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Mississippi Arts Hour Appearance

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I will be on the Mississippi Arts Hour this weekend, talking with host Diane Williams about my writing, photography, and teaching.

The show, which is a joint production of the Mississippi Arts Commission and Mississippi Public Broadcasting, will air on Sunday at 3 p.m. on Mississippi Public Broadcasting’s Think Radio, 91.3 FM.

(It will also air on the digital station, MPB’s Music Radio, on Saturday at 11 a.m.)

If you miss the show on the radio, it will be available here next week.

Fibonacci Folding Book App Available on iTunes

icon for iPad AppOur iPad app version of the Fibonacci Folding Book tutorial is now available on iTunes. The best way to find it is to search for “Fibonacci Folding Book”. This is Richard’s first app and I think he did a tremendous job. If you have an iPad, please download it and tell us what you think. The app is free.

Created for teachers of all kinds, including homeschoolers, the app provides step-by-step instructions on creating Fibonacci Folding Books with your students.This multidisciplinary unit includes photography, bookmaking, writing poetry, number patterns, illustration, and measurement.

My friend, Julie Owen, and I have taught this unit with third, fourth, fifth, and sixth graders. We also taught a professional development workshop for teachers this summer. Read more about the project at St. Therese Catholic School here and the Whole Schools Summer Institute here.

Page Ahead To Honor Growing Patterns

Growing Patterns is a finalist in the nonfiction category for Page Ahead’s Best Books for Kids 2011. Page Ahead is an organization that puts books into the hands of kids in Washington state. I love groups like Page Ahead! I will be headed to Seattle next month to attend Page Ahead’s Party at the Library Bistro, which looks like a great space to celebrate books.

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Proposals, proposals, and more proposals

‘Tis the season to be writing proposals. I’ve participated and presented at enough national conferences to have gotten a taste for it. It seems that one national conference a year is about what I can manage while I still have three boys at home. Having done the American Library Association annual conference in 2009, the International Reading Association conference in 2010, and the National Science Teachers Association convention in 2011, I’ve decided to shoot for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics conference in 2012. The deadline is at the beginning of next month.

Thusfar, I’ve checked whether my editor is interested. Yes, he is. Whether the publisher will sponsor the trip is still an open question, but his interest is enough for me to write the proposal. (Boyds Mills Press has been great about supporting my marketing efforts at national conventions.) I checked with three math teachers (starting with the math coach at my sons’ middle school, going next to the Algebra I teacher at the same school, and, finally, pairing up with a second grade teacher at my sons’ old elementary school).

The NCTM website has the information for submitting proposals here. The conference title is: Technology and Mathematics: Get Connected! I haven’t finished writing my proposal yet, but I plan to build it around using digital photography in elementary classrooms to teach math concepts. I am very excited to be working again with Beth West, a second grade teacher at Davis Magnet Elementary School. We’ve done Davis on the Map together twice and her students were early readers of (and helpful commenters on) Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature.

Great Idea for Summer Reading: One Jackson, Many Readers

Read here about a great partnership between Lemuria bookstore, the United Way, and Jackson Public Schools. I’m ready to help. I hope you will, too.

Guest Post on Cynsations

Today I am a guest on Cynsations, where I write about how I developed educational materials for my books. Come on over. I have a special treat for the next month.

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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.

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.

Publicity Photo Shoot

I like keeping my publicity photo current. When I decided recently to go back to wearing contacts after nearly 10 years of glasses, I realized I needed a new publicity photo. Richard was also eager to schedule a photo shoot because he (OK, we) got a new camera for Christmas and he wanted to see what it could do. We used two cameras for the photo shoot: one to take the portraits and one to film the experience. The new camera, the Nikon D7000, takes video and uses the same lenses we have for our other Nikon cameras. Richard put together a short video to show our process.

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Good News for Wolfsnail

Wolfsnail:  A Backyard Predator won the Mississippi Library Association’s Children’s Book Award. I am thrilled to have won this award and I thank the MLA’s 2010 Authors Awards Committee for the recognition. I will accept the award during the MLA’s annual conference in Vicksburg, which is October 20-22.

The committee voted in February to add the children’s award to its list, which has traditionally included fiction and nonfiction for adults. A list of previous award winners can be found here.

In other news, my friends at Boyds Mills Press shared today that a professor in the College of Education at the University of Illinois is using Wolfsnail in a course on using children’s literature to teach.

When I posted photographs from our recent trip to Oregon, I forgot to include this one, which is actually one of my favorites. Somehow it didn’t get flagged. I hope you enjoy the two semi-circles in the composition as much as we do.

Crater Lake 2010

Crater Lake, July 2010