Petaloso: A New Word Blossoms Forth

What adjectives would you use to describe a flower? This is the question an Italian primary school teacher asked her class. One of the students, an 8-year-old boy, wrote down  “petaloso” meaning “full of petals.” The only problem was that there’s no such word in the Italian dictionary. At least not yet.

The ending “oso” is common in Italian. But it’s never been applied to flower petals. The boy and his teacher wrote to the Italian institution that oversees language. And to their surprise, they received a letter from an official linguist. It read in part:

It’s beautiful and clear. . . If you manage to spread your word among many people who start saying ‘What a petaloso flower this is!’, then petaloso will have become a word in Italian.

The teacher posted the letter on Facebook, and now there’s a movement to make “petaloso” a widely used word. Now that’s a language lesson her class will never forget!

Read more details at: How an eight-year-old boy invented a new word”,  or you can listen to the story on NPR.


FLOWR_COVER2On One Flower: Butterflies, Ticks, and a Few More Icks

What adjectives might your students use to describe a goldenrod flower? After reading the book One One Flower, they might call it a “mini-beast park.” That’s because an animal “community” inhabits a single flower. To name a few: a  butterfly sips nectar . . . a ladybug snacks on aphids . . . and, uh oh, look out for the ambushbug!

The story is written in rhyming cumulative verse,  and two pages of “Field Notes” and “fun facts” at the back of One One Flower offer intriguing information on all the critters.


A single goldenrod plant is home to a remarkable variety of insects. Each insect uses specially developed senses to survive. In this lesson students discover how insects use their senses in different ways. For example, a stinkbug uses a stinky smell (eew!) as a defense, while a lady bug uses an unpleasant taste (yuk!) to deter predators. Get complete directions here.

Detailed and realistic-looking illustrations, accompanied by an informative narrative full of satisfying-gross bug facts make this story perfect for the aspiring insect expert. —Connecticut Country Kids

subscribe     Blog by Carol Malnor I love making connections: kids and nature, science and reading, fun and learning. I discovered the joy of connecting Dawn Publications' books with kids when I was a classroom teacher. Dawn's books were easy to incorporate into my lessons and the kids loved them. I used picture books with students of all ages, from primary school all the way up through 9th grade. Over the years, my relationship with Dawn changed and developed, and I authored Dawn’s Teacher’s Guides as well as writing books for children 4-14 years old. ARTICLE How to Use Creative Nonfiction Picture Books in Support of Common Core and Science ACTIVITIES Dawn Publications STANDARDS Common Core State Standards Next Generation Science Standards National Science Teachers Association Picture Perfect Science   OTHER FAVORITES Dawn Publications Children and Nature Network
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