leap into learning with leap year fun

Leap into learning with leap year fun – #readilearn

Next Saturday 29 February is a leap day. A leap day is an extra day added to every fourth year to keep the calendar in line with the solar year. Since we only have one 29 February every four years, it is a day worthy of celebration. Here are some ideas to get you started.

20 Fun facts about leap years

  1. A leap year occurs once every four years.
  2. A leap year has 366 days instead of the 365 days of other years.
  3. The extra day added to a leap year is 29 February.
  4. The extra day is added to keep the calendar year in line with the seasons and astronomical calendar.
  5. The number of leap years are all divisible by 4; for example, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016, 2020, 2024, 2028.
  6. However, although all hundred years are divisible by 4, not all hundred years are leap years. Hundred years are only leap years if they are divisible by 400. So, while 2000 was a leap year, the next hundred year to be a leap year will be 2400.
  7. Leap years were first introduced by Julius Caesar over 2000 years ago with the Julian calendar. His rule was to add a leap day to every year that was divisible by 4.
  8. The leap year as we now know it, with the hundred year rule, was introduced by Pope Gregory VIII in 1582. In that year, Pope Gregory had to remove ten days from calendar to keep it in sync with the solar year. The calendar we still use, the Gregorian Calendar, is named after him.

Continue reading: Leap into learning with leap year fun – readilearn

interview with Wendy Haynes author of Hayden's Bedtime

Interview with Wendy Haynes, author of Hayden’s Bedtime #booksontourpr – #readilearn

Today, it is with great pleasure that I introduce you to Wendy Haynes and her delightful new picture book Hayden’s Bedtime as part of the Books on Tour promotion.

About Wendy Haynes

Wendy Haynes has completed a Diploma in Creative Writing at Southern Cross University. Her writing focuses on middle-grade fantasy, historical, and contemporary stories for children, picture books, junior fiction, and YA. She believes that having a regular writing practice, and understand the device at your disposal, is the key to not only completing a story but in building the skills required to produce a worthy manuscript.

About Hayden’s Bedtime

What parent of a young child hasn’t had to perform a bedtime ritual to get the child into bed and off to sleep? Hayden’s Dad is no different as he checks every corner, every nook and cranny to ensure there is nothing lurking in the bedroom. All he finds are everyday things like building blocks and smelly socks, toy cars and chewed up gum. When the child is satisfied that all is safe, Dad reads a story and the child settles down for a good night’s sleep.

Why I like this book:

Continue reading: Interview with Wendy Haynes, author of Hayden’s Bedtime #booksontourpr – readilearn

teaching and learning about living things in lower primary classrooms

Learning about living things in lower primary classrooms – #readilearn

Learning about living things is an important part of education for young children. This post suggests ways of teaching biological science in lower primary classrooms with lessons ready-to-teach and activities that make learning memorable and fun.

Concepts include:

  • the needs of living things
  • external features of living things
  • where living things live
  • how living things grow

and relate specifically to insects and other minibeasts.

Continue reading: Learning about living things in lower primary classrooms – readilearn

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2020 — #ReadYourWorld – #readilearn

Today, 31 January is the 7th Multicultural Children’s Book Day.

 

Read reviews of two multicultural picture books in celebration Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2020 with the theme Read My World:

The Secrets Hidden Beneath the Palm Tree by Angeliki Stamatopoulou-Pedersen and Ribbon’s Traveling Castle by Elizabeth Godley.

Continue reading: Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2020 — #ReadYourWorld – readilearn

February - special days and events to celebrate in the classroom

Special Days and Events for Classroom Celebrations — February – #readilearn

It is during the final weeks of January and the first weeks of February that most teachers and children in the Southern Hemisphere begin their school year. Parents breathe a sigh of relief as the long holidays come to an end and teachers and children look forward to the year ahead with mixed feelings ranging from the excitement of a new adventure to anxiety or even dread. Perhaps it is no coincidence that Children’s Mental Health Week falls in the first week of February.

Children’s Mental Health Week

Children’s Mental Health Week runs from 3 – 9 February this year. The purpose of the week is to encourage children to look after their bodies and their minds. A positive classroom environment that is both welcoming and supportive helps to ensure children stay happy with healthy mental attitudes. It supports the development of self-esteem, self-confidence and the development of social skills, including getting along with others.

Here at readilearn, we can help you establish a supportive classroom environment and provide you with teaching resources that focus on developing social-emotional skills. While these are appropriate for any time of the year, a special focus during mental health week provides opportunities for reading books and engaging children in activities that are conducive to positive attitudes.

Of special note this year is that many children in Australia may begin the school year distressed by what they have personally experienced or may have seen or heard about the bushfires that have caused so much damage to our country.

While I am unable to give specialised support for dealing with trauma, this article in the Conversation has suggestions to help teachers support students, and includes links to other information. It is pleasing to see that extra funds have been made available to assist teachers and students who have been affected by the fires. If you have been affected and I can support you with a free subscription to readilearn, just let me know.

Resources for a supportive classroom environment

You can find suggestions for establishing a supportive classroom in these previous posts:

Continue reading: Special Days and Events for Classroom Celebrations — February – readilearn

Wife Carrying Contest - Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction

The Strong One #flashfiction

Wife Carrying Contest - Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a carried wife. Why is she being carried? Who is carrying? Pick a genre if you’d like and craft a memorable character. Go where the prompt leads!

In her post, Charli

  • explained differences in genres
  • introduced us to Sirrka, a remarkable 99-year-old American of Finnish parents
  • told us of the Finnish wife-carrying contest, which prompted the flash fiction prompt
  • assured us that we are ‘always evolving’.

Please pop over to the Ranch to read Charli’s post and other responses to the prompt.

I agree with Charli that we are always evolving.

When I started writing this blog six and a half years ago, my intention was to write about education. Whenever I responded to one of Charli’s prompts, I attempted to embed my story in a post that focused on education or child development. I was mostly successful.

However, not all prompts, such as this wife-carrying challenge, lend themselves easily to education, though I could certainly do it if I tried with a story about children in school learning about Finland and Finnish customs, for example.

Since I also write posts about education for my second blog at readilearn, which I republish here, I have decided to allow myself a little more flexibility with my responses to Charli’s prompts. From now on, with my word for this year being ‘prioritise’, I will focus more on writing a story than embedding it in a post.

This is my story for this week. I hope you like it.

The Strong One

“You’re strong,” she giggled as he piggy-backed her around the playground at lunchtime.

“You’re strong,” she murmured as he lifted her over the puddle outside their graduation dance.

When he carried her over the threshold on their wedding day, her eyes sparkled with words unsaid but understood.

When they heard of Finland’s wife carrying contest, she smirked. “We could do that. You’re strong.”

He indicated the sleeping children. “When they’re grown.”

When cancer ravaged her body, she soothed, “Stay strong.”

When he and their sons carried her from the chapel on her final journey, he’d never felt so weak.

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. As always, I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

strategies for parents to support their children's reading

Strategies for parents to support their children’s reading – #readilearn

I was recently approached by some parents who had been informed by teachers that their children were not achieving the expected level in reading for the class and that, although they were only in year one, were not on target for success in NAPLAN eighteen months later.

The parents were anxious and wanted to know how they could support their children at home. Tutoring was out of the question due to distance and, while it is always best to tailor strategies to a child’s individual needs, there are some basics which are applicable to most.

My first recommendation to the parents was to reduce the pressure — on all of them, parents and children, and to be as relaxed as possible about their learning. I explained that learning doesn’t occur in a stressful situation and that parents need to support their children by working with and not against them.

4 easy ways for parents to support children’s interest in reading

I consider these to be the main non-negotiables.

  1. Unrelated to anything school, read stories to your children every day. Make it part of the routine. Bedtime is often recommended, but it can be anytime. Let them choose the book. Discuss it with them: What do you think is going to happen? Why did he do that? I think that’s (funny, clever, wise…) what do you think? I didn’t expect that to happen, did you? Did you like the ending? How else could it end? You need to remember that your role is not one of testing; you are sharing ideas. You don’t need to restrict the reading to picture books. Read chapter books too – a chapter or two a night. Same deal. Discuss the book with the children and encourage them to think about the characters and events.
  2. Talk with your children — about your day, their day, their friends, things they like, what they want to do, their ideas. Discuss what you watch together on TV or the iPad, what they watch on her own. Documentaries are great to develop curiosity, knowledge and language. The larger the vocabulary, the easier reading becomes. Background knowledge is essential to reading.

Continue reading: Strategies for parents to support their children’s reading – readilearn