Author Archives: Norah

About Norah

Early childhood educator and resource developer.

Upstairs or Downstairs flash fiction

Upstairs or Downstairs #flashfiction

Over at the Carrot Ranch this week, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using two words that contradict. Examples include champagne and hard-rock; rosemary and sewage; duck down and firecrackers; sleep and square-dancing. Use one of these or make up your own. Go where the prompt leads!

Carrot Ranch flash fiction contradictions

I haven’t gone with contradiction as much as confusion, but it’s fitting following something I wrote on my readilearn blog last week. In case you missed it, I wrote that being in lockdown has “felt like time has stood still and sped by at the same time”. That’s a contradiction. My story is a confusion.

Upstairs or Downstairs

Granny scratched her head. “I don’t know if I’m Arthur or Martha.”

“Whad’ya mean, Granny? I’m Arthur,” Arthur laughed.

“It’s just an old saying. Means I don’t know if I’m coming or going.”

“But you’re not coming or going. You’re staying here. With us.”

“I know,” laughed Granny. “I’m just a bit confused is all.”

“What’re you confused about?”

“I just came all the way down here for something, and I can’t remember what.”

“But this is upstairs, Granny. Not downstairs.”

“Silly me. There’s not much in my upstairs anymore.”

Now it was Arthur’s turn to scratch his head.

Thank you blog post

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

WATWB Age is no barrier

#WATWB Age is no barrier

On the last Friday of each month We Are the World Blogfest invites bloggers to join together in promoting positive news. I haven’t been able to join in for a while, but I’m pleased to share this good news story with you today. There are certainly a lot of good news stories coming out of the pandemic, stories of neighbours helping neighbours, but this one particularly appealed to me as it shows what a difference everyone, including a child, can make.

In the Uk, Nahla, an 8-year-old girl, has been using her pocket money and a 3D printer to make masks for health care workers. I think that shows great compassion and initiative. Read the story and view the video here.

The cohosts this month are Susan ScottLizbeth HartzShilpa GargMary Giese and Damyanti Biswas.

Please pop over to their blogs to read their stories, comment and share.

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

Special days and events for classroom celebrations - June

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

It’s almost June already and the change of season is upon us. I don’t know how you have felt during lockdown, but for me it has felt like time has stood still and sped by at the same time. Where have those months gone when so much has been put on hold, but teachers have still been working as they learn new ways of teaching and interacting with their students? I hope wherever you are, that you are staying safe and well and finding much to enjoy in life.

In this post, I share some dates in June you may wish to celebrate with your students, whether teaching in the classroom, as most are in Australia now, or online, as some are still doing overseas.

National Reconciliation Week is celebrated from 27 May until 3 June so it’s not too late to join in the celebration now. The aim of the week is to provide “a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.” For this to occur, “Reconciliation must live in the hearts, minds and actions of all Australians as we move forward, creating a nation strengthened by respectful relationships between the wider Australian community, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

National Reconciliation Week

The theme for this year is “In this Together”.

You may wish to refer to the post I wrote last year for some suggestions and a list of picture books to read.

The list of picture books may be downloaded here (free).

World Environment Day is celebrated on 5 June . The theme of this year’s World Environment Day is Biodiversity with a focus on the ‘interdependence of humans and the webs of life, in which they exist’.

Follow this link to take a biodiversity quiz, find out how you can be involved in the day, and discover a wide range of projects for engaging children in activities that promote environmental awareness and action.

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

Join Whitney and Britney Chicken Divas for National Simultaneous Storytime

Join Whitney and Britney, the Chicken Divas for National Simultaneous Storytime 2020 – #readilearn

In less than a week, we will be celebrating the 20th National Simulateous Storytime. Are you ready?

National Simultaneous Storytime is an annual event held in Library and Information Week, the last week of May, in Australia and New Zealand. The event is organised by the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) with the aim of promoting the value of reading and literacy.

Each year an Australian picture book is chosen to be read simultaneously in libraries, schools, pre-schools, childcare centres, family homes, bookshops and many other places around the nations on either side of the Tasman Sea. Selected books explore age-appropriate themes and address key learning areas of the National Curriculum for Foundation to Year 6.

This year the book is Whitney and Britney Chicken Divas, written and illustrated by Lucinda Gifford.

This book is fun and exciting and will appeal to the adults reading it as much as to the little ones listening to it. While the children may not yet be aware of the original Whitney and Britney divas, their parents and teachers will be.

12 Dancing Princesses

Arthur Rackham / Public domain

When I first began reading the book, I was reminded of the Grimm’s fairy tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses. However, the ending is different and modernised and perhaps more enjoyable for the readers as well as the characters.

Whitney and Britney are gorgeous chooks who live with the elegant Dora von Dooze. While she appreciates their eggs, she’d also enjoy their company. Alas, they sleep throughout the day, which makes Dora a little curious.

Dora determines to discover what they get up to each night while she is asleep; and discover she does. But how does she react and what happens when she finds out?  You will have to read the book to find out what surprises await Dora as well as Whitney and Britney.

Continue reading: Join Whitney and Britney, the Chicken Divas for National Simultaneous Storytime 2020 – readilearn

developing understanding of number with three new resources

Developing understanding of number with three new resources – #readilearn

An understanding of number is crucial to navigating our complex world. It is something we use everyday whether we are aware of it or not. From things as seemingly simple as matching the number of socks to our number of feet, to scheduling our day, through to more complex activities like balancing our budget, an understanding of number and mathematics is involved.

It always saddens me when people say, ‘Oh I can’t do maths’, especially when those people are young people. I think a lot of the inability and fear was learned. I know it was for me. Perhaps that is why I am on a mission to make learning in maths enjoyable and meaningful. It doesn’t have to be fearfully abstract and complex if we build strong foundations in the early years.

There are already well over one hundred mathematics resources in the readilearn collection, and this week I have added three more. Two of the resources are interactive lessons ready to teach on the interactive whiteboard in the classroom or, for those still teaching online, via screen sharing software. The third is a printable resource. All support your teaching and are open-ended and adaptable to the needs of you and your learners.

Repeating Patterns

Let’s Make Patterns is designed for teaching and reviewing repeating patterns on the interactive whiteboard. Patterns are an important part of mathematics. Learning about patterns with objects helps children understand the patterns upon which our decimal number system is based.

Continue reading: Developing understanding of number with three new resources – readilearn

A nourishing fruit break

A nourishing fruit break #flashfiction

Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction - Nourish

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story to nourish. The characters can nourish or be nourished. What else can be nourished? A tree? A setting? Does the sunset nourish the soul? Go where the prompt leads!

In many schools, children have a 10-minute mid-morning break to have a piece of fruit and engage in some movement activities. It’s often called a fruit or a brain break. Its purpose  is to refresh and reenergise for the next part of the session. It is generally welcomed by teachers and students alike. While the fruit may nourish the physical, as my story shows, often other forms of nourishment are also involved. A smile is sometimes all the nourishment a flagging spirit needs, especially on one of those days.

One of those days

The morning hadn’t let up. It began with a “Can I talk to you for a minute?” that stretched into an unresolved 45. Meanwhile, the children swarmed at the door, and the day’s activities hadn’t set themselves out. Her day flipped from organised to ‘fly by the seat’ with one unscheduled meeting. As the minutes ticked away, she hankered for fruit break and recalibration as much as the children. Her apple was a mere millimetre from her mouth when ‘Miss, Ellenie’s crying’ interrupted her. One look told her everything. Ellenie’s grateful smile turned her grey to sunshine. Sanity returned.

Thank you blog post

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

interview with Ashling Kwok about her picture book Lola and Grandpa

Let’s meet Lola and Grandpa in an interview with author Ashling Kwok – #readilearn

Today, it is my pleasure to introduce you to Ashling Kwok, author of the delightful new picture book Grandpa and Lola, illustrated by Yvonne Low. This interview with Ashling is part of a Books on Tour promotion.

About Ashling Kwok

 After graduating from University, Ashling went on to become a journalist and magazine editor, before setting up her own freelance writing company. Over the years, Ashling’s work has appeared in a number of newspapers and magazines, and she is a regular contributor to a variety of online publications. When she is not dreaming up new ideas or working on her latest book, Ashling can be found scouring local bookstores, marvelling at all the wonderful books being created by talented children’s authors.

About Yvonne Low

Yvonne is an illustrator, writer and award-winning artist.  She enjoys playing with words and colours and is particularly inspired by nature.  Her work is whimsical, often has a dash of humour and always tries to tell a story.  She works mainly in pencil and watercolour, but also dabbles in acrylic, pen and ink, pastel, digital media and Chinese brush painting.

About Lola and Grandpa

Lola and Grandpa is the story of a young girl and the tender, loving relationship she shares with her grandpa. When Lola’s grandpa passes away, she struggles to cope. However, as time passes Lola starts to remember all of the special times they shared. She can see her grandpa reflected in all of the things around her and realises that even though he is no longer physically with her, they will always remain connected.

What I like about this book

I knew I would love Lola and Grandpa as soon as I saw the bright cover filled with the sunshine from the ‘o’ in Lola’s name. The words and images dance across the pages, reflecting the joy felt by Lola and Grandpa as they spend their Sundays together. We can’t help but feel the warmth of their love and wish, as Lola does, that these times would last forever. The wisdom that Grandpa shares with Lola — “Time slips away, my angel, but love and memories last forever’ — is as reassuring for us as it is for Lola.

Continue reading: Let’s meet Lola and Grandpa in an interview with author Ashling Kwok – readilearn