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: February 2014

Meet The Mouse and the Meadow

MOUSE_COVER2Get ready to experience the meadow at “ground level” through the eyes of an adorable mouse who is venturing out into the meadow for the first time in The Mouse and the Meadow.

Young readers will delight in Mouse’s adventures as they learn about the relationships and interconnectedness of the plants and animals in the meadow.

In dramatic scenes, a sinuous snake and a fearsome owl come close to harming the little rodent. But there are tender, rosy-hued moments in which he shares a furry rabbit’s burrow and wondrous ones in which the mouse first discovers a group of fireflies. —Kirkus Review

Check out Dawn Publication’s homepage to read about a FREE book app that makes the meadow creatures come alive as Mouse scurries across the pages.


INSIDE: Rhyme Time

MOUSEB1The Mouse and the Meadow is written in rhyme, with the last word in each pair of lines rhyming, such as when Mouse meets a Box Turtle:

The mouse gave his attention to the turtle’s candid words,/Which warned the mouse of hidden snakes and predatory birds. / So far he was fond of all the dwellers in this ’hood, / That is until he came upon a patch of rotting wood….”

In this Rhyme Time activity students will listen for the rhyme and brainstorm a list of additional rhyming words.



photoThis week’s OUTSIDE activity isn’t outside in nature, but it is outside of the classroom.

I’d like to suggest that you visit an independent book store. I know what you might be thinking, “Ordering books online is so much more convenient and cheaper than going to a bookstore.”

Nevertheless, by going to a bookstore you give yourself the luxury of time to browse shelves of books and actually flip through the pages. What’s your closest indie bookstore? Mine is The Book Seller.

Author James Patterson believes so strongly in the importance of independently owned bookstores that he’s giving away $1,000,000 to small bookstores all across the country. He said,

We’re in a juncture right now where bookstores as we have known them are at risk . . . and getting kids reading is at risk. —James Patterson


Kiki’s Reef is the Place to Be

9781584694779This week I’m happy to introduce you to  On Kiki’s Reef —my latest book!

Kiki is a green sea turtle. The inspiration for writing “her story” was sparked by some of the amazing encounters I had while snorkeling in Hawaii.

The array of color on the coral reefs was breath-taking, and swimming with a huge green sea turtle was a definite highlight for me.  I felt a special connection with her as we floated together across the reef and slowly made our way into a shallow inlet near shore.

This endearing little sea turtle will delight young and old alike as she takes readers on a journey through her busy reef and the cycle of her life. . . . I found myself smiling again and again as I followed Kiki through her lively underwater world. – Anna Jedrziewski


INSIDE: Edible Coral Polyp

coral_polyp_party_image008One of the most amazing things about a coral reef is that it’s alive. It may look like a rock, but it’s covered with a layer of living corals. Corals are tiny animals called polyps. Follow these directions to teach your students about corals as they create an “coral polyp” they can eat from easy to get ingredients.

This activity is adapted from the California Academy of Sciences.


OUTSIDE: Clownfish Tag

250px-Clown_fish_in_the_Andaman_Coral_ReefKiki discovers that animals on the reef help each other—”In and out and all around, lots of teamwork can be found.” The symbiotic relationship between a clownfish and an anemone is an example of a “perfect partnership.” Give your students an actual experience of the value of this partnership by playing Clownfish Tag.

This activity is adapted from my book, A Swim Through the Sea Teacher Guide.



These books explore the coral reef and sea creatures in fun and interesting ways:

9781584694779My children have asked to hear this lovely, underwater story repeatedly. You follow Kiki, the sea turtle, as she is born, survives life on a beautiful coral reef and returns to her starting point to lay eggs of her own. I liked this story because it gave enough information for my children to feel attached to Kiki but plenty of hard facts on the life of a sea turtle so that there was much to discuss and re-read. —Erin, review


Just Arrived!

Three new books just arrived at Dawn publications, and over the next three weeks I’m going to introduce them to you.

SWAMP_COVER2Look out! Gater’s hiding here! Where? In the swamp of course. It’s hot and humid. The water is covered with a blanket of green algae. And two eyes poke out of the ooze. It’s Gator, and he’s searching out his next meal. Will it be a duck, bullfrog, egret, snake, turtle, or some other unsuspecting animal? Alligators will eat just about anything!


Kids will have the fun of searching for Gator on each page of The Swamp Where Gator Hides. And they’ll learn about the swamp and it’s creatures.

Enjoy curling up with this book as you come in out of the snow or rain. I’m sharing two INSIDE activities this week.


INSIDE #1: Compare and Contrast

SWAMPB3The Swamp Where Gator Hides is a variation on The House that Jack Built. Both stories are written in cumulative verse, but there are lot of other similarities and differences. Read both stories to your students and then have them create a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting them. Get directions from the author Marianne Berkes.


INSIDE #2: Chain of Events

SWAMPB2In The Swamp Where Gator Hides, the reader is introduced to ten animals that live in or near a
swamp. Your students can recall the story details by putting the animals in proper order using the sequencing strips at the end of this lesson plan.


Here’s a fun tale that introduces young readers to concepts of camouflage and predator-prey interactions. –Annie Oxarart, League of Environmental Educators in Florida