Label: Teachers And Librarians

November 10, 2010


I am speaking in schools throughout the Dallas/Arlington area this week, and as always, I am delighted to be with the kids, and to meet such dedicated teachers, librarians and principals.

I know fellow authors share my view that a school gets the most out of an author visit when the kids have been prepared by reading my books, going on my website, even doing research on topics that interest them. I’ve seen some great examples of that this week.

At Christ the King School in Dallas, librarian Leslie Garnett had all the fourth graders do research projects based on my book, ANIMALS NOBODY LOVES

Leslie told me that she was amazed to see every kid dive into research about the animal they had chosen. I guess that’s what a book about gross, yucky, and misunderstood creatures will do for you!

Another librarian, Jennie Jackson at Lynn Hale Elementary School in Arlington, had arranged for two kids in every class (chosen randomly) to win a copy of my book EARTHQUAKES. I loved what she said to the kids before the drawing started. "Now, no groaning. I want you all to share in the happiness of the people who win." And indeed, every winner was loudly applauded by these students, who were also very enthusiastic participants in my talks - many hands in the air and great answers, all around!

I am also pleased to see that both educators and kids had prepared by coming to my website and using the resources that we have created here. As long as people keep using the free Teacher Guides, Project Ideas and other supplemental resources to extend the learning from my books, we’ll keep putting them up there. It is all free, so if you haven’t already, register as a member of the website in the Educators & Families section. We respect your privacy and will never sell or misuse your personal information - we simply ask you to register to ensure that it is adults - not kids! - using these educator resources.

People often ask as I miss teaching, and my answer is always that I’ll never stop teaching, as long as I’m writing for and speaking to kids.  And I don’t intend to stop anytime soon. It’s too much fun!

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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

September 30, 2010

This is something that I have been meaning to post for awhile. When Seymour spoke at the Literacy Conference at  San Angelo State University earlier this year, he was introduced by district education specialist Dedra Carter. Dedra had been up very late the night before making this wonderful "animoto" slide show - complete with text and music - to introduce Seymour. It is very touching, and the emotion reflects the way we felt about our week there. Lots of love right back at you, San Angelo! 

CLICK HERE to view Dedra Carter’s animoto video introduction to Seymour Simon’s speech. 

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: School Visits, Teachers and Librarians, Seymour Simon, Video, Animoto   •  Permalink (link to this article)

September 21, 2010


As teachers and students settle into the new school year here in North America, I’m busy doing my homework — editing and revising my Science Dictionary. It is now available and searchable for kids on my website, and we’ve added lots of new photos to entice casual browsers. It is also being re-published next year by Dover. So, it’s time for an update.


My process has certainly changed since I first wrote the Dictionary just over 15 years ago. The first time around it took me several years to write it, because I had to research over 2,000 entries by hand, at the library. Now, with the Internet, I am revising and updating the entire volume in a matter of months. That’s what I call progress!

Speaking of progress, the list of new entries has made me realize how much of a scientific and technological revolution we’ve experienced since I first published this book, back in 1994. New entries (which either didn’t exist or weren’t relevant to kids 15 years ago) include: Internetavatarcell phone, International Space StationHubble Space TelescopeGPS, global warmingdigitalforensic scienceCT-Scanoil pollution....the list goes on and on. And of course, Pluto is re-defined as a "dwarf planet, an object in the Kuiper Belt."


One of the great things about publishing on the Internet is that it’s a fluid, evolving media. That means it is possible to continue tweaking, adding, revising and updating my Science Dictionary. So, if there are words that you think should be included, send me a note or comment here.




Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: New Books, Teachers and Librarians, Writing, Science Dictionary   •  Permalink (link to this article)

September 1, 2010


Just in time for Back to School we are running a funny contest on We want to see entrants "Go Gorilla!" by uploading videos of themselves imitating real gorilla behavior.

  Gorilla thinks

(Photo: Reuters)



The Grand Prize Winner earns a free Seymour Simon Skype session with their class — now there’s a way to get in good with your new teacher! And, there are lots of other great prizes.






 o   THIRD PRIZE: Twenty randomly chosen videos will receive personally autographed photographs of Seymour Simon.

o   SECOND PRIZE: Ten randomly chosen videos will receive personally autographed copies Seymour Simon’s GORILLAS book. 

o   FIRST PRIZE: The top five best videos will be posted on the Seymour’s website for everyone to see.


There is nothing to lose, and a lot to win! Click here to find out how to enter, study up on what gorillas do, and send us your video today!!



Posted by: Liz Nealon

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

August 25, 2010

In many ways, my year begins with the school year which for me as a student and then a teacher began the first week in September. All the rhythms of my year are tied in with school. I recall how excited I was to meet with the students in my new classes (I usually taught science to either 9th or 7th graders and also had a class with seniors in what the school called “creative writing.”) I remember that by the end of the first week, my voice was hoarse and it would take the weekend to recover. By the second week of school I had learned how to modulate my speaking enough to last through the five teaching periods a day and the teacher interaction that took place during lunch period and my “free” periods. (Teachers know that there is no such thing as a “free” period; you just do things other than direct teaching.}

So as the summer is winding down and as school approaches or has already begun in some places, I want to reach out to teachers and say hi and good luck. I’ll be writing on my blog during the school year about all kinds of things including my speaking in schools across the country. I hope you’ll drop me a note from time to time, telling me about something interesting that is happening in your class in science or in nature or just about using my books with kids (and be sure to look at the free teacher guides for my books which you can easily download). From time to time, I’ll be awarding a free Skype session with a teacher and the class that is working with my books. Be sure to be in touch!

Photo: Seymour speaking in San Angelo, Texas, Spring 2010




Posted by: Seymour Simon

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

June 2, 2010



 This photograph was taken last week at the KidWind Challenge, sponsored by the American Wind Energy Association. Middle and High School students were challenged to design, build and test their wind turbine blades in a professional wind tunnel with live data monitoring software recording their turbine power output.


If you are an educator interested in innovative energy education, check out The KidWind Project for information about tools, training programs and workshops on wind power for students of all ages.

Who knows, one of these young entrepreneurs might lead the next energy revolution!

Posted by: Liz Nealon

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

May 26, 2010

We’ve been writing a lot this month about the work we are doing to develop free, downloadable TEACHER GUIDES to go with all 26 of Seymour’s Collins/Smithsonian books (plus some other perennial favorites like ANIMALS NOBODY LOVES, EARTH, THE MOON, THE PAPER AIRPLANE BOOK, etc).


One of the nice features at the start of each Guide is a brief piece of first person writing from Seymour entitled "Why I Wrote This Book." It’s designed for teachers or parents to read aloud with kids before starting to talk about the book together. Today we are working on the Guide to accompany DOGS. Here is a preview of what Seymour wrote about the genesis of this book.


My first dog was a Springer Spaniel named Nova. Nova means "a new star" and that’s what NOVA was: a new star in our family. Then my son Mike got a dog and he named it Riley (who was then the coach of the New York Knicks). He eventually got another dog named Dizzy (you can guess why) and I dedicated this book to all three (but I misspelled the name of one of my son’s dogs-check the dedication to see which one).


We have completed a prototype Teacher Guide - for EARTHQUAKES - and are currently testing it in classrooms.  If you would like to give us your feedback you can download a copy by clicking on this link. We would love to hear from you!


Posted by: Liz Nealon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: Animals Nobody Loves, Animal Books, Teacher Guides, Dogs, Teachers and Librarians   •  Permalink (link to this article)

May 24, 2010

Today we thought we’d share some of the feedback from the In-School testing which is underway on the prototype Teacher Guide for Seymour’s EARTHQUAKES book. This testing is happening in conjunction with the creation of thirty Teacher Guides to be used with his books. They will be available online for free teacher downloads by the time schools resume in the autumn of 2010.

For those interested in the anecdotal highlights of the in-school testing, here is feedback from fellow science writer Jordan Brown, who is collaborating with us on both the writing and testing.

 Highlights of the 3rd grade class testing:


* Kids enjoyed having "Why I Wrote this Book" from Seymour Simon read aloud. One of the teachers shared her story about experiencing an earthquake in Seattle.

* As you might expect, any opportunity for children to share personal stories captured group interest. One boy told about visiting California recently and experiencing his first earthquake.

* The 3rd graders really liked the "Make a Quake" website. We did this online activity several times, changing the variables to see how damaged the building became.

* Many kids were very surprised to learn how frequent earthquakes are.

* They also enjoyed when I passed around the hard-boiled egg with the cracked shell still on (like cracked plates around Earth). Spontaneously, I had all kids press their palms together forcefully, then have one of the hands push upward, so they could imitate the motion of faults sliding passed each other.

* For the building activity, I made the challenge a bit tougher for the third graders. I told students to build a building as tall as they could—but also try to stabilize it. Otherwise, I feared they would just make long, flat structures. All but one of the buildings they made held up when, as a group, we tested them out by shaking a plastic plate beneath each model.

From the Kindergarten Testing:

* Kids loved looking at the dramatic photos when I flipped through the book—but some of the kindergartners got a little scared. I made a point of reassuring them that the chances of a big, dangerous earthquake in our area was very rare.

* Class was fascinated by the map on page 12 (in which every small red dot represents where an EQ has occurred).

* When talking about why scientists can’t predict precisely when an EQ will occur—one child made the comparison to a balloon being blown up. If you keep blowing, eventually it will pop—but you don’t know exactly when.

* Building activity was a big hit - The teacher commented that she really loved watching the groups of children having to work together to figure out a possible solution. When some of the groups had trouble coming up with a self-standing building (I only provided a small number of materials, so they had to think creatively), they got inspiration and ideas by looking at each other’s work.

If you are interested in giving us feedback on this prototype, we would LOVE to hear from you. You can download a free copy of the Teacher Guide for Seymour Simon’s EARTHQUAKES by clicking on this link.


Posted by: Liz Nealon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: Teacher Guides, Earthquakes, School Visits, Teachers and Librarians, Earth Science Books   •  Permalink (link to this article)

May 12, 2010

We are hard at work creating Teacher Guides to be used with all 26 of Seymour Simon’s Collins/Smithsonian books (as well as other favorites like EARTH, THE MOON, DESTINATION MARS, ANIMALS NOBODY LOVES, etc) in the classroom. The four-page, black-and-white PDFs will include: Why I Wrote this Book (from the author), an Introductory Activity, Questions to Ask Before Reading (with answers), Questions to Ask After Reading (with answers), Classroom Activities, Additional Resources (both books, web links, relevant graphs and charts), and a reproducible page with a children’s activity.

Our goal is to have thirty of these Teacher Guides created and available online for free teacher downloads by the time schools resume in the autumn of 2010.

One of the guides is finished and currently being tested in schools. This is an image of structures built by 3rd graders, who then tested them to see if they could survive an "earthquake." You can download a free copy of the Teacher Guide for Seymour Simon’s EARTHQUAKES, which includes multiple teacher resources and this hands-on activity, by clicking on this link.


And, if you would like to give us feedback on this prototype, we would LOVE to hear from you.


Posted by: Liz Nealon

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

April 6, 2010

Each year in the week before Earth Day the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency launches a program called National Environmental Education Week, offering resources for kids, teachers and families to use in order "to get involved in lessons and activities that teach valuable environmental skills."

EE Week inspires environmental learning and stewardship among K-12 students by connecting educators with environmental resources to promote students’  understanding of the environment. The website offers Teacher Resources including lesson plans, a promotional tool kit, and a video message from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson which explains the scope of the program.

These are free resources,  available to all. Explore and enjoy! 

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Teachers and Librarians, Earth Day 2010   •  Permalink (link to this article)

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