Saturday, April 20, 2013


Despite travel delays caused by the the prevalence of cumulonimbus clouds in East Tennessee, we made it in plenty of time to the International Reading Association conference in San Antonio. Today's cumulus clouds signaled beautiful weather, perfect for walking from our hotel to the convention center (where we took this picture!).
Cumulonimbus, cumulus... where did these terms originate? Read The Man Who Named the Clouds by Julie Hannah and Joan Holub (2006) to find out about how Luke Howard, an 18th century citizen scientist, created a classification system for clouds just like Linnaeus did for organisms. What we love about this book is that the narrative of Luke's life is accompanied by suggested activities to monitor the weather - a perfect pair of literacy and science for younger intermediate level students! As a read-aloud, you can select pertinent pages to depict Luke's interest in clouds (beginning at age 10) and his strategies for communicating his ideas about cloud classification to the scientific community.
If you are looking for a weather-related book for older kids, consider Close to the Wind: The Beaufort Scale by Peter Malone. This book chronicles the the life of Francis Beaufort, a 19th century naval officer who wanted to categorize wind speed on a numerical scale. Although the Beaufort Scale is not nearly as well known as cloud types, the impact of different wind speeds is definitely visible around the school yard (such as the different position of the school flag). With period-style font and vivid illustrations, this book is an engaging independent read.

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