Slice of Life #2- Field Guide to NJ Species

Yesterday I shared an assignment that my students just completed that I think could be adapted to English classes at any grade level. Feel free to steal!

The Reading Zone

Last week I tried a new assignment with my 9th graders and I’m so proud of how it turned out! Our current unit is called Literature and the Land and we are focusing on nature writing.  Specifically, we began by studying writers like Edward Abbey and John Muir and moved to writers who focus on New Jersey.  Right now the students are reading excerpts from John McPhee’s The Pine Barrens. I’ve also been sharing picture books like Coyote Moon, Finding Wild, and Faraway Fox.

It’s too cold to go outside most days so I wanted to come up with a way for my students to learn about species found in NJ without forcing them to freeze.  I’ve always loved field guides so I decided to challenge them to create a field guide to NJ species. I borrowed a bunch of field guides from the biology teacher to use as mentor…

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Long list for the 2017 Green Earth Book Award

The Green Earth Book Award is one of my favorite lists each year.  Awarded to children’s and young adult books that promote a message of environmental stewardship, the Green Earth Book Award is much-needed today.  As an English teacher who knows that books can be a gateway to the environment for many students, I love to peruse the award’s long list each year.  While I can sometimes predict that certain books will make it on the list I love learning about new books when they are nominated.

This year’s qualifying list is no exception.  I just added a number of books from the list to my TBR pile and I hope a few of them will be appropriate for my 9th grade curriculum.

PICTURE BOOK

CHILDREN’S FICTION

  • Ace, King of My Heart, by Lea Herrick and illustrated by Nora Howell, Krystal Colon, and David Herrick (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform)
  • Maybe a Fox, by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee (Atheneum Caitlyn Dlouhy Books)
  • Pax, by Sara Pennypacker and illustrated by Jon Klassen  (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
  • Saving Wonder, by Mary Knight (Scholastic Press)
  • The Wolf Keepers, by Elise Broach and illustrated by Alice Ratterree (Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt Books for Young Readers/Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group)

YOUNG ADULT FICTION

  • Broken Wing, by David Budbill (Green Writers Press)
  • Dig Too Deep, by Amy Allgeyer (Albert Whitman & Co)
  • KABOOM!, by Brian Adams (Green Writers Press)
  • Keep Her, by Leora Krygier (She Writes Press)
  • Rescued, by Eliot Schrefer (Scholastic Press)
  • Up from the Sea, by Leza Lowitz (Crown BFYR, Random House Children’s Books)

CHILDREN’S NONFICTION

YOUNG ADULT NONFICTION

Kudos to the small presses (and sometimes self-published authors, too!) doing the work to get these stories out there to kids and teenagers.  Take note, major publishers:  we want and need books about environmental stewardship!