Category Archives: Teaching resources

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

Promoting Care of Our Environment in June – #readilearn

Every day is a good day for caring for our environment and for ensuring that the next generation accept their role in doing so with enthusiasm. However, in June, some days provide an opportunity for participating in an international movement focusing on the environment:

5 June World Environment Day

8 June World Oceans Day

22 June World Rainforest Day

Although Queensland Day on 6 June is not specifically about the environment, I’ve included it as it’s a celebration of my home state.

5 June World Environment Day

The theme of this year’s World Environment Day is “Reimagine. Recreate. Restore” focusing on ecosystem restoration.

You can find out more about how to be involved on the website and download a free Ecosystem Restoration Playbook here.

There are numerous readilearn resources about minibeasts and other animals such as turtles and alpacas to support learning about the environment and biodiversity. These can all be found in the science biology resources.

The teaching ideas for the International Year of Plant Health also support learning about the environment.

8 June World Oceans Day

World Oceans Day is a day for celebrating, protecting and conserving the world’s oceans. ‘The purpose of the Day is to inform the public of the impact of human actions on the ocean, develop a worldwide movement of citizens for the ocean, and mobilize and unite the world’s population on a project for the sustainable management of the world’s oceans.’

The theme for 2021 is ‘One Ocean, One Climate, One Future — Together”.

Here at readilearn we have many turtle-themed resources which are suitable for celebrating World Oceans Day, including:

Continue reading: Promoting Care of Our Environment in June – Readilearn

Let’s Get Buzzing for World Bee Day – #readilearn

World Bee Day will be celebrated next week on 20 May.  The purpose of World Bee Day is to celebrate these wonderful pollinators upon whom we are so dependent, and not just for their delicious honey. Without bees, there’d be a lot less, and many fewer varieties of, food for us to eat.

Note: As for all videos, I recommend you watch them first to ascertain suitability before sharing them with your class.

The World Bee Day website contains useful advice and many resources to assist your involvement in the day, including a fun waggle dance challenge you and your children will enjoy.

Continue reading: Let’s Get Buzzing for World Bee Day – readilearn

Innovating on the nursery rhyme Row, Row, Row Your Boat – #readilearn

Innovating on familiar nursery rhymes and songs is an easy and fun way to encourage children to think creatively, to develop their writing skills and extend their vocabularies. There are many ways in which Row, Row, Row Your Boat can be used for these purposes. In this post, I share just some of them.

Rhyming words

stream/dream

What other words rhyme with stream and dream? List them.

beam, cream, gleam, meme, ream, seem, team

row

What other words rhyme with row? List them.

bow, blow, crow, dough, flow, go, hoe, Joe, know, low, mow, so, slow, show, tow, though, woe

Synonyms and alternatives

Substitute synonyms or other words to sing or write new versions.

Continue reading: Innovating on the nursery rhyme Row, Row, Row Your Boat – readilearn

The Importance of Daydreaming and Imagination — a Guest Post by #Josh Langley – #readilearn

Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Australian author and illustrator Josh Langley who advocates for children’s mental health, including developing their self-esteem, friendship skills and creativity through his books and online course. These topics are close to my heart and regularly appear in our readilearn posts and feature in our teaching resources.

With next Wednesday 21 April being World Creativity and Innovation Day, I thought now was the perfect time to share with you Josh’s recent post Why It’s More Important Than Ever to Let Kids Daydream.

First let me tell you a little about Josh.

About Josh:

Josh is author of the award winning ‘Being You is Enough’ books series for kids and promotes positive mental and emotional health messages for kids through his books, presentations, primary school talks, videos, charity work and courses, like ‘Here I am!’.

Josh says,

After suffering childhood trauma, I feel driven to make sure kids don’t ever have to feel like I did. That’s why I want to give them the emotional and mental skills to be resilient to what is thrown at them and the inner knowing that they are ok the way they are. And the only way I can do that is in my own fun and unique way! Thankfully parents and kids love it.”

About Josh’s Books

Continue reading: The Importance of Daydreaming and Imagination — a Guest Post by #Josh Langley – readilearn

Having fun with Haiku Poetry in the Classroom – #readilearn

Next Saturday 17 April is Haiku Poetry Day. Why not prepare for the day, by reading and writing haiku during the week leading up to it, or for those of us in Australia still on school holidays, celebrate the week after. Of course, any time is good for reading and writing haiku — no excuse is needed.

What is Haiku?

Haiku is a short poem of only three lines with a very structured form. There only 17 syllables in the entire poem:

five on the first line 

seven syllables come next

and five on the third 

The purpose of the haiku is to capture a brief moment in time. Traditionally, it is written about the seasons but can be used to write poems on any topic. Haiku poetry often concludes with a feeling or observation. Sometimes the feeling is not explicit but is left for the reader to interpret.

What is a syllable?

Before you begin to teach your children to write haiku, they need to know what a syllable is. Whether you are teaching or revising syllables, readilearn has some resources to support you, including:

Continue reading: Having fun with Haiku Poetry in the Classroom – readilearn

multicultural children's picture books

Picture it in Books – Our Multicultural World – #readilearn

One of the things that brings most joy to our world, that inspires imagination and sparks creativity, is variety. The richness of our multicultural world is to be celebrated and the current recognition of the need for diverse picture books in which children from every culture and family background can find themselves is long overdue. The collection, though still small, is growing.

Multicultural Children’s Book Day (MCBD) is an organisation that has been promoting multicultural children’s books for the past nine years. Founded by Valarie Budayr from Audrey Press Books and Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom in 2012, MCBD has a mission ‘To raise awareness for children’s books that celebrate diversity by getting more of these books into classrooms and libraries. This non-profit also strives to shine the spotlight on the diverse books and authors that often get overlooked by mainstream publishing and media.’

On the last Friday of January each year, Multicultural Children’s Book Day is celebrated with reviews, promotions and other events. I have been delighted to join in the celebration of multicultural books by sharing reviews for the past three MCBDays.

I participated for the first time in 2019 with a review of I am Farmer by Baptiste and Miranda Paul with illustrations by Elizabeth Zunon.

I Am Farmer is the story of Tantoh Nforba, an environmental hero in the central African nation of Cameroon. Tantoh was bullied as a child and nicknamed ‘Farmer’ for his interest in plants, the earth and nature. He now bears the name ‘Farmer’ proudly as he improves the lives of people in his own community, and others, by improving access to clean water and establishing productive gardening practices.

In 2020, I reviewed two books: The Secrets Hidden Beneath the Palm Tree written by Angeliki Stamatopoulou-Pederson and illustrated by Tety Swlou, and Ribbon’s Traveling Castle by Elizabeth Godley with illustrations by Paige M. Leyh.

The Secrets Hidden Beneath the Palm Tree is about Jacob who hears with the assistance of hearing aids. Jacob tells his friends how the aids help him hear better, just as glasses help people see better. He explains what they (the children) can do to help him hear and understand them better. As children’s understanding grows, so does their friendship.

Ribbon’s Traveling Castle is the story of a girl called Ribbon whose father was uncomfortable with the constantly changing world. He hitched their castle to a truck to take her somewhere happier. On their travels, Ribbon meets a cast of characters, all of whom are scared of changed. She invites them into her castle where they learn to accept change and find that life can still be fun.

This year, I once again had the pleasure of reviewing two books:

Continue reading: Picture it in Books – Our Multicultural World – readilearn

Easter lessons and activities for the first three years of school

Easter lessons and activities for the first three years of school – #readilearn

With Easter just a few weeks away, I thought I’d remind you of the readilearn Easter-themed lessons and activities suitable for use with 5-7 year-old children, at school or at home. The Easter collection can be found in Cultural Studies here.

Easter in the classroom — some thoughts

When considering whether to include Easter activities in the classroom, it is important to realise that Easter may not be celebrated by all children and, even if it is, the importance and focus of the celebration may differ from family to family.

If you have already investigated Family traditions and celebrations, you will know which children celebrate Easter and which do not.

If you haven’t, you could use the Yes/No survey, Do you celebrate Easter? to find out.

For children who don’t celebrate Easter, be sensitive to the expectations their families may have for their participation. Depending on the number, you may choose to avoid Easter activities or use the time to investigate other festivals celebrated by your families. However, unless you are in a religious school, most Easter activities will focus on eggs and bunnies or bilbies rather than religion, as do our readilearn resources. If you are in a religious school, then parents were aware of the focus when enrolling their children.

The lessons and activities mentioned in this post assume you have decided to include Easter in your program and are focusing on the secular celebration. While many of the Easter traditions focus on the new birth of spring, in the Southern Hemisphere, Easter occurs in autumn. Our readilearn Easter resources avoid focusing on the seasons for this reason.

How families celebrate Easter

The way of celebrating Easter will vary from family to family. Some go away for the weekend. Some stay at home. Some are visited by a bunny, some by a bilby. Some put out carrots for the bunny, some put out baskets for the bunny to put eggs in, some search for eggs in an Easter egg hunt.

It is always interesting to hear about different ways of celebrating so it is useful to begin with some discussion and writing.

Talking and Writing

Recounts and personal experiences

Continue reading: Easter lessons and activities for the first three years of school – readilearn