Hummingbird, School Visit, 200 Posts

HummingbirdOur picture of a hummingbird is in High Five magazine this month in the Look at the … feature. Four other photos we took will appear in the coming months. Look for the squirrel, tapir, zebra, and river otters.

I had a wonderful time Thursday at St. Francis Xavier Elementary School in Vicksburg. I spoke with first through sixth graders in three separate groups. I got some suggestions from the students about what my next project should be: vampire bats and tide pools. I was invited to St. Francis by Mrs. Dinnie Johnston, the librarian. We met at the Children’s Book Festival this year. I learned during the visit that Wolfsnail is now part of the Accelerated Reader program. It is leveled at 4.4 and is worth .5 points. I took a look at the AR quiz for Wolfsnail. The last question was a little strange. One of the possible answers was a “female wolfsnail.” Snails are hermaphrodites, which means that each snail has female and male reproductive parts. I have always wondered about the AR process — how books are selected and who makes out the tests. After the visit, I stopped at Lorelei Books to leave some signed copies of Wolfsnail.

Today’s post is my 200th. I started the blog nearly 2 years ago (August 2007). It has become an integral part of my work. I love being able to communicate so easily with friends, readers, students, colleagues, and, even, family. I received a letter this week from one of my readers who lives in Hattiesburg. He told me he’s found several more wolfsnails near his house. “Me and my friend set a woflsnail on our piano and forgot about it. Then the next day I found it stuck to a corner of the piano! There are so many wolfsnails here!!!” He signed his letter “Wolfsnail Jackson over and out.” It was great to hear from Wolfsnail Jackson. His story about the piano reminds me of the day we “lost” a wolfsnail in the kitchen. We found ours tucked between some cups that held the boys markers and pens. My mother took the photo on the left. The snail was crawling onto my hand from a table at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science and leaving quite a trail behind.

5 Responses to Hummingbird, School Visit, 200 Posts

  • Congrats on your 200th post!! I love the hummingbird picture. Beautiful.

    I thought about you today–my daughter was explaining to me that the reason we don’t see many four leaf clovers is because it is not a fibonacci number. I didn’t even know that she knew about fibonacci numbers! She’s excited about your next book.

    Sarah Frances

  • Beautiful photo – and congrats on your 200th post!

  • Julie says:

    200 posts! Hooray!

    I have a children’s book of poetry you might like to see that tells the story of a family who watches a hummingbird raise her chicks in a tree on their patio.

    It is: “Hummingbird Nest: A Journal of Poems” by Kristine O’Connell George.

    Reading Counts (The scholastic version of AR) doesn’t yet have a test for “Wolfsnail,” but I keep checking. I wrote my own test for the students at St. Therese and put it into the RC database. The students told me that I made the test too difficult, and that I didn’t have enough questions, so I need to go back and add more questions. Maybe we could take a look at this together? I wonder if you can appeal to someone at AR?

  • admin says:

    I’d love to look at your test and make suggestions.
    I do find it interesting that the book was honored as a good book for emerging readers, but that it is leveled at 4.4 by AR. Vocabulary seems to trump word count and readability.

  • Dinnie Johnston says:

    Thank you for visiting our school. The students were very interested in your talk. They were intrigued with your next ideas for books. We definitely want to have you back when the next book comes out.
    Many of our students took the AR test on “Wolfsnail” and proudly told me they made 100%.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *