Monthly Archives: January 2011

Chastain Team Comes Second in State

The Chastain Science Quiz Bowl A Team placed second Saturday in the Department of Energy’s Middle School Science Quiz Bowl Tournament at the Mississippi School for Math and Science. The Chastain B team lost only one match all day — and that was to the Chastain A team in the round before the quarter finals. It was beautiful to watch these students handle a variety of science questions with verve and aplomb.Chastain MIddle School Science Quiz Bowl Team

You can probably tell I am one proud mama. My two younger boys, N and D (pictured in the middle), are on the A team.

Science Quiz Bowl Practice

I showed up early to pick up kids from Science Quiz Bowl practice and snapped these pictures. The kids compete Saturday against other teams around the state. They’ve been working hard since August so I hope they do well.

sci quiz bowl team

sci quiz bowl d

sci quiz bowl b

sci quiz bowl v a

sci quiz bowl e


Trees on a Sunny Day

The sun came out yesterday so I decided to get back out again and take pictures of more trees. These are the three I liked best.

shadow of tree across parking pad

nest on sunny day

small tree in front of Chastain Middle 6th grade wing

Altered Tree Photographs

Richard loves to play around with photographs using Photoshop. Here are two of the shots I took on a recent dreary day. You can see the originals here. What do you think of the altered images?

trees outside lemuria altered

japanese maple altered

Trees on a dreary day

I went out today to take pictures of trees. It was dreary here, but not too cold to spend time outside. I put the camera around my neck when I went on errands. The first photo is one I took outside the bookstore. The others are from my yard.

Richard had had the camera before me and had it set with a very high ISO (8000, I think) so he could get some images inside with low light. As soon as I took the first image and checked the histogram, I knew I had to change the settings. It’s so nice to get that information from the camera in the field and not wait until a roll of film has been developed.

If you are looking for some online tutorials on photography, check out Cambridge in Color. The photo gallery alone is worth the time.

trees outside Lemuria
nest in Japanese Magnolia
magnolia with spots on leaves
twin bunches of magnolia leaves

Growing Patterns named a Notable Book

notable stickerThe American Library Association’s 2011 Notable Children’s Books list is now final and I’m thrilled to say Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature is on it. Thanks, committee. I am so glad that librarians and teachers are embracing my book.

I’m looking forward to seeing teachers and librarians this spring at the National Science Teachers Association Annual Conference in San Francisco and the Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival. I’m also adding dates for school visits.

growing patterns coverPlease get in touch soon if you’d like me to come to your school during the spring semester. I love visiting schools in days after state testing when students are really hungry for creativity and color … and someone who is NOT a teacher.

Check out my website for more information.

Photographs During The Melt

I catch myself giving advice to other people who want to get better at photography: get out there and snap some pictures. Every once in a while I get a reminder that I don’t follow my own advice enough. Recently, I went through a few years’ worth of blog posts to compile a list. I noticed that the number of new photographs on my blog has been getting pitifully small. So, here’s my first batch of the new year. I WILL be taking more.

ice melt 1
ice melt 2
ice melt 3
ice melt 4
ice melt 5

something strange

Growing Patterns Nominated for 2011 Children’s Notable Books

kids reading Growing Patterns

Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature is on the list of titles nominated for 2011 Notable Children’s Books. The final balloting will be done at the American Library Association‘s mid-winter conference in San Diego. I really hope it makes it! You can see the entire list of nominated titles here.

What I’m Reading

I’m in the thick of Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. I am thoroughly enjoying it. You don’t have to be well versed in English history to get completely absorbed into the world Mantel creates. I really look forward to my reading time(s) each day. What a different world.

Just before Wolf Hall, I read The Fall of the House of Zeus by Curtis Wilkie. It was a compelling read, but gave me a sickening feeling in my stomach more than once. Back when I was a reporter, I covered some of the events in the book. How different it looks from the inside.

New Goals

Time to check on last year’s goals and post some new ones.

gp cover1. I launched Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature. I did a few things differently this time around, and I think it was all good. By the end of the year, the book had made a few good lists and I’ll be going to the 2011 National Science Teachers Association Convention to continue to promote it. Thank you, Boyds Mills Press.

2. I met regularly with two critical readers. With this steady stream of deadlines (for meetings and an SCBWI conference), I finished a new picture book manuscript (goal 4). It is being read right now. Fingers crossed. I think it’s ready to be a book. This is the first time I’ll be surrendering my words to another creative hand for the illustrations. It feels like an adventure.

3. I did not write a nonfiction book about an animal. That goes back on this year’s list. 5. Nor did I write regularly on a memoir project. Once again, back on the list. (I made a lot of progress in locating and organizing letters from years crucial to the memoir project. And, I re-connected with friends whose presence then and now is also critical. So, some forward movement.