Take a gander at this – #early childhood teaching resources

 

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This week at the Carrot Ranch Charli Mills has challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) write using the word gander as a verb.

Gander, the verb, means to look. Since a gander, a male goose, has a long neck which is, without doubt, suitable for sticking out and into things, the meaning to take a look is probably apt. However, I must say that, until reading Charli’s flash pieces, I was unfamiliar with its use as a verb, and still feel a bit uncomfortable in using it so, but I’ll give it a go – later.

First: What I would love is for people to take a gander at readilearn, a website I have been working on for more years that I care to tally right now.

It is a year since I took the leap and engaged a company to develop the site. It was nine months (not the one month promised) before the site was launched, just over three months ago. To use the nine months analogy of pregnancy; it wasn’t an easy gestation or birth, and we’re still experiencing teething problems and growing pains, including “how to grow?” pains.

Audience wanted

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Marketing, as in attracting, building, and maintaining an audience, is difficult, as any writer knows. It is not just a matter of writing the stuff and hoping an audience finds it. It takes time, effort, and know-how. I’m a bit short on all three, but I’m going to stick my neck out, and ask if you’d be willing to help me a little with the know-how in finding my target audience.

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readilearn is a collection early childhood teaching resources. The target audience is teachers of children between 5 and 7 years of age, be they teaching in a school environment, or homeschooling their children. The resources are also suitable or use with children learning English as a second or other language, and with children with special needs.

resources

There are resources for most areas of the curriculum, with suggestions for integrating learning across curriculum areas in a meaningful context.

The materials are Australian (I’m Australian) but are suitable for use internationally.

There are:

  • Digital and interactive resources to access and use online
  • Word and PDF documents to download and print

Including:

  • Original stories
  • estories (digital stories)
  • Teaching ideas and suggestions
  • Lessons plans
  • Readilessons (lessons ready to use)
  • Games
  • Printouts for parents

Features

  • New resources are added almost every week
  • Many resources are free to registered users
  • An annual subscription of less than 50c per week (or less than the cost of 5 cups of coffee a year!) is easily affordable; and that’s Australian dollars – even less for UK and US subscribers! It’s even discounted until the end of 2016!

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So what’s different?

I think that what differentiates readilearn is the integrated resources focusing on purposeful learning in context. The open-ended nature of many of interactive resources allows teachers to adjust the discussion to suit the needs of their students. readilearn is not just bunch of worksheets for repetitive practice of skills in isolation, or endless pretty charts to hang in the room. It is designed to support effective teaching and learning in meaningful contexts.

More than just resources

  • Each Friday I publish a blog post filled with teaching ideas and information, including how to get the most from readilearn resources.
  • I also email users each Friday to inform them of new resources uploaded during the week – no more wondering if there’s anything new or where to find it.
  • The newsletter, published on the last day of each month, includes a summary of blog posts, a list of new resources, and a preview of events in the coming month.

I would very much appreciate it if you could spread the word to any of my target audience in your circles: teachers of children from 5 – 7 years. I’d also love some suggestions for ways of connecting with my audience. Although my audience may differ from yours, what you have learned may also be useful for me.

Maybe you’d like to gift an early childhood teacher their first year’s subscription. It’s easy. Just email hello@readilearn.com.au to find out how.

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Now back to Charli’s challenge to include gander as a verb in a 99-word story. It got me thinking about all the bird words in common use, even when not referring to birds. I decided to incorporate as many as I could into a story while still maintaining a certain amount of sense. I have used over twenty. Can you (bird)spot them all? I hope you think it’s grouse! (Well, maybe just a little bit not too bad. 🙂 )

grouse

Bird (non)sense

Finch’d had an eagle eye on the play all day.

Robin’d been hawking chicken pies. Now sold out, he wandered over to gander with Finch.

Robin craned his neck, just as “He’s out for a duck!” was announced.

“He’s out for a duck,” he parroted. “That’s something to crow about.”  One team was swanning around, exuberant as monarchs. The other was as despondent as miners on strike.

Martin was larking around. “Yeah,” he sniped. “The silly goose was distracted by the kite and missed altogether.”

“More like a turkey, I’d say,” Robin reterned swiftly.

“You’re a hoot!” chirped Finch.

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

48 thoughts on “Take a gander at this – #early childhood teaching resources

  1. Pingback: Take a gander at this – #early childhood teaching resources — Norah Colvin – Life and Times of Blanca Reyes

  2. Bec Colvin

    I love readilearn and am always so pleased to hear about it! But I can attest to it being a difficult pregnancy. Hopefully it won’t be a problem child as it grows up! I love the FF – very funny and impressive use of bird puns!

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. julespaige

    Great flash. I’m a tad slow getting back this week and the rest of this month is going to be a challenge too since due to changes at work…hubby pretty much had to take all his accrued vacation time so he’s home for the rest of the year.

    I’m going to give my DIL your site info. But being that she is at a private school I think they are looking for free resources. She may be changing positions at her school where she has some say in what they can use. I hope you have great success with this endeavor.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Jules. I’m pleased you enjoyed the flash. No need to apologise. We all have lives to live and other distractions. I’m no different and struggling to keep up myself at the moment.
      Thank you for giving your DIL information about readilearn. I do appreciate it. Many resources on the site are free, and the subscription itself does not cost a lot. Thanks for your support.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  4. Hugh's Views and News

    I counted eight birds in that flash fiction piece, Norah, but there may be some birds in there that I don’t know. However, it was very cleverly written and I love what you have done in trying to include names of birds in it.
    I’ll certainly share your news of readilearn and also make a friend aware of the site as she’s about to start teacher training in the new year and is wanting to teach young children.
    Have a lovely weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. julespaige

      Finch, eagle, Robin, hawk, chicken, gander, crane, duck, parrot, crow, swan, monarch, miners, strike, Martin, snipe, goose, kite, turkey, swift…and of course owls hoot and birds chirp.

      I think I got all the birds 🙂 20!

      Liked by 2 people

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        1. julespaige

          Some I wasn’t sure of so I looked them up. I remember when our children were little and the Boy Scouts had the campers look for ‘snipes’…but they were attempting to find the ones that were made of wisps of smoke! I just asked my hubby – and told him that I’d just found out that snipes were real! And wondered about the word ‘sniper’…so I looked up ‘snipe hunt’ on Wiki…

          “The origin of the term is a practical joke where inexperienced campers are told about an imaginary bird or animal called the “snipe” as well as a usually preposterous method of catching it, such as running around the woods carrying a bag or making strange noises such as banging rocks together.[1] Real snipe (a family of shorebirds) are difficult to catch for experienced hunters, so much so that the word “sniper” is derived from it to refer to anyone skilled enough to shoot one.”

          Gotta learn us something new everyday. Thanks for helping me do that 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

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        1. julespaige

          There could be a prompt in there…use as many animals and or their sounds to tell a short fiction piece. Could be a good lesson for school too. George grunted like a pig, or Susie stuck her neck out like a giraffe…which reminds me that I remember a committee somewhere that used the giraffe and ‘sticking’ your neck out – as it’s slogan for volunteering 🙂

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    2. Norah Post author

      Thank you for reading and counting, Hugh. There were more than eight birdy references, but maybe eight birds. I’ll have to count them myself! I’m pleased you enjoyed it.
      Thank you for sharing information about readilearn with your friend. I appreciate it.
      I hope you’ve had a great weekend. I have!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  5. Sarah Brentyn

    Ah. I know this well. Time, effort, and know-how with marketing. I just don’t have that. Good for you for just getting out there and posting this. Hope you have many replies and shares. I’ll think on this, too, and share online while I’m thinking… I do love your site. Professional and loaded with wonderful resources. (Fantastic flash, too! That must have been a fun challenge.) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for your lovely comment, Sarah. I do very much appreciate your words of support for readilearn, and the comments you always leave on the posts over there. I appreciate every thing my community does for me. I haven’t known time to be particularly generous to anyone.
      I did enjoy writing all the birdy words into the flash, and was surprised at how many I could use.
      I’m very grateful to my marketing guru for suggesting I ask my community for help. It stretched me way out of my comfort zone, but I have received many wonderful responses from generous people, such as yourself. Thank you. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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  6. Pingback: To Gander « Carrot Ranch Communications

  7. Charli Mills

    You are a hoot, Norah! What a fun flash, taking gander and befriending all the birdy words we use. Certainly creative! Your website is polished and professional, worth the extra time it took. It will take time to build up and your community has suggested some good ways to reach your target audience. The modern use of grouse is an example of how language evolves, this living, breathing thing that defies prescriptive rules.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Norah Post author

      I’m pleased you enjoyed the flash, Charli. I quite enjoyed writing it once I got going. I was surprised at how many birdy words I was able to integrate.
      Thank you for your kind words about readilearn. I have had some wonderful suggestions from the community. My fantastic marketing guru suggested I ask them (something that drew me out of my comfort zone) and the responses prove her advice to be correct. Thank you, Charli 🙂
      Our language is amazing, isn’t it? Sometimes it’s difficult to keep up with the changes. The younger generation seems to like turning the words of our generation on their heads!

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  8. Steven

    A very clever fiction. Well done.

    As for your plea for an audience, I guess unlike in the movies it isn’t necessarily a case of “if you build it they will come”. The resources you have and are assembling do appear to be of value and to assist in the cause, I have emailed a collection of schools in my local vicinity and asked to bring it to the attention of their Kindergarten teachers. Hopefully the message gets through to the right people and that they will also see benefit in the site. Good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Steven. I appreciate your comment about my story.
      I have listened to some social media podcasts and they say that “if you build it they will come” is one of the biggest myths, especially with online businesses. They talk about it taking years to build a business, so maybe I’m doing okay. 🙂
      I very much appreciate your emailing readilearn details to your local schools. That was really (to keep with the long-necked goose theme) sticking your neck out for me, and a very generous act. Thank you. 🙂

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  9. Christy B

    You’ve collected such a wonderful collection of resources here, Norah! As for reaching your target audience better, which you asked for advice about, perhaps you might try guest posting at blogs that have similar content to yours, as well as offering posts and links at education-related forums online. As well, using relevant hashtags at social media sites like Twitter are important. I’ll share this post with #education and #kids as hashtags 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughtful advice, Christy. I very much appreciate it. I do like the idea of guest posts. I must try to do more of that. I also need to seek out those forums and use the hashtags more effectively. Thank you for your helpful suggestions, and for sharing the post. Much appreciated. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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  10. A. E. Robson

    Hello Norah.

    I always look forward to your take on the Carrot Ranch prompts. This week was no exception with your piece on ‘gander’.

    You have a wonderful website and it needs exposure to the world. Reaching out to your regular followers, like you have done here, is a good start.

    In Alberta, Canada where I am located, our province is separated into several school divisions. Those divisions are divided further into so called areas. The division local to me is called Rockyview School Division, and encompasses five areas, each with a multitude of schools.

    I do not suggest you send out a mass email introducing yourself and your website as this may be construed as spam; however, compiling and e-mail list and using it to “market” is one of the highest return promotions in the social media world. It allows you to communicate with your growing list on a regular basis if/when you have new blog posts, promotions, introducing new educational thoughts.

    Reaching out to the actual school division’s learning centres may also be a route to take. Unfortunately, this too, takes time and effort. Perhaps query their blog section to see if they accept guest bloggers. Submitting a blog post (c/w your links) to any that would entertain having your words published.

    I have taken the liberty to send you the link my local school division (http://www.rockyview.ab.ca). I do not have any affiliation with any of the local schools, teachers or administration; but, it is a possible route for you on the international level.

    I will also share your website link on my social media platforms as I know I have a few followers that are in the education field.

    You are correct. Websites are like a pregnancy. Like a child, once born you then have to nurture them to grow and flourish. Sometimes taking many years to develop.

    Above all, don’t take the slow growth personal. You have a great resource.

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Norah Post author

      Hi Ann,
      Thank you very much for your lovely comment. I very much appreciate it. I must admit that sharing about my website as I did in this post didn’t come naturally to me. It was under the guidance and support of my wonderful marketing adviser. The responses I have received seem to confirm her advice (thank you, Charli).
      Thank you for explaining a little about the way schools are arranged in regions and provinces in Canada. It is interesting to find out how things work in other places.
      I did a little mailout in September and October, and thought I’d do a little more when school starts back here in January, and then throughout the year. It is time consuming to do the physical mailout, but I think it is probably worthwhile. Time will tell. I hadn’t considered emailing, and certainly wouldn’t spam, but I think that is a great suggestion too, and neither as expensive nor as time consuming as a physical mailout. Thank you for the suggestion, and for providing the link to your local school division. I also appreciate your sharing the link on your social media platforms. Thank you. That is very kind of you.
      I do expect growth to be slow. It all takes time, but it will take longer if I can’t figure out the marketing side.
      Thank you very much for taking the time to provide such valuable feedback and advice.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you very much for sharing, Cindy. I very much appreciate your generous gesture. I like your suggestion of workshops for teachers too. I’ve tried to hide behind my keyboard, but I think that’s a worthwhile suggestion. Thank you. 🙂

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  11. Pingback: Take a gander at this – #early childhood teaching resources — Norah Colvin | simply.cindy

  12. roughwighting

    You took a gander and created a terrific funny piece of flash fiction. I’m hooting whoo hoo, whoo hoo! (I know of gander with this kind of definition –
    ww.todayifoundout.com/index…/where-did-the-phrase-take-a-gander-come-from/
    – It first popped up around the late 19th / early 20th century. It is based on the “male goose” definition of “gander”. … In the beginning of this sort of “look” definition of “gander, the word was often used as a verb, rather than in the phrase “take a gander” where it is used in its noun form.)
    Excellent fun – now, hope you can ‘hawk’ your website, which sounds fantastic. I will definitely spread the word around. Keep us all posted on its successes.

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for your enthusiasm in responding to my flash, Pam. I’m so pleased you enjoyed it. Thanks also for providing the definition. If ‘gander’ has been used as a verb since the late 19th Century, then I’m really behind the times! I was familiar with it in its noun form, as you have shown, but not the verb.
      Thank you for your kind words about my website too. I appreciate them – and your pun! I’ll definitely keep you all informed. Thanks for spreading the word. 🙂

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  13. Annecdotist

    I’m so sorry your website hasn’t yet attracted the attention you hoped for and it clearly merits. Have you tried writing articles for professional magazines? More work, of course, but your blog posts are so erudite I’m sure you’ve got the information you need at your fingertips. Also TV and radio and your back to school in January would surely be the perfect time? Another thing you know you’re good at.
    I really enjoyed your flash – very clever. Although I’m familiar with the grouse out on the moorland and has another word for grumble, your Melbourne usage took me by surprise. Is that a new meaning? I’m thinking how some words evolve to mean their opposites.

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for your support, Anne. No, I haven’t written any articles for professional magazines; or not for a long time. This is something that perhaps I could consider. I’ve got to get this time thing worked out – how to do more with what I’ve got. I’ve never been able to squeeze as much in as others seem to do. I think my minutes are shorter some how. I’m not quite sure how that works. 🙂 I’m not sure about TV or radio, but I will try to get some brochures or flyers ready for a mailout to schools at the beginning of the year. I tried a few a month or two ago but it got too close the the end of the school year to continue.
      I think grouse used to be used for grumble. That was probably back in my day. The younger generation seems to turn all the words around. That’s sick now means good. Who would have thought!

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      1. Annecdotist

        I don’t know about minutes being longer, but I think you’re more generous than many in supporting other blogs.
        As for the articles, it would depend how much you’d enjoy using your time away. This last year I’ve written three articles for psychology/therapy journals (the less academic, more magazine kind), two of which were accepted – though I’m not sure they’ll bring me any book sales. But it seems to me that what you would write about education would be more directly tied into your website and therefore potentially more productive.
        On the other hand, you could just leave it to serendipity and enjoy the major achievement of having set the thing up.
        And yes isn’t it sick (interpret whichever way you choose) how words swap their meanings.

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        1. Norah Post author

          Thank you for your kind words, Anne. I do try to support others through social media, and do so as much as I can, but I always feel so far behind in my reading and sharing.
          I hope you do get sales from your articles. I wish I could help promote it more. I need to think of creative ways I can support my author friends. There are more of you now with books published, but it’s not easy to fit it in with my education theme.
          I will consider your suggestion of articles. I do know a few places to which I could submit. Time is not a helpful friend at the moment, but I’ll give it some thought.
          Serendipity – breathe – a sick suggestion. Thank you.

          Liked by 1 person

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  14. thecontentedcrafter

    Very clever Norah!! Isn’t it a hoot how many bird names and bird related words are used in the common vernacular!! I am very familiar with both gander as a look see – ‘I’ll just pop next door and have a gander at the new toy’ and grouse as in ‘that’s great!’ I thought all Australia used the term, not just Melbournites though.

    Re your web site – which I think really does deserve to find an audience – the hard work starts once the web site is operating I believe. There are so many web sites out there, how does the target audience find you? The straight up answer is you have to find them. And the best way to attract an audience is through the personal approach. You have to hawk it, get out there and talk to people about it – attend teacher meetings, parent meetings and make contacts. People first make a personal connection, then they make the connection with the work. There’s always the tipping point too – you have to get the first hundred and then it starts to grow exponentially.

    Good luck with it – I’m sure you will find your audience with all your charm and friendliness and great kindness and your ability as a teacher which will shine through. Go get ’em girl!!

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Norah Post author

      Hi Pauline, Thank you for your encouragement. You are right about the hard work just beginning. I sometimes wonder what I have created for myself! Thank you also for your suggestions. It’s easier to sit behind the keyboard than go out there and do it personally. I guess I have to think about putting my big girl boots on – stretch the comfort zone a little more. I hope I reach the tipping point before I slide off the end of the see-saw. LOL.
      I thought the word grouse was used Australia-wide too. While I don’t use it, I’m certainly aware of it. I love your use of “hawk” in your suggestions – just to keep the bird theme going. I knew of take a gander – as in take a look, a noun; but had never heard it used as a verb. Language is interesting the way it evolves. Thanks for your support.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Robbie. That’s very kind of you. I’ll have to check out @SirChocolateBooks FB page. You have so many amazing things on your blog, but I don’t think I’ve got over to your FB page. I’m still working on FB. 🙂

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