Wolfsnail on the Move

Two Sessions at NSTA 2013

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.

Sarah at NSTA13

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.

the backstoriesIn 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).

teaching looking at snail on move book

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.

Kristin Rearden

Here is Kristin talking about bringing pinecones into the classroom to have students look for the Fibonacci sequence in the spirals on the bottom.

three presentersWe 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.

Read a Book, Make a Book

I spent Saturday leading a workshop for a dozen Greenville Public School teachers titled “Read a Book, Make a Book.” The workshop was organized and paid for by the Greenville Arts Council. I appreciate all the help I got from Megan Hines, the education director for the arts council.

I taught three book forms: the instant book, the Wolfsnail on the Move Book (a scroll form), and the Fibonacci Folding Book (an accordion form). I shared the stories behind each of my books to give teachers a window into the creative process of a writer of nonfiction, and to empower them to lead their students through the same process.


We used Private Eye loupes to examine natural objects.

examining the nautilus

It was a cold, dreary day in the Delta so we didn’t spend time outside. We did a few exercises that teachers can use to prepare students for nature journaling outside, including the 20-second nature break.

observing, writing

A highlight of the day was making our Wolfsnail on the Move books.

green crayon

D reading Wolfsnail


green pencil

wavy brown


L reading

D reading

C reading

R reading

J reading

D reading

finished book

wolfsnail on the move book

d's book

G 's book

I used some portions of the Digging Deep curriculum I developed this year with the Mississippi Museum of Art. I thank the museum education department’s Elizabeth Williams and Dorian Pridgen for sending copies of the curriculum, other MMA materials related to schools, and door prizes for teachers.

Whole Schools Summer Institute

Julie Owen and I taught our “Read a Book, Make a Book” workshop this week at the Whole Schools Summer Institute. We taught three book forms: the instant book, Wolfsnail On the Move, and the Fibonacci Folding Book.

showing a book I made as a young girlHere I am showing, and reading from, a book I made when I was in early elementary school.

starting the scroll rollHere Julie is demonstrating how to make the scroll part of the Wolfsnail on the Move book.

participant rollingsample made during classmaking a Fib Folding Book

Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival

wolfsnail on the moveI’m putting the finishing touches on a workshop that I’ll be presenting with Julie Owen at the Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival at USM in Hattiesburg. If you’ll be there for the first session Wednesday, join us for “Read a Book, Make a Book!” This photo is a sneak preview of the new book we’ll be talking about: Wolfsnail On The Move. In our workshop, we’ll also teach two other books for kids to make as responses to reading Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator and Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature.

shelllessI will also be signing books at the campus bookstore and hanging out with my librarian and writer friends. See the full schedule here.