Category Archives: Teaching resources

Looking at Glass for National Science Week 13 – 21 August – #readilearn

The theme for National Science Week, which runs from 13 – 21 August this year, is Glass: more than meets the eye.

The theme supports the UN International Year of Glass and links to the Chemical sciences curriculum looking at materials, their properties, uses and the ways they can be changed as well as technology and sustainability.

Glass was chosen for an International Year to celebrate its essential role in society.

The National Science Week website has a lot of information for schools, including a free downloadable book of resources produced by the Australian Science Teachers Association. The book contains First Nations activities with links to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures Cross-curriculum priority, and has five different activities for Foundation to Year 2 classrooms:

  • Sugar glass decorations
  • Explore with a magnifying glass
  • Turn a window into a mirror
  • Make a kaleidoscope
  • Glass at home

These activities bring fun and meaning to the science curriculum and encourage children to ask their own questions for further investigations.

You can even put in your postcodes to discover what events are being held near you.

Properties and uses of glass

There is a great video about glass available on YouTube at this link: https://youtu.be/A6ZEaWvlz6k?t=255

Although the video may be too long and at too high a level to show our F – 2 children, it is useful for reminding ourselves of the many amazing properties and uses of glass. There are speeches at the beginning and end of the video which you may wish to listen to. However, I have set the link to begin where the information about glass begins (about 4.15). The information ends at about 22 minutes.

Twelve facts about glass

Continue reading: Looking at Glass for National Science Week 13 – 21 August – Readilearn

Chocolate Anyone? – #readilearn

Next Thursday 7 July is World Chocolate Day. If you ever needed an excuse to indulge in a little chocolate, this could be it. If you follow the link, you will find out some fun facts about the history of chocolate that begins more than 2 000 years ago.

If only we were allowed a little chocolate in the classroom, there are so many wonderful learning opportunities it could provide, for example:

Counting — how many chocolates all together?

Subtraction — how many left if I eat x?

Sharing (children can make equal shares, teachers can have the remainders 😉)

Multiplication — blocks of chocolate are great for arrays (columns and rows of)

Data — surveys who likes/does not like chocolate, what is the class’s favourite chocolate?

Measurement — how many chocolate bars tall are you? how many blocks balance one chocolate bar?

Chemical science — mixing, adding and removing heat, how chocolate is made, following recipes to make chocolate cake and chocolate crackles (just for starters).

Biological science — the cacao plant, where it grows, how it grows, and what it needs.

Of course, while all of these are possible, my suggestions are a bit tongue-in-cheek. However, we do have some absolutely acceptable ideas for incorporating chocolate into your program on World Chocolate Day.

I’m sure you’ve all heard of Michael Rosen. Going on a Bear Hunt is probably one of his better known books, but he is a fabulous poet and storyteller, and his website is rich with material for teachers and children. If you’ve never checked it out, I suggest you do.

On of my favourite stories, that children really love too, is Chocolate Cake. I wrote about it in the post Storytelling with author Michael Rosen.

It’s really fun, so I’ll share it again here.

Source: Chocolate Anyone? – readilearn

What’s an apostrophe for? – #readilearn

It’s not uncommon to see apostrophes used incorrectly, even in professional writing. But apostrophes don’t have to be difficult. They really have just two uses — for contractions and to show possession. Apostrophes aren’t confusing or tricky when the rules are understood.

To support your teaching of this punctuation mark and to encourage writers to get their writing right, I have produced an interactive resource that explains, demonstrates and provides practice in its correct use. It is called Apostrophes Please!

About Apostrophes Please!

Apostrophes Please! is an interactive resource, ready for use on the interactive whiteboard. It consists of enough material for a series of lessons teaching the correct use of apostrophes in both contractions and possessive nouns.

Like other readilearn resources, Apostrophes Please! recognises the value of teacher input and the importance of teacher-student discussion. It is not designed for children to use independently. It relies simply on effective teaching.

The resource provides flexibility for the teacher to choose activities which are relevant to student needs and teaching focus. All lessons and activities encourage explanation, stimulate discussion and provide opportunities for children to practise, explain and demonstrate what they have learned. There are nineteen interactive slides and over thirty slides in all.

Organisation of Apostrophes Please!

Contractions and possessive nouns are introduced separately.

Apostrophes Please! Contractions menu
Apostrophes Please Possession menu

Both sections include three subsections, each consisting of a number of slides:

  • Learn — explanatory teaching slides introduce how apostrophes are used
  • Practice — interactive activities provide opportunities for teachers and students to discuss, demonstrate and explain how apostrophes are used
  • Check — a review of the use of apostrophes provides additional opportunities for practice, discussion and explanation to consolidate learning.

Continue reading: What’s an apostrophe for? – readilearn

Supporting an ‘I can’ attitude with The Clever Children – #readilearn

Fostering self-esteem, a willingness to have a go and an ‘I can’ attitude was always important to me as both a teacher and a parent. These are important aspects of any supportive environment, whether in the home, in the classroom or in the workplace. I have written many posts and made many resources to help you develop a supportive classroom environment. In this post, I feature just one — a story you can personalise for your own class.

The Clever Children is a story about a kingdom in which a mean witch has put a spell on all the people, causing them to be confused and to forget everything they once knew. The king, who has heard about a class of very clever children (your class) asks for their help in teaching his subjects what they need to know. Every child suggests something they are good at and writes and draws a picture of them doing it on a page for inclusion in the book. When the children have taught their skill, the king throws a great party in the castle to celebrate and, of course, the children are invited.

The story not only helps develop an ‘I can do it’ growth mindset, but it helps develop friendship skills too. It was one of the first uploaded to the collection and includes a diversity of children and abilities gorgeously illustrated by Kari Rocha Jones.

The story is available in two formats.

It is an estory, ready to be displayed and read on the interactive whiteboard.

It is also a booklet that can be downloaded and printed, ready to be completed with pages written by your own children.

While both these formats are available to purchase independently, if you purchase the estory, the printable version is included.

Also included with purchase of the estory:

Continue reading: Supporting an ‘I can’ attitude with The Clever Children – readilearn

#Don’t Choose Extinction — International Mother Earth Day 2022 – #readilearn

The United Nations International Mother Earth Day 2022 is today 22 April.

The day is a call to action. Mother Earth herself is calling us to action because nature is suffering.

While I’m sure you don’t need any reminders, the signs of that suffering include:

  • pollution
  • extreme heat
  • fires
  • floods
  • drought
  • storms
  • the pandemic
  • vulnerability and extinction of fauna and flora

Humans contribute to the suffering through pollution, deforestation and changes in land-use.

We are all called to take individual, as well as collective, action. As stated on the website:

‘The healthier our ecosystems are, the healthier the planet – and its people. Restoring our damaged ecosystems will help to end poverty, combat climate change and prevent mass extinction. But we will only succeed if everyone plays a part.’

Frankie has an urgent message for all of us.

He tells us there are no excuses and lists 19 of those most often expressed. Perhaps you’ve heard some of them. He tells us how to end the excuses with information and action.

“I’m already doing as much as I can.”

“We’ll lose too many jobs if we phase out fossil fuels.”

“I’m just one person, I can’t make a difference.”

“We need fossil fuels for our economy.”

“I won’t see the effects of climate change in my lifetime.”

Continue reading: #Don’t Choose Extinction — International Mother Earth Day 2022 – readilearn

Writing Poetry with Children – #readilearn

With this month being National Poetry Month in the US and 17 April being International Haiku Day,  I thought it was timely to share some of our poetry resources. Here in Australia, we celebrate poetry month in August, but I don’t think we need wait until then. We can celebrate again in August or make every month poetry month. No month should go by without enjoying some poetry anyway.

Poetry is a great introduction to the rhythms and sounds of our language. Children are introduced to it from a young age through nursery rhymes and picture books. Some of children’s favourite picture books are those that read like poems with rhythm, rhyme and repetition. The books of Dr Seuss and Julia Donaldson come immediately to mind. But, of course, there are many others too.

When they enter school, children love listening to poetry and experimenting with writing poems of their own. Here at readilearn we have some resources to help you help them get started on their poetry writing journey. All poetry resources are found in their own section of the literacy collection.

Writing poetry

Writing Haiku with Children — This collection includes five haiku poems for reading and five stimulus photos for writing. It can be used to introduce children to the structure of haiku poetry and to encourage them to write haiku poems of their own. The resource includes information about the structure of haiku poetry as well as teaching suggestions.

If You Were an Animal — poem and teaching notes — The teacher notes accompanying this poem provide suggestions for both English and Science.

English teaching suggestions include:

  • Rhyming words
  • Questions and statements
  • Opposites
  • Writing
  • Recitation and performance

Science teaching suggestions include:

  • Features of living things
  • Needs of living things
  • Habitats of living things

Write your own “I love” poem — This resource encourages children to write their own poems by innovating on the traditional camping song ‘I love the Mountains’. Great for even beginning writers.

Continue reading: Writing Poetry with Children – #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

What the world needs now — friendship skills – #readilearn

Here in Australia, today 18 March is the National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence.  Next Monday 21 March sees another three events, all celebrating friendship: Harmony Day , the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and World Down Syndrome Day.

While none of these events have ‘friendship’ in their title, that to me is what it all comes down to: acceptance, kindness and friendship. It is sad to see how difficult it can be to attain on a personal, local, national and international level. We must all do what we can to make the world a happier place through inclusion and respect.

Here at readilearn, friendship skills have always been a focus. We have over twenty resources to support the teaching of friendship skills. They can all be found under the heading ‘Friendship Skills’ in the resources for Character Development.

These are just a few of the readilearn friendship skills lessons and resources:

Busy Bees ABC of friendship is an alphabet of words that can be used to stimulate discussion about what a friend is and what friends do.Each letter has a word and accompanying explanatory statement on its own chart. The entire alphabet is also available on one printable chart. It could be used for a bingo-type card on which children colour the box for each letter as they do something appropriate to the word.

Be friends not bullies provides suggestions for teaching children friendship skills. It teaches them to identify the differences between friendly and unfriendly behaviour, to recognise bullying and to provide strategies for dealing with bullying that they may encounter personally or as an onlooker.

The resource includes:

  • a story stimulus with suggestions for presentation and discussion
  • follow up activities
  • games to play
  • a poster to print

Topics for discussion include:

Continue reading: What the world needs now — friendship skills – Readilearn

Let’s count 1000 pancakes for Pancake Day! – #readilearn

Next week sees us here in Australia bid farewell to summer and welcome in the cooler (we — or I — hope) days of Autumn. Next Tuesday is not only 1 March, but also Pancake Day, which means it’s only six weeks until Easter and, for many of us, school holidays.

When I completed the recent audit of readilearn lessons in teaching number by mapping them to the Australian Curriculum, I realised that we were missing lessons in numbers over one hundred. As children in Year Two learn about numbers up to one thousand, I realised there was a gap to fill. I started by making a lesson called 1000 Pancakes.

I chose pancakes for three reasons:

  1. Pancake Day is next week. However, the lesson can be used at any time of the year; it makes no reference to Pancake Day.
  2. Pancakes are popular with children as well as adults.
  3. Pancakes in stacks are easy to visualise.

The lesson 1000 Pancakes gives children the opportunity to visualise 1000 pancakes by comparing the quantity to 10 and 100. It is a lesson ready-to-teach on the interactive whiteboard, a readilearn readilesson.

In the lesson, children count pancakes

  • in 1s to 10
  • in 10s to 100
  • and in 100s to 1000.

One thousand is a lot of pancakes.

Continue reading: Let’s count 1000 pancakes for Pancake Day! – readilearn

There’s Something Fishy Going On – #readilearn

Since this year is the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture, I thought I’d begin with a post about fish. Learning about fish is relevant to the biological sciences curriculum when we explore living things, their features, where they live, what they need and how they grow.

I decided to jot down some of my questions and write answers to them. We all know what fish are, right? There’s nothing difficult about describing a fish. But when I really started to think about what I know about fish, I realised I had more questions than answers and that explaining what a fish is, isn’t as easy as I thought.

These are some of the questions raised when I thought about fish. Perhaps you have others. If so, please list them in the comments so I can research the answers. Note: While I know answers to some of my questions, as I’m sure you do too, I’m not sharing answers in this post as I have more research to do. The answers will have to wait for another time.

25 Fishy questions

  • What is a fish?
  • How do fish swim?
  • Where do fish live?
  • How do fish breathe under water?

Continue reading: There’s Something Fishy Going On – readilearn