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YA Eco Mysteries, Memoirs, Novels & Travel

Eco Mysterie Middle School

The Educational Value of Zoos

Teacher’s Night at the Birmingham Zoo

On a muggy, late summer Alabama night, tired teachers trooped through the gates of the Birmingham Zoo after a long day in the classroom. They were greeted by smiling docents, a friendly talking parrot and a cool gopher tortoise, bigger than a dinner plate. While teachers enjoyed delicious complimentary BBQ and drinks, the zoo’s able and talented educational staff explained the wide variety of resources the zoo provides for teachers. These include school animal programs, a variety of field experiences, guided tours, auditorium programs, and hands-on science experiences.

Birmingham Zoo Teacher's Night
Docent Program in the Auditorium Read More...

Women's Hall of Fame

Alabama Women's Hall of Fame
Our
midsummer jaunt with friends of the Cosmos Club began with a visit to The Alabama Women's Hall of Fame in Marion, Alabama, located on the historic campus of Judson College.
Visit to Judson College
Visit to Judson College, Alabama

As we stepped into the beautifully restored A. Howard Bean Hall, rows of
gleaming bronze plaques, honoring Alabama’s most outstanding women, welcomed us in. Pausing before the inscriptions on the plaques, we discovered the significant contributions each one of them have made to our state and nation. Read More...

Butterfly Awareness Botanical Gardens


Butterfly Education and Awareness Day

Monarch Butterfly (Poster created by Ellie Usadan)
Kids Enjoyed Coloring the Poster Created by Ellie Usdan

We were delighted to join the
Birmingham Botanical Gardens, on a perfect summer day, to celebrate Butterfly Education and Awareness Day, and also to share the newest book in the eco mystery series for middle grades, The Adventures of The Sizzling Six: Monarch Mysteries (book 6 in the series).
Read More...

Alabama Biodiversity in our Hands

EEAA Annual Conference Alabama’s Biodiversity: It’s in our Hands!

The theme selected for the 2015 EEAA Annual Conference, Alabama's Biodiversity: It's in Our Hands, could not be more stimulating and relevant. The presentations and field trips at the conference highlight our state’s amazing biodiversity.
Scot Duncan, author of Southern Wonder, will be the key note speaker. In addition, pre-conference, day-long workshops provide an overflowing cornucopia of resources for teachers, thanks to Shirley Farrell, Gifted Specialist, Alabama Department of Education. Read More...

Environmental Project Based Learning

How to Launch Environmental Project Based Learning

1. LAUNCH PARTY. To arouse the students’ curiosity, plan the event to be novel and dramatic. Design a presentation that encourages students to generate questions that plunge them into an intriguing ecological mystery that they must solve in order to help save an endangered species. You could invite an author of eco mysteries or non-fiction books with environmental themes. For example, for my school presentation I dress up as Mrs. Margarita Mariposa, a character in The Adventures of The Sizzling Six: Monarch Mysteries (Book Six). I wear a striking mask with flowers and butterflies, and send
paper monarch butterflies into the air. 

Mexico in Birmingham
Read More...

Environmental Project Based Learning

Launch of Eco Mystery Project

"To sunshine, clear water, and sparkling skies and to the kids who are cleaning up the Earth.” Jean Craighead George

How can educators launch a PROJECT-BASED LEARNING project that will inspire students to do in-depth investigation and to apply what they have learned to make a difference in the real world? Here’s how I launched projects about
eco mysteries for Melissa Foster’s third graders at Creek View Elementary in Maylene, Alabama, and Robin Gillespie’s fifth and sixth graders, at Oak Mountain Intermediate School in Decatur, Alabama.  
To arouse the students’ curiosity, I planned the event to be novel and dramatic. My presentation encouraged students to generate questions that  plunge them into an intriguing ecological mystery they must solve in order to help save an endangered species. To begin, I dressed up as Mrs. Margarita Mariposa, a character in
The Adventures of The Sizzling Six: Monarch Mysteries (Book Six in the series). I donned a striking mask with flowers and butterflies and tossed a paper monarch butterfly into the air.

Day of Dead Read More...

Huntsville Botanical Gardens Education

Huntsville Botanical Gardens Serves Educators and Students

Children's Education program coordinators, Misty Hertzig and Soozi Pline, graciously invited educators and their community partners to a special event at Huntsville Botanical Gardens.

Soozi and Misty
MISTY HERTZIG, CLAIRE DATNOW, AND SOOZI PLINE

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How Teachers Can Use Enhanced eBooks

Teaching with Enhanced eBooks

In the previous blog, I provided an overview of the advantages of using Enhanced eBooks for the general readers
Advantages of Enhanced eBooks. In this blog, I’ll focus on the benefits of Enhanced books for teachers with examples that you can download and use in your classrooms. While thoughtfully Enhanced eBooks can indeed enhance your students learning and appreciation, finding examples I considered worthwhile was not as easy as I anticipated. Read More...