In just over a week, on Wednesday 19 May at 11:00am AEST, we will be celebrating the 21st National Simultaneous Storytime (NSS). Are you ready?
National Simultaneous Storytime is an annual event held in Library and Information Week 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.
It is free to register for the event. If you do, you will receive various free downloadable material to support your own event on Monday 17 May. You can register right up until the event begins.
Easter Delivery is a story about Bilby twins Benny and Belinda who are excited to be old enough to make their first Easter delivery on their own. Before they are allowed to go out, they must prove to Mother and Father Bilby that they are capable of following instructions and delivering just the right number of Easter eggs for each family.
This video provides a brief introduction to the story.
The story encourages children to join in helping Benny and Belinda work out the number of Easter eggs required for each family and choosing which boxes or packs of eggs to leave. It is most suited for use on an interactive whiteboard with a small group or class of children, or on a computer with one or two children.
It can also be used interactively with children if teaching over Zoom as explained in this video.
In this next video, I read the story for you and your children to enjoy.
With Easter just a few weeks away, I thought I’d remind you of the readilearn Easter-themed lessons and activities suitable for use with 5-7 year-old children, at school or at home. The Easter collection can be found in Cultural Studies here.
Easter in the classroom — some thoughts
When considering whether to include Easter activities in the classroom, it is important to realise that Easter may not be celebrated by all children and, even if it is, the importance and focus of the celebration may differ from family to family.
For children who don’t celebrate Easter, be sensitive to the expectations their families may have for their participation. Depending on the number, you may choose to avoid Easter activities or use the time to investigate other festivals celebrated by your families. However, unless you are in a religious school, most Easter activities will focus on eggs and bunnies or bilbies rather than religion, as do our readilearn resources. If you are in a religious school, then parents were aware of the focus when enrolling their children.
The lessons and activities mentioned in this post assume you have decided to include Easter in your program and are focusing on the secular celebration. While many of the Easter traditions focus on the new birth of spring, in the Southern Hemisphere, Easter occurs in autumn. Our readilearn Easter resources avoid focusing on the seasons for this reason.
How families celebrate Easter
The way of celebrating Easter will vary from family to family. Some go away for the weekend. Some stay at home. Some are visited by a bunny, some by a bilby. Some put out carrots for the bunny, some put out baskets for the bunny to put eggs in, some search for eggs in an Easter egg hunt.
It is always interesting to hear about different ways of celebrating so it is useful to begin with some discussion and writing.
I am absolutely delighted to invite Anne Goodwin back to my blog today. It is just over five years ago that her debut novel Sugar and Snails was published by Inspired Quill and I had the pleasure of her joining me to discuss the importance friendships — in person, virtual and in her novel.
At the time I had known Anne (virtually) for two years, but we’d also had the pleasure of meeting up in London (briefly) the year before when she revealed the (then still secret) book contract. I am honoured to count her as a friend.
My admiration for and enjoyment of Anne’s writing has only increased over the years. Since then, she has had another novel published and the publication of a third is imminent. I’ve lost count (she hasn’t) of the number of short stories she has published.
If you haven’t yet ventured into Anne’s writing, then now is the perfect time. During February, you can read the ebook of Sugar and Snails free. What a wonderful opportunity to get to know this amazing author.
Anne Goodwin is the author of two novels and a short story collection. Her debut novel, Sugar and Snails, about a woman who has kept her past identity a secret for thirty years, was shortlisted for the 2016 Polari First Book Prize. Throughout February, subscribers to her newsletter can read Sugar and Snails for free: https://www.subscribepage.com/sugar-and-snails-free-e-book
About Sugar and Snails
At fifteen, she made a life-changing decision. Thirty years on, it’s time to make another.
When Diana escaped her misfit childhood, she thought she’d chosen the easier path. But the past lingers on, etched beneath her skin, and life won’t be worth living if her secret gets out.
As an adult, she’s kept other people at a distance… until Simon sweeps in on a cloud of promise and possibility. But his work is taking him to Cairo, the city that transformed her life. She’ll lose Simon if she doesn’t join him. She’ll lose herself if she does.
Sugar and Snails charts Diana’s unusual journey, revealing the scars from her fight to be true to herself. A triumphant mid-life coming-of-age story about bridging the gap between who we are and who we feel we ought to be.
If you need a little more enticement, please view the trailer:
Find out more about Anne, or connect with her on social media via any of the links below:
I wish all my wonderful readilearn readers and supporters a happy and healthy 2021. I think most of us are ready to welcome in the new year with its promise of better things to come. I thank you all for you support throughout 2020 and look forward to what 2021 has to offer.
I am excited that 2021 is both the International Year of Peace and Trust and the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables. I am hoping that it fulfils the expectation of a peaceful year in which trust in each other becomes the norm and a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables becomes available for every one of us.
During the week, I uploaded some new calendars and calendar bookmarks to celebrate both themes of the coming year:
In this post, I share suggestions for easy, fun and inexpensive activities you can do with family and friends of all ages over the holiday period. Most of the suggestions aren’t new but are simply reminders of easy ways to have fun together that are often forgotten during hectic preparations and celebrations. They are great for the lull times and the ‘What can we do?’ times. Enjoy!
A — Acrostic
Write an acrostic poem for yourself. Each person writes their name vertically and writes a word or phrase about what Christmas means to them for each letter.
For example, here’s one for me:
Naughty or nice? Why, nice of course.
Opening gifts — loving the look on recipient’s faces
Recipes for celebrating — pavlova, everyone’s favourite
All the family together playing games and having fun
Home is the place to be.
B — Book
Everyone choses a favourite book, perhaps one received for Christmas, and reads uninterrupted for half an hour (or more!).
This is a wonderful opportunity to help everyone get to know a little more about each other, or it would be if we were sharing actual, as opposed to fictional, traditions, which some might of course.
I think learning about each other’s traditions is a valuable way to get to know each other, to expand our knowledge of the world’s people and develop understanding and empathy. It was for this reason that I created several resources for the readilearn collection that help children get to know each other.
One of the main resources for this purposes is a unit of work called Family Traditions and Celebrations. It includes worksheets and surveys to help children learn about the traditions of their own family as well as of other families.
When I was implementing this unit in my classroom, I was surprised that third and fourth generation Aussies thought they didn’t have any traditions to write about, that theirs were nothing out of the ordinary. That changed when I explained that every family has its own traditions and its own way of interpreting the traditions of the wider community. Sometimes, those traditions are secret.
I recently watched a video in which Australia’s popular Coronavirus medical spokesperson explained his family’s secret tradition of Christmas celebrations when growing up Jewish in Scotland. It’s an interesting story, particularly when his family discovered they weren’t the only ones with a secret.
Sadly, I can’t find a way of sharing the video here, but it can be viewed on Facebook.
And if you’d like to know a little more about the man, you may enjoy this interview.
Some traditions may be passed down through generations. Other traditions may change, be abandoned or introduced as families change, combine and grow.
When my children were growing up, we had a quiet Christmas day at home with only us. We would just hang out together (I can’t say ‘chill’ when we sweltered on most Christmas Days), eating and playing board games. We would visit with family and friends on other days, but not on Christmas Day.
This tradition continued when they grew into adulthood and even when they brought partners to share our day. The tradition was interrupted when the grandchildren arrived, and they required a different sort of attention and were too young to play the games. They are now old enough to play so the tradition is re-established.
However, our celebration has now changed from Christmas Day to Christmas Eve (for this year anyway) to accommodate the needs of other families (in-laws) and the grandchildren have decided we need a new tradition.
Last Christmas Eve we celebrated here with both our children, their partners and our two grandchildren. We had a Christmas lunch and an afternoon of playing board games and having fun in the pool. After tea (the evening meal), we opened our gifts. And then the fun began — a wrapping paper fight. Perhaps I should say here that the fight was initiated by Hub, perhaps the biggest child of them all. Everyone scrunched up balls of wrapping paper and threw them at each other. The children thought it was amazing fun and they want to do it again this year. And why not? It won’t elicit the same feelings as the lovely tradition shown in the following video, but it’s a great indication of our family that loves to have fun together.
I think the only one who wasn’t so keen on the activity was the housekeeper who was still finding balls of wrapping paper behind and under furniture six months later. Perhaps she should have done a better job earlier on! 😊
Thanks to Jim Borden for alerting me to this wonderful video.
So, now it’s time to share my response to Charli’s prompt. I hope you enjoy it.
Out with the Old. In with the New.
Lizzie pressed her lips together and shook her head.
“Come on,” said Mum. “Just a little bit.”
“Try it. You’ll like it.”
“You can’t have dessert, until you eat your veg.”
“Dessert first. Then veg.”
“We don’t do it that way, Lizzie. Veg first, then dessert.”
“No! Dessert first!”
“If you have dessert first, you won’t eat your veg.”
Lizzie ate her dessert. Then she ate her veg. A promise is a promise.
Now, when Lizzie’s children’s friends ask why they always eat dessert first, they shrug. “Dunno. Always have,” they say.
Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.
Here it is December already, the final month in a year unlike any other. We can only hope that things improve as we leave this one behind and step into the new year. But for now, I have some December days and events you may wish to celebrate with your children whether at home or at school.
Eat a Red Apple Day on 1 December is the perfect time to remind ourselves to eat healthy food, particularly as the party season is just beginning. It is also the perfect time to thank teachers for all the hard work they have done during the year.
International Day of People with Disabilityon 3 December aims to develop an understanding of disability, promote respectful ways of relating to those with a disability, and create an awareness of the benefits of an inclusive society that takes the needs of people with a disability into consideration. “Disability Day is not concerned exclusively with either mental or physical disabilities, but rather encompasses all known disabilities, from Autism to Down Syndrome to Multiple Sclerosis.”
When shopping recently, I was reminded of how difficult it can be for some to carry out everyday tasks that most of us take for granted, and how far we have yet to go to be fully inclusive.