Category Archives: Teaching resources

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

maths lessons and activities for 5 - 7 year-olds

Maths Lessons and Activities for 5–7 year olds – #readilearn

Maths is fun in the early childhood classroom as we count, measure and problem solve our way through the day. With the International Day of Mathematics coming up soon on 14 March, there’s no better time to think about ways of incorporating a little more maths into the daily program. While there are some suggestions on the International Day of Mathematics website, most of them are more suited to older children.

Here at readilearn we have over 100 mathematics lessons and activities ready to support your teaching and children’s learning. Many of the resources are digital lessons ready for you to teach on the interactive whiteboard. Some are printable activities to follow up and extend children’s learning, while others provide instructions and explanations for mathematical explorations.

Plan a party to celebrate

There’s nothing like a party to instigate some mathematical thinking.

If you decide to have a party to celebrate the day, you could start ahead with the interactive problem solving story Little Koala’s Party. In the story, children help Little Koala work out the number of guests as well as food and other items required for the party. They can use the same strategies to plan a party of their own. Other resources, like invitation notepaper and a paper hat template, help to extend the learning across curriculum areas.

While you might ask children to bring food from home to share at the party, following recipes together at school involves children in using mathematics in real and purposeful ways. They may need to count, and measure quantities as well as time. Recipes can be found in the Cooking section.

Continue reading: Maths Lessons and Activities for 5–7 year olds – readilearn

February days to celebrate in the classroom

A Handful of February Celebrations – #readilearn

February is packed full of days to celebrate. The next few days are no exception. Here at readilearn, we support your celebrations with suggestions and lessons ready to teach.

Chinese New Year

Today 12 February is celebrated around the world as Chinese New Year. While the New Year celebrations may continue for up to sixteen days, today is the main day and it ushers in the Year of the Ox. Chinese New Year is a time for families to be, and celebrate, together.

Chinese New Year classroom resources

These resources are always free:

Let’s read about Chinese New Year

Celebrating Chinese New Year in the early childhood classroom

Happy Chinese New Year bookmarks

Other dates include Valentines’ Day, Library Lovers’ Day and Book Giving Day.

Continue reading: A Handful of February Celebrations – readilearn

stickers and stars - how effective are rewards - Alfie Kohn

Stickers and Stars — How Effective are Rewards? – #readilearn

Don’t you love it when you find someone who not only shares your ideas but extends them in ways that challenge and make sense at the same time? I do.

I was recently introduced (in the virtual world) to educator Alfie Kohn. First, I listened to his book Punished by Rewards and am now listening to Unconditional Parenting. The bonus with both books is that Kohn narrates them, so the ideas come across exactly as he intended, and it sounds like he is presenting rather than reading. These books are great for both parents and teachers as well as others in any form of managerial role. I wish I’d had the opportunity of reading Kohn’s work before I became a teacher or a parent for the joy it would have given me in sharing and affirming ideas.

If you are a teacher or parent who questions the real value of offering children stars or stickers in the hope of motivating them or of grading the work they turn in, you will find much of interest in Kohn’s work.  You could begin by exploring his website or dive straight into his articles and books as I did.

Here is an interview he did on Oprah in 2013 about his book Punished by Rewards. It includes some interesting perspectives from teachers and parents with whom you may or may not agree.

Continue reading: Stickers and Stars — How Effective are Rewards? – readilearn

learning about gender pronounds on Multicultural Children's Book Day

Learning about Gender Pronouns on Multicultural Children’s Book Day #ReadYourWorld – #readilearn

Today, the last Friday in January, is Multicultural Children’s Book Day. I am delighted to participate once again by spreading the word about Multicultural children’s books.

In this post I review the picture book Jamie and Bubbie, recently published by Free Spirit Publishing and gifted to me to review.

About Jamie and Bubbie

Jamie and Bubbie, A Book about People’s Pronouns was written by Afsaneh Moradian and illustrated by Maria Bogade. In a gentle way, it introduces children and adults to the appropriate use of pronouns when another’s gender is unknown.

Jamie loves his great grandmother Bubbie and, when she comes for a visit they go for a walk around the neighbourhood. On the way, they meet some friends and strangers. In her references to or about the people, Bubbie often uses an inappropriate pronoun. Jamie gently explains why the pronoun is inappropriate and what she could use instead.

What I like about this book

Jamie and Bubbie is a book for our times, and a necessary one. It not only educates us adults about the appropriate use of people’s pronouns, it helps us explain them to children in simple language and easy-to-understand ways. I like Jamie’s gentle and tactful approach, and also that it is the child who does the explaining to great grandma in the book.

However, even more than that, I like the notes for teachers, parents and caregivers in the back of the book. The notes explain the importance of using the names and pronouns that individuals choose to use about themselves. They include suggestions for finding out those pronouns and what to use if you don’t know them. Advice for discussing pronouns with children is also provided as are suggested sources of further information.

I think the information provided in this book is important for all of us to know.

About Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Multicultural Children's Book Day
Used courtesy of Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Continue reading: Learning about Gender Pronouns on Multicultural Children’s Book Day #ReadYourWorld – readilearn