Author Feature-Kelly Milner Halls

 


Spirit of Texas Reading Program

Middle School

Featured Author

Kelly Milner Halls

Kelly Milner Halls

Alien Investigation: Searching for the Truth about UFOs and Aliens

For the past 15 years, Kelly Milner Halls has crafted high interest nonfiction books and articles for young readers. Known for quirky but well researched topics, Halls delights in drawing even reluctant readers into the realm of discovery through the explorations of dinosaurs, Sasquatch, UFO's or dozens of other unusual themes. She makes her home in Spokane, WA with two daughters, one Pug, too many cats and a 4 foot iguana named Gigantor. She speaks at schools and conferences all over the country. Halls also works as YA novelist Chris Crutcher's assistant.

--bio from Amazon.com



 

Find her on the web:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Book Research Video

Sasquatch Investigations


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Book Trailer


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Alien Investigation Book Quiz

Printable Copy

Questions

  1. Transportation to another planet could be possible because:
    1. We already have developed spaceships that can go there
    2. Time slows down when an object is moving close to the speed of light
    3. Wormholes in space allow for faster travel
    4. The closest starts are only one light-year away
  2. Air Force officials have blamed UFO sightings on:
    1. Weather balloons
    2. Aircraft practicing maneuvers
    3. Weather and cloud patterns
    4. All of the above
  3. The young girl from Zimbabwe said she thought the alien she saw wanted to:
    1. Take her into the space ship
    2. Ask her questions
    3. Eat her
    4. Make friends
  4. What did aircraft equipment show when pilots encountered UFOs?
    1. Nothing, the equipment failed
    2. An outline of the object on radar
    3. Red lights in an unfamiliar pattern
    4. A coded message
  5. What did Major Marcel notice about the some of the debris he collected at the supposed crash site in Rosewell, NM?
    1. It burned.
    2. It returned to its original shape after being crumpled.
    3. It wouldn't burn.
    4. It was ice cold even after lying in the sun.

Answers

  1. b
  2. d
  3. c
  4. a
  5. b


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Academic Program
In Search of Sasquatch....a quest 

Printable Copy

Resource Documents

Introduction/Purpose of Program

Using the book In Search of Sasquatch by Kelly Milner Halls, students will experience a variety of non-fiction text and media to determine whether or not this cryptid really exists.

TEKS
8th grade ELA TEKS used, but lesson is appropriate for all middle school grade levels

  • (10) Reading/Comprehension of Informational Text/Expository Text. Students analyze, make inferences and draw conclusions about expository text and provide evidence from text to support their understanding. Students are expected to:
    • (A) summarize the main ideas and supporting details in text, demonstrating an understanding that a summary does not include opinions;
    • (B) explain whether facts included in an argument are used for or against an issue;
    • (C) explain how different organizational patterns (e.g., proposition-and-support, problem-and-solution) develop the main idea and the author's viewpoint; and
    • (D) synthesize and make logical connections between ideas within a text and across two or three texts representing similar or different genres.
  • (11) Reading/Comprehension of Informational Text/Persuasive Text. Students analyze, make inferences and draw conclusions about persuasive text and provide evidence from text to support their analysis. Students are expected to:
    • (A) compare and contrast the structure and viewpoints of two different authors writing for the same purpose, noting the stated claim and supporting evidence; and
    • (B) identify simply faulty reasoning used in persuasive texts;
  • (12) Reading/Comprehension of Informational Text/Procedural Texts. Students understand how to glean and use information in procedural texts and documents. Students are expected to:
    • (A) follow multi-tasked instructions to complete a task, solve a problem, or perform procedures; and
    • (B) interpret factual, quantitative, or technical information presented in maps, charts, illustrations, graphs, timelines, tables, and diagrams
  • (13) Reading/Media Literacy. Students use comprehension skills to analyze how words, images, graphics, and sounds work together in various forms to impact meaning. Students will continue to apply earlier standards with greater depth in increasingly more complex texts. Students are expected to:
    • (A) explain messages conveyed in various forms of media;
    • (B) recognize how various techniques influence viewers' emotions;
    • (C) critique persuasive techniques (e.g., testimonials, bandwagon appeal) used in media messages; and
    • (D) analyze various digital media venues for levels of formality and informality.
  • (26) Listening and Speaking/Listening. Students will use comprehension skills to listen attentively to others in formal and informal settings. Students will continue to apply earlier standards with greater complexity. Students are expected to:
    • (A) listen to and interpret a speaker's messages (both verbal and nonverbal) and ask questions to clarify the speaker's purpose and perspective;
    • (B) follow and give oral instructions that include multiple action steps; and
    • (C) paraphrase the major ideas and supporting evidence in formal and informal presentations.
  • (27) Listening and Speaking/Speaking. Students speak clearly and to the point, using the conventions of language. Students will continue to apply earlier standards with greater complexity. Students are expected to give an organized presentation with a specific point of view, employing eye contact, speaking rate, volume, enunciation, natural gestures, and conventions of language to communicate ideas effectively.
  • (28) Listening and Speaking/Teamwork. Students work productively with others in teams. Students will continue to apply earlier standards with greater complexity. Students are expected to participate in student-led discussions by eliciting and considering suggestions from other group members and by identifying points of agreement and disagreement.

Detailed Description of Program

All cryptids, but particularly Sasquatch, or Bigfoot, have long been a fascination for humans. Do they exist? Could they possibly be real? In this lesson, students will work in small groups using a variety of non-fiction texts, video, and other media to explore the possibility of their existence. Students will then make a determination on the existence of these creatures and create a write-up, giving evidentiary support for their decision.

Begin by having students already grouped ---3 or 4 per group works well, if at all possible, when they come into the library. Depending upon your technology situation and your students, you may choose to do this as a whole-class activity. If this is the case, then the librarian will go through all the links attached to the Sasquatch Thinglink with the students and discuss briefly/take questions from the groups.

Students are taking notes (individually or with an assigned member as Scribe) on what links specifically they would like to spend more time doing further study. If students are working in independent groups, each group of students will either need an iPad with access to the Thinglink, or computers so they can go through the links together.

Students will go through all the links, making notations of evidence and discuss their findings among the group members. Members should attempt to come to a consensus regarding whether or not they believe Bigfoot exists, Bigfoot could possible exist, or there is no way Bigfoot could exist. A paragraph explaining their decision, along with the evidence that supports it should be written up on the Bigfoot Decision sheet.

Group members present their paragraph to the group.

Program Related Books to Display or Book Talk

  • In Search of Sasquatch by Kelly Milner Halls
  • Mythical Beasts by Doug Marx, ISBN: 156065046X, c1991
  • Bigfoot and Other Mysterious Creatures by John Townsend, ISBN: 9780778737902, c2009
  • Tales of the Cryptids: Mysterious Creatures That May or May Not Exist by Kelly Milner Halls, Rick Spears and Roxanne Young, ISBN: 9781581960495, c2006
  • Searching for Bigfoot by Stewart Cowley, c2012
  • Into the Woods (Bigfoot Boy series, book 1) by J. Torres and Faith Erin Hicks c2012 (GRAPHIC NOVEL)
  • Cryptid Hunters by Roland Smith c2005 (and the sequels) (FICTION)

Any other books or other media you have in your library holdings that deal with cryptids will work beautifully.

List of Supplies

  • iPads, or computers (media portion can be completed either whole class or small groups depending upon what technology you have available and the needs of your students). 
  • Speakers are necessary for some video clips. 
  • In Search of Sasquatch 
  • Sasquatch Decision

Incentives

If you have access to a Bigfoot costume, it can be fun for students to get paid a visit by Bigfoot and have the opportunity to take photos

Resources (print and electronic)


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Active Program
Aliens Among Us

Printable Copy

Use fun alien-themed activities to teach students (aliens) how to use the library on their own and become earthlings.

"You may feel like an alien in the library, but after our orientation we hope you feel like an earthling. We're teaching Information Literacy, which means you may not know everything, but you know where to find the best resources to give you the answers."

TEKS

110.19. English Language Arts and Reading, Grade 7 (Lesson is appropriate for all middle school levels)

(b) Knowledge and skills.

(12) Reading/Comprehension of Informational Text/Procedural Texts. Students understand how to glean and use information in procedural texts and documents. Students are expected to:

(A) follow multi-dimensional instructions from text to complete a task, solve a problem, or perform procedures; and

(B) explain the function of the graphical components of a text.

(26) Listening and Speaking/Listening. Students will use comprehension skills to listen attentively to others in formal and informal settings. Students will continue to apply earlier standards with greater complexity. Students are expected to:

(A) listen to and interpret a speaker's purpose by explaining the content, evaluating the delivery of the presentation, and asking questions or making comments about the evidence that supports a speaker's claims;

(B) follow and give complex oral instructions to perform specific tasks, answer questions, or solve problems; and

(C) draw conclusions about the speaker's message by considering verbal communication (e.g., word choice, tone) and nonverbal cues (e.g., posture, gestures, facial expressions).

(27) Listening and Speaking/Speaking. Students speak clearly and to the point, using the conventions of language. Students will continue to apply earlier standards with greater complexity.

(28) Listening and Speaking/Teamwork. Students work productively with others in teams.

113.18. Social Studies, Grade 6

(3) Geography. The student uses geographic tools to answer geographic questions. The student is expected to:

(A) pose and answer geographic questions, including: Where is it located? Why is it there? What is significant about its location? How is its location related to the location of other people, places, and environments?;

(D) create thematic maps, graphs, charts, models, and databases depicting aspects

(4) Geography. The student understands the factors that influence the locations and characteristics of locations of various contemporary societies on maps and globes and uses latitude and longitude to determine absolute locations. The student is expected to:

(E) draw sketch maps that illustrate various places and regions; and

(21) Social studies skills. The student applies critical-thinking skills to organize and use information acquired through established research methodologies from a variety of valid sources, including electronic technology. The student is expected to:

(A) differentiate between, locate, and use valid primary and secondary sources such as computer software; interviews; biographies; oral, print, and visual material; and artifacts to acquire information;

(C) organize and interpret information from outlines, reports, databases, and visuals, including graphs, charts, timelines, and maps;

(23) Social studies skills. The student uses problem-solving and decision-making skills, working independently and with others, in a variety of settings. The student is expected to:

(A) use a problem-solving process to identify a problem, gather information, list and consider options, consider advantages and disadvantages, choose and implement a solution, and evaluate the effectiveness of the solution; and

(B) use a decision-making process to identify a situation that requires a decision, gather information, identify options, predict consequences, and take action to implement a decision.

Detailed Description of Program

Students/Teens will come to the library with their classes, during activity period or during a separate event time for activities to familiarize themselves with the library's arrangement, collection and online catalog. These may also be spread out over several days or class periods.

Decorations

Decorate the library in alien, UFO or cryptid theme. Spray paint rimmed paper plates with metallic paint and decorate the rims with rhinestones or other jeweled decorations. Hang them from the ceiling with picture hooks and kite string. Find an alien costume, stuff it with newspapers and sit him in a corner (or have an assistant dress in the costume and sit in on the activities). Decorate bulletin boards with book covers or other items based on the theme.

Activities

Activity #1: Alien Scavenger Hunt

Divide the class into teams of 4. Give them blank maps of the library and pencils. Have them explore the library and label the different areas on the map. Direct each team to start in a different area. Be sure your library areas are clearly marked. Depending on the size of your library, you might want to add a time limit for this activity.

Assessment: Ask students where to find different items in the library, i.e. fiction books, online catalog, magazines, information books biographies, etc. Base these on your library and how the areas are labeled or displayed. Give prizes if they can answer correctly.

Activity #2: Piloting the Spaceship Library (Organizing what's in the Library)

Building in the Alien Scavenger Hunt, give teams at tables books from each area of the library: Fiction, Dewey, Reference, Biography, etc. If your fiction section is genrefied, you may want to select fiction books from different genres, as well. Have them study the call numbers and ask which area they belong to based on that information. Give prizes if they can answer correctly.

Next, give teams a stack of titles from one area (all reference, all fiction, all biography or all Dewey). You can pick titles that go with the theme if available. Ask them to arrange them in correct order as if they were on the shelf. Assessment: Check the team's collection after sorting. Give them each a prize if they are correct. Also, ask them in which area the books should be shelved.

Activity #3: Searching in Space

Now that teams know the different areas of the library, which call numbers go where and how they are arranged on the shelf, they can learn to use the online catalog to identify books they might like and go to the shelf on their own to retrieve them.

Topic SearchesGive each team a topic related to the theme to use to search for books using the online catalog. Be sure you have books on the shelf to match these topics. Examples: aliens, cryptids, Bigfoot, UFOs, spaceships. You can write these out on slips for teams to draw, post the team's topic on a whiteboard, or give them a list of 3-4 items, with the same items listed in a different order for each team. That way you can have them all search for the first item on the list and each team will have a different topic and won't be searching for the same item. Then, have them do a search on the second item, followed by the third and fourth items. Another way to do it might be to call out a topic, have all teams use it to do a keyword search and then ask Team 1 to retrieve the first book on the list, Team 2 retrieves the second book on the list, etc.

Author SearchesTo demonstrate use of author searches, use our feature author Kelly Milner Halls and demonstrate how to search for an author properly, using last name, first name format. Be sure you have a lot of Kelly's books in your collection and on the shelf. You may want to use a different author if you have Kelly's books on display, since they won't be on the shelf.

Series SearchesDemonstrate this search with a series that goes with the theme, such as Animorphs by K. A. Applegate, Goosebumps by R. L. Stine, 39 Clues, or Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi. When teams do a search on the catalog, they go find a book on the shelf and bring it back to their team table. For assessment, check their selections and ask which area in which they found it, i.e. fiction, nonfiction, display, etc. They are finding items in different areas of the library using the catalog and the call numbers to find the items on the shelf. Give prizes for first team to find a correct book for each topic or all teams who found a correct book.

Activity #4: Searching the Galaxy (Using library resources for your own research)

Have students choose a topic related to the theme and do their own research on it. Display books they found in Activity #3 or used in Activity #2 for their research. Also set up computer stations for online research. Let them report verbally on what books, web sites and other information they found. Or, you can make this a longer project and have them create some sort of presentation based on the technology tools you have available to them.

Activity #5: Alien Cafe -- Earthlings Welcome! (Refreshments): Serve some alien food while displaying a collection of cookbooks for earthling food. (Review question: What Dewey section do you look in for cookbooks?)

Suggestions: Alien jello, Alien cake pops, Alien punch, Sasquatch sticks (commercial beef jerky product that depicts a Sasquatch logo)

During this activity, you can also have those attending complete an evaluation of the program, either by a web based or written survey.

Kelly Milner Halls Bibliography, related to the theme

  • Alien Investigation: Searching for the Truth about UFOs and Aliens ISBN: 078076136204, c2012
  • Albino Animals ISBN# 1-58196-019-0, c2004
  • Mysteries of the Mummy Kids ISBN# 978-1-58196-059-4, c2007
  • Tales of the Cryptids: Mysterious Creatures That May or May Not Exist ISBN# 978-1-58196-049-5, c2006
  • In Search of Sasquatch ISBN# 978-0547257617, c 2011
  • Any books you have on Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Aliens, UFOs, Cryptids, Spaceships, Drawing Aliens or Spaceships, etc., may be added.You may display them or have them on the shelf to use in the different activities listed above.

List of Supplies

  • Online Catalog stations
  • Team lists of books/topics to find
  • Blank maps of library (areas drawn in, but not labeled)
  • Pens/pencils
  • Paper plates
  • Picture hooks
  • Kite string
  • Metallic spray paint
  • Plastic "jewel" or rhinestone decorations
  • Book covers or photos of book covers to go with the theme
  • Alien costume and/or poster art
  • Books related to the theme
  • Any refreshments you decide to serve. 

Incentives

  • Oriental Trading alien-themed prizes such as alien figurines
  • Astronaut/space alien rubber duckies
  • Martian fingers
  • Alien sling shots or glow sticks could be awarded for correct answers
  • Winning team could get alien hats to wear. 
  • Refreshments of alien food like alien jello, cookies or cake balls, green glow-in-the-dark punch. 

Resources

Websites

Professional Resources (for librarian and teacher use)

Program Flyers, posters, Advertisements, Bulletin Board Ideas, Templates, Rubrics, etc.

 

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Self-Directed Program
Aliens in the Library 

Printable Copy

Resource Documents

Introduction/Purpose of Program

To provide activities to go with the promotion of Kelly Milner Halls' books on weird and unusual topics that are out of this world!

Detailed Description of Program

Centers and displays of books capitalizing on the "Alien" theme that librarians can set up and leave out for patrons to enjoy during the duration of the promotion.

Center 1: In Search for Wondla by Tony DiTerlizzi, twelve-year-old Eva Nine sets out on a journey to find others like her. She lives in isolation with a robot on what appears to be an alien world populated with bizarre life forms. DiTerlizzi's web site http://www.wondla.com has links to games and Wondla Vision. Set up a computer with a webcam so students can learn more about Eva Nine. Put a link to wondla on the desktop of this computer. Be sure to turn off pop-up blockers for the site and download the D'Fusion player (available on the web site) so students can explore Eva Nine. They need a copy of the book so they can hold the tracker up to the web cam to unfold the map. Another option would be to have tablet devices loaded with the "Legend of the Cryptids" app available to play. The game is a fantasy battle card game with stunning graphic art and music with full-color visuals an animations where you train cryptids and challenge other players to "battles.".

Center 2: Set out Legos and other building blocks or materials and challenge students to build their own spaceship. When participants are finished, they can notify librarian so their spaceship may be photographed and a photo album of the activity created or posted online and/or for display in the library.

Center 3: Display any books you have related to the alien, spaceship, UFO, Bigfoot, cryptid theme for students to explore and/or check out.

Program Related Books to Display or Book Talk

Alien Books 

List of Supplies

  • Dedicated computer with web cam
  • Copy of Tony DiTerlizz's book In Search of Wondla
  • Legos, building blocks, other building materials on a table dedicated for building spaceships
  • Camera for photographing finished products
  • Books listed above or others related to the theme. 

Incentives

  • Free time to explore Eva Nine
  • Photos of finished products put on display
  • Check out of books on display related to theme 

Resources (print and electronic)

Program Flyers, posters, Advertisements, Bulletin Board Ideas, Templates, Rubrics, etc.

 

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Resources

Academic Program

In Search of Sasquatch

Sasquatch Decision

Active Program

Book Quiz

Read-A-Likes

Self-Directed Program


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Created on Mar 14, 2014 | Last updated July 15, 2015