It seems our kids spend most of their May school days taking tests. When they’re not testing, they’re presenting final projects, papers, and performances. Today, I went to Murrah High School for the Sophomore Awards Ceremony. Here’s my favorite photograph from the event. The 10th grade guidance counselor, Mr. Sayles, had just asked the students to guess which of the high achievers in the bunch had the current highest average. Who’s No. 1? This is what they did.
All fingers pointed to Matthew Sarpong. And then, Mr. Sayles refused to say.
I’ve been neglecting the blog lately — mainly because we’ve been working hard on the fractal project.
Here Richard is shooting Queen Anne’s Lace with help from our friend and collaborator, Julie Owen. She brought the Queen Anne’s Lace to us, having found it along the highway between Baton Rouge and here.
This is one of our favorites from the shoot.
Some very exciting things are happening right now with the fractal manuscript! Through hard work, perseverance, and just plain good luck, we are going to be able to include some amazing stuff! I love it when a book comes together!
I’ve been hard at work on the work-in-progress. And, the work is hard. I’m wrestling text and images and graphics into place, staring down a deadline. In the last two days, I’ve made really good progress. There’s nothing like having Richard available to produce the graphics I need when I need them. I wish he were my full-time office companion.
After two long days, I need to let some things settle a bit so I have time for a quick blog post. I was in San Antonio last weekend for the National Science Teachers Association annual convention.
I was one of nine authors (Terry Jennings (Gopher to the Rescue), Darcy Pattison (Desert Baths), Elizabeth Rusch (The Mighty Mars Rover), Melissa Stewart (Under the Snow), Catherine Thimmesh (Team Moon), Peggy Thomas (Farmer George Plants a Nation), and Sallie Wolf (The Robin Makes a Laughing Sound) who participated in a workshop titled: “Integrating Science and Literacy: A Journey, Not a Destination.” Each of us was paired with a professor of education. My partner was Dr. Amy Broemmel from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. She helped me share the educational materials I’ve developed for Wolfsnail and Growing Patterns with four groups of teachers who rotated through our table. She took these photographs.
In my second session, “The Power of Scientists’ Stories in Teaching NGSS Methods and Practices,” I teamed up with Dr. Kristin Rearden, who also teachers at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and Andy Boyles, science editor at Highlights.
Once again, it was my job to share ideas with teachers for using my books in classrooms to meet the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).
I led the group in making a Fibonacci Folding Book, and talked about the Fibonacci Puzzle, the Wolfsnail On The Move book, and the instant book.
Here is Kristin talking about bringing pinecones into the classroom to have students look for the Fibonacci sequence in the spirals on the bottom.
We had lunch after our session to talk about what we might do for future conferences. Presenting at national conferences is always a wonderful experience because it brings me into dialogue with the people who use my books in classrooms and libraries with kids. I always learn things, and I always have fun.
Check out a new blog called Perfect Pairings: Linking Science and Literacy written by Kristin and Amy. You’ll find great trade picture books to use in your classrooms.
For my new book, I need to illustrate a concept that involves a head of broccoli. I thought I had a good way to do it, but it wasn’t working as well as it needed to. So, I decided to go after a slightly different way of showing. It meant using Adobe Photoshop to “cut out” the broccoli head from its background, and then “cutting out” smaller sections of the head.
While I’ve always relied on Richard in the past to do most of the post-production, I had several reasons for diving into this job myself. First, I love learning new things. Second, he was wanting to watch a ballgame (Liverpool v. Tottenham). Third, I wasn’t sure my idea would work and didn’t want to put him through all the pain if it wasn’t going to prove out. So, I took up the pen.
After I created the image I wanted in Photoshop, I imported it into Adobe InDesign. One of the great things about Photoshop is that you can create different layers in an image that show different things.
In this case, the final file included more than 5 layers. Instead of saving each of the versions as its own file, I was able use a tool called Layer Comps. I read up on the tool using Adobe’s help page, and was able to import the file into my InDesign document six different ways. I love my Adobe Creative Suite products and the way they work together.
More than a few hands went up when I asked if any of them liked to write. What a great group!