Label: Kids Write

September 12, 2013

What I think of "Einstein Anderson" and "Extreme Earth Records" books by Seymour Simon 

by Sarah, age 11 years, Year 6, Earlsfield Primary School, London, England, UK 

I really enjoyed these books. My favourite one was the Einstein Anderson book - "The Impossible Shrinking Machine". 

It was really funny and clever. I liked the fact that it was interactive - you could solve the puzzle before the book. The book was also very easy reading and the drawings are very realistic.  They were cool!!

 

The other book - "Extreme Earth Records" - was amazing. I loved all the little bits of information. The pictures were amazing!! My favourite one was the first one about the snow.

 

I would recommend these books to anyone. The only thing that I would change is I would make the Einstein books harder to read and more challenging. But otherwise the books are absolutely GREAT!!!  

 

Photo: Sarah is the one at the top in the photo, with glasses and wearing the pink baseball jacket - the one at the bottom is her elder sister Molly!

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: New Books, Kids Write, Reviews   •  Permalink (link to this article)

September 10, 2013

 

 

It is time for a new contest! Seymour Simon is visiting the Cider Mill School in Wilton, Connecticut later this month, and this Writing Wednesday contest is for all the Cider Mill students to enter. Three lucky winners are going to receive personally autographed copies of Seymour Simon’s new book LIGHTNING NEVER LIES, from the Einstein Anderson: Science Geek series of science mysteries.

 

 

 

Here is how you enter. First, read this excerpt from LIGHTNING NEVER LIES

Once you have read this, here is what you do to enter:

  1.    Think about what these pages and the illustration (at right) tell you about the characters of Einstein and Paloma. Based on what you have read, make a list of each of their likes and dislikes, as well as their characteristics (their appearance and their personalities). Give specific examples from what you read to support your list.

2.    Then write at least one paragraph telling us about an interest or characteristic that you share with one of these characters, either Einstein or Paloma.

3.    To enter the contest, click on the yellow "Comments" link at the bottom of this blog entry and share both your list and your writing.

4.    When you enter, be sure to also tell us your name (first name only), your grade, your age and your teacher’s name, so that we can find you if your entry is chosen. Allow 24 hours for your comment to show up online, because all comments by people under 13 years old are reviewed by a moderator and approved before they appear on the website. Be patient if your writing doesn’t appear right away!

5.    Be sure to post your entry by midnight on Wednesday, September 25th. The contest ends then.

6.    One winner from each grade will be chosen randomly from all the complete entries.

7.    Students who do not attend Cider Mill School may also enter this contest. The rules are the same as above, but for #4, please include your first name, your grade, your teacher’s name, the name of your school, and the city where your school is located. If we have at least 20 entries from other schools, we will randomly choose an extra prize winner from the non-Cider Mill entries. 

All winners will receive copies of LIGHTNING NEVER LIES, personally autographed by Seymour Simon. So, get to work and send us your entries today!

 

 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(55) Comments  •   Labels: Writing Wednesday, Contests, Kids Write, Common Core, Einstein Anderson   •  Permalink (link to this article)

June 2, 2013

Though we picked our winners at random, we want to recognize some of the other very strong research and writing by the students at Skano Elementary School as part of Seymour Simon’s CORAL REEFS contest. We do not have enough space to feature all the excellent writing, so this is just a sample. We think that our readers will enjoy reading what you found out.

Elizabeth, 4th Grade, 9 years old, in Mr. Farquharson’s class wrote:

 

Porcupinefish, also known as blowfish can blow themselves up to protect themselves from predators.  Giant Moray Eels are about 6 feet long and they blend in with the coral reef to protect themselves from predators.  Finally, Goby fish are less than 10cm (2 inches) long and they hide in coral reefs when they see a predator.  The coral reef is home to a lot of sea creatures and serves as a hiding place to many of them.

 
Photo: Giant Moray Eel 

 

My name is Dylan M. and I am in Kindergarten in Mrs. Benkoski’s class at Skano Elementary. I want to enter this contest because I love learning about what is under the sea and all the fish and beautiful creatures living in the ocean. My three choices are: The Long-Spined Sea Urchin, which can be found in the Bahamas or the Atlantic Ocean and in the Mediterranean Sea. 

My mom has seen them before in the Mediterranean Sea when she visited Italy. They are black and have long, spiky looking needles sticking out of them and are shaped liked a circle and are pretty cool looking.

They live in shallow water which means you could easily step on them accidentally and my mom says it hurts REALLY bad because she did once. And they eat algae.

Photo: Long-Spined Sea Urchin

My second choice is the Spotted Moray Eel. I would love to be able to see an Eel, they look so creepy with their beady eyes. They have dark brown or purple spots all over their bodies and grow about 3-4 feet in length. They eat Crustaceans and fish and are dangerous so don’t get bitten by their sharp teeth!

My third choice is a crab. The Ghost crab in particular blends with their environment because they match the color of the sand. They can travel fast at 10 miles per hour, which is super fast. They eat crabs, clams, insects, and vegetations. I thought it was cool that they eat other crabs.

I entered this contest because I enjoy learning about other eco systems.

 

Alyssa, in Mrs.O’Brien’s 2nd grade class,  came up with many more than three interesting reef animals:

  Coral reefs are full of amazing beauty! Some of the creatures living on the coral reef are banded coral shrimp, giant moray eel, longnose hawkfish, parrot fishes & a variety of clownfish including percula clownfish, tomato clownfish, maroon clownfish & pink skunk clownfish! I am a big fan of the ocean & all its living species! 

Photo: Lightning Maroon Clownfish

 

Bradley also did a lot of research:

Some animals that live in coral reefs are blowfish, angel sharks, bivalves and lemon sharks.

 

Blowfish are also called Putterfish, Globefish and Fugu. They are...

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Posted by: Liz Nealon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Coral Reefs, School Visits, Kids Write   •  Permalink (link to this article)

June 1, 2013

 

Thank you to everyone from Skano Elementary School who entered the CORAL REEFS contest. We asked students to do some research and tell us about three animals that live in coral reefs. I enjoyed seeing the choices you made and reading your writing about these animals. This contest was very unusual because of the large number of kindergarteners, both individuals and classes, who entered. This was very exciting work from the kindergarten kids, and you’ll see some of it here in our winning entries.

As promised, we have selected two winners of this contest, and both will receive an autographed copy of Seymour Simon’s newest book, CORAL REEFS. We chose the winners at random, using a very cool random number generator website called Random.org.

Are you ready? Here are the winners of Seymour Simon’s CORAL REEFS contest!

 

Individual Winner:  Benny, 6 years old, from Mrs. Russo’s kindergarten class. Benny wrote:

1. coral looks like a plant but is an animal

2. sharks have sharp teeth

3. lobster eyes are on stalks

 

Classroom Winner: Mrs. Benkoski’s Kindergarten Class. They wrote:

Sharks are cool and some live in coral reefs.  Sand tiger sharks can be found there, but they sometimes hide in the sand.  Squids have 10 arms and also live in coral reefs.  Lots of sea urchins live on coral reefs. They have many poisonous spines. They can puff these out at things that swim by.  It was really fun learning about coral reefs and we love your new book!


Congratulations to everyone who entered. Be on the lookout for another blog post, because we enjoyed the work you did for this contest so much, we are going to publish some of your writing for everyone to read.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Coral Reefs, School Visits, Contests, Kids Write   •  Permalink (link to this article)

May 23, 2013

It is time for a new contest! Seymour Simon is visiting Skano Elementary School in Clifton Park, NY at the end of this month, and this contest is for all the Skano Elementary kids to enter. Two lucky winners are going to receive personally autographed copies of Seymour Simon’s new book, CORAL REEFS.

Here is how you enter. First, read this excerpt from Seymour’s newest book. 


         

Coral reefs look like a bunch of rock formations. But a coral reef is actually a gigantic community of living things. For a long time, corals were a mystery to people. They were called rock-plants or plant-animals.

Now we know that each coral polyp, basically a mouth, is a soft sea animal that is something like a jellyfish. The polyp makes a hard, protective limestone skeleton.


Once you have read this, here is what you do to enter:

1.    Do some research and tell us about three animals that live on coral reefs. They might be fish, they might be crustaceans like crab and lobster, or they might be plant-like corals.

2.    You can find your information by clicking on the "Coral Reefs" label on this blog, in Seymour’s book CORAL REEFS, or by using other resources, like the library and the Internet.

3.    Click on the yellow "Comments" link at the bottom of this blog entry to enter the contest by telling us about the three animals you have studied. Make sure that you put the information you have found into your own words (don’t just copy and paste information you find).

4.    When you write your information, be sure to also tell us your name (first name only), your grade, your age and your teacher’s name, so that we can find you if you are chosen as the winner. Allow 24 hours for your comment to show up online, because all comments by people under 13 years old are reviewed by a moderator and approved before they appear on the website. Be patient if you don’t see it right away!

5.    Be sure to post your entry by midnight, Friday, May 31. The contest ends then.

6.    Two winners will be chosen randomly from all the correct entries. Older students may enter individually, and we will pick one winner. Students in grades K-2 may enter as a class and work with their teacher to enter the contest; there will be one classroom winner.

7.    Students who do not attend Skano Elementary may also enter this contest. The rules are the same as above, but for #4, please include your first name, your grade, your teacher’s name, the name of your school, and the city where your school is located. If we have at least 20 entries from other schools, we will randomly choose a third prize winner from the non-Skano Elementary entries. 

 

Winners will receive copies of CORAL REEFS, personally autographed by Seymour Simon.

So, get to work and send us your entries today!

 

 

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(47) Comments  •   Labels: Animals, New Books, Coral Reefs, School Visits, Contests, Kids Write   •  Permalink (link to this article)

May 18, 2013

Though we picked our winners at random, we want to recognize some of the other very strong research and writing by the students of Lower Gwynedd Elementary School (and kids from other states, too) as part of the Three Fascinating Facts about Sharks contest. Some of the information that you all found is simply too good not to share! 

Helen, a third grader in Mrs. Salvitti’s class, wrote:

1. Some sharks remain on the move for their whole lives. This forces water over their gills, delivering oxygen to the blood stream. If the shark stops moving then it will suffocate and die.

2. A pup (baby shark) is born ready to take care of itself. The mother shark leaves the pup to fend for itself and the pup usually makes a fast get away before the mother tries to eat it.

3. Not all species of shark give birth to live pups. Some species lay the egg case on the ocean floor and the pup hatches later on its own.

Photo: Gills of a nurse shark 

And how about these interesting facts from Shelby:

1. Sometimes they will take a bite out of their prey or just sink their teeth in to get a taste before they start really feeding.

2. A shark attack on a human usually occurs in less than 6 feet 6 inches of calm water, and within a relatively short distance from shore.

  3.The Megamouth shark is one of the rarest of the shark species. It was discovered in 1976. 

Photo: Megamouth Shark 

We loved all these great comparisons from Zac:

1. Every shark has tiny sensors at the tip of its snout to help it find food like a metal detector finding treasure.

2. Sharks have teeth all over their body. Their skin has really tiny spikes, like a prickle bush.

3. A shark’s teeth are in rows like a roller coaster ride. If a shark looses one of its teeth, one will grow back right away and move forward to take the place of the old one. Just like when a person gets off a roller coaster, a new person will take their place for the next ride.       

 

Andrew, from 3Go, managed to come up with three unique facts that no one else submitted:

1. Nurse sharks are nocturnal predators.

 

2. Dogfish are a type of shark.

3. Horn sharks are oviparous.

Photo: Horn Shark

 

And finally this from fifth grader Cassidy S. This is practically an essay - your information is fascinating, indeed!

1. In New Zealand, there is a shark that barks like a dog. It is called the Swell Shark. It is a catshark of the family Scyliorhinidae. It is found in the subtropical eastern Pacific Ocean.

2. Most sharks give birth to their babies. Only a few sharks lay eggs. Most sharks have six to twelve babies at a time, but a Tiger Shark and Hammerhead can have as many as 40 babies at a time.

3.  The Whale Shark is the biggest fish in the world. It has more than 4,000 teeth, but each is less than 1/8 inch long.  A shark may go through 1,000 sets of teeth during its lifetime.  When a shark loses a tooth, one replaces it. A Whale Shark weighs about 40,000 pounds.

 

We also had two excellent entries from students who do not...

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Posted by: Seymour Simon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: Sharks, Oceans, Kids Write   •  Permalink (link to this article)

May 18, 2013

Thank you to everyone from Lower Gwynedd Elementary School who entered the THREE FASCINATING FACTS ABOUT SHARKS contest. We enjoyed seeing the choices you made and reading your writing using those words. 85 people entered this contest - that is a lot of excellent research and writing!

 

As promised, we have selected two winners of this contest, and both will receive an autographed copy of the new edition of Seymour Simon’s EXTREME OCEANS, from Chronicle Books. We chose the winners at random, using a very cool random number generator website called Random.org.

Are you ready? Here are the winners of Seymour Simon’s SHARKS contest:

 

 

Individual Winner: Nathan, from Class 4-O. Nathan’s three fascinating facts were:

1: About 90% of the people who are attacked by sharks survive.

2: If sharks stop moving they start to sink.

3: More people are killed by bee stings than shark attacks.

 

Classroom Winner:  Mrs. Stapp’s Kindergarten Class. They wrote:

Our Favorite Shark Facts:

1.Sharks lived before the dinosaurs

2. Sharks can smell a drop of blood a mile away.

3. Sharks don’t chew their food.

 

Congratulations to everyone who entered. Be on the lookout for another blog post, because we enjoyed the work you did for this contest so much, we are going to publish some of your writing for everyone to read.

 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Sharks, School Visits, Oceans, Kids Write   •  Permalink (link to this article)

May 17, 2013

Yesterday I visited a terrific bunch of kids at Lower Gwynedd Elementary School in Ambler Pennsylvania. Afterward, I received a lovely thank you note from Rachel N. Rachel wrote:

You have visited my school, Lower Gwynedd. I enjoyed your visiting and all of your books. I really hope that you will visit us next time again. Have a nice day!

 

Thank you, Rachel, for this lovely note. Then, I started to receive letters like these two:


Hi, it’s Margaret.

I have a question to ask you.

What is your passion about writing?

your fan,

Margaret

 

Hi. I’m Shawn from Lower Gwynedd Elementary.  I was really fascinated by your presentation today!!  I wanted to tell you a few questions.  One is what inspired you to be an author.  Two is how do you get the ideas for all of your books?  And three is what is your favorite subject to write about?   Thanks for reading this BYE!!                 

From: Shawn


Both Margaret and Shawn are asking about my life as a writer - how I got started, how I decide what to write about, and why I continue to want to write (my "passion" for writing).

No one in particular encouraged me to be an author. I don’t think it ever occurred to anyone in my family that you could actually make a living as a writer. I have always loved writing, and started doing it when I was in second grade. Mostly, in those early days, I was writing because I wanted to get my friends excited about the things I was interested in, like planets and space.

When I got a little older, I read a book called THE SEA AROUND US, by Rachel Carson. She is a wonderful writer, I absolutely loved the book, and by the time I finished it, I had realized that I wanted to write about the natural world. I started writing for children because that is where my area of expertise was - I was a middle school science teacher for many years.

I get the ideas for my books from observing and reading about the world around me. I have loved nature since I was a young child. Although I grew up in the Bronx - a very crowded part of New York City - the natural world was all around me. There is weather in the city, just as there is in the country. You can see the sun, moon and stars from a rooftop in the city. And I explored a vacant lot on my street, which wasn’t exactly a park, but still had birds, earthworms, small plants, and trees. In fact, when I grew up one of the first books I wrote was called SCIENCE IN A VACANT LOT.

I don’t think I can say that I have a favorite subject to write about. I simply write books about things that I find interesting and exciting. And of course, whenever I want to write about a subject, I need to study. I start by looking at research that other people have done. What experiments have they run? What animals have they observed? By studying all the work that others have already done, I learn about the subjects that I write about in my books. As the great scientist Sir Isaac Newton once wrote, "If I have seen further than others, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants."

And that brings me to Margaret’s question about my passion for writing. I suppose I love to write because I love to learn, and I get excited about sharing what I am learning with others. Although being an author is my job, it has never felt like "work." As long as kids like you guys enjoy reading my books, I’m going to keep writing them!

 

Editor’s Note: Seymour Simon cannot respond personally to every letter that he receives (or he would never have time to write books!). However, he has created a section on his website called FAQs, which stands for "Frequently Asked Questions." Readers can find the answers to virtually all their questions by looking at the FAQ section on SeymourSimon.com

 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: Becoming a writer, School Visits, Kids Write   •  Permalink (link to this article)

May 13, 2013

I received a lovely letter from a second grader named Maya this weekend. She asked very good questions, so I thought I would answer it here for everyone to read. Here is what she wrote:


My name is Maya. I am in second grade. I am 8 years old. My birthday is May 22nd. I love writing books. That is my favorite thing to do in school. I have 2 brothers. My school is Maugham Elementary School. I am writing to you because you are my favorite Author.

It was interesting to learn that you have been writing for more than 40 years. Why did you write for more than 40 years? I love writing books! It was surprising to learn that you have written more than 250 books.  Have you written any Dolphin books? I have written an "All About" book about school.  I learned that the first book that you wrote was Space Monsters.  Was it hard to come up with that idea?  It was hard when I wrote my first book.  I love that you read "The Sea Around Us" to come up with the idea.  Did you have to think a lot? I had to think a lot when I written my first book. Can you please write back to me?

Your fan,

Maya B.


Dear Maya,        

Thank you so much for writing! It is always a pleasure to talk about my work as an author with a fellow writer.

I suppose it does seem as though 40 years is a long time to write. However, writing is my job, so just like other grownups you know, I have done my writing job for most of my adult life.

Of course, I am very lucky to have such an enjoyable profession. Even if it were not my job, I think I would write just because I love to do it. Writing books gives me the opportunity to explore new topics and think about how and why things fit together in the natural world. When I am writing, I am always learning.

 

In answer to your second question, I have indeed written a book called DOLPHINS. They are magnificent creatures of great intelligence.

It is also true that the first book I wrote was called SPACE MONSTERS, when I was in second grade. I loved reading science fiction when I was in elementary school, and I was making up my own stories like the ones that I loved to read in the science fiction magazines of that time. I wish I had a copy of that little handwritten book, but unfortunately it was lost many years ago.

I wrote it again when I was first being published as an adult. This time it was called SPACE MONSTERS FROM MOVIES, TV and BOOKS, and it described all my favorite fictional aliens.

Then last year I wrote a third version, called SILLY SPACE MONSTER JOKES AND RIDDLES. Are you getting the idea that I really, really like space monsters?!

Your last question is probably the most critical one from a fellow writer, as you wonder whether I had to think a lot to write my first book. Of course I did, and in fact, I do a lot of thinking when I write every book. Writing involves a lot of thinking before you start - that helps me get to an outline, which I always do before I start writing.

Then I write a first draft and set it aside for a while....

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Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Animal Books, Becoming a writer, Seymour Simon, Kids Write, Space Monsters   •  Permalink (link to this article)

May 9, 2013

This just in from Mrs. Gutierrez’s 2nd grade class in Gary, Indiana.


First off, we want to thank you for all of your informative books. So far we have read, Big Bugs, Super Storms, and The Moon. We are currently studying insects. Are there any must reads that would help us in our unit?


 

Thank you so much for writing, guys! If you are already reading BIG BUGS, you have started at the right place!

One of my books that lots of kids seem to love is called ANIMALS NOBODY LOVES. You will definitely find some insects in that book. I have also written a book about a certain kind of insect - BUTTERFLIES! You might find one or both of those books in your school library.

One interesting thing that many people do not know is that spiders are not insects (although we often refer to them as "bugs," they are actually arachnids). You might enjoy doing some research and finding out all the ways that insects and arachnids are different. Please write to me and tell me what you have learned if you do!

I have also written often about insects on my blog. If you click on the blog label "Insects," you will get a list of every story that has appeared there and find some very interesting photographs and stories about insects.

And finally, you might want to use my SeeMore Explorer Observation Log to write down details about what you see and help you identify insects that you spot in the world around you. Here is the link where you can download a copy. Print it out, head outdoors and start recording information about the insects all around you.

Thanks for writing, and enjoy your unit on INSECTS!

Seymour Simon

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Kids Write, Insects   •  Permalink (link to this article)

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