Category Archives: Teaching resources

And so, to begin — another school year – #readilearn

The beginning of a school year is usually filled with anticipation and expectations: new books, new stationery, new friends, new activities, new things to learn. The excitement may be tinged with a little anxiety: will they like me? will I like them? will I be able to do what’s expected of me? what will I do if (insert any likely or unlikely event) occurs? These questions are shared by students and teachers alike.

In addition to all the usual anxieties, with the beginning of this school year occurring at the peak of the Omicron outbreak, many more questions are raised: will school begin as usual? will it be delayed? will lessons be online or face-to-face? will teachers and students’ health be affected and impact attendance? how safe will we/I be if everyone is not vaccinated?

While I am unable to give you any answers about the impact of coronavirus on the school year, I know that whether you are teaching online or in the classroom, or a combination of both, readilearn resources will help reduce your workload with lessons that are ready to teach and activities that can be done at school or at home. The resources now number over 500 and all are for use by teachers with children in the first three years of school. You know when you come to readilearn, you don’t have to wade through lessons for other year levels as well.

Interactive Lessons

Over 100 of the lessons in literacy, maths, science and HASS are ready for you to teach on the interactive whiteboard. They can be used in the classroom or delivered to students if teaching online using screen-sharing as I explain in this video.

Days to Celebrate

When planning the school year, in addition to the ongoing curriculum program, it is good to have some special days and events to celebrate.

A Year of Days and Events to Celebrate in the Classroom lists suggestions for celebrations throughout the year.

A list for each individual months includes more information about each date and provides teaching suggestions and lesson ideas. Each of these documents is available to download free in the Days and Events/Calendars section of Classroom Management resources.

Continue reading: And so, to begin — another school year – readilearn

Getting Ready for the 2022 School Year – #readilearn

Welcome to the first post for 2022. Although, globally, we are all still confronted with the ‘inconveniences’ caused by the pandemic, I hope you will find much joy and many successes to celebrate throughout the year.

This year has been designated as:

  • International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture
  • International Year of Glass
  • International Year of Sustainable Mountain Development
  • International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development

all of which have relevance to our classroom programs and the Sustainable Development Goals. While I give but a brief introduction to each in this post, I hope to bring you additional lessons and teaching ideas throughout the year.

Continue reading: Getting Ready for the 2022 School Year – readilearn

An Activity a Day Keeps the Boredom at Bay – #readilearn

This article was written for and first published at the Carrot Ranch Literary Community as part of a series supporting parents with children learning at home. Although it is now the 3rd of December, you will still be able to complete most of the activities, especially since many of you will be on holidays and entertaining your own children during December. Enjoy!

With the timing of this post on the last day of November, I have prepared a December Advent Activity Calendar for families (parents and children) to use in the lead-up to Christmas. There is one suggestion for each day until Christmas. In this article, I provide a brief outline of each activity. For those who want more, I have prepared a PDF with additional details for each activity which you can download free by following this link.

  1. Put up the Christmas Tree

It is traditional for Christmas trees to be put up and decorated at the beginning of December. In my family, we try to do it on, or as close to, the 1st of December. If you haven’t put your tree up yet, perhaps it’s time to think about it.

I have provided the outline of a Christmas tree which can be cut, coloured and hung on the real Christmas tree. Write the year on it. On the back, write something you wish for yourself, something you wish for others, and something you wish for the world. Hang it on the Christmas tree. If you do the same thing each year, you can reflect on changes in yourself and in the world.

  1. Make Paper Chain Decorations

Paper chains are easy to make and add colour to the tree or can be hung around the room.

  1. Make a Gift Day

Continue reading: An Activity a Day Keeps the Boredom at Bay – readilearn

A New Activity Book Just in Time for Christmas – #readilearn

In this post, I am sharing information about a new Christmas Activity Book I have recently complied and uploaded to the readilearn collection. It is a 30-page booklet with 20 different activities and is perfect for 5 ̶ 7 year-old children to use at home or in the classroom.

The book includes:

  • games to play alone
  • games to play with others
  • literacy activities
  • maths activities
  • word puzzles
  • number puzzles
  • logic puzzles
  • poems to write
  • and much more.

Some of the activities are already available as separate items in the readilearn collection, but not available together. More than half the activities are new. I decided to put them together in one book for ease of printing and distributing. You still have the option to print pages separately if you prefer, but you have access to all 20 activities in one document.

Continue reading: A New Activity Book Just in Time for Christmas – readilearn

Linking Science and Literacy with Picture Books – #readilearn

Last month, I was invited by the Science Teachers Association of Queensland (STAQ) to present a talk about using picture books in science lessons as part of their Growing Science webinars in the lead up to Science Week. What a great opportunity — picture books and science. What’s to not like? Picture books are one of the best ways I know of turning young children onto two of my favourite things — reading and learning.

You can find out more about the webinar series and access recordings and free resources on the STAQ website here.

Below is a brief version of the article I wrote as the basis of my presentation.

You can access the entire article in the zip folder Using Picture Books in Science Lessons, which also includes other handouts I provided to support my talk.

You can listen to the talk via this link or watch it below.

Linking science and literacy

Language is as important to the science curriculum as it is to the English curriculum. Science is another context in which language is used and must be learned.

In this article I’m going to show you some ways of including picture books in your science lessons.

Many of the skills required by science are also literacy skills; skills such as:

 

Continue reading: Linking Science and Literacy with Picture Books – readilearn

Cake in the Pan #flashfiction

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about the cooking show. It can be any cooking show, real or imagined. Who is there? What happens? Make it fun or follow a disaster. Go where the prompt leads!

This is my response. I hope you like it.

Cake in the Pan

Deidre laughed, sang and clapped on cue at her first-ever real live Christmas pantomime, until … the clowns prepared the cake. Deidre knew how to make cakes — she’d made them with her mum. The clowns obviously didn’t — tipping more flour over each other than into the pan, splashing the milk, and cracking in eggs, shells and all. The audience roared as the clowns placed a lid on the pan, shook it vigorously, then tipped out a magnificent cake. When offered a slice, Deidre folded her arms and clamped her lips. A cake made like that could never taste good.

👩‍🍳

This story is inspired by a true event. However, the only thing I remember is being horrified at the way the clowns put everything into the pan, including the egg shells, and turned out a cake. In writing, I tried to get back to what an expanded memory may have included. I hope it has worked.

The thought of being horrified at everything going into the pan in which the cake is to be cooked is now quite funny, as I know there are quite a few recipes made that way; including one of my favourites to make with children. If I was to ever be in a cooking show, this is what I’d make. And there’s not even an egg in sight.

Moon Cake

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups plain flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

4 tablespoons cocoa powder

5 tablespoons butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon bi-carbonate of soda (baking soda)

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 cup milk

2/3 cup miniature marshmallows

Utensils

A cake pan

A cup measure

A mixing spoon

A tablespoon

A teaspoon

Method

1.         Preheat the oven to 180° (350⁰F, Gas mark #4)

2.         Put the flour, sugars, salt and cocoa in the cake pan. Mix them carefully. You will have the light brown moon sand.

3.         Use the mixing spoon to make a big crater in the middle so the bottom of the pan shows through. Make another medium-sized crater and a little crater.

4.         Put the baking soda in the medium-sized crater.

5.         Pour the melted butter into the big crater.

6.         Pour the vanilla into the little crater.

7.         Pour the vinegar onto the bi-carb soda in the medium-sized crater. Watch it become a bubbling, foaming volcano.

8.         When the volcano stops foaming, pour the milk over the moon sand and carefully mix it all together until it looks like smooth moon mud.

9.         Scatter marshmallow rocks over the surface.

10.       Bake it for around 35 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the centre comes out dry. Let the cake cool in the pan.

This recipe is available in different formats on my website readilearn and there are also some suggestions for science discussions while making the cake.

Enjoy a slice!

Thank you blog post

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

Happy 5th Birthday, readilearn! – #readilearn

Today. Tuesday 24 August 2021, is readilearn’s fifth birthday. Thank you for joining our journey.

A birthday gift for you

To help us celebrate, we have a readilearn birthday gift for you.

For the next ten days, until Friday 3 September 2021, two of our birthday resources are available to you, absolutely free.

Happy Birthday — an interactive resource to personalise (usually $2)

The Birthday Bundle includes 8 birthday-themed printable resources in one easy-to-download bundle (usually $2.50, or $8.50 if purchased individually)

These resources include:

Continue reading: Happy 5th Birthday, readilearn! – readilearn

Fruit, Vegetables and Food for Thought — Science Week – #readilearn

Next week, from 14 – 22 August, is National Science Week in Australia. The theme for this year is Food: Different by Design which fits perfectly with this year being the International Year of Fruit and Vegetables.

Focus on fruits and Vegetables

Here is a wonderful video promoting fruits and vegetables for the International Year.

The video is fun to watch and makes my mouth water with all the bright and colourful photographs of delicious fruits and vegetables. If you watch the video with your students, it may lead to many and varied follow-up discussions and activities. Here are just a few suggestions.

Discussions

What fruits and vegetables can you name?

Which of them are fruits and which are vegetables?

What is the difference between fruit and vegetables?

Which of these fruits and vegetables have you tried?

Which is/are your favourites?

Is your favourite included in the video?

What is your favourite way to eat these fruits and vegetables?

Activities

Extend vocabulary — make a list describing the fruits and vegetables and what children like about them; for example: sweet, juicy, crunchy, soft, ripe, nutritious, delicious, raw, cooked, bitter, exotic.

Have children draw or write about their favourite fruit or vegetable treat.

Set up a fruit and vegetable market in the classroom using laminated children’s drawings or images cut from magazines; plastic, wooden or paper mache fruit and vegetables, and use it for a variety of activities including sorting and shopping.

Food

Make a fruit salad or fruit kebabs. Invite every child to contribute a piece of fruit. Share it for brain break or morning tea.

Make vegetable soup. Invite children to contribute a vegetable. Serve it with bread or savoury scones, which you could also make, for lunch.

These readilearn resources provide suggestions for other lunch ideas that are easily prepared at school.

How to make a healthy smiley face sandwich is a procedural text with step-by-step instructions that are easy enough for children to follow on their own with the supervision of an adult in a small group. The activity is suitable for use in literacy groups. It could be incorporated into a unit focusing on healthy eating.

Continue reading: Fruit, Vegetables and Food for Thought — Science Week – readilearn

Cultivating friendships on the International Day of Friendship – #readilearn

Next Friday 30 July is the International Day of Friendship. One of the aims of the International Day of Friendship is to foster a culture of peace through education. It is “based on the recognition of the relevance and importance of friendship as a noble and valuable sentiment in the lives of human beings around the world”.

Some children find it easy to make friends. Others may find it a little more difficult. While some of us enjoy time on our own, there’s no denying that days are often brighter with friends. This is especially true of children at school. Without a friend to play with, children can feel left out and alone. They may feel they don’t belong and begin to think ‘What’s wrong with me?’ Having a friend or two can influence how they feel about attending school and impact the whole school experience.

The establishment of a welcoming and supportive classroom in which all children have a sense of belonging is essential and underpins a great year of learning and teaching for all involved. Part of that classroom is the social dynamics and friendship groups. They don’t always form naturally and, especially when some friendship groups are already established, newcomers may have difficulty being accepted when they try to fit in.

Here at readilearn, we have a variety of lessons, activities and teaching resources to assist the teaching of friendship skills in your classroom. They can all be found in the Friendship Skills collection in the section Character Development.

Getting to know each other

Getting to know you surveys are a great way for teachers and children to get to know each other at the beginning of the year, and support the establishment of a welcoming, supportive environment in which individuals are respected and appreciated. Topics to survey are limited only by your imagination. With the incidental development of literacy and mathematical skills, they make an all-round great introduction to school.

Me and my friends Children interview their friends to find out ways in which they are similar and how they differ from each other

As children get to know each other, they come to realise that they have some characteristics in common and some that differ. Those characteristics do not make them better or worse. They make them who they are.

Me and My Buddy is a great activity for your children’s first session with their buddy class.

Children interview their buddies to find out more about them and discuss ways in which they and their buddies are similar and different.

A community of friends

Continue reading: Cultivating friendships on the International Day of Friendship – Readilearn

Lessons for teaching the letters and their most common sounds – #readilearn

This week, I am delighted to tell you that I have finished making and have uploaded a lesson for each letter of the alphabet ready to teach on the interactive whiteboard. I had hoped to have them finished by the end of June, but I don’t feel too bad that it took me until 4 July — not too far over my goal.

Each letter is introduced in its own lesson with its most common sound, as is the expectation of most English curricula and phonics programs. This includes 20 consonants and the short sound for each of the 5 vowels (a, e, i, o and u). The letter ‘x’ is the exception. Its most common sound is ‘ks’ as heard in ‘box’, so that is how it is introduced.

The lessons are available individually and can be used in any order.

They are titled, for example Let’s learn about initial j and can be found in the Literacy/phonics collection.

Each lesson follows the same format.

The letter and ten words are presented aurally as well as visually with images as an additional aid to memory.

Continue reading: Lessons for teaching the letters and their most common sounds – readilearn