Tag Archives: Early childhood education

lessons and activities for teaching place value in lower primary classrooms

Teaching place value to young children – readilearn

Teaching place value is a vital part of mathematics programs in lower primary classrooms. This post outlines lessons and activities to teach place value.

Teaching place value is a vital part of mathematics programs in lower primary classrooms. It is essential that children develop a firm understanding of place value right from the start to avoid later confusion and maths anxiety.

Sadly, many children and adults confess to having an aversion to mathematics. My belief is that the aversion is often learned from ineffective teaching methods. For this reason, there is a strong focus on number in readilearn resources with lessons and activities that provide opportunities to develop understanding in fun and meaningful ways.

It starts with understanding number

Before we begin to teach place value, we must ensure that children have a strong sense of number. Understanding number is more than simply being able to rote count or recognise numerals. While even very young children may learn to memorise and recite the sequence of numbers from one to ten, they don’t always understand what the words mean.

Rushing children through to abstract processes before they have developed a strong foundation creates confusion. It sets them up for frustration, fear, failure, and a dislike of maths.

This can be avoided by encouraging an “I can do it. I get this. Maths is fun” attitude.

To develop an understanding of number, children require many and varied experiences using concrete materials in many different situations.

One-to-one correspondence

Continue reading: Teaching place value to young children – readilearn

enriching lives and communities with education

Enriching Lives and Communities with Education

Education has the power to enrich lives. By education, I mean all of life’s experiences that contribute to learning. Sometimes these experiences occur in school. Mostly they don’t.

Schooling is but a small part of ones’ education, and its ability to enrich varies depending on:

  • an individual’s circumstances and attitudes to school and learning.
  • the school culture and attitudes to children and learning.
  • and the teacher’s attitude to children and learning.

Over the years I have been aware of enrichment programs offered in some schools. The programs were available to children considered ‘brighter’, having greater potential and, possibly, even ‘gifted’. The children were those who pleased their teachers with compliant behaviour and diligent work, and whose well-to-do families contributed to school facilities. Often, the program was a reward for children who needed neither incentive nor enrichment (their lives already had both) and an easy way for schools to say they were catering for diversity and individual differences.

The model of enrichment with which I was most familiar was a selective program offered one afternoon a week. Children were withdrawn from their regular classrooms to participate. Activities included things such as problem-solving, advanced science and maths, chess, reading and writing clubs.

In my opinion, these are activities which would benefit all children, especially those from impoverished homes who received little encouragement for learning, either in school or out, or opportunity for enrichment. My belief is that ‘enriched’ individuals enrich their communities and society as a whole. My suggestion of an early learning caravan, if implemented, would help remedy the situation for some.

early learning caravan

Surely education should be about enriching all lives, not just a few. It should be about asking, ‘What can I do to enrich your life, to provide opportunities for you to learn, and enhance your potential for a successful life?’ It shouldn’t just be ‘What can I cram into you for the test at the end of the week/month/term/year?’ I summed up some of these differences in my poem Education is.

poem about the difference between education and schooling

© Norah Colvin

Of course, not all schooling is a nightmare. Much of it is enriching. You only have to read the blogs of wonderful teachers like Jennie Fitzkee, Jacqui Murray, Marie Forst, Adam Hill and others, to realise that children’s lives are enriched by inspired teachers, every day.

readilearn teaching resources for the first three years of school

My life’s work has been an attempt to enrich the lives of others through education; from my years in the classroom to my current work on readilearn where I support teachers with resources to enhance their teaching and lighten their workload.

In so doing, my own life has been enriched in many ways. You see, I consider enrichment to be something that fills one up on the inside:

  • with feelings of self-worth, self-respect and self-confidence,
  • with a sense of purpose and empowerment,
  • with trust, understanding and empathy,
  • with compassion and love for others,
  • and an interest in all that is.

Enrichment has little to do with external riches (though most of us wouldn’t say ‘no’ to sufficient to make our lives comfortable).

I have always seen my roles as both parent and teacher, so closely entwined, to be not only a giving back but a paying forward to the future of the universe. My children, biological and in the classroom, have enriched my life enormously, and for that I am very grateful.

Enrichment flash fiction prompt by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch

But why am I writing about enrichment this week? You might have guessed —in response to the prompt set by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes the idea of enrichment. Use many of its different manifestations or explore reasons why it matters to the character. Go where the prompt leads.

I hope you like my story:

What Kind of Enrichment?

The meeting dragged. After analysing data, discussing duty rosters and responsibilities, lockdown and evacuation procedures, enthusiasm flagged. Jocelyn itched.  Last on the agenda; her topic was enrichment.

As she took the floor, groans and tapping pencils defied her resolve. A phone ban meant some eyes were on her, at least. Her suggestions of enrichment were met with derision.

“They don’t learn what we teach ‘em. ‘ow are we gonna’ enrich ‘em?’ Everyone laughed.

Jocelyn’s mouth opened to respond but gaped as Taya burst in bearing an enormous cake with candles ablaze.

“Now that’s my kind of enrichment.” Everyone cheered.

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

ideas to start the year off right with classroom organisation

Starting out right – classroom organisation – Readilearn

The importance of starting out right with classroom organisation

Starting the year out right requires preparation and the establishment of classroom organisation routines that will assist the first and subsequent days run smoothly.

An organised classroom contributes to a supportive classroom environment which, from day one, builds a strong foundation of positive relationships and attitudes to school and learning.

Beginning the year as you wish it to continue with a welcoming organised classroom helps children and families feel valued and comfortable in a warm and predictable environment.

Teaching resources support classroom organisation and management

Many existing readilearn resources assist teachers of the first three years of school organise their classrooms to be welcoming and supportive.

A new interactive resource extends the collection.

   

an interactive attendance chart to show who is at school today

 

Continue reading: Starting out right – classroom organisation – Readilearn

picture books make great Christmas gifts

Wrapping up a year of books — 2018 – Readilearn

Wrap up a book for a gift that gives more

Reading and books combine to form one of life’s greatest pleasures and one of life’s best avenues for advancement and empowerment.

Giving books gifts much more than simply the words on the page. We may never know just what joy, wisdom or inspiration a reader receives when gifted a book; and, of course, the love of reading is one of the most valuable gifts a parent or teacher can give a child.

the love of reading is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give a child

Throughout the year, I have been privileged with the opportunity of interviewing many talented authors and illustrators about their picture books. However, these books are but a few of the wonderful picture books that are available for children to read.

Books, books, books

Last December, I presented you with a list of books by authors and illustrators I’d interviewed throughout 2017. In this post, I present a list of books by authors and illustrators I interviewed this year. I hope you will find the list useful when choosing books to gift your young readers. Be sure to read back over last year’s list for additional suggestions.

As with last year’s list, for each author or illustrator I interviewed, I include links to

  • the interview on the blog
  • the interview in the Author or Illustrator Spotlight
  • the creative’s website
  • a place where the book may be purchased.

Continue reading: Wrapping up a year of books — 2018 – Readilearn

interview-with-dimity-powell-author-of-at-the-end-of-holyrood-lane-

Interview with Dimity Powell author of At the End of Holyrood Lane – Readilearn

This week I am delighted to share an interview with award-winning children’s author Dimity Powell. I previously introduced Dimity to you in her popular guest post Libraries: A wonderous universe to explore.

Dimity likes to fill every spare moment with words. She writes and reviews stories exclusively for kids and is the Managing Editor for Kids’ Book Review. Her word webs appear in anthologies, school magazines, junior novels, as creative digital content, and picture books including The Fix-It Man (2017) and At The End of Holyrood Lane (2018) with more to follow in 2019 and 2020.

She is a seasoned presenter both in Australia and overseas, an accredited Write Like An Author facilitator and a Books in Homes Role Model Volunteer in Australia.

Dimity believes picture books are soul food, to be consumed at least 10 times a week. If these aren’t available, she’ll settle for ice-cream. She lives just around the corner from Bat Man on the Gold Coast although she still prefers hanging out in libraries than with superheroes.

In this post, Dimity discusses her latest picture book At the End of Holyrood Lane. The book, illustrated by Nicky Johnston and published by EK Books, deals sensitively with the tough issue of domestic violence.

The story

At The End of Holyrood Lane is a poignant yet uplifting picture book that deals with domestic violence in a way that provides understanding and offers hope to young children.

‘At the End of Holyrood Lane is enigmatic. Different children will be able to interpret the story in different ways. I think this is excellent. Kudos to both author and illustrator for a successful creation that I hope will enrich many children’s lives.’ Susan Stephenson, The Book Chook.

The interview

Welcome to readilearn, Dimity.

Thank you for inviting me.

Dimity, At the End of Holyrood Lane was written for a very special purpose and a very special situation. Can you tell us a little about how you came to write this story and why it was important to you to do so?

Continue reading: readilearn: Interview with Dimity Powell author of At the End of Holyrood Lane – Readilearn

Christmas classroom activities that focus on learning

Christmas classroom activities that focus on learning – Readilearn

As Christmas draws near, keeping children focussed on their lessons can be a challenge for teachers. But it’s not impossible. It is not necessary to fill every moment with Christmas themed activities, but a few interspersed throughout the day can be motivating and lift everyone’s spirits. Activities that promote children’s learning should always take precedence over time fillers.

To assist teachers keep the focus on learning while children would rather be thinking of Christmas and holidays, I have prepared a range of lessons and suggestions for use in different subject areas. Many of the lessons and suggestions integrate learning across curriculum areas. All readilearn Christmas themed activities can be found under the Cultural Studies tab in the subcategory Christmas.

Focus on the children

A great place to start is always with the children and their family’s traditions.

Begin with a survey to find out which children in the class do and do not celebrate Christmas. While you will already have an idea of which children do, it can be an interesting way to begin the discussion of different cultural traditions celebrated by children in your class.

The main ingredient in any of these discussions should always be respect, and it is important to find ways of making classroom activities inclusive.

How many school days until Christmas?

Advent Calendars that count down the twenty-five December days until Christmas are great for families to use in the home but not so suitable for school. What about counting down the school days until Christmas? Twenty-five school days would mean starting at least five weeks before school finishes, which might be a bit soon, so choose another number which suits your program. Fifteen (three weeks) could be a good number. (Note: If, for inclusivity, you didn’t wish to count down to Christmas, you could count down to the holidays.)

A countdown calendar

Schedule opportunities for the children to present information about their family traditions as part of the countdown.

Continue reading: Christmas classroom activities that focus on learning – Readilearn

printable board game for learning to follow directions - forwards, backwards, left, right

readilearn: Turtle Island – a game of directions: forwards, backwards, left, right

The ability to give and follow directions according to one’s location is an important skill and one that we frequently use in everyday life. Some of the first directions we use are forwards, backwards, left and right. Often when we teach children these directions, everyone is facing the same way and move in unison.

Understanding that the directions are relative to the way you are facing, and may be different for someone facing another way, can be tricky to develop. Many of us early childhood teachers experience difficulty identifying our own left and right after years of facing children as we teach them their left and right.

I have always considered games to be a great tool for learning. They not only provide a fun way of learning concepts, but they also provide opportunities for children to interact with each other and learn the social skills of getting along at the same time. Games help build positive attitudes toward school, learning and each other. They often incorporate learning across the curriculum and can be used in groups, with buddies or with an adult support person.

This week, I have uploaded a new printable board game which involves children in following directions. For the next few weeks, the game will be available free to everyone, whether a registered readilearn user or not. Why? Because I need your help, please.

Continue reading: readilearn: Turtle Island – a game of directions: forwards, backwards, left, right