Label: Weather

January 27, 2016


Did you see the video that the Smithsonian’s National Zoo captured after last weekend’s blizzard? When male giant panda Tian Tian (tee-YEN tee-YEN) woke up to a lot of snow, he was pretty excited about it.

Unlike you and me, Tian Tian did not need to bundle up to be comfortable in the snow. Giant pandas have thick woolly coats that keep them warm in the snowy mountains of China.

Since it is Writing Wednesday, let’s take this opportunity to do some descriptive writing. Watch this video of Tian Tian in the snow, and imagine all the sensations he is feeling. Describe what he was smelling, seeing, feeling, tasting…..all the things that made him want to roll over and over in the big white stuff!

 Be patient while the video loads below. If you are using a tablet you may not be able to see this video. Try viewing it on a desktop computer. 

When you are finished writing, click on the yellow "Comments" button at the bottom of this post to share your work with others. Happy Writing! 


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: Animals, Video, Weather   •  Permalink (link to this article)

January 7, 2014

We’ve all seen many photographs from the record-shattering cold that has gripped the United States and Canada this week, but I particularly like this one. It shows Lake Michigan frozen solid, with the Chicago skyline in the background. 


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(6) Comments  •   Labels: Climate Change, Cool Photo, Weather   •  Permalink (link to this article)

December 4, 2013

We would like to begin today’s Writing Wednesday by welcoming Mr. Gredder’s
5th Graders from Land O’ Pines Elementary School. We’re looking forward to hearing from you all!

Are you ready to write about FOG?

Science News Story:


Park rangers and tourists alike at the Grand Canyon were treated to a rare sight over Thanksgiving weekend. Everyone rushed to see as word spread that the massive canyon, the longest in the world, was full of fog.

Normally air gets colder with altitude. In other words, the temperature drops as you go up in the atmosphere. Occasionally, an "inversion" happens. An inversion means that the cold air stays close to the ground and the moisture condenses into droplets of fog. That is what happened at the Grand Canyon last weekend, filling the huge gorge with a mighty river of fog.

"Much better than Black Friday!" National Park Service Ranger Erin Whittaker posted on the Grand Canyon’s Facebook page. "Rangers wait for years to see it. Word spread like wildfire and most ran to the rim to photograph it. What a fantastic treat for all!"

Your assignment:

Explain this unusual weather event in your own words. Use details from both the photographs and the news story in your description of this Thanksgiving treat.

Happy Writing!


Photos: Erin Whittaker, National Park Service 

Note for Educators: Did you know that we have more than 50 Writing Wednesday topics archived on We strive to make these posts evergreen so that you can use them whenever the topic suits your lesson plan. Check out the Writing Wednesday Archive today!


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(3) Comments  •   Labels: Common Core, Writing Wednesday, Cool Photo, Weather   •  Permalink (link to this article)

January 30, 2013

Good morning, and welcome to Writing Wednesday!

Today we would like you to look at this photograph and take five minutes to have fun with creative writing.

Background: This is a photograph of a tornado sweeping across the Namib Desert in Namibia, a country in southwestern Africa. Isn’t it a gorgeous sight?

Your Assignment: Imagine you are in Africa, seeing this tornado, and describe this sight. Use lots of strong adjectives to help the scene come to life for your reader. What does it look like? Sound like? How would you feel if you were there in the desert?

When you are finished writing, you can click on the yellow "Comments" link at the bottom of this blog post if you would like to share your writing for others to read.

Happy writing! 


Photo: Francesco Middei

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(28) Comments  •   Labels: Writing Wednesday, Weather, Tornadoes   •  Permalink (link to this article)

January 29, 2013



The past week’s arctic blast has left this lighthouse in St. Joseph, Michigan encased in ice. It is actually not unusual for the lighthouses at this point where the St. Joseph River flows into Lake Michigan to ice over during winter storms, but this is a particularly magnificent photograph because of the pink, sunset light.


Photo: Lisa Davidson Rundell 



Posted by: Seymour Simon

(3) Comments  •   Labels: Cool Photo, Weather, Winter   •  Permalink (link to this article)

January 25, 2013




Most of North America is shivering in freezing, Arctic temperatures. It is also very windy where we live, near the Berkshire Mountains. I pulled off the road when I was driving the other day to take this shot. The high altitude cirrus clouds were being "shredded" by the wind…and they were pulled into a shape that made it look like an exclamation point. 

Or maybe it is a comment on the freezing temperature up there?


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Cool Photo, Seymour Photographs, Weather   •  Permalink (link to this article)

January 15, 2013


Dust + Rain = An Amazing Sight!

This incredible sight is the result of a rain cloud and a dust storm meeting and combining off the western coast of Australia. Tug boat worker Brett Martin snapped this photograph of the amazing red cloud traveling rapidly across the Indian Ocean.


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(3) Comments  •   Labels: Oceans, Cool Photo, Weather   •  Permalink (link to this article)

May 29, 2012

Caleb and Candra Pence had just said "I do" and were taking photographs when a tornado touched down miles away from their outdoor wedding ceremony in Harper, Kansas. The tornadoes were eight miles away, heading the other direction, so no one at the wedding was in danger.

"It’s just Kansas, it’s just who we are, it’s like wheat fields, cowboys and tornadoes; what more can you ask for?" said the groom’s mother, Carla Pence.

That is one unusual wedding picture, which is why it is our Cool Photo of the Week!



Photo: Cate Eighmey

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(5) Comments  •   Labels: Cool Photo, Weather, Tornadoes   •  Permalink (link to this article)

March 10, 2012

This week we ran a contest called WHAT KIND OF CLOUD IS THAT? for students at the K-8 school in Menands, NY, where I visited this week. I asked students to do some research about the three most common types of clouds, and to tell me which one they would be most like to see on a fair weather day. 67 students and classes left comments on the blog with their answers. Wonderful!

How did I come up with a winner among the many correct answers? The winner was randomly chosen by a true random number generator on the website First we listed all the entries on page after page, in order of when they were received. Then we used the random number generator, first to pick a page number and then to pick a number on the page. The winning pick was Delia, a fourth grader. Here is what Delia wrote: 

Hi, Seymour Simon. You are my class’s model right now. We are so excited to meet you we can hardly stay in our seats. The three types of clouds are stratus clouds, cumuls clouds and cirrus clouds. Cumulus clouds are found on a fair weather day.

From Delia, 4th grade

The class pick, for Kindergarten through second grade, was Mrs. Sposito’s first grade class. They wrote:

The three most common clouds are cumulus, stratus, and cirrus. The common cloud you would see on a fair day is cumulus.

By: Mrs. Sposito’s First Grade Class, Menands School


Delia and Mrs. Sposito’s class will receive personally autographed copies of my book WEATHER. Congratulations to both winners, and thank you to everyone who entered. There was some very good writing and thinking posted this week. 

I had so much fun meeting you all this week, and reading all your great writing on my blog. Please keep in touch by telling me about what book of mine you’re reading, and what subjects you like the most!

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: School Visits, Contests, Weather   •  Permalink (link to this article)

March 5, 2012

Following last week’s storm systems that unleashed devastating tornadoes in the Midwestern and southern U.S., many readers are writing to ask about tornadoes and why they happen. You can check your library to see if they have my book, TORNADOES, which explains these terribly destructive storms.

I have also written often about Tornadoes on this blog. Here is a link that will take you to a list of all my tornadoes blog posts. There is lots of good information for you there.

My heart goes out to kids, families and communities in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, and North Carolina, whose lives were affected and in some cases, forever changed, by these powerful storms. 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Weather   •  Permalink (link to this article)

 1 2 3 >  Last »