Category Archives: Christmas

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

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

readilearn: Wishing you happy holidays – Readilearn

If you are looking for activities to keep the children occupied during the holidays, check out the readilearn Christmas collection. Many are suitable for use at home as well as in the classroom.

Three free resources provide additional suggestions for keeping the children engaged in mathematical thinking, and reading and writing activities while they are having fun. Don’t let the year’s learning slide away during the holidays.

Continue reading: readilearn: Wishing you happy holidays – Readilearn

Only in Australia

Only in Australia - Australian Coat of Arms

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenges writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using the phrase “only in…” It can be used to tell a story about a profession, a place or situation. Go were the prompt leads you.

This is my response. I hope you enjoy it. (Composed in the pool this morning.)

Only in Australia

The carollers woke her Christmas morning. After the preparation whirlwind, she’d collapsed into bed, only to continuously toss and turn, re-making each list and checking it twice. She groaned – please, just a few minutes more. The carollers insisted. She tumbled out of bed and stumbled to the door. They eagerly accepted her gifts. Breathing in the day’s freshness, she had to decide – bed? Nah – the pool! As each stroke soothed and each lap refreshed, she welcomed the day’s events. When a cockatoo’s shriek punctuated the chorus, the kookaburras laughed. “Only in Australia,” she thought. “It’s good to be home.”

And now for a little more, if you so choose:

Note: I’ve been kindly shown that some of my ‘only in Australia‘ statements are not quite correct. As I am not one for spreading falsehoods, I have added, in pink, corrections of which I have become aware. Thanks especially to Pauline King and Debby Gies for getting the ball rolling.

Only in Australia do you see people wearing thongs and singlets in winter (“thongs” are flip-flops worn on feet, singlets are sleeveless shirts). (I now know Canadians also refer to flip-flops as thongs.)

Only in Australia are there mammals that lay eggs (the monotremes – echidna and platypus. One species of echidna is found in New Guinea).

Only in Australia are the emblem animals eaten (the meat of kangaroo and emu – both on the Australian Coat of Arms – is available in supermarkets and from restaurant menus). The animals were chosen for the coat of arms as neither can walk backwards – a symbol of a forward-moving nation.

Only in Australia can you see these biggest things:

The world’s largest living organism The Great Barrier Reef. Hopefully it will remain that way for generations to come.

The world’s largest monolith – Uluru.

The world’s longest fence – the dingo fence, built to keep dingoes out of the fertile farming areas on the eastern coast,  over 5 500 km.

Only in Australia will you find the world’s oldest living culture.

Only in Australia could you visit a different beach every day of the year and still have more to see.

Only in Australia could you attend a cockroach race, a cane toad race and a boat race on a dry river bed.

Only in Australia would you not see an active volcano. (Australia, the world’s largest island or smallest continent, is the only continent without an active volcano, though there are many dormant and extinct volcanoes.)

Only in Australia do you have to travel overseas to travel internationally. (This is definitely not true – of course overseas and international travel are synonymous for any island nation, of which there are many, including New Zealand.)

Only in Australia will you hear “Fair dinkum” and “True Blue”.

Only in Australia, do we abbreviate everything, including names (is that why our years pass so fast – we abbreviate them too?) (Apparently, this habit is also prevalent across the ditch in New Zealand.)

 

And if you still want more, check out these 88 Crazy Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Australia.

And watch this video:

Or come for a visit!

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed finding out a little more about Australia. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.