Friday, September 2, 2011

STEM Friday: Snakes, Salamanders and Lizards (Take-Along Guide)

Snakes, Salamanders and Lizards
written by Diane L. Burns; illustrated by Linda Garrow
1995 (NorthWord Books for Young Readers)
Source: Orange County Library

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When I started teaching in the Mesozoic Era, we used guide books, for identifying animals, that were dense and full of high level vocabulary that made them difficult to access for third grade students. I wish I would have had a class set of Take-Along Guides. These guides use kid-friendly language with bright illustrations that are eye catching. Each animal page in Snakes, Salamanders, and Lizards follows the same structure. There are four categories: Tips to Find This ____ (Snake, Salamander, or Lizard), What It Looks Like, What It Eats, and Where It Lives. The information is brief but full of useful facts. Since coloring is extremely important when looking for snakes, the language in the What It Looks Like section is very clear so young explorers know exactly what they are looking for and what to avoid. Special Warning tags are attached to each page of an animal that could be threatening. In addition to the animal pages, there is a craft activity page for each section (Snakes, Salamanders, Lizards) of the book. For example, for snakes there is a dried bean craft activity. This is a good source of procedural text as well as a fun project.

I looked on Amazon and these guides are still available even though they were published many years ago. It would worth your time to check them out. If you live near a creek, lake, or river, this book would come in handy if you decided to go exploring with a group of children.

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