Category Archives: Education

58 Minutes in Driftland for Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2023 #ReadYourWorld

This Thursday 26 January 2023 is Multicultural Children’s Book Day (MCBD), a day for celebrating diversity in children’s books. I am pleased to be a MCBD reviewer for the fifth time this year; and was delighted to receive a copy of 58 Minutes in Driftland, Journey to Another Realm from indie author I.S.A. Crisostomo-Lopez to review.

About the book

A coming-of-age story about a young Filipino immigrant in the US, Alunsinag Bayani, who despite being bullied in school, was able to discover his strengths and potential when he accidentally stepped in Driftland, an alternate realm where he could switch places with his more efficient self for 58 minutes. Together with his friends, Ju-long from Hong Kong and Tej from Bangalore, he must battle to overcome his fears and nightmares, win the heart of his crush Ziya, win the basketball tournament alongside class bully Lucas, and save Driftland as among (sic) the Warriors of Light.

About the author

I.S.A. Crisostomo-Lopez is a writer based in Binan City, Philippines. She earned her B.A. Communication Arts degree from the University of the Philippines Los Baños in 1996 and her M.F.A. in Creative Writing degree from De La Salle University Manila in 2003. She is married with four children. She has published several works of fiction including “Passage,” which was anthologized in “Hoard of Thunder 2: Philippine Short Stories in English” by UP Press. She has also written storybooks for children, “Si Lola Apura at si Lolo Un Momento” by Adarna House and “Ang Bisikleta ni Kyla,” by Philam Foundation. She has also published a science fiction trilogy, the “Driftland” series for young adult readers. Her latest novel, “The Waters of Manila Bay are Never Silent” is published by Penguin Random House Southeast Asia.

What I like about 58 Minutes in Driftland

While not my usual choice of genre, I found this novel enjoyable and easy to read. Its cast of culturally diverse teenage characters has interests similar to those of its target teenage audience, including basketball and anime. Problems with family, friends and classmates, including discrimination and bullies, are relatable, as are the questions often pondered – Who am I? Where do I belong? How do I fit in? What is my purpose in life?

The book has a positive and optimistic outlook and recognises that we all, including bullies, have fears to overcome. While the science fiction/fantasy elements are used in solving problems, it is simply a tool for helping the characters tap into their more ‘efficient’, more confident and capable selves. It empowers readers by helping them recognise and release their own unlimited potential, knowing that nothing will happen if they don’t have a go for “Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” (Suzy Kassem)

One of the things I particularly like about the book is that each chapter is introduced by a motivational quote, such as the one by Kassem above. In addition, woven throughout the text, without being didactic, are words of wisdom for pondering and reflection.

While a number of situations arise and problems are solved in this book, it ends with a cliff-hanger which will encourage readers to dive into the second and third books in the series.

In 58 Minutes in Driftland science fiction meets the real world in an interesting blend of relatable characters with recognisable emotions facing familiar situations with elements of fantasy. It’s a story that will encourage readers to follow their dreams and believe in themselves. It tells us that “You never win any games you don’t play” (Mark Cuban) and that “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” (Dale Carnegie) I think these are pretty good reminders.

About Multicultural Children’s Book Day

(Information supplied by MCBD)

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2023 (1/26/22) is in its 10th year! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those books into the hands of young readers and educators.

Ten years in, MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves continues. Read about our Mission & History HERE.

MCBD 2023 is honored to be Supported by these Medallion Sponsors!

FOUNDER’S CIRCLE: Mia Wenjen (Pragmaticmom) and Valarie Budayr’s (Audreypress.com)

🏅 Super Platinum Sponsor: Author Deedee Cummings and Make A Way Media

🏅 Platinum Sponsors: Language Lizard Bilingual Books in 50+ Languages 

🏅 Gold Sponsors: Interlink Books, Publisher Spotlight 

🏅 Silver Sponsors: Cardinal Rule Press,  Lee & Low, Barefoot Books, Kimberly Gordon Biddle

🏅 Bronze Sponsors: Vivian Kirkfield, Patrice McLaurin , Quarto Group, Carole P. Roman, Star Bright Books, Redfin.com, Redfin Canada, Bay Equity Home Loans, Rent.com, Title Forward

Poster Artist:  Lisa Wee

Classroom Kit Poster: Led Bradshaw

MCBD 2023 is honored to be Supported by these Author Sponsors!

Authors: Sivan Hong, Amanda Hsiung-Blodgett, Josh Funk , Stephanie M. Wildman, Gwen Jackson, Diana Huang, Afsaneh Moradian, Kathleen Burkinshaw, Eugenia Chu, Jacqueline Jules, Alejandra Domenzain, Gaia Cornwall, Ruth Spiro, Evelyn Sanchez-Toledo, Tonya Duncan Ellis, Kiyanda and Benjamin Young/Twin Powers Books, Kimberly Lee , Tameka Fryer Brown, Talia Aikens-Nuñez, Marcia Argueta Mickelson, Kerry O’Malley Cerra, Jennie Liu, Heather Murphy Capps, Diane Wilson, Sun Yung Shin, Shannon Gibney, John Coy, Irene Latham and Charles Waters, Maritza M Mejia, Lois Petren, J.C. Kato and J.C.², CultureGroove, Lindsey Rowe Parker, Red Comet Press, Shifa Saltagi Safadi, Nancy Tupper Ling, Deborah Acio, Asha Hagood, Priya Kumari, Chris Singleton, Padma Venkatraman, Teresa Robeson, Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, Martha Seif Simpson, Rochelle Melander, Alva Sachs, Moni Ritchie Hadley, Gea Meijering, Frances Díaz Evans, Michael Genhart, Angela H. Dale, Courtney Kelly, Queenbe Monyei, Jamia Wilson, Charnaie Gordon, Debbie Ridpath Ohi, Debbie Zapata, Jacquetta Nammar Feldman, Natasha Yim, Tracy T. Agnelli, Kitty Feld, Anna Maria DiDio, Ko Kim, Shachi Kaushik 

MCBD 2023 is Honored to be Supported by our CoHosts and Global CoHosts!

MCBD 2023 is Honored to be Supported by theseMedia Partners!

Check out MCBD’s Multicultural Books for Kids Pinterest Board!

📌 FREE RESOURCES from Multicultural Children’s Book Day

📌 Register for the MCBD Read Your World Virtual Party

Join us on Thursday, January 26, 2023, at 9 pm EST for the 10th annual Multicultural Children’s Book Day Read Your World Virtual Party!

This epically fun and fast-paced hour includes multicultural book discussions, addressing timely issues, diverse book recommendations, & reading ideas.

We will be giving away a 10-Book Bundle during the virtual party plus Bonus Prizes as well! *** US and Global participants welcome. **

Follow the hashtag #ReadYourWorld to join the conversation, and connect with like-minded parts, authors, publishers, educators, organizations, and librarians. We look forward to seeing you all on January 26, 2023, at our virtual party!

123 Who Comes Next? for Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2023 #ReadYourWorld #123WhoComesNext?

This Thursday 26 January 2023 is Multicultural Children’s Book Day (MCBD), a day for celebrating diversity in children’s books. I am pleased to be a MCBD reviewer for the fifth time this year; and was delighted to receive a copy of 123 Who Comes Next? from Star Bright Books.

About the Book

Here comes a boy, that is 1. Next comes a girl, that together makes 2. A lady joins the two, which makes them 3. Then comes a dog! How many will they make?

Creatures great and small—and even a vegetable— all come together to help children learn to count 1 to 10 and to recognize numbers. Young readers will be eager to see who comes next, and what number they are. The last page, of course, is the most surprising and fun to all. Artist Amy Matsushita-Beal presents a simple and delightful counting book of diverse characters. The whimsical details on each character add another layer of playfulness for young children.

  • Board Book / Recommended Ages 2-4 years
  • Also available in Haitian Creole/English and Spanish/English bilingual editions.

This delightful counting board book of diverse characters will be available in May 2023. It was created for a Haitian Creole book project at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California. School Library Journal (Starred Review) calls it “remarkably clever count book” and “an essential purchase for all collections.”


About the Author/Illustrator

Amy Matsushita-Beal is a freelance illustrator, designer, and hand-lettering artist based in Tokyo. Amy was born and raised in Los Angeles and graduated from the Art Center College of Design. While presented in a variety of styles, Amy’s work tends to focus on people, their intentions, and vibrancy in color and character. 123 Who Comes Next? is Amy’s first book with Star Bright Books. Visit: amymatsushitabeal.com

What I like about 123 Who Comes Next?

This counting book 123 Who Comes Next? is surprisingly delightful. By that, I mean it delights with a surprise at every page turn.

We’re all familiar with books that count from one to ten and know just what to expect. It’s true that this book fulfills those expectations, starting with one friendly boy greeting one friendly girl, adding one more on each page up to ten.

What surprises and delights, both characters and readers, is what is added to each page. The characters’ differing reactions to each newcomer create humour and provide opportunities for discussions of emotions, reactions and reasons for responding so. The minimal text (simply numeral and number word) leaves plenty of room for storytelling.

On the other hand, being able to focus on the numerals and number words helps develop number recognition as well as counting. In addition, having the numerals written on each of the characters in order of their appearance helps to develop one-to-one correspondence, an early number concept just as important as the ability to count.

I won’t give away any more. I’ll just say that this fun book provides many opportunities for language development as well learning beginning number concepts. The inclusion of diverse characters broadens its appeal. It’s a fun one to add to the collection. We can never have too many counting books.

About Multicultural Children’s Book Day

(Information supplied by MCBD)

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2023 (1/26/22) is in its 10th year! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those books into the hands of young readers and educators.

Ten years in, MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves continues. Read about our Mission & History HERE.

MCBD 2023 is honored to be Supported by these Medallion Sponsors!

FOUNDER’S CIRCLE: Mia Wenjen (Pragmaticmom) and Valarie Budayr’s (Audreypress.com)

🏅 Super Platinum Sponsor: Author Deedee Cummings and Make A Way Media

🏅 Platinum Sponsors: Language Lizard Bilingual Books in 50+ Languages 

🏅 Gold Sponsors: Interlink Books, Publisher Spotlight 

🏅 Silver Sponsors: Cardinal Rule Press,  Lee & Low, Barefoot Books, Kimberly Gordon Biddle

🏅 Bronze Sponsors: Vivian Kirkfield, Patrice McLaurin , Quarto Group, Carole P. Roman, Star Bright Books, Redfin.com, Redfin Canada, Bay Equity Home Loans, Rent.com, Title Forward

Poster Artist:  Lisa Wee

Classroom Kit Poster: Led Bradshaw

MCBD 2023 is honored to be Supported by these Author Sponsors!

Authors: Sivan Hong, Amanda Hsiung-Blodgett, Josh Funk , Stephanie M. Wildman, Gwen Jackson, Diana Huang, Afsaneh Moradian, Kathleen Burkinshaw, Eugenia Chu, Jacqueline Jules, Alejandra Domenzain, Gaia Cornwall, Ruth Spiro, Evelyn Sanchez-Toledo, Tonya Duncan Ellis, Kiyanda and Benjamin Young/Twin Powers Books, Kimberly Lee , Tameka Fryer Brown, Talia Aikens-Nuñez, Marcia Argueta Mickelson, Kerry O’Malley Cerra, Jennie Liu, Heather Murphy Capps, Diane Wilson, Sun Yung Shin, Shannon Gibney, John Coy, Irene Latham and Charles Waters, Maritza M Mejia, Lois Petren, J.C. Kato and J.C.², CultureGroove, Lindsey Rowe Parker, Red Comet Press, Shifa Saltagi Safadi, Nancy Tupper Ling, Deborah Acio, Asha Hagood, Priya Kumari, Chris Singleton, Padma Venkatraman, Teresa Robeson, Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, Martha Seif Simpson, Rochelle Melander, Alva Sachs, Moni Ritchie Hadley, Gea Meijering, Frances Díaz Evans, Michael Genhart, Angela H. Dale, Courtney Kelly, Queenbe Monyei, Jamia Wilson, Charnaie Gordon, Debbie Ridpath Ohi, Debbie Zapata, Jacquetta Nammar Feldman, Natasha Yim, Tracy T. Agnelli, Kitty Feld, Anna Maria DiDio, Ko Kim, Shachi Kaushik 

MCBD 2023 is Honored to be Supported by our CoHosts and Global CoHosts!

MCBD 2023 is Honored to be Supported by theseMedia Partners!

Check out MCBD’s Multicultural Books for Kids Pinterest Board!

📌 FREE RESOURCES from Multicultural Children’s Book Day

📌 Register for the MCBD Read Your World Virtual Party

Join us on Thursday, January 26, 2023, at 9 pm EST for the 10th annual Multicultural Children’s Book Day Read Your World Virtual Party!

This epically fun and fast-paced hour includes multicultural book discussions, addressing timely issues, diverse book recommendations, & reading ideas.

We will be giving away a 10-Book Bundle during the virtual party plus Bonus Prizes as well! *** US and Global participants welcome. **

Follow the hashtag #ReadYourWorld to join the conversation, and connect with like-minded parts, authors, publishers, educators, organizations, and librarians. We look forward to seeing you all on January 26, 2023, at our virtual party!}

Activities and professional development in 2023 at your fingertips! – #readilearn

Article by Gerard Alford, director of itc publications and thinkdrive.

With 2022 rapidly drawing to a close, it’s now time to start thinking about ideas for 2023.  Let’s explore some now!

Students love to participate in classroom decoration. Building on this, why not create a fish-themed classroom with aligned class activities. It will grow an appreciation for the majestic waterways, rich reefs and sea life that surrounds us.

You could also, on day one, set expectations by asking students: what sort of teacher would you like me to be this year? And then add the follow-up question: well, what type of student will you try to be?

Another great way to relate to students while also relaying important educational content is to focus lessons or classroom systems around the concept of sports and pastimes.

For example:

  • What are the chances? Students rate the chances of an outcome occurring using the terms, Will happen, Might happen, Certain. E.g., Next year, no one in our class will play a sport with a ball.
  • Systems of Communication – using umpire signals for a sport, what is the umpire communicating? E.g., Start of a game, high tackle, etc.
  • Sporty names: Using sporting team names to introduce or revisit the sounds and names of letters.

Inspired to incorporate some or all of the activities and concepts above? May I suggest the itc 2023 Early Years teachers’ diary, the itc innovative teachers’ companion. This diary has the usual planning and recording materials; however, it also contains an array of specialist K-2 lesson ideas and professional readings – including a full breakdown of the ideas touched on above!

There are also professional readings on:

  • Health and wellbeing tips
  • Phonics and word knowledge
  • Puppet play
  • Cooperative learning
  • And much more!

The activities have been assembled by a large team of writers, including Norah Colvin from readilearn, and the activities are referenced and aligned to the Australian curriculum and the Early Years Framework.

Continue reading: Activities and professional development in 2023 at your fingertips! – readilearn

Proper Pronouns at the Dawn of Humanity — Natural Selection by Jacqui Murray blog tour

Today it is my pleasure to introduce Jacqui Murray to the blog. Jacqui is a prolific writer and blogger and shares my passion for education. While my focus is the early years, Jacqui’s is tech. She’s my tech education guru.

Jacqui’s latest and eagerly awaited book, Natural Selection, is the third in the Dawn of Humanity trilogy. Having read others of Jacqui’s books in her prehistoric fiction saga, I was delighted to support the launch of this one, especially when she agreed to write a post with a connection to education, and even more so when it was as fascinating as this one. I hope you enjoy!

Over to Jacqui.

Why Early Man Didn’t Use Proper Nouns

When you read Natural Selection, you’ll notice quickly none of our earliest ancestors used proper nouns. Even their names come from sounds associated with them, not a relative or symbolic of something about the individual (like ‘Hope’). That’s because earliest man didn’t develop the capacity for symbolism until much later. That meant proper nouns–names–like “Lake Victoria” or “Mount Ngorongoro” (locations in East Africa where these early tribes lived) were meaningless labels. Instead, landmarks were identified by long hyphenated descriptions of where they are, what they look like, and how to find them. For example, the name of a tree that’s just fruited might be “leafy-tree-by boulder-bed-near-waterhole-by-Sun’s-sleeping-nest”.

More later on how early man remembered these long labels!

Consider this reasoning: A town near me is Mission Viejo. The name means nothing to those who haven’t visited. If I went in search of it, it wouldn’t be near a green mission. I’d have to find it on a map program. Early man didn’t have this so the label applied by those in the area would instead be directions on how to find it—“at-the-end-of-wide-animal-path”. Same with lakes, waterholes, fruit trees, hills, herds, or anything else in the area. You and I would have trouble remembering the long names, but primitive tribes had prodigious memories and easily remembered lots of details.  By providing such a thorough description, any tribe member could find the location even if they had never been there by simply following the designations provided.

This shocked early explorers, both that people considered dumb primitives had such good memories and that they could travel long distances without maps or compasses. The famous anthropologist Margaret Meade had the same epiphany when she lived with primitive tribes for extended periods of time to study them. Symbolic proper nouns were meaningless. In fact, they were confusing.

To put this in perspective: If you are hiking in the mountains or through the wilderness you have never visited before and want to guide someone to where you are, the proper noun name you made up (“Porter’s Creek”) does no good. Telling them to follow the waterway that cuts between the two hills and aims to the sun is much more helpful.

About Jacqui Murray

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular prehistoric fiction saga, Man vs. Nature which explores seminal events in man’s evolution one trilogy at a time. She is also author of the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers and Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. Her non-fiction includes over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, reviews as an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics.

About Natural Selection

In this conclusion to Lucy’s journey, she and her tribe leave their good home to rescue former-tribe members captured by the enemy. Lucy’s tribe includes a mix of species–a Canis, a Homotherium, and different iterations of early man. In this book, more join and some die, but that is the nature of prehistoric life, where survival depends on a combination of our developing intellect and our inexhaustible will to live. Each species brings unique skills to this task. Based on true events.

Set 1.8 million years ago in Africa, Lucy and her tribe struggle against the harsh reality of a world ruled by nature, where predators stalk them and a violent new species of man threatens to destroy their world. Only by changing can they prevail. If you ever wondered how earliest man survived but couldn’t get through the academic discussions, this book is for you. Prepare to see this violent and beautiful world in a way you never imagined.

A perfect book for fans of Jean Auel and the Gears!

Book trailer

Jacqui has generously shared the first chapter of Natural Selection to tantalize your tastebuds for prehistoric fiction. Thank you, Jacqui.

Enjoy!

Excerpt:

Chapter 1

One Pack Ends, Another Begins

Africa  

The Canis’ packmates were all dead, each crumpled in a smeared puddle of blood, Upright killing sticks embedded where they should never be. His body shook, but he remembered his training. The killers’ scent filled the air. If they saw him—heard him—they would come for him, too, and he must survive. He was the last of his pack.

He padded quietly through the bodies, paused at his mate, broken, eyes open, tongue out, pup under her chest, his head crushed. A moan slipped from his muzzle and spread around him. He swallowed what remained in his mouth. Without a pack, silence was his only protection. He knew to be quiet, but today, now, failed.

To his horror, a departing Upright looked back, face covered in Canis blood, meaty shreds dripping from his mouth, the body of a dead pup slung over his shoulder. The Canis sank into the brittle grass and froze. The Upright scanned the massacre, saw the Canis’ lifeless body, thought him dead like the rest of the decimated pack. Satisfied, he turned away and rushed after his departing tribe. The Canis waited until the Upright was out of sight before cautiously rising and backing away from the onslaught, eyes on the vanished predators in case they changed their minds.

And fell.

He had planned to descend into the gully behind him. Sun’s shadows were already covering it in darkness which would hide him for the night, but he had gauged his position wrong. Suddenly, earth disappeared beneath his huge paws. He tried to scrabble to solid ground, but his weight and size worked against him and he tumbled down the steep slope. The loose gravel made gripping impossible, but he dug his claws in anyway, whining once when his shoulder slammed into a rock, and again when his head bounced off a tree stump. Pain tore through his ear as flesh ripped, dangling in shreds as it slapped the ground. He kept his legs as close as possible to his body and head tucked, thankful this hill ended in a flat field, not a river.

Or a cliff.

When it finally leveled out, he scrambled to his paws, managed to ignore the white-hot spikes shrieking through his head as he spread his legs wide. Blood wafted across his muzzle. He didn’t realize it was his until the tart globs dripped down his face and plopped to the ground beneath his quaking chest. The injured animal odor, raw flesh and fresh blood, drew predators. In a pack, his mate would purge it by licking the wound. She would pronounce him Ragged-ear, the survivor.

Ragged-ear is a strong name. A good one.

He panted, tail sweeping side to side, and his indomitable spirit re-emerged.

I live.

But no one else in his pack did.

Except, maybe, the female called White-streak. She often traveled alone, even when told not to. If she was away during the raid, she may have escaped. He would find her. Together, they would start over.

Ragged-ear shook, dislodging the grit and twigs from his now-grungy fur. That done, he sniffed out White-streak’s odor, discovered she had also descended here. His injuries forced him to limp and blood dripping from his tattered ear obstructed his sight. He stumbled trying to leap over a crack and fell into the fissure. Fire shot through his shoulder, exploded up his neck and down his chest. Normally, that jump was easy. He clambered up its crumbling far wall, breaking several of his yellowed claws.

All of that he ignored because it didn’t matter to his goal.

Daylight came and went as he followed White-streak, out of a forest onto dry savannah that was nothing like his homeland.

Why did she go here?

He embraced the tenderness that pulsed throughout his usually-limber body. It kept him angry and that made him vicious. He picked his way across streams stepping carefully on smooth stones, their damp surfaces slippery from the recent heavy rain, ignoring whoever hammered with a sharp rock inside his head. His thinking was fuzzy, but he didn’t slow. Survival was more important than comfort, or rest.

Ragged-ear stopped abruptly, nose up, sniffing. What had alerted him? Chest pounding, breathing shallow, he studied the forest that blocked his path, seeking anything that shouldn’t be there.

But the throbbing in his head made him miss Megantereon.

Ragged-ear padded forward, slowly, toward the first tree, leaving only the lightest of trails, the voice of Mother in his head.

Yes, your fur color matches the dry stalks, but the grass sways when you move. That gives away your location so always pay attention.

His hackles stiffened and he snarled, out of instinct, not because he saw Megantereon. Its shadowy hiding place was too dark for Ragged-ear’s still-fuzzy thinking. The She-cat should have waited for Ragged-ear to come closer, but she was hungry, or eager, or some other reason, and sprang. Her distance gave the Canis time to back pedal, protecting his soft underbelly from her attack. Ragged-ear was expert at escaping, but his stomach spasmed and he lurched to a stop with a yowl of pain. Megantereon’s next leap would land her on Ragged-ear, but to the Canis’ surprise, the She-cat staggered to a stop, and then howled.

While she had been stalking Ragged-ear, a giant Snake had been stalking her. When she prepared her death leap, Snake dropped to her back and began to wrap itself around her chest. With massive coils the size of Megantereon’s leg, trying to squirm away did no good.

Ragged-ear tried to run, but his legs buckled. Megantereon didn’t care because she now fought a rival that always won. The She-cat’s wails grew softer and then silent. Ragged-ear tasted her death as he dragged himself into a hole at the base of an old tree, as far as possible from scavengers who would be drawn to the feast.

He awoke with Sun’s light, tried to stand, but his legs again folded. Ragged-ear remained in the hole, eyes closed, curled around himself to protect his vulnerable stomach, his tail tickling his nose, comforting.

He survived the Upright’s assault because they deemed him dead. He would not allow them to be right.

Sun came and went. Ragged-ear consumed anything he could find, even eggs, offal, and long-dead carcasses his pack normally avoided. His legs improved until he could chase rats, fat round ground birds, and moles, a welcome addition to his diet. Sometimes, he vomited what he ate and swallowed it again. The day came he once again set out after what remained of his pack, his pace more sluggish than prior to the attack, but quick enough for safety.

Ragged-ear picked up the female’s scent again and tracked her to another den. He slept there for the night and repeated his hunt the next day and the next. When he couldn’t find her trace, instinct drove him and memories of the dying howls of his pack, from the adults who trusted their Alpha Ragged-ear to protect them to the whelps who didn’t understand the presence of evil in their bright world.

Everywhere he traveled, when he crossed paths with an Upright, it was their final battle.

Find out more about Jacqui or connect with her on Social Media

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Jacqui-Murray/e/B002E78CQQ/

Blog:                           https://worddreams.wordpress.com

Instagram:                   https://www.instagram.com/jacquimurraywriter/

Pinterest:                    http://pinterest.com/askatechteacher

Twitter:                       http://twitter.com/worddreams

Website:                     https://jacquimurray.net

Purchase information

Title and author: Natural Selection by Jacqui Murray

Series: Book 3 in the Dawn of Humanity series

Genre: Prehistoric fiction

Editor: Anneli Purchase

Available print or digital at: http://a-fwd.com/asin=B0B9KPM5BW

I hope you enjoyed finding out more about Jacqui and her latest book.

Thank you blog post

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

Say ‘thank you’ to a teacher on World Teachers’ Day 2022 – #readilearn

Although World Teachers’ Day is held internationally on 5 October, because that date often falls during our school holidays, here in Queensland we celebrate it on the last Friday in October — today!

I think every day is a great day for celebrating teachers and thanking them for the work they do. They are some of the hardest working people I know and sadly, often are abused rather than thanked. Many teachers are suffering burnout and leaving the profession due to lack of support. Some of these teachers are the most dedicated and caring people you would meet and often go beyond to provide wonderful opportunities for their students.

So, teachers, in celebration of you, wherever you are, in this post I am reminding you how amazing you are by sharing some of my favourite videos about teachers and teaching. Each one lets you know that the job you do is incredible, that you do make a difference to your children’s lives and that your relationship with them is vital. I’d love to know which is your favourite.

Enjoy!

Continue reading: Say ‘thank you’ to a teacher on World Teachers’ Day 2022 – readilearn

#BeBraveMakeChange in National Reconciliation Week 2022 – #readilearn

Today, Friday 27 May is the first day of National Reconciliation Week which runs until 3 June. The theme this year is ‘Be Brave. Make Change.’

As expressed on the Reconciliation Australia website, the theme ‘is a challenge to all Australians— individuals, families, communities, organisations and government—to Be Brave and tackle the unfinished business of reconciliation so we can Make Change for the benefit of all Australians.’

It ‘is 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.’

The dates are chosen to commemorate two events:

On 27 May 1967, more than 90% of Australians voted ‘Yes’ in a referendum to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people would be recognised in the Census.

On 3 June 1992, the Australian High Court delivered the Mabo decision which recognised the incorrectness of the term ‘terra nullius’ (land belonging to no one). This decision led to the legal recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land and paved the way for recognition of Native Title.

The day before Reconciliation Week, 26 May, is National Sorry Day which remembers and honours the Stolen Generations.

The website lists actions we can all take to make a change toward reconciliation.

The basis of many of these actions is education. It begins with us, teaching our children to honour and respect the cultures of our First Nations, to learn the truth of our history, and to implement actions for change.

I rarely mention politics in my posts, but with our recent change in government, I was very proud to be an Australian when the incoming Prime Minister Anthony Albanese acknowledged our First Nations peoples in both the introduction and content of his victory speech. These are the words with which he opened his speech:

“I begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we meet. I pay my respects to their elders past, present and emerging. And on behalf of the Australian Labor Party, I commit to the Uluru Statement from the heart in full.”

And these are the words which he used further in:

“And together we can embrace the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

“We can answer its patient, gracious call for a voice enshrined in our constitution. Because all of us ought to be proud that amongst our great multicultural society we count the oldest living continuous culture in the world.”

In further recognition, in his first press conference as Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese hung the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flags alongside the Australian flag in the media room at Parliament House. These statements give me hope for the recognition that our First Nations deserve and is long overdue.

In this post, I share some wonderful books by our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander authors and illustrators. This is only a small selection of the growing number available. Magabala Books is a great resource to check out as it publishes only books by First Nations authors and illustrators. Other publishers also have a collection of titles, so it is worth checking out others too. I will be adding these titles to the list already available in readilearn resources Indigenous Australian picture books and resources. A previous post Resources for teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Culture has links to many other useful resources also.

Books for Reconciliation

Common Wealth by Gregg Dreise

Published by Scholastic in 2021

Dreise is the author of many wonderful picture books. I first came upon his delightful stories in books such as Kookoo Kookaburra and Mad Magpie which introduce children to the stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Common Wealth is different. It is a book that challenges us to acknowledge our true history and to ‘break down the barriers of division … by discussing without ammunition, a willingness to listen … to a true common wealth vision.’

The book may not be as suitable for sharing with our younger children, but it makes valuable reading for us anyway as it can empower us in our knowledge and discussions. The half-title page informs us that this book is ‘A Slam Poetry Persuasive — A picture book for older readers. Contains some confronting imagery.’

Dreise opens the book with the words, ‘All that I’m wishing, is that you take a moment to listen …You see, I’m on a mission, to spread unity — not division.’ He takes us on a journey through our national anthem and our history, pointing out the parts that are incorrect and what we need to do to make them more inclusive and true. His illustrations pull no punches and the text added to the illustrations add to the depth of the story and its message. There is much to contemplate and discuss. It may be challenging but it is also empowering and I, for one, can’t help myself wishing for change along with Gregg.

Finding Our Heart by Thomas Mayor, illustrated by Blak Douglas

Published by Hardie Grant 2020

Thomas Mayor was involved in the writing of the Uluru Statement of the Heart. His book for adults titled Finding the Heart of the Nation: The Journey of the Uluru Statement Towards Voice, Treaty and Truth talks about the writing of the statement and reports discussions with many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people whom Mayor met with as he took the Statement on a journey around Australia. It is a very valuable read for adults.

Continue reading: #BeBraveMakeChange in National Reconciliation Week 2022 – readilearn

Learning about Sustainability by Reducing Food Waste – #readilearn

This post is a little different from my usual post in that I am not sharing teaching resources for the first three years of school. Instead, I am sharing information about a food rescue organisation and a sustainability program for Years 5 and 6. While I don’t usually share resources for older classes, I thought this may be useful information to have and to share with your colleagues who teach upper primary classes.

OzHarvest

OzHarvest is an Australian food rescue organisation founded in 2004 by Ronni Kahn. I’m embarrassed to say that I wasn’t aware of it until I read Kahn’s book A Repurposed Life in 2020 and was blown away by her dedication to helping feed people in need by saving surplus food from going to landfill. (A Repurposed Life is a fascinating and inspiring memoir, and I am happy to recommend it.)

After reading her book, I began noticing bins for accepting donations of food in the local shopping centres. I was surprised that I’d never seen them before and wondered how many times I’d walked past them, oblivious.

A quote from the website explains the OzHarvest mission:

“We are committed to halving food waste by 2030, inspiring and influencing others to do the same, and transforming lives through education.”

You can read more about the OzHarvest story and Ronni Kahn on the website here.

This video gives a very brief introduction to Ronni.

Feast

What I really wanted to share with you, though, is the OzHarvest education program called Feast with the goal of ‘Inspiring kids to eat healthy, waste less and be change-makers in their local community.’

As I said earlier, the program is for Years 5 and 6. According to the website, it is a STEM project-based learning program that runs for 7-10 weeks. The program focuses on food and fibre and the cross-curriculum priority of Sustainability.

This video gives a quick introduction to the program.

Continue reading: Learning about Sustainability by Reducing Food Waste – Readilearn

Welcome to our new Children’s Laureate – #readilearn

This week the Australian Children’s Laureate Foundation announced our new Children’s Laureate for 2022-2023, Gabrielle Wang.

Gabrielle Wang is an Australian author and illustrator and our seventh Children’s Laureate. She was born in Melbourne of Chinese heritage. Her father is from Shanghai. Her maternal great grandfather came to Victoria during the Gold Rush.

Gabrielle has been an author for 21 years and has had 20 books published. She mainly writes for 8-12 year olds, but has written for older and younger children too. Her stories are a blend of Chinese and Western culture with a touch of fantasy.

You can find out more about Gabrielle on her own or the Australian Children’s Laureate’s website where Gabrielle has her own page.

Be inspired by Gabrielle’s journey in a video that can be viewed following this link.

The theme for Gabrielle’s term as Children’s Laureate is ‘Imagine a Story’.

She says,

“Your imagination is your most treasured possession and I want to encourage all children to use their imaginations regularly by reading, drawing and writing stories.”

What a wonderful theme.

In her two year ‘Follow the Dragon’ tour of Australia, visiting and conducting workshops in schools, galleries and libraries, Gabrielle has four key messages for children, parents and librarians:

Continue reading: Welcome to our new Children’s Laureate – readilearn

Lessons to teach 3-digit numbers – #readilearn

The recent audit of readilearn resources for teaching number showed that, while there were many lessons for teaching understanding of number and place value to 100, lessons for teaching numbers above 100 were scant. This is somewhat understandable as confidence with numbers relies upon a firm foundation in understanding the basics of our decimal system. However, it was a situation I needed to remedy.

Last week I added 1000 Pancakes to the collection, a lesson to help children visualise 1000 objects by counting in 1s to 10, 10s to 100 and 100s to 1000.

This week, I added Let’s Count Pancakes — 3-digit numbers, a lesson that helps children recognise and represent 3-digit numbers and understand the value of each numeral in its place. The interactive lesson ready to teach on the interactive whiteboard consists of ten different slides ready to discuss with the children.

On each slide, children count the pancakes and write the number of hundreds, tens and ones they count.

Continue reading: Lessons to teach 3-digit numbers – readilearn

Anxiety — First Day Jitters #99WordStories

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes anxiety. Who has anxiety or what is the source? Is there conflict? How can you use anxiety to further a story? Go where the prompt leads!

Anxiety is probably familiar to most of us at some stage of our lives — starting a new job, public speaking, waiting for a medical diagnosis. We all feel it in lesser or greater degrees. Even children feel it. It’s not uncommon for children to feel some anxiety when starting a new school. But children aren’t the only ones. Parents may feel some anxiety about how their children will fare. It may or may not surprise you, that teachers feel it too. Having spent most of my life in schools as either student or teacher, where else could I go with this prompt?

First Day Jitters

“I feel sick.”

“My tummy feels all jumbly.”

“My head hurts.”

“I don’t want to go.”

“You’ll be okay once you’re there. Everyone feels the same on their first day at a new school.’

“But what if they don’t like me?”

“They will. Come on. You’ll feel better when you’re up.”

“But what if I mess up?”

“You won’t. Close your eyes. Take some deep breaths. Relax. You can do this.”

Everyone was already seated when he entered the room. They smiled. “Good morning, Mr Clarke.”

He smiled back. “Good morning, children.”

She was right. He could do this.

Thank you blog post

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

Note: The collection of stories made in response to the previous prompt The ’49ers can be read at the Carrot Ranch here.