Category Archives: Teaching resources

special days and events for classroom celebrations - October

Special Days and Events for Classroom Celebrations — October – #readilearn

Another month down. While I’m not wishing time away (I think most of us would always like more of that), I’m hoping that, as we step into this last quarter of 2020, we are stepping closer to a world free of restrictions, lockdowns and Covid-19. I’m sure you are all with me on that.

October begins in a wonderful way with World Smile Day on the first Friday in October — this year, 2 October. The day is a great reminder to spread smiles and share kindness with others. One of the best ways to spread smiles is by having an open heart and being friendly towards others.

Here at readilearn, we have many resources you can use to teach your children friendship skills and encourage them to get along with each other. Resources include:

Busy Bees ABC of friendship

Friendship superpower posters

Continue reading: Special Days and Events for Classroom Celebrations — October – readilearn

learning about minibeasts at home or at school

Learning about minibeasts at home or at school – #readilearn

Whether learning at home or at school, there is a world of minibeasts for children to explore, inside and outdoors. Regardless of our feelings towards certain species, all are important to our environment and contribute to our lives in different and often unseen ways including pollinating our plants, decomposing waste and providing food for other species. It is fair to say that we need minibeasts more than they need us.

Learning about living things is an important part of the science curriculum for children in their first few years of school. They learn about the features of living things, their needs and their life stages. Studying minibeasts allows for learning in all these areas in a small space over a short amount of time.

At readilearn, we support your teaching and children’s learning about minibeasts with a constantly growing collection of resources. In fact, three new resources were uploaded this week.

Observe and record

An interesting project is to use a magnifying glass to discover the different species of minibeasts that live in and around our classrooms and homes. Much can be learned through observing their behaviour.

The Code for caring explains how to observe while maintaining safety for self as well as the minibeasts.

My Minibeast Diary provides a format and suggestions for recording children’s observations.

Continue reading: Learning about minibeasts at home or at school – readilearn

special days and events for classroom celebrations in September

Special Days and Events for Classroom Celebrations — September – #readilearn

September has almost arrived, bringing spring to the Southern Hemisphere. I always enjoy spring when the world seems to brighten, and gardens fill with flowers, insects, birds and other small creatures. The days are pleasantly warm and don’t yet have the stinging heat of summer.

I hope wherever you are and whatever season you are in, you enjoy it too and that you find this list of September days and events useful.

Before we get into September days though, I want to share with you the sad news that Sir Ken Robinson passed away on Saturday 21 August after a brief battle with cancer.

Sir Ken has been an education hero of mine, and of millions of others around the world, since first hearing his TED Talk Do Schools Kill Creativity? Recorded in 2006, it is the most popular TED Talk of all time. This tribute in The Washington Post written by Valerie Strauss provides an overview of his career and impact on educational thinking.

To honour this great man, I again share his influential video on schools and creativity. It can never be shared or viewed too often.

He may be gone, but never forgotten, and greatly missed. Thank you for your contribution to making this world a better place, Sir Ken Robinson.

Now onto the September days.

Continue reading: Special Days and Events for Classroom Celebrations — September – readilearn

Getting creative with Karen Hendricks and her book Go Away Foxy Foxy

Getting Creative with Karen Hendriks and her book Go Away, Foxy Foxy – #readilearn

In this special Books on Wednesday post, I am delighted to introduce you to Karen Hendricks and her lovely new picture book Go Away Foxy Foxy.

 In this post, written by Karen, she explains how creativity is explored in the picture book and suggests conversations you can have with children to encourage their creativity. The post is part of a Books on Tour promotion.

About Go Away, Foxy Foxy

© Karen Hendriks

Go Away, Foxy Foxy is a delightful story of three little bunnies who decide to sleep out in a tree house one night. Outside in the dark, Foxy Foxy prowls. He’d like nothing better than to make a feast of those little bunnies. The bunnies show different levels of fear and bravery and use their intelligence, without having to resort to using the Mummy bell, to scare the fox away.

Children will easily identify with the different emotions displayed and will be encouraged to discuss different ways they may respond to the situation and solve the problem.

About Karen Hendriks

Continue reading: Getting Creative with Karen Hendriks and her book Go Away, Foxy Foxy – readilearn

Combat Boredom with Board Games – #readilearn

Note: This article was first written for and published at the Carrot Ranch Literary Community as part of a series supporting parents with children learning at home. The benefits of playing board games are the same whether played at home or at school. If you have older children or adults available to support children while they play, board games are an excellent activity for learning in groups across many areas of the curriculum.

One of the best ways to have fun while learning, or to learn while having fun, is by playing board games. Playing games together as a family helps to bond family relationships. Adjustments can be made to suit most numbers and ages and rules can be adapted to suit your purposes. While the main thing is to have fun together, there is a lot of learning going on too.

Social Skills

  • One of the greatest benefits of playing board games is the development of social skills.
  • Some of the social skills children learn include:
  • Getting along and taking turns
  • Playing fair — accept the roll (if dice are used) or draw (if cards are used) for example, and respond accordingly: don’t try to pretend it

Continue reading: Combat Boredom with Board Games – readilearn

educate for peace through teaching friendship skills

Educate for peace through teaching friendship skills – #readilearn

The UN International Day of Friendship on 30 July promotes friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals in order to inspire peace and build bridges between communities.

Education has an important role in fostering friendships at a grassroots level that can transform communities both small and large. We begin by developing respect, understanding and empathy among students in our classrooms and schools and reaching out to others in our local, national and international communities.

The basis for developing friendships in the classroom is the establishment of a supportive classroom environment in which everyone is welcomed and respected. It means that we, as a class, teachers and children, get to know each other and learn to appreciate our similarities and value our differences.

Establish a supportive classroom environment

I have suggested strategies for establishing a supportive classroom environment in previous posts, including:

Establishing a supportive classroom environment from day one

Starting out right — classroom organisation

Preparing the classroom for a successful school year

The posts link to resources to support your work in setting up a welcoming classroom.

Continue reading: Educate for peace through teaching friendship skills – readilearn

develop ethical thinking, empathy, social and emotional intelligence

Developing ethical thinking, empathy and emotional intelligence with Ginnie and Pinney – #readilearn

Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Penny Harris who is launching the first two titles in the Ginnie and Pinney Learn and Grow series of books and videos for young children. The series of eight books encourages the development of ethical thinking, empathy and emotional intelligence. The first two books are Ginnie & Pinney; ‘3, 2, 1 and Here I Come’ and ‘Pinney the Winner’. This interview is part of a Books on Tour promotion. You can find a list of other blogs in the promotion at the end of the post.

About the author Penny Harris

Penny Harris is a multi-national and international award-winning animator, author and multi-media developer. She has worked with the Australian Children’s Television Foundation, Film Victoria as well as a number of Australian universities and institutions.

About the Illustrator Winnie Zhou

Winnie Zhou has a Masters of Multimedia Design from Monash University and is a talented illustrator and multimedia developer. Winnie lives in Melbourne and has worked closely with Penny to develop the series.

About the series Ginnie and Pinney Learn and Grow

The series consists of 8 story books, animated videos, teacher resources and finger puppets; aligns with Australian Early Years Learning Framework; and is consistent with social and emotional learning.

The stories feature Ginnie & Pinney and their friends. Their daily social interactions, concerns and decisions pose dilemmas that model positive self-identity and behaviours: selflessness, persistence, sharing, fairness, inclusiveness, responsibility, accepting difference and learning to say sorry.

The videos, accessed from QR codes supplied on the back of each book, are perfect for display on an interactive whiteboard in the classroom or used on any other digital device at home or at school.

Open-ended questions included at the back of each book can be used to stimulate deep discussion and encourage social and emotional learning.

The series was selected by the Finnish Educational Org.HundrEd, as one of a hundred of the most innovative educational programs for 2020 and was also selected by the Victorian Dept. of Education and Training as a recommended resource for 2020 for their School Readiness Funding program.

The books

Continue reading: Developing ethical thinking, empathy and emotional intelligence with Ginnie and Pinney – readilearn

reasources for teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures

Resources for teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures – #readilearn

NAIDOC Week celebrations, which would normally take place in early July, have been postponed until November this year due to Covid-19. However, that is no reason to cancel sharing Indigenous stories and lessons with your class. After all, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures is one of the cross-curriculum priorities in the Australian Curriculum and is an important part of our national heritage. While some may not feel confident teaching Indigenous perspectives, the only way to become more confident is by being informed.

In this post I share some websites and resources that you may find useful in preparing lessons and some organisations whose goals of improving the education and future success of our Indigenous students you may wish to support.

Raising culturally aware kids

In this article, How to Raise Culturally Aware Kids written for ABC Life, Samantha Turnbull introduces us to Kirby Barker a Bandjalang worman and early childhood teacher from northern New South Wales. Kirby teaches her preschoolers to counter racism with kindness. The article shares Kirby’s advice on how to present information to young children including words that can be used to explain the history. She discusses

  • the need to celebrate difference
  • ways of explaining traditional owners and inviting them into the classroom
  • how to talk about reconciliation with children
  • the importance of sharing stories
  • learning Indigenous languages
  • developing empathy.

While only a brief article, you will glean many ideas from Kirby Barker which, though easily implemented, will have a profound effect.

Indigenous Literacy Foundation

The aim of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation is to raise literacy levels by supplying books to remote communities.

Continue reading: Resources for teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures – readilearn

special days and events for classroom celebrations - July

Special Days and Events for Classroom Celebrations — July – #readilearn

As we step into the second half of 2020, I hope you continue to stay well and happy. So many changes occurred during the first half of the year and life has not yet returned, if it ever will, to how it once was. In some areas where change is required, that’s perhaps a good thing, but many of us mourn the freedoms and security we once enjoyed.

In this post, I list some days and events you may wish to celebrate with your children, whether at home or at school, hopeful that some may inspire you and renew your resolve to work towards a better future.

International Plastic Bag Free Day on 3 July is a great way to start the month focusing on the environment and making small steps towards a positive future. The aim of the day is to increase awareness of the harmful effects of plastic waste upon the environment, especially the marine environment, and encourage everyone to reduce their use of plastics.

Some things to think about and discuss:

  • More than 500 billion plastic bags are used around the world each year, about one million every minute.
  • Each plastic bag is used on average for less than half an hour.
  • Plastic bags remain in the environment for up to 500 years. Plastic pollution doesn’t just affect those of us alive today. It affects generations for hundreds of years to come.

If we can all reduce our use of plastics, especially single-use plastics, it will have a positive impact upon Earth’s future and the future of all its inhabitants, including plants, animals and humans.

What can you do?

Continue reading: Special Days and Events for Classroom Celebrations — July – readilearn

how to encourage young scientists

How to encourage young scientists — insights by Jane Goodall – #readilearn

In this post, I am sharing a video by Jane Goodall Sowing the Seeds of Hope.

In a previous post, I shared some insights by the ACT Scientist of the Year, climate scientist Dr Sophie Lewis. Since then, Dr Lewis has been appointed ACT Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment. Some events that shaped Dr Lewis’s journey to becoming a scientist include:

  • Her parents took an active interest in the world and natural events, such as the passing of Halley’s Comet, and encouraged Sophie to do the same by including her in their adventures.
  • Her family spent time outdoors in the natural environment and encouraged Sophie to explore, investigate and take an interest in every aspect of the environment.
  • Sophie received gifts that encouraged and extended her ability to explore and investigate the environment; both up-close with a slide-making kit, and from a distance with a telescope.
  • In school, she extended her interest by studying science and maths.

You’ll find that the experiences of Jane Goodall reiterate the importance of parental encouragement in developing positive attitudes to science. In fact, Goodall attributes her success to her mother, who she describes as ‘extraordinary’. Goodall says that she was born with an innate love of animals and that her mother always supported and encouraged it.

One of the first books that Jane bought with her own money was Tarzan of the Apes and, at just ten years of age, she began dreaming of going to Africa to live with animals and write books about them. Although others scoffed, her mother continued to encourage her, telling her that if she really wanted something, she’d have to work hard, take advantage of all opportunities and never give up.

I’m sure, whether educating at school or at home, you will find the words of Jane Goodall as inspirational as I did.

Continue reading: How to encourage young scientists — insights by Jane Goodall – Readilearn