Category Archives: Christmas

visiting with illustrator Helene Magisson

Visiting with illustrator Hélène Magisson – readilearn

This week I’m visiting with illustrator Helene Magisson to chat about her latest book Sarah’s Two Nativities written by Janine M Fraser and published by Black Dog Books. The book is due for release this month with a launch scheduled for the 21st.

About Helene

I first introduced you to Helene in 2017 when she chatted about her process of illustrating, especially as it related to the beautiful book of poetry Magic Fish Dreaming written by June Perkins. You can read that interview here.

Since the publication of Magic Fish Dreaming, Helene has illustrated a number of other books and now has eleven published books in her portfolio, with more on the way. I am not surprised that Helene is sought after as an illustrator. I think you’d have to agree that her, mainly watercolour, illustrations are exquisite and possess an almost magical quality.

Although Helene now calls Australia home, she has lived in countries all over the world, including Africa, France, and India. That her travels both inspire and enrich her work is obvious in her delightful illustrations that perfectly complement Janine Fraser’s story Sarah’s Two Nativities.

About Sarah’s Two Nativities

From the publisher:

‘Sarah loves her two grandmas – Grandmother Azar and Grandmother Maria. Grandmother Azar tells Sarah stories from the Holy Koran, while Grandmother Maria tells her stories from the Bible. At Christmas time, Sarah snuggles in each of her grandmothers’ laps and listens to two nativities stories about the birth of baby Jesus. They are the same in some ways, and different in others … but both can be Sarah’s favourite.’

Continue reading: Visiting with illustrator Hélène Magisson – readilearn

celebrating Christmas with a strawberry torte

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Family – Berry Delightful by Norah Colvin

I’m having a delicious time over at Sally’s this week, sharing my post about berries. Won’t you join me?

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

This is the third post from the archives of Norah Colvin and this week she shares her childhood memories of mulberries and her flash fiction that week in 2017 in response to the Carrot Ranch Literary CommunityIn 99 words (no more, no less) include music and berries. It can be fantastical, such as the music of berries or a story that unfolds about a concert in a berry patch. Go where the prompt leads.

Berry Delightful by Norah Colvin

mulberries

What is your favourite berry?

Which berries make your taste buds sing?

When I was a child, there was a huge Mulberry tree growing in the backyard of one of our neighbours who was kind enough to allow access to the multitude of children in our family. Each summer the tree would be laden with fruit and we would pull at its branches to gather as much as…

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a heartwarming story about aiding the homeless by Geoff Le Pard

A Jacket And Nail Clippers

A serious story from a writer who specialises in humour – it will both warm your heart and inspire you.

TanGental

Not sure where I’m going with this.

Readers who’ve followed me for a while will know that every Christmas for the last few years I’ve spent some time volunteering at one of the Crisis For Christmas shelters that appear for a week over the festive season and provide a mix of food, advice, referrals, clothes, entertainment and a variety of services (doctor, dentist, podiatrist, physiotherapist, opticians, reiki, natural healing, various programmes such as AA, CA, NA and so on) to the still significant homeless and lonely population of London (as well as other cities). Sadly an operation started in 1968 with the avowed aim of ending homelessness has failed in that aim but it hasn’t ceased trying.

The Crisis team I’m part of take over a school – a Harris Academy for those who know what I mean – and it contains a range of splendid facilities. Every day from…

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holiday wishes and inspiring teaching videos

Holiday wishes and inspiring teaching videos 2018 – Readilearn

Holiday wishes

As the holiday season draws nigh, I wish you and your loved ones a very happy and safe holiday season. May you have time to relax, refresh, rejuvenate and, most of all, have fun.

Teaching inspiration

Holiday time can be perfect for catching up on things missed during the busyness of work. To both affirm and inspire you, I have curated a short list of some of my favourite videos. I hope you find time to enjoy them too.

Ten inspiring videos

Kate DiCamillo on the magic of reading aloud

Continue reading: Holiday wishes and inspiring teaching videos 2018 – Readilearn

Sally Cronin's Twelve Days of Christmas celebrations

Smorgasbord Christmas celebrations – The Fourth Day of Christmas with guests Norah Colvin and Amy Reade

I’m absolutely delighted to be included in Sally Cronin’s Christmas celebrations. I shared the story of my most memorable Christmas present and Sally gave me a beautiful gift in return.

Pop over to Sally’s to check it out. While you’re there, check out Sally’s books and all her other wonderful guests too. Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog, Sally. xx

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

So here we are all again and it is now day four of the party and I am delighted to have been joined by two more special guests, Norah Colvin and Amy Reade… more about them and their most favourite Christmas gifts later.

My Christmas Past..

I have been looking back over photographs of Christmas past and I came across a gathering we hosted in Tring in 1984 just before David and I left for Houston for two years. It had all happened very quickly. We had moved into our little house in the April when David moved from Liverpool with his job to a new cable television division that had been set up. Unfortunately we had only been there six months when the powers that be shut down the division and made David redundant. A bit of a shock to say the least. While we were in the…

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Christmas classroom activities that focus on learning

Christmas classroom activities that focus on learning – Readilearn

As Christmas draws near, keeping children focussed on their lessons can be a challenge for teachers. But it’s not impossible. It is not necessary to fill every moment with Christmas themed activities, but a few interspersed throughout the day can be motivating and lift everyone’s spirits. Activities that promote children’s learning should always take precedence over time fillers.

To assist teachers keep the focus on learning while children would rather be thinking of Christmas and holidays, I have prepared a range of lessons and suggestions for use in different subject areas. Many of the lessons and suggestions integrate learning across curriculum areas. All readilearn Christmas themed activities can be found under the Cultural Studies tab in the subcategory Christmas.

Focus on the children

A great place to start is always with the children and their family’s traditions.

Begin with a survey to find out which children in the class do and do not celebrate Christmas. While you will already have an idea of which children do, it can be an interesting way to begin the discussion of different cultural traditions celebrated by children in your class.

The main ingredient in any of these discussions should always be respect, and it is important to find ways of making classroom activities inclusive.

How many school days until Christmas?

Advent Calendars that count down the twenty-five December days until Christmas are great for families to use in the home but not so suitable for school. What about counting down the school days until Christmas? Twenty-five school days would mean starting at least five weeks before school finishes, which might be a bit soon, so choose another number which suits your program. Fifteen (three weeks) could be a good number. (Note: If, for inclusivity, you didn’t wish to count down to Christmas, you could count down to the holidays.)

A countdown calendar

Schedule opportunities for the children to present information about their family traditions as part of the countdown.

Continue reading: Christmas classroom activities that focus on learning – Readilearn

Fibonacci sequence in nature

Counting on daisies

Did you know that the number of petals on a flower, like the numbers of many other things in nature, is often a number from the Fibonacci sequence?

In the Fibonacci sequence, each number is the sum of the two preceding numbers: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89.

Daisies commonly have 34, 55 or 89 petals, though those numbers may be an average rather than specific to an individual flower.

The game “He loves me, he loves me not,” is played by stating each phrase in turn while removing a petal from a daisy flower. The phrase accompanying removal of the last petal is considered to be true. The result would obviously depend upon the type of flower chosen, as well as the number of petals on the particular flower.

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills has challenged writers to in 99 words (no more, no less) include white flowers in your story. This is a repeat prompt, but one that has an ability to be emotive. Humor, drama, irony — go wherever the white flowers lead.

The prompt led me to incorporate the two snippets of information above into an is true/isn’t true story on a topic often hotly debated by young children at this Christmassy time of the year.

daisy

You can count on it

“Is too,” he screamed, running away, blinded by tears.

Across the enormous park, he plonked himself down in a patch of wild daisies, and began pulling them up, ripping them apart.

“It can’t be. They don’t know anything.” Fists clenched against doubt that threatened annihilation.

As tears subsided to sobs, his petal removal became more rhythmical, purposeful: “Is true. Isn’t true. Is true. Isn’t true …” He crushed the remains, then plucked another: “Is true. Isn’t true. Is true …” Nooo!

He started again: “Isn’t true. Is true …”

“I knew it! Santa is true! White flowers don’t lie.”

(To read my response to the previous ‘white flowers’ prompt, click here.)

To read others’ thoughts on the topic of “Is it true?” click here and here.

Thank you blog post

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