Author Archives: Norah

About Norah

Early childhood educator and resource developer.

special days and events for classroom celebrations

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

It’s August already and we are starting to see a change in the seasons. Here in the Southern Hemisphere we are getting ready for Spring, while in the Northern Hemisphere, you are maybe hoping things will start to cool soon.  Wherever we are, it seems the uncertainty caused by the pandemic still has us in its grip. I think I’d probably be right in saying that we’d all like that to change, and soon.

The help lighten your workload and inject something a little different into the routine, I’ve listed some special days and events you might like to celebrate in the classroom this month.

The MS Readathon runs throughout the month of August. The purpose of the MS Readathon is to encourage children to read and, at the same time, raise money to help kids who have a parent with multiple sclerosis. Teachers can register their class or children can register individually. Find out more and download some great resources from their website.

The Horses’ Birthday is celebrated on 1 August in the Southern Hemisphere. Horses born after 1 August in will be considered one year old on 1 August the following year.

In the Northern Hemisphere, 1 January is recognised as the horses’ birthday. The dates are chosen as most foals are born in late winter.

Why not celebrate with a carrot cake, or give your favourite horse a carrot treat?

Children may enjoy discussing the question, “What if we had a people’s birthday, and celebrated everyone’s birthday on the same day, regardless of when they were born?

Some horse-related resources from readilearn:

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

meet Marg Gibbs author of Jasper's Jumbled Up Words

Meet Marg Gibbs author of Jasper’s Jumbled Up Words – #readilearn

Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Marg Gibbs, author of Jasper’s Jumbled Up Words as part of a Books on Tour promotion.

Jasper’s Jumbled up Words is a story of a young child’s journey into communication through speech and shows how the encouragement of a loving family fosters the progress. The excitement that is felt when a child utters their first words will be familiar to most families.

Jasper’s Jumbled Up Words © Marg Gibbs

 

The back-cover blurb

Jasper’s Jumbled up Words is a gentle story about a young boy who wants to be understood.

‘In Jasper’s head, strange sounds bubble, but in his mouth the words get caught and only babble comes out.’

Jasper soon finds himself confused and upset. Then one day, he surprises everyone.

Jasper’s Jumbled up Words sensitively deals with the difficulties surrounding language development and offers children, parents and care givers hope.

About Marg Gibbs

 

Contine reading: Meet Marg Gibbs author of Jasper’s Jumbled Up Words – readilearn

educate for peace through teaching friendship skills

Educate for peace through teaching friendship skills – #readilearn

The UN International Day of Friendship on 30 July promotes friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals in order to inspire peace and build bridges between communities.

Education has an important role in fostering friendships at a grassroots level that can transform communities both small and large. We begin by developing respect, understanding and empathy among students in our classrooms and schools and reaching out to others in our local, national and international communities.

The basis for developing friendships in the classroom is the establishment of a supportive classroom environment in which everyone is welcomed and respected. It means that we, as a class, teachers and children, get to know each other and learn to appreciate our similarities and value our differences.

Establish a supportive classroom environment

I have suggested strategies for establishing a supportive classroom environment in previous posts, including:

Establishing a supportive classroom environment from day one

Starting out right — classroom organisation

Preparing the classroom for a successful school year

The posts link to resources to support your work in setting up a welcoming classroom.

Continue reading: Educate for peace through teaching friendship skills – readilearn

develop ethical thinking, empathy, social and emotional intelligence

Developing ethical thinking, empathy and emotional intelligence with Ginnie and Pinney – #readilearn

Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Penny Harris who is launching the first two titles in the Ginnie and Pinney Learn and Grow series of books and videos for young children. The series of eight books encourages the development of ethical thinking, empathy and emotional intelligence. The first two books are Ginnie & Pinney; ‘3, 2, 1 and Here I Come’ and ‘Pinney the Winner’. This interview is part of a Books on Tour promotion. You can find a list of other blogs in the promotion at the end of the post.

About the author Penny Harris

Penny Harris is a multi-national and international award-winning animator, author and multi-media developer. She has worked with the Australian Children’s Television Foundation, Film Victoria as well as a number of Australian universities and institutions.

About the Illustrator Winnie Zhou

Winnie Zhou has a Masters of Multimedia Design from Monash University and is a talented illustrator and multimedia developer. Winnie lives in Melbourne and has worked closely with Penny to develop the series.

About the series Ginnie and Pinney Learn and Grow

The series consists of 8 story books, animated videos, teacher resources and finger puppets; aligns with Australian Early Years Learning Framework; and is consistent with social and emotional learning.

The stories feature Ginnie & Pinney and their friends. Their daily social interactions, concerns and decisions pose dilemmas that model positive self-identity and behaviours: selflessness, persistence, sharing, fairness, inclusiveness, responsibility, accepting difference and learning to say sorry.

The videos, accessed from QR codes supplied on the back of each book, are perfect for display on an interactive whiteboard in the classroom or used on any other digital device at home or at school.

Open-ended questions included at the back of each book can be used to stimulate deep discussion and encourage social and emotional learning.

The series was selected by the Finnish Educational Org.HundrEd, as one of a hundred of the most innovative educational programs for 2020 and was also selected by the Victorian Dept. of Education and Training as a recommended resource for 2020 for their School Readiness Funding program.

The books

Continue reading: Developing ethical thinking, empathy and emotional intelligence with Ginnie and Pinney – readilearn

interview with Pete Springer author of They Call Me Mom

Meet retired teacher Pete Springer author of They Call Me Mom – #readilearn

Today it is my great pleasure to introduce you to Pete Springer. Pete was a classroom teacher for over thirty years. When he retired, he decided to share his experiences and wisdom with others who may be at different stages of their teaching journey. His book is a pleasure to read. He writes from the heart and every teacher will find something within the pages of his book with which they can identify or/and learn from. It will have you nodding your head in agreement, inspire an ‘aha’ moment, make you laugh and make you cry. From when you open the book until you close it, you will know that this is the honest voice of an authentic teacher who made, and continues to make, a positive difference to the lives of others.

About Pete Springer

Hi Pete, welcome to readilearn. Before we begin the interview, please tell us a little about yourself.

I taught elementary school (grades 2-6) for thirty-one years at Pine Hill School in Eureka, California.  I loved everything about being a teacher, and I want to be a role model for the next generation of teachers the way others inspired me to want to become a teacher.  I was a master teacher to four student teachers.  I was chosen for the Excellence in Teaching Award in 2006.  That is an annual award recognizing ten top teachers in the county.  I belong to the Humboldt County Children’s Author Festival Committee which brings in twenty-five nationally known children’s authors to speak to children in over eighty schools in the county.  My future goal is to write books for middle-grades.

About the book They Call Me Mom — the blurb

Continue reading: Meet retired teacher Pete Springer author of They Call Me Mom – readilearn

Home with the Kids by Norah Colvin

Combat Boredom with Board Games

I was over at the Carrot Ranch last week, discussing the benefits of playing board games as a family with the children. Pop over there to see which games I suggest and add your own favourite board games in the comments.

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

Home with the Kids by Norah Colvin

One of the best ways to have fun while learning, or to learn while having fun, is by playing board games. Playing games together as a family helps to bond family relationships. Adjustments can be made to suit most numbers and ages and rules can be adapted to suit your purposes. While the main thing is to have fun together, there is a lot of learning going on too.

Social Skills

One of the greatest benefits of playing board games is the development of social skills.

Some of the social skills children learn include:

Getting along and taking turns

Playing fair — accept the roll (if dice are used) or draw (if cards are used) for example, and respond accordingly: don’t try to pretend it wasn’t a “proper” roll (e.g. dropped); or attempt to change the count by skipping or counting twice on a square.

Abiding by rules — all…

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reasources for teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures

Resources for teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures – #readilearn

NAIDOC Week celebrations, which would normally take place in early July, have been postponed until November this year due to Covid-19. However, that is no reason to cancel sharing Indigenous stories and lessons with your class. After all, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures is one of the cross-curriculum priorities in the Australian Curriculum and is an important part of our national heritage. While some may not feel confident teaching Indigenous perspectives, the only way to become more confident is by being informed.

In this post I share some websites and resources that you may find useful in preparing lessons and some organisations whose goals of improving the education and future success of our Indigenous students you may wish to support.

Raising culturally aware kids

In this article, How to Raise Culturally Aware Kids written for ABC Life, Samantha Turnbull introduces us to Kirby Barker a Bandjalang worman and early childhood teacher from northern New South Wales. Kirby teaches her preschoolers to counter racism with kindness. The article shares Kirby’s advice on how to present information to young children including words that can be used to explain the history. She discusses

  • the need to celebrate difference
  • ways of explaining traditional owners and inviting them into the classroom
  • how to talk about reconciliation with children
  • the importance of sharing stories
  • learning Indigenous languages
  • developing empathy.

While only a brief article, you will glean many ideas from Kirby Barker which, though easily implemented, will have a profound effect.

Indigenous Literacy Foundation

The aim of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation is to raise literacy levels by supplying books to remote communities.

Continue reading: Resources for teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures – readilearn

special days and events for classroom celebrations - July

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

As we step into the second half of 2020, I hope you continue to stay well and happy. So many changes occurred during the first half of the year and life has not yet returned, if it ever will, to how it once was. In some areas where change is required, that’s perhaps a good thing, but many of us mourn the freedoms and security we once enjoyed.

In this post, I list some days and events you may wish to celebrate with your children, whether at home or at school, hopeful that some may inspire you and renew your resolve to work towards a better future.

International Plastic Bag Free Day on 3 July is a great way to start the month focusing on the environment and making small steps towards a positive future. The aim of the day is to increase awareness of the harmful effects of plastic waste upon the environment, especially the marine environment, and encourage everyone to reduce their use of plastics.

Some things to think about and discuss:

  • More than 500 billion plastic bags are used around the world each year, about one million every minute.
  • Each plastic bag is used on average for less than half an hour.
  • Plastic bags remain in the environment for up to 500 years. Plastic pollution doesn’t just affect those of us alive today. It affects generations for hundreds of years to come.

If we can all reduce our use of plastics, especially single-use plastics, it will have a positive impact upon Earth’s future and the future of all its inhabitants, including plants, animals and humans.

What can you do?

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

how to prepare your child for school

How to help your child prepare for knight school — Ashling Kwok – Readilearn

I recently introduced you to author Ashling Kwok in an interview about her delightful picture book Lola and Grandpa with its gorgeous illustrations by Yvonne Low.

Today, Ashling is back with us. This time she has written about her just-released picture book The Battle which deals with school anxiety and would be an excellent choice for both teachers and parents to read to their children as they begin or return to school. This post is part of a Books on Tour promotion.

Over to you, Ashling.

How to help your child prepare for knight school

Continue reading: How to help your child prepare for knight school — Ashling Kwok – Readilearn

how to encourage young scientists

How to encourage young scientists — insights by Jane Goodall – #readilearn

In this post, I am sharing a video by Jane Goodall Sowing the Seeds of Hope.

In a previous post, I shared some insights by the ACT Scientist of the Year, climate scientist Dr Sophie Lewis. Since then, Dr Lewis has been appointed ACT Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment. Some events that shaped Dr Lewis’s journey to becoming a scientist include:

  • Her parents took an active interest in the world and natural events, such as the passing of Halley’s Comet, and encouraged Sophie to do the same by including her in their adventures.
  • Her family spent time outdoors in the natural environment and encouraged Sophie to explore, investigate and take an interest in every aspect of the environment.
  • Sophie received gifts that encouraged and extended her ability to explore and investigate the environment; both up-close with a slide-making kit, and from a distance with a telescope.
  • In school, she extended her interest by studying science and maths.

You’ll find that the experiences of Jane Goodall reiterate the importance of parental encouragement in developing positive attitudes to science. In fact, Goodall attributes her success to her mother, who she describes as ‘extraordinary’. Goodall says that she was born with an innate love of animals and that her mother always supported and encouraged it.

One of the first books that Jane bought with her own money was Tarzan of the Apes and, at just ten years of age, she began dreaming of going to Africa to live with animals and write books about them. Although others scoffed, her mother continued to encourage her, telling her that if she really wanted something, she’d have to work hard, take advantage of all opportunities and never give up.

I’m sure, whether educating at school or at home, you will find the words of Jane Goodall as inspirational as I did.

Continue reading: How to encourage young scientists — insights by Jane Goodall – Readilearn