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Vicki Cobb
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Vicki Cobb, the “Julia Child” of hands-on science, is a former science teacher with a M.A. in secondary school science. The publication of her classic book, Science Experiments You Can Eat, established her as an innovator in hands-on science. Take a look on her website www.vickicobb.com at the hilarious one-minute videos from her book We Dare You! Her playful and accessible approach to science is evident in her 85+ books for grades K-8 that cover physics, chemistry and biology, biographies, geography and the human body.

Currently, she is president and founder of iNK Think Tank, LLC, a company that focuses on the contribution that nonfiction literature and its authors can make to education. She contributes to two blogs: Interesting Nonfiction for Kids and Education Update.

Vicki Cobb received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2012.

Entries by Vicki Cobb

I Was a High School Dropout (It's Not What You Think)

(5) Comments | Posted April 14, 2015 | 5:35 PM

On a spring morning of 1954, nearing the end of my sophomore year of high school, I sat down to take a very difficult exam. I had agreed to take the exam at the suggestion of my school guidance counselor, who had approached my parents and told them about an...

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What Will Be the Legacy of Today's School 'Reforms'?

(2) Comments | Posted April 7, 2015 | 4:08 PM

The other day I was doing a program for a group of 4th-6th graders at a local public library. I introduced myself to them by telling them how I had LOVED school so much when I was a kid that I basically recreate it for myself everyday as I write...

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How to Implement the Good Intentions of the Common Core Standards

(1) Comments | Posted March 18, 2015 | 4:55 PM

2015-03-18-1426711070-9566150-MyraZarnowskiQCClassroom.jpgMy friend, Dr. Myra Zarnowski, teaches education students at Queens College (CUNY) how to present nonfiction books to children. The purpose is to create teachers who can teach students to learn how to learn by reading. It's not...

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The Demise of the Artist-Teacher

(2) Comments | Posted March 2, 2015 | 5:34 PM

An artist is someone who brings his or her own self-expression to an activity. An artist expresses personal, closely held views, thoughts, images and passions with such truth and clarity that others immediately connect with this revealed humanity. Thus the personal becomes the universal. Therein lies its power.

Free expression...

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Cuba and Education: Is There a Lesson Here?

(3) Comments | Posted January 29, 2015 | 3:26 PM

Despite federal policies in education, increased standardized testing of students and futile strategies to bring "competition" into the education marketplace, it is clear that there is a high correlation in the United States between the education achievement gap and poverty.

In 2002, my friend and colleague, Dr....

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An Education Myth

(0) Comments | Posted January 6, 2015 | 1:36 PM

Bullying students to learn generates powerful, transformative results. True? That's the question raised by Whiplash, a noteworthy film about a gifted drummer, Andrew Neyman ( convincingly played by Miles Teller) at the best-music school in America who comes under the influence of a powerful, legendary teacher, Terence Fletcher (brilliantly played...

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Pearson and the Assessment Problem

(1) Comments | Posted December 18, 2014 | 10:01 AM

Pearson, the largest publisher for all things education on the planet, is "Preparing for a Renaissance in Assessment." So I figured I'd better read their 71 page document + 6 pages of references, which, from this children's author's point of view, is from the somewhat repetitive "let me...

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Malala and Motivation

(0) Comments | Posted December 5, 2014 | 4:42 PM

2014-12-05-malala.jpgJust the thought of Malala Yousafzai brings tears to my eyes. If you don't know who she is, you should. She will be giving a Nobel lecture this week as the youngest person to ever receive the Nobel Peace Prize. A major...

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Gail Sheehy and Me

(0) Comments | Posted November 24, 2014 | 1:17 PM

2014-11-23-DaringMyPassages_cvrthumb.jpg

Gail Sheehy and I are contemporaries, almost exactly the same age. Her latest book, Daring: My Passages, is a memoir; so it is understandable why I was drawn to it. It turns out that we have a lot in common,...

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Are We About to Lose the Art of Browsing?

(0) Comments | Posted November 17, 2014 | 2:32 PM

This past Sunday's NY Times Style Magazine had an interesting article by Andrew O'Hagen lauding the miraculous transformation the smartphone has rendered to contemporary life. He claims that "Getting better is getting better." The availability of connectivity to the world of products, friends, music, entertainment, and opportunity to...

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One Excellent Outcome from the Common Core

(4) Comments | Posted October 22, 2014 | 12:56 PM

The protests over the Common Core Standards have been more about the destructive effects of testing to assess how we're meeting the Standards than about the actual Standards themselves. If you read them, you see that they benignly describe the behavior of literate people who can internalize ideas through listening...

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Watering Down Adult Nonfiction for Kids

(1) Comments | Posted October 9, 2014 | 1:25 PM

I've long believed that if you wait long enough, something close to home winds up on the front page of the New York Times. This was the storyline that recently grabbed my attention: "To Lure Young Readers, Nonfiction Writers Sanitize and Simplify." Personally, I don't think that "sanitizing...

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Education Reform and Evidence

(3) Comments | Posted October 8, 2014 | 2:53 PM

Public policy for public education is destroying it. Wholesale. That's the only conclusion I can draw from screening "Rise Above the Mark," a new documentary designed to spark a much-needed conversation about what is happening to public education. Unlike "Waiting for Superman," which championed the charter school movement...

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Common Core Revisited

(2) Comments | Posted September 25, 2014 | 6:46 PM

On September 9, I attended the NPR-syndicated Intelligence Squared debate, "Should Schools Embrace the Common Core?" Although it has been reported that close to 80 percent of Americans now oppose the Common Core Standards, the initial poll of the live audience showed that 50 percent of the audience...

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September 11, 2001

(0) Comments | Posted September 6, 2014 | 8:13 AM

Two days after September, 11, 2001, still dazed and in grief, I wrote a poem for children, trying to make sense of the horrific events we had witnessed. I published it on my website, where it has sat quietly for lo, these many years. Last week, I visited the new...

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Getting the Message Across

(0) Comments | Posted August 18, 2014 | 10:42 PM

This past weekend I've immersed myself in two David vs Goliath stories. The first is Elizabeth Warren's book A Fighting Chance. The formation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau -- a new government agency with some teeth to prevent the kinds of deceptive practices in lending products that caused so...

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Common Sense and the Common Core

(4) Comments | Posted July 10, 2014 | 5:52 PM

The furor over the implementation and testing of the Common Core State Standards is detracting from dealing with the very basic issues involved in putting these standards to work. The CCSS standards set the bar for the kind of behavior we expect educated students to do from grades K to...

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Children's Nonfiction Rising

(1) Comments | Posted July 1, 2014 | 10:54 AM

I recently attended the second annual Twenty-first Century Children's Nonfiction Conference in New Paltz, NY. [ Full disclosure: I attended as a faculty member and my company, iNK Think Tank was a sponsor (for the second year in a row). ] About half of the attendees were people...

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A Chemistry Book Is Not a Novel

(1) Comments | Posted June 11, 2014 | 9:49 AM

In past dozen years, as a result of NCLB, the focus of many elementary teachers has been literacy, not content. The preponderance of the material that is being taught for reading and writing is fiction and written reports that are little more than a regurgitation of one or two sources....

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Can I Please Have Your Undivided Attention?

(1) Comments | Posted May 30, 2014 | 12:16 PM

The other day a friend of mine was telling me about a meeting she attended in person that was an audition for TED.com speakers. The candidates had many different personalities and stories but they were all so riveting that "nobody even texted or tweeted" during the presentations. This...

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