Label: Teachers And Librarians

February 20, 2014

Do you use our Writing Wednesday story starters with your class? Have heard about it and would like to try? Or wish it was on a different topic so it fit the day’s lesson plan?

You should know that we have a large archive - 60 and counting - of Writing Wednesday prompts. And I try to make them evergreen, so that no matter when they were first posted, they are still usable by teachers and classes interested in the topic. A good Writing Wednesday often starts with an image like this one, which captures students’ interest and stimulates engaged writing. We welcome your comments on how we could make this feature an even more useful tool for your classroom.

All of the children’s writing is reviewed for safety and privacy reasons before it is posted. And we accept comments on any of the Writing Wednesday exercises, even older ones.

Click here to check out the archive, and bookmark it for future reference.  

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Teachers and Librarians, Resources   •  Permalink (link to this article)

October 5, 2013


Thank you to the students and faculty at Altamont Elementary School - I enjoyed my visit to your school yesterday! We talked about everything from paper airplanes to outer space, and lots of animals, too.



  Congratulations to everyone who entered the Moth or Butterfly? contest. We had many good entries; each of you observed, did research, came to a conclusion and then wrote about it. Nice work!

As promised, there are two randomly selected winners - one individual student and one K-2 class. Each one of the winners will receive an autographed copy of my book BUTTERFLIES. Check with Mrs. Ahearn to pick up your prizes!

Here are the winners and what they wrote about which of these animals is a butterfly, and which is a moth:

Emily, age ten, from Mr. Whiteman’s Class, is the individual winner. Emily wrote:

I believe that insect A is a moth. I think this because a moth’s wings are to the side of his body, and it has very dull colors.

On the other hand, I think that insect B is a butterfly because, firstly, a butterflies wings rest upright on its back, and secondly, it has straight, clubbed antennae.

Mrs. Critelli’s Kindergarten Class were the classroom winners. They wrote:

We think that picture A is a moth because we learned that moths are nocturnal and picture A looks like it was taken at night. We also think it is a moth because it is smaller than the  insect in picture B. We learned that moths are smaller than butterflies. We also learned that moths don’t have knobs on the ends of their feelers and in this picture we do not see any knobs. These are the reasons we think picture A is a moth.

We think that picture B is a butterfly because we learned that butterflies have knobs at the ends of their feelers and in this picture we see knobs. We also learned that butterflies are larger than moths and the insect in picture B looks larger than the insect in picture A. Picture B looks like it was taken during the day so we think it must be a butterfly because butterflies are out during the daytime. These are the reasons we think picture B is a butterfly.

Thanks we had so much fun learning about butterflies and moths.


Mrs. Ahearn, Altamont’s school librarian, did a beautiful job of organizing everything for my visit this week. Thank you very much, Betty! Your kids were well-prepared and wonderful to work with.


Posted by: Seymour Simon

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

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, Contests, Kids Write, Teachers and Librarians   •  Permalink (link to this article)

September 21, 2013

We recently received this note from teacher Kelly Wilson:

Dear Mr. Simon, 

I am a huge admirer of your books and have been using them for years in my classroom. One of my favorites to use is Autumn in America. My second and third grade students love the photos you use in it and I like how you teach sophisticated concepts to the children in a way that is respectful and not condescending. I don’t like science books that "dumb it down" for young readers!

I attached some images of a teaching packet I made about your book. I made this for other teachers to use when reading your book to their classes. It contains the page numbers, the key concepts, and important vocabulary the teachers should cover. It’s a 14 page document in all. It’s based on how I use your book in my class.

I want to share these photos with you to let you know how much I admire your work. If you have time, I’d love to get your opinion of the packet I made. I also want to get your permission to market my packet on the TeachersPayTeachers and Teacher’s Notebook online shops. I’m concerned that I might have violated your copyrights and want to correct it if I have. 

These two photos are the cover page and a preview of what’s in the entire packet. I’d be glad to send you the whole packet if you’d like.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and thank you for your amazing books!

Sincerely, Kelly Wilson

While I am very pleased that Kelly loves my books and is using my work in her classroom, I can only say that she needs to determine whether her project falls under the definition of "Fair Use" (in US copyright law the Fair Use doctrine states that brief excerpts of copyright material may, under certain circumstances, be quoted verbatim for purposes such as criticism, news reporting, teaching, and research, without the need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder). 

I only hold the copyright to the text and certain illustrations (the photographs that I took myself). The publisher owns the rights to the book and some of the photographs are licensed from photographers who own the copyrights.

I’m sure Kelly (and anyone else who asks this kind of question) will understand that I cannot be in the position of judging what is, and what is not, Fair Use. You will have to make that determination on your own.

This is a good question that I hear fairly often, so I’m glad you brought it up.

Thanks for writing! 


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Teacher Guides, Teachers and Librarians   •  Permalink (link to this article)

September 13, 2013

We are so pleased to welcome lots of new users to the Seymour Science blog this week. It is exciting to know that kids, parents, and educators are using this resource, because we create it for YOU! Take a look at the list called "Labels" on the left hand side of the blog page. These are links to lots of stories that we have posted here in the past. As you browse around I’m sure you will find topics in which you are interested. Just click on the label name, and all the stories with that label will pop right up for you to read. For example, if you click on the label called Space, you will find all kinds of interesting stories and photographs from space. Dog lovers should try the label Dogs - I think you will like what you see!

Writing on this blog is also a great way to practice Internet safety. Did you notice today that it takes a few hours before your comment shows up after you post it? That is because we check every single comment on the website to be sure that you are all using the Internet safely before we make the comment live on the website for everyone to see.

We noticed recently that some kids are leaving comments with both their first and last name - not a good idea if you are under 13 years old (don’t worry, we changed your last name to just an initial before we made them live). So, as we do every September, we want to remind students about five important "Internet Rules of the Road." You should follow these rules if you are writing a comment, uploading a photo, or uploading a video anywhere on the Internet, not just on

1.    Never give your full name. Use just your first name, or your first name and last initial (I would be "Seymour S").

2.    Never give your exact address. If you want to say where you are from, keep the answer general. For example, "Alicia N. from Texas." Or "Jeremy S., from Lee Road School." 

3.    I bet you have already figured out that you should never give your email address or telephone number to anyone you meet on the Internet. That is a BIG no no!

4.    DO practice kindness when you interact with other kids on the Internet. Treat people you meet with respect, just as you would want to be treated. If something is too mean to say directly to someone’s face, then it is too mean to write on the Internet. 

5.    Your parents and teachers can and should be able to see what you are doing on the Internet. Share your activities with them when they ask, and let them help you with learning the Internet Rules of the Road. 

Teachers and librarians, this is also a chance to remind you to get parental permission before you send us any photographs of your students.

We are always glad to hear from you here at, and we want to keep everybody safe.

Keep on writing! I love to hear from you!


Photo courtesy of Shannon McClintock Miller 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Teachers and Librarians, Internet Safety   •  Permalink (link to this article)

September 7, 2013

Seymour Simon is pleased and honored that two of his books, VOLCANOES and HORSES, are included in the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) as English Language Arts Text Exemplars, Grades 4-5 Informational Text. Now, we are providing extra resources to help you make the most of these two popular books!

   Seymour has created detailed Teacher Guides for both of these books, and they are available as free downloads to anyone who is registered as a member of this website. The reason that you must register to become a member of in order to access the free teacher guides is that children also use the website and these materials are not for them. We do not share, sell or use personal information for any other purpose other than to register parents and educators for access to this area of the website.

You can become a member by simply clicking "Sign Up" at the right hand side of the yellow bar at the top of the page. Once you have registered, be sure that you are logged in and visit the "Educators and Families" section of Seymour Simon’s website to download individual copies of the Guide. 

While you are exploring the website, you may also want to try some of the many other free resources that we offer for classroom use on The website offers extensive classroom resources designed to expand students’ understanding and exploration of his books, and also to encourage and reward their efforts as growing readers and writers. In particular, the Seymour Science blog is widely used by schools and classes who are studying his books and looking for opportunities to publish student writing. We have also had very enthusiastic participation by classes in our weekly "Writing Wednesdays," which began again at the beginning of September. 

Best wishes to all the educators who use this website for a smooth and productive start to the new school year!

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Common Core, Volcanoes, Teacher Guides, Teachers and Librarians, Horses   •  Permalink (link to this article)

June 11, 2013


We offer a multitude of resources (most of them free) to help stave off summer reading loss. Click here to download the list and to start accessing these great activity ideas for kids! (Note that you must be a member of to access these free educator resources. Membership is also free: simply click "sign up" at the top right on the website).



My digital publishing company, StarWalk Kids Media, is also offering a summer reading special. Schools and libraries that subscribe by June 30th get a fifteen-month subscription for the price of 12, which covers a summer reading program! Here’s the link to sign up for a subscription to this exceptional digital collection, which is affordable and simple to use, works on all devices with Internet connections, can be used by multiple children simultaneously, and has "Teaching Links" that support Common Core activities with every eBook. Don’t delay - you must sign up by June 30th to take advantage of this special offer!

I participated in a terrific Twitter chat last night, lead by Cornelius Minor (@MisterMinor), who is a Staff Developer at Columbia Teachers College Reading & Writing Project. Educators were sharing ideas for encouraging summer reading and learning, and there was a lot of great information exchanged. If you are interested in learning about what people were suggesting, read the Twitter thread #tcrwpcoaching.  

People were asking last night what I do in the summer. It’s a mix of things. I relax during the summer by doing many of the same things that I do all year long - read books, write books, get out and photograph nature. We also fish, walk in the woods, try to learn bird calls, watch bats at night, read poetry. How about you? I’d love to hear about your summer plans, for your students and for yourself.

Whatever your plans, happy summer to all! 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Teachers and Librarians, Summer Vacation Science, Science Projects   •  Permalink (link to this article)

June 4, 2013

The dedication of this young, preservice teacher reminds us all of why we do what we do. Here is a letter I received recently from Hannah Blair.

I am a preservice teacher. I’m currently working as a teacher’s aid in a first grade classroom. Becoming a teacher is hard, especially right now. When I tell people I’m going to teach, most of the time I just get a "good luck with that" look. I know that as I teach there will be times when I want to give up, but there will be moments that take my breath away and remind me why I do what I do. I recently had one of those moments and it involved one of your books. 

One of my kiddos has the hardest time focusing in school. He’s out of his seat and off the walls most of the time. Except for silent reading time. Silent reading time means he gets to read what ever he wants. And for him, that is outer space. He tries to find books about space every time he goes to the library, but most books at his level are only drawings of outer space and never completely satisfy his craving for a good space book. That is until I brought him my well-loved copy of your book Our Solar SystemWhen I pulled that book out of my backpack and he saw all those photographs and read what you had written my heart melted. To see his curiosity expand and his excitement grow I knew this was why I had gone into teaching. To watch him fly around the room showing off his book to classmates and teachers, to watch him tell that book goodbye every afternoon, and to watch him read and reread it daily reminds me why I want to teach. So I can inspire this love of learning in others.  

Thank you, Hannah, for this wonderful letter. You are a credit to a noble profession, teaching! I am so proud of having some small part in helping to assist you in being the great teacher that you are.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Teachers and Librarians   •  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


Lower Gywnedd Elementary School

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: School Visits, Teachers and Librarians   •  Permalink (link to this article)

January 11, 2013

Ms. Miele from Village Park Elementary School in Pennsylvania brought me wonderful thank you cards, with student writing and drawings, after my visit there this week.

We don’t have enough space here to share them all, but I wanted to show you some of the lovely notes from these students.








Destiny wrote: "Mr. Simon, I hope you had a great time here," along with this lovely drawing of the two of us holding hands. Thank you, Destiny!












Savannah wanted me to know that she has some suggestions for new books: "What about flowers or bees? Birds are cool, too." And she added, "P.S. You inspire me." I am so touched by that.










2nd grader Tyler wrote: "I liked when you showed us the paper airplane!"










And look at this terrific drawing of a space monster! One of my favorite topics!

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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

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