Armstrong’s Million (a million kernels of popped corn at Armstrong Elementary School, Highland Park Dist., TX)

D sitting in million pieces of popcorn

The Year of Speaking Internationally…and how to get me to your school next year for less

Invitations to overseas schools seem to come in ocean waves. Some years I have none, but in other years (like this one), I have many. I’m writing from  Korea, where I have just completed two weeks of visits to seven schools, and I’ll be going back to Asia two more times before the end of spring, with visits to schools in China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Malaysia and – get this – Uzbekistan.  Last fall, I went to schools in Switzerland and Romania. And in November, without leaving the USA I went to an exotic place: Hawaii, where I was draped with leis before every presentation.

If, in 2015-16, you would like to host a David Schwartz author extravaganza complete with exponentially growing bags of popcorn, proportionally hopping frogs, subtracting crabs, stories galore, a million laughs, and kids who get more excited about math and books than they (or their teachers) ever thought possible . .  . there are ways to get me to your school for less stress on your budget:

  • Piggyback onto a trip I’m already making. Send me an email to see if I’m going to be nearby. If I can add your school to my trip, it saves considerably on travel expenses. My speaking itinerary is on my website but, frankly, it’s not always up to date. It also does not include speaking tours being discussed but not yet confirmed; it can help both of us if I know of your possible interest in joining a tour-in-the-making.
  • Help me get multiple days in your area by doing outreach to other schools. I am willing to discount my rate if you can help add efficiency and subtract stress from my life by letting me stay put for several days of school visits in one place.

Most of my 2015-16 school year travels are still  in the planning stages but it looks like there’s a strong possibility of visiting schools in VA, CT, VT, AL, SC and southern CA (as well as northern CA, where I live) in the fall. Overseas trips are looking to include the Middle East, Mexico and possibly Central America. Don’t hesitate to contact me about other areas in the US or overseas because I will no doubt be adding more destinations to the list.

My website has my speaking schedule but I admit it isn’t always up to date, so feel free to write to me to request an update or details on what is listed. Use the “Contact David” link on my site. When you write, please tell me where you are located.
NLCS little Davie Soeul Int Sch David with popcorn-top halfaudience swallowing like a snake original NLCS David with leismickey mouse

Armstrong's-Million--original

New Year, New Website

Head over to the new www.davidschwartz.com. Check out that cool filmstrip coursing across the bottom of the home page. Some of my favorite photos of the past ten years will slide by, and you can gaze at them by hovering your mouse.
The site includes many features for parents, teachers and children, including links to resources for using my books in the classroom. Children love the videos I recommend. I’m in Seoul right now where the students of Korea International School watched the videos I recommended over and over (and over and over).

New pages on the website include:

  • “For Parents & Teachers” with many resources, including myriad activities related to my books.
  • “Dave’s Fave’s,” including some of my favorite articles, websites, blogs, videos and more. I hope you will send me some of your “faves.”
  •  “A Million Places to Read” and “A Million Ways to Do Math.” Please send me a picture of you reading in your favorite (and strangest) reading spot or an interesting way you have done great math outside of class. With a parent’s permission, I’ll put them up on the site!

Some new features of the site are still under development. Your suggestions are welcome. I am very excited about the new website and I am hoping you will help me shape it with your contributions.

It’s the Opposite of Boring: The Nonfiction Minute

It’s the opposite of boring! Short, high-interest, high-quality nonfiction by award-winning authors, free and ready to use in your classroom. I am one of the authors. Go to www.nonfictionminute.com for a new piece of writing every school day, with an audio clip of the author reading his or her work. Some of the “Minutes” are fascinating, some are funny, some are amazing, and all are page-turners (except there’s no page to turn). They are quick, riveting reads for intermediate grades and up, covering a wide range of real world subjects. Have your students you’re your own children) read them, listen to them — or both. It’s manna from cyberheaven, and it’s totally free.

Here are a few of the rave reviews we’ve gotten from teachers who realize that The Nonfiction Minute is a boon to anyone who wants to teach the standards, improve skills and excite children about learning.:

  • “Wow is all I can say. I loved the stories and I know my struggling readers will too.”
  • “These sound bites are delightful. They add information and satisfying detail to topics that should be of interest to all. Thank you on behalf of children and quality learning.”
  • “This is specatacular! I love it!!”
  • “I love The Nonfiction Minute! I am using it with my own child as well as my students. . . Keep it up! It’s really cool!
  • “I’ve just discovered this nifty site… AWESOME! I am always looking for interesting non-fiction sources to suit my quirky students. I struck gold with you guys!”

The Nonfiction Minute is free, and not just free for the first month, with your credit card charged after that. But we do have expenses, we need to make improvements to the website, and we’d like to get paid just an itsy bit for our writing output – isn’t that what it means to be a professional? We do not want to accept advertising, but we have a number possible funding sources. What will convince them? Numbers. High numbers of hits, that is. We’re averaging a little over 2,000 per day – pretty good, considering that we’re less than six months old – but not quite high enough to get the money bags to start pouring in our direction.

So . . . every visit you make to The Nonfiction Minute provides you with teachable moments for memorable learning AND provides us with a chance to keep those “Minutes” going your way. If you like them, visit often and please help spread the word in your school and social networks.

A Valentine’s Day Gift from David and Dwight: 3 New Interactive E-books. . . for Free!

 The sights and sounds of three fascinating habitats come alive in our stunning, interactive e-books:
The Hidden World of the Pond
The Hidden World of the Forest
The Hidden World of the Meadow

Grab a pair of binoculars, a magnifying glass and your love for learning about nature! World-renowned nature photographer Dwight Kuhn and I invite you to explore the beautiful and complex worlds of ponds, forests and meadows in our new interactive e-books, now available for iPad and Kindle. On the iTunes Store and Amazon, downloads of these e-books cost $4.99 per title, but . . . iPad and Kindle editions of all three books will be available as free downloads from February 14th through 18th!

Anyone can get the special price of zero dollars and zero cents so you can spread the word, but we’re publicizing it only to my e-mail short list of about 350 people. After Feb. 19, the price will be $4.99 per book on Amazon and the iTunes store.

Why are we doing this? We want some buzz… and we’re hoping you’re  willing to do some buzzing by writing a review on Amazon or the iTunes store. There is no obligation, of course, but we’d sure appreciate it. The success of e-books depends  on user reviews. Each book has to be reviewed separately (there is no way to review the entire series at once) but you could post the same review for each book. It’s best for us if all three books are reviewed.

To download one or more of these e-books for Kindle, just go to the iTunes store for the iPad edition, or Amazon for the Kindle edition. Search for each book by its title. (You may remember my nature books from the 1990s called The Hidden Life of the Pond…Forest…Meadow. These are adaptations of those books, thoroughly updated.)

Both the Kindle and the iPad editions include Dwight Kuhn’s stunning nature photography and my informative text, and both include lushly interactive features, listed below. (The Kindle platform does not allow as many features as the iPad). Both editions include a page of recommended readings, an index, and author and photographer bios.

iPad

  • hear the sound made by the animals
  • hear difficult words spoken
  • view additional photos in dramatic slide shows
  • zoom in to see animals in startling detail
  • get more information and additional photo about some subjects
  • bookmark spots of special interest
  • view thumbnails of the entire book
  • tap any word for definition
  • search for subjects (better than a conventional index!)
  • take photo quiz with links to pages that answer the questions
  • peruse live-linked index organized by animal/plant classification

Kindle

  •  tap word for definition (glossary)
  •  highlight passages or words
  •  search the internet or wiki for more information
  •  peruse live-linked index organized by animal/plant classification
  •  zoom in to see animals in great detail
  •  listen to Amazon’s text read-a-long (and control the speed)

E-Newsletter Test Post

This is a test of my e-newsletter blog posts.

Big Davie from CAG

Real World, Unreal School

When I walked into Masha Albrecht’s geometry class at Berkeley High School last week, her students were holding hands. It wasn’t budding romance. It was math. Before I explain, I have to tell you about Masha.

I met her when I was a senior at Cornell in the 1970s. I decided to do an independent study that involved working with students in an elementary school classroom and she was the most eager, bright-eyed fourth grader in the class. Masha’s brother Bobby was in an adjacent room and the two classes were team-taught. I hit it off with both siblings, and before the end of the semester I had been to their house several times, met their parents, and spent some enjoyable after-school hours together—doing math. The three of us had delved into Harold Jacobs’s masterful Mathematics: A Human Endeavor, then in its first edition, and we tackled the mind-stretching, often funny, problem sets with gusto. “This is how math should be taught in school,” exclaimed Mrs. Albrecht. [Read more...]

Lightweight Summertime Musings

Deer Mom and Dad…. whoops, wrong musing. That was my letter from camp when I was seven years old, in which I described my excitement at catching a “forg” in the pond.

This summer, just a few years after that incident, my summertime musings begin by recalling my final school visit tour of 2010-11, which took place in late May in rural Gallia County, Ohio. It’s in southeastern Ohio, near the charming small city of Gallipolis (pronounced nothing like Gallipoli, the peninsula in Turkey, but more like “Galley-Police”). This part of Ohio is in Appalachia, across the river from West Virginia, and just as scenic. Economically similar as well, I believe. I hadn’t realized Appalachia extends into Ohio. [Read more...]

A Temple to the Glory of Knowledge and the Written Word

Two weeks ago, I spoke for three days at elementary schools in Fairfax County, Virginia, and for the next five days I played unabashed tourist in Washington, DC. It was Spring Break for many school districts and, as far as I could tell, 25% of the nation’s school children were spending the week in the nation’s capital. Museums, monuments and other federal buildings were bursting at the pilasters. In some cases, queues for limited admission tickets began at 6:30 am. As a result I didn’t even cross the porticos of many of the sights on my list. Just the same, my visit had a clear highlight and I cannot imagine any other attraction having surpassed it.

I refer to our nation’s temple of learning, dedicated to the glorification of knowledge and exaltation of the printed word. I refer to the Library of Congress.

[Read more...]

What If

Esteemed non-fiction author Elizabeth Partridge recently wrote in her blog, Hot Tea and a Pencil, that she had just learned about an ancestor of the same name as herself who, in 1846, had been transported from England to Australia.

Contemporary Elizabeth asked,

“What did this Elizabeth Partridge do that got her ten years in jail, swapped off for being sent to Australia? What was it like for her once she got there?”

What if….

and a seed is planted. I don’t know that I would ever take this any further, but it is exhilarating to have my mind tumble in a new direction.

What kind of random things have been making you think ‘What if….?’”

Here is what I wrote as a comment:

[Read more...]