Label: School Visits

September 27, 2013

Seymour Simon is preparing to visit the Altamont Elementary School next week, and we are happy to see comments from many new readers on the Seymour Science blog. Students in Altamont Elementary - this contest is for you! 




Two lucky winners are going to receive personally autographed copies of Seymour Simon’s BUTTERFLIES. Here is what you have to do to enter:

1.    Write a comment on this blog post and tell Seymour whether each of these photographs is a butterfly or a moth.

2.    Tell him how you identified it. Give at least two reasons for each insect.

3.    Tell us your name (first name only), age and teacher’s name. Don’t forget your teacher’s name, because that is how we will contact you if you are selected as the winner.

4.    Be sure to post your entry by midnight, Friday, October 4. The contest ends then.

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.

What if you don’t know how to tell the difference between a butterfly and a moth? You can find the answer right here on the Seymour Science blog. Look at all the entries under the label "Butterflies." We guarantee you that you will find the answer there!

So, get to work and send us your entries today. Your comments will be invisible until everyone has a chance to enter. Once the contest is over, we will post everyone’s writing.

Good luck!


READERS: Are you wondering how to add your own "comment" to this blog? Click here for exact directions on how to add a comment so you can become one of our Seymour Science writers! We also want you to be safe and not share too much information when you write on this blog, so please take a minute to read about how to stay safe on the Internet. We love to hear from you, so give "comments" a try! 

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(38) Comments  •   Labels: School Visits, Teachers and Librarians, Contests, Kids Write   •  Permalink (link to this article)

September 25, 2013

Thank you to everyone from Cider Mill Elementary School who entered the Einstein Anderson Contest. We asked students to read a passage from Seymour Simon’s book LIGHTNING NEVER LIES and tell us about the characters of Einstein and Paloma. Specifically, we asked you to tell us what their characters are like (using examples from the text) and then tell us how you are the same as or different than these characters.

We are very impressed by the quality of the writing that was submitted. Those of you who entered obviously gave some real thought to this assignment. 

As promised, we have selected a random winner from each grade, and each author will receive an autographed copy of Seymour Simon’s LIGHTNING NEVER LIES. 

Are you ready? Here are the winners of Seymour Simon’s EINSTEIN ANDERSON contest!

Fifth grade winner:  Michael C. from Mrs. Stallfort’s class. Michael wrote:

Einstein is a really nice boy who has light brown hair and wears glasses.  He really likes computers and bird watching.  He does not have a lot of friends.  Einstein is a deep thinker and really smart.  He has one close friend, a girl, who likes a lot of the same things that he likes. Her name is Paloma.

Paloma has long dark hair which she keeps in a pony tail.  Both Einstein and Paloma both like wearing blue jeans. They both like bird watching and computers.  Paloma does not have any other friends.  Einstein and Paloma both like sports but would rather spend quiet time bird watching.

Einstein and I share a lot in common.  We are both athletic, but quiet at the same time.  We like to use computers and have a close friend that shares a lot of the same interests.  I don’t like bird watching but I do have special interests just like Einstein.  We both worry about our friend and think about a lot of things that many people may not understand.  That special friend in our lives makes us feel really good and makes us feel special.   cool smile

Fourth grade winner:  Zach, 9 years old, from Mrs. Layne’s class. Zach wrote:

Einstein likes thinking, soccer, science, birding and research.  He wears glasses, does not wear fancy clothes, uses technology and is a good friend. Einstein Anderson got his nickname “Einstein” because he likes to think often.  He probably doesn’t like his real name since he always uses Einstein!

Paloma likes soccer, birding and research.  She has long black hair, uses technology, is a good friend and always dresses in high top sneakers and jeans and keeps her hair in a ponytail.  She does not sound like a girl who likes dresses!  

Einstein is interested is science and animals.   I like to read about animals too, especially reptiles.  Recently, I saved a baby snapping turtle and put it in the pond near my house.  I found the turtle on the road in front of my house and brought him to the pond so he was safe.  This seems like something Einstein would have wanted to do too.  

Third grade winner:  Lukas from Mr. DiCrescenzo’s Class, Nod Hill House. Here is the extraordinarily good...

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Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: School Visits, Contests, Einstein Anderson   •  Permalink (link to this article)

September 25, 2013

Today I want to share some of the great writing submitted by the kids at Cider Mill School after they looked and the photographs and read what I wrote about the red fox who visited my house. What I particularly like is that you looked closely, observed, and wrote about fresh details in the photographs. You found your own words for describing what was happening in the scene, using imaginative words that engaged all of our senses. And some of you created wonderful new scenes and even let us in on what the fox was thinking. Nice job!

 

We had many entries from students in Mrs. Bosch’s fifth grade class at Cannondale House, with good use of dialogue* (imagining what the fox is thinking or saying) to describe the scene. 

Ben wrote:

The sleek, sly, soft orange fox stared into the cold autumn breeze waiting, hoping for a midday snack to come. The leaves howled and the grass shivered. The rocky surface beneath him stung like ice with a layer of frost. The sun glimmered as if in need of a coat.

Chris: What I imagine is that that the fox was just sitting in this refreshing autumn breeze and thinking about how nice this sunny day is. It was just chilling on those rocks thinking, "my friends really have to try this, they sure are missing out." What I saw was a cool red fox laying down on the little pebbles, with its big fluffy tail flapping in the wind. Its giant ears were probably picking up every little sound around him/her. The face was so pointy, it could probably be used as a butcher’s knife.

Pearson: The orange and red fox sits lazily on the rocky ground as the wind blows gently on its silky fur. He looks up to see birds fluttering their wings looking for a worm. The fox gently lays back down. He is sunbathing. "Ahhhhhhh," he thinks, "this is nice." After some time he gets back up and trots to another nice spot with some food.

Mrs. Froehlich’s Kent House fifth graders used some great adjectives and compound descriptors to describe the fox. Look for compound descriptors like "Autumn-colored fur".... ""sun-colored".... "newly-formed dew." 

Mikey: As I gaze out my window, I see a lonely fox licking his autumn-colored fur. He stretches his hind legs and slowly lowers himself to the ground. He stifles a yawn, and shuts his eyes as he starts to bask in the warm autumn sun. He lies there, and I continue to watch him. After a while, he opens eyes and stretches again. Then, he trots off back into the shadowed depths of his kingdom.

Kayla: I can see the sun-colored fox laying on rocks that have been heated up by the bright sun. The fox is sun bathing, but also pretending to be asleep for a possible mid afternoon snack. It is a bright and beautiful autumn day in late October and the fox is startled by the rustling of some leaves, but it is nothing. So, the fox settles down in a nice warm and cozy comfy spot and drifts off to sleep like he’s sitting on a cloud. "Nothing could wake me up now," he thought, but not long after that, a quiet little bunny...

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Posted by: Seymour Simon

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

September 23, 2013

 

Another Venus lover! Earth’s "sister planet" is absolutely fascinating, and close enough that we often see it with our own eyes. If you have ever looked at a very bright star that is low in the sky just as the sun is setting, you were probably looking at Venus!

Jackson, from the school I am visiting later this week, is also interested in Venus. Here’s what he wrote:

 


Dear Mr. Seymour Simon,

I read your book about Venus.  It’s a very interesting book.  I never knew Venus was as hot as 900 degrees!  I’m so glad that I chose to read this book for my summer reading assignment.  

I can’t wait to see you when you visit our school this week.

Thank you,

Jackson D.  


I am looking forward to meeting all the students at Cider Mill School this week. See you soon!

Seymour 



 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: School Visits, space books, planets, space, Venus   •  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

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, Seymour Simon spoke to all children, all grades, at a Pennsylvania elementary school. We were so pleased and proud at what the school librarian had to say about it that we just had to share it with all of you. Thank you, Holly, for the wonderful feedback!


Dear Seymour,

Your time at Lower Gwynedd was a gift to our students as well as us oldsters! We were all mesmerized. You modeled the thrill of discovery and thinking as writing… writing as thinking. Your use of comparisons in the "space" presentations made complex numbers and concepts something we could understand. I do not doubt that every child will go home tonight and fly at least one paper airplane. It was a thrilling day for us and one that I hope will plant the seeds for future scientists and writers and educators. Thank you so much.


Holly Carlson

Librarian

Lower Gywnedd Elementary School

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: School Visits, Teachers and Librarians   •  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)

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