# Maths Lessons and Activities for 5–7 year olds – #readilearn

Maths is fun in the early childhood classroom as we count, measure and problem solve our way through the day. With the International Day of Mathematics coming up soon on 14 March, there’s no better time to think about ways of incorporating a little more maths into the daily program. While there are some suggestions on the International Day of Mathematics website, most of them are more suited to older children.

Here at readilearn we have over 100 mathematics lessons and activities ready to support your teaching and children’s learning. Many of the resources are digital lessons ready for you to teach on the interactive whiteboard. Some are printable activities to follow up and extend children’s learning, while others provide instructions and explanations for mathematical explorations.

#### Plan a party to celebrate

There’s nothing like a party to instigate some mathematical thinking.

If you decide to have a party to celebrate the day, you could start ahead with the interactive problem solving story Little Koala’s Party. In the story, children help Little Koala work out the number of guests as well as food and other items required for the party. They can use the same strategies to plan a party of their own. Other resources, like invitation notepaper and a paper hat template, help to extend the learning across curriculum areas.

While you might ask children to bring food from home to share at the party, following recipes together at school involves children in using mathematics in real and purposeful ways. They may need to count, and measure quantities as well as time. Recipes can be found in the Cooking section.

Continue reading: Maths Lessons and Activities for 5–7 year olds – readilearn

# Who can be a writer? You can! – #readilearn

I always enjoyed writing with children — the entire process. We saw story potential everywhere and found inspiration in the things they said or did as well as in everyday occurrences and special events. It was great to wonder and consider the what ifs as we brainstormed and developed ideas and let our excitement pour out in words on the paper. Sharing our original stories with an appreciative audience gave purpose to the process and added to the enjoyment.

In this post, I share a delightful little book called You can be a writer written by author Teena Raffa-Mulligan that encourages and supports children as writers in similar ways. It is great for children to use at home or at school and would be a useful resource for parents or teachers as they foster their children’s interest in writing.

I previously introduced you to Teena when I interviewed her about her fun story for young readers The Apostrophe Posse.

# Playing to Win #Valentiny Contest Entry

I have regularly joined in responding to the 99-word flash fiction prompts at the Carrot Ranch for almost seven years. Today, I am joining in something a little different — a Valentiny Contest run by children’s author Susanna Leonard Hill. Although this is the sixth Valentiny Contest, this is the first I have entered.

The contest asks writers to write Valentines story appropriate for children (children here defined as ages 12 and under) maximum 214 words in which someone feels brave! The maximum story length is to be 214 words (get it? 2/14 for Valentines Day), but it can be less. For more details and to read other entries, pop over to Susanna’s blog. Entries must be posted by Sunday February 14th by 11:59 PM EDT. (Words in italics are from Susanna’s post.)

My story is not specifically to do with Valentines’ Day, but I was pleased to find that the name Valentina means brave. Fergal also means brave. I have been brave to have a go. The word count of my story is 214 words exactly. I hope you enjoy it.

##### Playing to Win

On one side of the arena, Prince Fergal raised his sword. “I am the bravest of the brave, the strongest of the strong. No one can defeat me.”

On the opposite side, Princess Valentina raised her sword. “I am the bravest of the brave, the strongest of the strong. No one can defeat me. I challenge you to a duel.”

“I am Fearless Fergal!”

“I am Valiant Valentina!”

“Charge!”

The riders kicked their hobby horses into action. Across the arena they galloped, swords drawn, ready for mortal combat.

As they neared the centre of the arena, Fearless Fergal’s horse stumbled, flinging him to the ground.

“Ouch!” he cried, clasping an elbow.

The spectators held their breath. What would Valentina do? Would she drive her sword home and declare herself the victor? Would she insist that Fergal be her faithful follower forever more? Was there any way Fergal could claim victory?

Fergal didn’t look so fearless clutching his arm and rocking from side to side.

Valentina released her sword and leapt from her steed. She knelt beside him.

“Are you okay, Fergal?” she asked.

The spectators swarmed.

Fergal nodded. “It’s just a little graze.”

“Shall we go again?” Valentina asked.

“Another day. Let’s play something else now.”

The contest done. The crowd dispersed. Friendship won.

# A Handful of February Celebrations – #readilearn

February is packed full of days to celebrate. The next few days are no exception. Here at readilearn, we support your celebrations with suggestions and lessons ready to teach.

#### Chinese New Year

Today 12 February is celebrated around the world as Chinese New Year. While the New Year celebrations may continue for up to sixteen days, today is the main day and it ushers in the Year of the Ox. Chinese New Year is a time for families to be, and celebrate, together.

##### Chinese New Year classroom resources

These resources are always free:

Celebrating Chinese New Year in the early childhood classroom

Happy Chinese New Year bookmarks

Other dates include Valentines’ Day, Library Lovers’ Day and Book Giving Day.

# Does a substitute fulfil a promise?

This week at the Carrot Ranch, D. Avery stepped in (substituted) for Charli Mills by posing the weekly flash fiction prompt. (Charli is working industriously on her thesis for submission this week!)

I recently posed a question about the effectiveness of rewards. Aligned with that are promises of rewards and threats of punishment — strategies used by parents (and others) in an attempt to control another’s behaviour.

I think the conversation around that previous post must have somehow influenced my response to this prompt. See what you think.

I won’t elaborate any further on rewards and punishments for now, but will allow the flash to speak for itself. I don’t get the bonus points for including fairy tale elements. I’m sorry to say that scenes like this are more real than fairy tale.

Special Substitution

“Where’s my Burger Special? You promised!”

“Here, sweetie.”

“Burger Specials have chips, not carrot sticks!”

The carrot sticks plummeted to the floor.

“I substituted them, hon. Carrot sticks are healthier. We want to be healthy, don’t we?”

A mouthful of half-chewed bun adorned the table. “That’s disgusting!”

“Multi-grain’s healthier. Try some more. You will like it.”

“I don’t want substitutes.”

The poorly-disguised plant-based patty frisbeed across the room.

The parent hauled the protester from the restaurant.

“You promised Burger Special!”

“You’ll get something special, as soon as we get home.”

“There’s no substitute for proper parenting,” tut-tutted a diner.

# The Ripples of Life

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about life as a river of consciousness. Think about the possibilities of the prompt. Go where the prompt leads!

The 99-word responses to Charli’s prompt will be collected and gifted to Sue Vincent on 17 February. So, if you would like your writing to be included in that collection, please pop over to the Carrot Ranch for more information and to submit your response using the form.

The Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic flash fiction contest is now also live. You can find out more about it here. With a very attractive \$100 first prize and one of Sue’s books for each of five runners up, it is worth entering.

When I read Charli’s prompt, I immediately thought of the ripple effect of our lives, the effects that occur while we are on this Earth and those that continue long after through our children and our children’s children, and through lives we have touched from near or far, like a river of consciousness that flows through humanity from beginning to end.

I cannot think of the ripple effect without thinking of a wonderful book written by learning futurist Tony Ryan. The Ripple Effect was first published over twenty years ago and is still just as relevant and available today. It is filled with stories that show the difference that even the simplest of actions can make each day. The contribution that Tony’s book has had on lives in those 20+ years must be immeasurable.

I have previously written about Tony and his book in Ripples Through Time, Add a Sprinkle of Glitter to Make Your Day Sparkle and @aussietony’s 20 gift suggestions for life-long learning. In 3 Inspiring Educators, I nominated Tony as one of those being a positive influence upon my work as an educator.

In response to Charli’s prompt, I had three main thoughts:

1. The ripple effect as in the day to day ripples we create for ourselves and others with our thoughts, words and actions.
2. The thought that every molecule of water is recycled over time and through all generations of plants and animals, including humans (my interpretation of an idea shared by Deepak Chopra in a seminar I attended many years ago).
3. The ripples that are passed down through time from one generation to the next and beyond. This can sometimes be seen in families that generate function or disfunction over time. I was recently reminded of this phenomenon by Alfie Kohn in his book Unconditional Parenting.

These thoughts combine into one: that, whether we think about it or not, what we do in the here and now has effects of which we may never know.

Here is my response to Charli’s prompt. I hope you enjoy it.

The Ripples of Life

The stone made a mini fountain where it plunged into the water. The boy and the man watched the ripples spread. The boy’s eyes filled with wonder, the man’s with life’s wisdom.

“Where do the ripples go?” asked the boy.

“Everywhere,” said the man. “Even when we no longer see them, their effects go on. Like that stone, we make a splash in our family when we arrive. Our circles grow as we grow. Our lives touch more and more. We may never know the effects, but they are there, rippling through the world, flowing forever in the river of life.”

# Stickers and Stars — How Effective are Rewards? – #readilearn

Don’t you love it when you find someone who not only shares your ideas but extends them in ways that challenge and make sense at the same time? I do.

I was recently introduced (in the virtual world) to educator Alfie Kohn. First, I listened to his book Punished by Rewards and am now listening to Unconditional Parenting. The bonus with both books is that Kohn narrates them, so the ideas come across exactly as he intended, and it sounds like he is presenting rather than reading. These books are great for both parents and teachers as well as others in any form of managerial role. I wish I’d had the opportunity of reading Kohn’s work before I became a teacher or a parent for the joy it would have given me in sharing and affirming ideas.

If you are a teacher or parent who questions the real value of offering children stars or stickers in the hope of motivating them or of grading the work they turn in, you will find much of interest in Kohn’s work.  You could begin by exploring his website or dive straight into his articles and books as I did.

Here is an interview he did on Oprah in 2013 about his book Punished by Rewards. It includes some interesting perspectives from teachers and parents with whom you may or may not agree.

Continue reading: Stickers and Stars — How Effective are Rewards? – readilearn

# The Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic

Are you ready to ride in the Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic? The contest, with a \$100 prize, is now live. Pop over to the Carrot Ranch for details.

### by H.R.R. Gorman

Here at the Carrot Ranch, we take the business of 99-word literary art seriously. Those who participate in the Ranch prompts or yearly Rodeo saddle up to TUFF (The Ultimate Flash Fiction) it out and train new Rough Riders as we go. Now, the Ranch is hosting a new event to sharpen minds, welcome new hands, and celebrate one of our own the best way we know how: our first ever Rodeo Classic.

In this Rodeo Classic, we’re here to celebrate a stalwart center of many blogging corners, Sue Vincent. Sue has variously contributed to the community here at the Carrot Ranch, through communication with many other bloggers, and run her own famous #writephoto weekly blog prompt. You can (and should!) follow her on her blogs, The Daily Echo and the shared blog France & Vincent. She has inspired us to become better writers and shown…

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