Category Archives: Teaching resources

Getting ready for Christmas with Lessons and Activities for P-2 – #readilearn

As the countdown to the end of the school year and the Christmas holidays gets underway, here at readilearn, we ensure that learning continues when the Christmas fun begins.

Who celebrates Christmas?

Do you know which children in your class celebrate Christmas with their families? Conduct a survey to find out. While you may already know, the survey can be an interesting way to begin discussions of different cultural traditions celebrated by children in your class.

These discussions should always be respectful and inclusive. It is essential for children, and all of us, to see that what we have in common is more important than any differences.

How many school days until Christmas?

This calendar helps to count down the last fifteen days of term and provides an opportunity for children to present information about their family’s traditions. The Countdown Calendar can be used to countdown to Christmas or, for inclusivity, to the holidays.

Inclusive friendship trees

Build self-esteem and confidence as well as friendship skills with Friendship trees. They are easy to make and are a great way to ensure the children keep thinking friendly thoughts about each other.

Children make their own friendship tree and, every day, they write anonymous positive messages of friendship and affirmation to place in each other’s trees. At the end of the term, children take their trees home to read and enjoy over the holidays.

A template for the trees, examples of friendship messages, and editable message strips for distribution to the children are also available.

Another fun way to encourage the children to work together on a joint project of which they can be proud is to create a 3D classroom tree display. While children are proud of their individual contribution, they recognise the importance of everyone working together. The tree becomes a visible reminder of the importance of team work. It can be the focus of a beautiful classroom display.

Christmas Activity Book

The Christmas Activity Book has 30-pages and 22 different activities, and is perfect for use at home or in the classroom.

It 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.

Advent Activity Calendar

The December Advent Activity Calendar 2022 suggests an activity a day for each December day in the lead up to Christmas. Twenty-four easy, fun activities for children and families.

Literacy

Continue reading: Getting ready for Christmas with Lessons and Activities for P-2 – readilearn

Ideas for Celebrating World Nursery Rhyme Week 2022 – #readilearn

Next week, from 14th – 18th November, is World Nursery Rhyme Week. Why not celebrate by revisiting some of the children’s (and your) favourite nursey rhymes. Children in our F – 2 classrooms can explore language features and use them as a springboard for writing, recitation, and role play. Children in older classrooms may like to investigate their (often dark) origins and history.

The aim of World Nursery Rhyme Week is to promote the importance of nursery rhymes in early education. The five official nursery rhymes for this year’s celebration are:

The Big Ship Sails

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Once I Caught a Fish Alive

Five Little Speckled Frogs

B.I.N.G.O.

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.

However, you are welcome to use any nursery rhymes you like, and here at readilearn we have some resources to assist your teaching.

readilearn nursery rhyme resources

Humpty Dumpty

Teach literacy skills and develop creative thinking and imagination with Humpty Dumpty.

The Humpty Dumpty suite of resources includes:

The Accident — Humpty Dumpty’s Fall is an original story that innovates on the nursery rhyme by providing a scenario that might lead to Humpty’s falling from the wall. It is a digital estory which can be displayed and read on the interactive whiteboard. It can be read as a story on its own or as part of the writing unit Humpty Dumpty — a story in five sittings. (Note: if you wish to implement the writing unit, do so before reading the story.)

Humpty Dumpty — a story in five sittings is a series of five lessons in writing based upon the nursery rhyme. Each lesson provides opportunities for children to think creatively and imaginatively and to write using a basic narrative structure. It presupposes children already have an idea of sentence structure and some experience writing stories of their own.

Of course, before attempting to read or write an alternative, it is important that children are familiar with the nursery rhyme. We have that covered too, with a printable copy of the nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty to download.

Continue reading: Ideas for Celebrating World Nursery Rhyme Week 2022 – readilearn

It’s a Kind of Magic – Teacher notes – #readilearn

I’m delighted to tell you that It’s a Kind of Magic, Stories and Spells by Second-Rate Sorcerers is now available for purchase. The anthology is a collection of over 35 stories and poems written by authors young and old, emerging and established.

The book launch last Saturday was a lot of fun with story and poetry readings from the book. Authors, poets, children and their parents came in costume to set the mood for the festivities.

After listening to the readings, children did craft activities before trick-or-treating around the shopping centre where they received treats from all the stores whose participation had been organised by the launch host, The Mad Hatters Bookshop. What amazing collaboration to make the day so special for all involved.

It was a great morning and I thank The Mad Hatters Bookshop, Michelle Worthington (publisher and editor of the book and international award-winning author) and Kayt Duncan (author and story teller extraordinaire) for their hard work in making the event such a success. What an amazing team.

It’s a Kind of Magic, Stories and Spells by Second-Rate Sorcerers is available from Amazon and the Book Depository. You might even find it in a local bookstore, like The Mad Hatters Bookshop where the launch was held on Saturday. Proceeds from sales of the book support the charity Children’s Rights Queensland.

If you missed the launch, many of the stories may be viewed on the Storytime with Anthology Angels YouTube channel. If you wish to find out additional information about the writers, many of them have their own websites and are active on social media.

I have written some teacher notes for the book, which I hope you will find useful. You can read them here or download a free PDF copy here.

It is easy to find opportunities for using the book when teaching the English Curriculum as reading aloud by the teacher and opportunities for children to read independently are an essential part of each school day. The stories and poems are short and can be incorporated in the program or turned to when a diversion is needed to settle the class or when there a few minutes wait-time between lessons and activities.

I’ve listed the stories and poems under the following headings so that you can easily find a story or poem that features particular characters, settings, events, themes or language features you are teaching.

Poems and Rhyming Stories

Annie the Wonder Witch by Deborah Huff-Horwood, page 68

Continue reading: It’s a Kind of Magic – Teacher notes – Readilearn

Halloween-themed Lessons for K–2 Classrooms – #readilearn

In just a little over a week, children will be celebrating Halloween. They are already planning Halloween parties and costumes, and shops are filled with Halloween decorations and merchandise. If you choose to join in the fun in the classroom, I’m here to tell you that learning can be combined with that fun. All readilearn resources are designed to encourage learning. They are not just time-filling worksheets.

readilearn Halloween resources

All readilearn Halloween-themed resources can be found via the Halloween tab in the Cultural Studies collection. Here are some favourites:

Trick or Treat — a game for Halloween

Trick or Treat is a printable game for two or more players of all ages. It is suitable for use in maths and literacy groups, with buddies or in family groups. It combines reading, mathematics, activity, and loads of fun and laughter.

The zip folder contains everything needed to play the game (just add a dice) and includes follow-up activities that can be used to extend the learning.

Find out more about the game here.

How Many Treats?

How Many Treats? is an interactive Halloween-themed addition lesson for use on the interactive whiteboard. The lesson provides practice with numbers up to ten, and involves children in counting, adding and writing number sentences.

A follow-up worksheet for independent practice can be accessed from within the resource.

Who Has More?

Who Has More? is an interactive Halloween-themed lesson in comparing numbers to ten.

The lesson provides practice in the following number concepts:

  • estimation
  • subitisation
  • counting
  • comparison
  • using the terms ‘more’ and ‘less’
  • addition
  • subtraction

A follow-up worksheet for independent practice can be accessed from within the resource.

Continue reading: Halloween-themed Lessons for K–2 Classrooms – readilearn

Thinking Tools – facilitating deeper discussion in the Early Years – #readilearn

Article by Gerard Alford, Director of itc publications and thinkdrive and collaborator on readilearn.

As announced last week, I am delighted to introduce Gerard Alford and the first of his series of guest posts for readilearn.

Gerard is a very experienced and respected education consultant, author and education resource developer. He is passionate in promoting high-order thinking and cooperative learning through engaging and effective evidence-based teaching methods. His teaching resources inspire and support busy teachers in creating engaging pedagogy and time-saving strategies to encourage successful student outcomes. 

The worth of using thinking tools is well documented; they provide a clear pathway for students to complete a given task, provide students the means to organise their research and thoughts in a systematic way, and provide teachers with a clear insight into their student’s thinking.

That said, can thinking tools also be used to facilitate deeper discussion in the Early Years? I believe so, and here’s an example in action.

Your students have just read two texts: Humpty Dumpty and Little Miss Muffet, and you now have asked them to compare these texts.

Exactly what they compare (similarities and differences) will depend on the Year level; however, at a minimum, students will be comparing the events and the characters in the texts while also sharing their feelings and thoughts (as per ACELT1783).

Continue reading: Thinking Tools – facilitating deeper discussion in the Early Years – readilearn

Teaching thinking in the early years with itc thinkdrive – #readilearn

Today I am pleased to announce a new collaboration with itc thinkdrive. While we have been working in partnership since 2019, starting from next week, Gerard Alford, Director of itc thinkdrive, will contribute an occasional guest post to the readilearn blog.

While we are all aware of the importance of teaching critical and creative thinking and of providing opportunities for cooperative learning in the classroom, that teaching can sometimes be overpowered by the demands of content to be taught, tests to be administered, timetables to be followed, and ever-increasing standards to be achieved.  However, help is close at hand with the wonderful resources on thinkdrive, and Gerard will be able to show you just how easy it is in his guest posts.

About Gerard Alford

Gerard is a very experienced and respected education consultant, author and education resource developer. He is passionate in promoting high-order thinking and cooperative learning through engaging and effective evidence-based teaching methods. His teaching resources inspire and support busy teachers in creating engaging pedagogy and time-saving strategies to encourage successful student outcomes. (For a more complete bio, click here.)

Needless to say, I am enormously excited that we will have the additional benefit of his expertise right here.

About thinkdrive

Although I told you about thinkdrive in the post Teaching critical and creative thinking and cooperative learning in the classroom, it was a while ago. So, before I published Gerard’s first guest post, I wanted to remind you about thinkdrive and recommend you take a look, if you haven’t already.

thinkdrive is an online resource for teachers with a focus on critical and creative thinking and cooperative learning. It is a collection of thousands of downloadable worksheets and templates that are designed to support your teaching of these important skills and save you hours of preparation time.

With its focus on cognitive verbs and ways of thinking about things, thinkdrive differs from many other resources available for teachers. The strategies and thinking tools are clearly explained with examples and video demonstrations that make it easy for you to implement or adjust to suit your own lessons. The tools can be applied to any content you are teaching and embedded in your lesson planning.

Each of the 60 cognitive verbs; for example, compare, contrast, calculate, explain, describe, is matched to appropriate thinking tools. The use of each thinking tool is explained with examples, templates or sentence starters.  With more than thirty thinking tools in the kit, there are plenty to choose from; including, KWHL Charts. T-Charts, Y-Charts, Concept Maps, Flow Charts, and Bubble Maps. Most of the thinking tools are used effectively by students in small groups or pairs, though some can involve whole class thinking and discussion.

Other resources from itc publications

In addition to the online resource thinkdrive, itc publications have a range of other resources to support your teaching. You can find the full list of products here.

One of my favourites, that I wouldn’t be without, is the innovative teacher’s companion Early Years edition (F–2), also known as the Early Years Diary. It is available for all year levels.

This video gives you a great overview of just how useful it is.

Continue reading: Teaching thinking in the early years with itc thinkdrive – readilearn

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