mystery The answer to the clues may be found at the bottom of this column.    Teachers and Parents: Enter to win an entire set of Dawn’s nature books of one title for your home or classroom. It's fun and easy!
Just read the clues below. They describe an aspect of nature—a plant, animal, mineral, habitat, or natural process.
When you're ready to make your guess about who or what I am, click ENTER NOW.
Who Am I?
spacerglass1 Clue 1:  I'm a member of the "dog family."
glass1 Clue 2:  I live throughout North America in deserts, prairies, forests, and even in towns and cities.
glass1 Clue 3:  You might hear me howling at night to communicate with my pack.
glass1 Clue 4:  Don't let me trick you—I am NOT a wolf.
Do you think you know who I am? ENTER NOW.
Entries should be submitted no later than noon on Friday.
If you guessed correctly, you’re automatically entered into the monthly drawing for a set of nature books from Dawn Publications.
A contest winner will be announced at the end of September.
Throughout the school year, clues for a new Who Am I are posted no later than Sunday night, so you can use them with your class on Monday morning.Good luck!
The answer to last week's mystery was: SEASHELLS Although Inside Outside Nature blog is changing it's focus, this weekly "Who Am I?" will remain the same! Teachers, click here to get ideas about how to use the contest with your students.  

Monthly Archives: November 2013

Over in a River, Flowing out to the Sea

Marianne Berkes is this week’s Guest Blogger, and all of the clues for October’s Who Am I? contest came from her book Over in a River, Flowing Out to the Sea. Marianne has spent much of her life with children as a teacher, children’s theater director and children’s librarian. Scroll to end of the blog to find out more about Marianne.


Marianne_BerkesI believe most children learn by doing. After reading one of my books, I hope kids (and adults) will go outside in the moist air after a rain and listen to the sounds of frogs, or go to a beach feeling sand between their toes and discover the amazing works of art of seashells, as kids touch and feel them. Or with model magic clay, create their own coral reef or make a diorama of a forest animal habitat.

My “informational picture books” combine fact with fiction, which I like to call “faction.” According to author April Pulley Sayre, “Administrators are starting to recognize that non-fiction writing is the key to student achievement.” Bravo to that!  So many wonderfully written non-fiction picture books are launch pads for discussion and learning, and they are FUN!

Enter Common Core Standards, now a classroom reality in 45 states. They emphasize that an increase in the amount of informational text students hear, read and write is needed. Teachers now look at non-fiction picture books from a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) point of view. And lately I’ve seen the buzz word, STEAM, which adds “art” to the mix.

Dawn Publication’s books provide skills to help kids be critical thinkers and increase success in reading, math and science. Every book is carefully vetted by experts in the field and most, including all of mine, have curriculum connections. All of my books have free downloadable extension activities for educators (and parents) that fit the Common Core Standards.

In 2004, I used the age-old song “Over in the Meadow” for Over in the Ocean, in a Coral Reef. Because it rhymes and has a meter, it can help a child learn to read as well as learn about a coral reef habitat. Now there are six “Over” books where kids get “inside” the book to read about animals living in a coral reef, forest, arctic, Australia, rainforest, and now rivers, where they also learn geography in a fun way.


INSIDE: Follow a River


Twelve U. S. rivers  are introduced in Over in a River, Flowing Out to the Sea. Download a reproducible map of all the rivers to lead your students in the “Follow a River” activity. Marianne has created several more activities that are available for download (scroll down the page), and don’t forget to download bookmarks of the river animals introduced in the book.


OUTSIDE: Become a Wildlife DetectiveOVERF_COVER2

Another one of Marianne’s “Over” books, Over in the Forest, Come and Take a Peak encourages the reader to become a “wildlife detective” as they go on a Forest Scavenger Hunt. Download many other forest activities created by Marianne (scroll down the page).


More Facts and Fun about Rivers

RIVER_Store“Blurp ah pa-shoosh rumbly pound, a white rapid river makes a wonderful sound.” This delightful refrain echoes throughout River Song. Read and sing along on a river’s journey from mountain top to sea with children’s musical ensemble, the Banana Slug String Band.


conference-2012Project WET (Water Education for Teachers) offers a wide variety of wonderful resources and programs. The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) has idenitified the Project WET Curriculum and Activity Guide 2.0 as one of the best supplements for the classroom.


More about Marianne

Berkes_smallMarianne knows how much children enjoy brilliantly illustrated, interactive picture books with predictable text about real animals. She retired to write full time and visit schools, libraries, and literary conferences. Marianne is the author of fifteen (and counting!) published picture books for children. Marianne especially enjoys writing books about animals and nature. She hopes to open kid’s eyes to the magic found in our natural world. Her verse is lyrical, reflecting the fact that music and theater have always been part of her life. She uses music and puppets in her interactive presentations with younger children. Marianne also presents workshops for older students and adults about the writing process and her publishing adventures.

The ten books Marianne has published with Dawn Publications each have won awards and garnered exceptional reviews. To learn more about Marianne Berkes and her books please visit her website.