K-2)

  • LS1.D: Information Processing
  • LS4.D: Biological Evolution
  • LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems.


I Have a Dream


Martin Luther King’s hopes and dreams extended to the environment. As U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder stated:
“Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in addition to his many other achievements, helped ‘plant the seeds’ for what would become our nation’s now-thriving ‘environmental justice movement.'”

It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one destiny, affects all indirectly.
—   Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

You can help your students feel a connection with all of life by getting them outside. It’s easy when you use the National Wildlife Federation’s 26 activities that will get kids outside. Most of these activities can be done at both school or home. There’s one idea for each letter of the alphabet; for example, “A” is for “Animal Homes.” Below is the activity that’s just perfect for our cold outside temperatures.

“F” is for “Frozen Frosty Ornaments.”
Some of the treasures inside will make tasty treats for the birds in your neighborhood. Use this activity as a follow up to Baby It’s Cold Outside about animal adaptation.

Suggested Grade Level: K-3


  • small baking molds or muffin pans
  • Evergreen leaves, seedpods, acorns, berries, or any other objects from nature
  • Ribbon
  • Water
1. Go outside for a winter walk and gather nature items.
2. Arrange the collected objects inside the molds or muffin pan. You can also add fruit slices, sunflower seeds, nuts, and dried corn kernels to your ornaments. Pour water over them.
3. Add Ribbon for the hangers by placing the ends of a strip of ribbon in the water in each mold.
4. Take outside the molds outside to freeze. (If the temperature is above 32°F, put them in your freezer instead.)
5. After the water has frozen, remove the ornaments from the molds. (If they won’t come out easily, run some warm water over the bottom to loosen.)
6. Hang the ornaments outside on tree branches.

*This activity originally appeared in the December/January 2012 issue of Ranger Rick magazine.

Next Generation Science Standards (DCI K-3)

LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: (A) Structures and Processes; (B) Growth and Development of Organisms
ESS3: Earth and Human Activity: Natural Resources

Pass the Energy, Please!

Just because it’s cold and snowy outside, it doesn’t mean you can’t explore nature inside…through a book! Pass the Energy, Please! is a book about nature’s food chains written to capture students’ attention to a rhyming verse.

Links in the Chain
All creatures on the planet depend upon green plants. Everybody is somebody’s lunch and each of nature’s creatures “passes the energy” in its own unique way.

In this lesson, students listen while you read aloud Pass the Energy, Please! and then work together to “put together” food chains.

Note: This lesson is adapted from A Teacher’s Guide to Nature’s Food Chains.

Suggested Grade Level: K-4


  • 3×5 cards, 32
  • White board or chart paper
  • Tape
  • Optional: chains of different sizes, weights, and thicknesses. For example, a necklace chain, bicycle chain, and tow chain.
Teacher Prep:
  • Draw 8 chains and 1 broken chain on the whiteboard or chart paper using the number of links as indicated in #3 below. Each link should be 3 x5 inches in size.
  • Write one of the following words on each 3×5 card (adapt for younger children by using pictures instead of words): green plant, seaweed, stems, gorilla, bamboo, panda, sea of grass, gazelle, cheetah, milkweed seed, mouse, snake, owl, phytoplankton, zooplankton, anchovy, seal, polar bear, goldenrod, caterpillar, spider warbler, weasel. Red fox, vulture, beetle, maggot, moth, ant, bacteria, fungus, earthworm. Note:

#1. A captivating way to begin class is to walk in wearing, carrying, and dragging a variety of different chains. Explain that each piece of the chain is called a link. Hold up the chins one at a time and ask students if they can identify their use. Emphasize how each chain is perfectly designed for the way it is used. For example, a necklace chain consists of very lightweight links so that it isn’t too heavy to wear around your neck, and tow chain is extremely thick and heavy so that it can pull a lot of weight without breaking.

#2. Tell students there is one other type of chain that you want them to know about. Show them the book Pass the Energy, Please! and tell them it’s about food chains. Pass out the 3×5 cards. Depending on the size of your class, some students may get more than one card. Tell students that they each have a “link” in a food chain. Their links will be explained during the reading of the book. Instruct them to listen carefully as you read aloud, and when they hear their link mentioned, they should hold up their cards. Explain that when you’re finished with the passage, they’ll bring their links up to the board and tape them onto the chain you have drawn in the correct order. Before reading aloud, review the links, making sure each student can read their card, especially the challenging words like “phytoplankton” and “zooplankton.”

#3. Read aloud the following pages, creating food chains on the board as you go:
3-5 (one link: green plant)
6-7 (one link: seaweed)
8-9 (two links: stems, gorilla) and (two links: bamboo, panda)
10-11 (three links: sea of grass, gazelle, cheetah)
12-15 (four links: milweed seed, mouse, snake owl)
16-19 (five links: phytoplankton, zooplankton, anchovy, seal, polar bear)
20-23 (six links: goldenrod, caterpillar, spider, warbler, weasel, red fox)
24-26 (broken chain of decomposers: Vulture, beetle, maggot, moth, ant, bacteria, fungus, earthworm)

#4. When you’ve finished reading and all of the food chains are put on the board, reread the line, “Each living thing is a link in the chain with a purpose that Nature can always explain.” Invite students to choose one of the links to research.

Common Core (ELA K-4)
Reading Informational Text:
~Key Ideas and Details: K.3, 1.3, 2.3, 3.3, 4.3

Next Generation Science (DCI K-4)
LS1. From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
~A: Structure and Function
~C: Organization of Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms

LS2. Ecosystems: Interactions and Energy Dynamics
~A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems


Baby It’s Cold Outside

Now that it’s cold outside, how do you stay warm? Maybe you just go inside and have a hot cup of cocoa. But what do animals do to stay warm in winter? How do they adapt to the cold?

ARCTI_COVERLESSON PLAN: In this lesson, children learn about ten arctic animals and their babies. These animals are amazing because they’ve learned how to live where it is very cold and the nights are very long!

Suggested Grade Level: K-3


Teacher Prep:
Create a “Blubber Mitt” by filling one zip-lock sandwich bag 1/2 full with solid shortening. Flatten it down and then place it into the other zip-lock bag.

1. Read aloud Over in the Arctic Where the Cold Wind Blows. Read or paraphrase the nonfiction information about each animal in the back of the book. Explain how each animal stays warm in the harsh arctic environment:
  • Polar bear—heavy, water-repellent fur and a thick layer of blubber
  • Arctic hare—short thick undercoat of fur protected by a top coat of longer fur; feet are padded with fur
  • Walrus—a layer of blubber covers their entire body
  • Arctic fox—deep, thick fur all over, even on their paws
  • Beluga whale—a layer of blubber. It also migrates to a warmer climate in winter.
  • Arctic wolf—small hairs between the pads of their feet and long, thick fur
  • Snow goose—migrates to a warmer climate in winter
  • Seal—a layer of blubber
  • Snowy owl—downy feathers covered with a thick layer of feathers, with feathers even on their feet
  • Wolverine—thick, oily fur that is frost resistant
2. Divide the class into small groups and give each group a blubber mitt. Have each student put one hand palm down into the second bag so that the Crisco-filled bag is underneath the palm. Have students put their mitt-covered hand in a bowl of ice water. Then have students put their bare hand in the bowl. Ask them what difference they felt in temperature. Discuss how blubber keeps an animal warm.

Optional Extensions:

Common Core Standards (ELA K-3)
Reading: Informational Text—Key Ideas and Details (K.1, 2.1, 3.1); Integration and Knowledge of Ideas (K.7, 1.7, 2.7, 3.7)

Next Generation Science Standards (DCI K-3)
LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: (A) Structures and Processes; (B) Growth and Development of Organisms
LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
LS3: Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits
LS4: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity


Nature’s Gifts of the Season

CARDS_COVERMy wish for you during this holiday season is that you enjoy the gifts of beauty that nature offers you. As teachers it’s so important to have our own special experiences in nature.

That’s why I created The Nature Portals card deck. The cards combine stunning nature photos with uplifting words to help you expand your awareness of nature’s gifts and bring balance and renewal into your life. 

May your heart be filled with the special joy that comes from spending time in nature. And when you get warm and cozy inside, I invite you to enjoy these books with the children in your life—each one has a special message that’s perfect for the holidays.

INSID_StoreInside All by Margaret Mason is a comforting bedtime book that will reassure little ones that they—every one of them—are connected to the world both physically and mystically. They belong, and are part of something meaningful.


AMY_StoreThe poetry in Amy’s Light by Robert Nutt follows the pattern of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, making this book a wonderful read-aloud. The photo-illustrations of the author’s daughter are lifelike yet dreamy.


BRIAN_CoverBecause Brian Hugged His Mother, written by David Rice, shows that kindness IS contagious when young Brian starts a chain reaction that brings a bit of joy to people he doesn’t even know. It all starts out one morning when Brian wakes up and gives his mother a hug.


BFB_COVER2For Baby, For Bobbie is a picture book illustrating a song about unconditional love by John Denver, featuring families and animals from around the world. It’s a wonderful teaching tool for young children of how parents—both human and non-human—love their children in very much the same way all over the world.

Along with schools and classrooms across the country, this blog is taking a holiday break. I’ll be back with a new lesson plan and “Who Am I?” contest in time for the new semester on January 5th.

subscribe ABOUT ME
Carol I believe in making all kinds of connections: kids and nature, science and reading, fun and learning. I’ve been an elementary, middle school, and high school teacher, and founder of two alternative high schools. For eight years I was instructional designer for Performance Learning Systems. I’ve authored all of Dawn’s Teacher’s Guides and written books for children 4-14 years old.
How to Use Creative Nonfiction Picture Books in Support of Common Core and Science
Dawn Publications
Common Core State Standards
Next Generation Science Standards
National Science Teachers Association
Picture Perfect Science
Dawn Publications
Children and Nature Network
Sharing Nature Worldwide
Roots and Shoots
Audubon Adventures
Journey North: Citizen Science