Tag Archives: early childhood teaching resources

holiday activities maintain school learning in literacy and mathematics

Holiday activities maintain school learning – Readilearn

Parents often ask teachers for suggestions of holiday activities that will maintain learning before children return to school. While we neither expect nor want children to spend hours at a desk engaged in school-type lessons, there is plenty that parents can do with their children to keep them curious and motivated to learn. This post includes suggestions teachers can provide to parents.

Some of the best things parents can do to maintain children’s learning are: 

  • Encourage their questions and help them find, rather than simply provide, the answers.
  • Engage children in experiments to discover what happens. Don’t rely exclusively on books or internet searches.
  • Take them on outings and adventures to natural as well as constructed points of interest; such as rainforests, beaches, national parks, marine parks, libraries, museums and art galleries.
  • Talk with them about anything and everything including feelings, dreams, goals, desires for the future, fears, how things work and what happens if.
  • Read to them, with them and beside them. Show them you value reading for a range of purposes including for information and enjoyment.
  • Play games with them—indoor and outdoor games, board games and games you create or construct.
  • Most of all, spend time being with them, enjoying their company, getting to know them, in the present moment. Childhood is fleeting and each moment, precious.

Free handouts of holiday activities that maintain school learning 

There are three free handouts of holiday suggestions available for teachers to distribute to parents, or indeed for parents to access for themselves.

Continue reading: Holiday activities maintain school learning – Readilearn

interview with Robyn Osborne author of Bruno the Boisterous Blue Dog of the Bush

Interview with picture book author Robyn Osborne – Readilearn

This week I am delighted to introduce you to Australian author and fellow Queensland educator Robyn Osborne and her delightful picture book Bruno, the Boisterous Blue Dog from the Bush.

This post is but one of several celebrating Robyn’s book in Romi Sharp’s Books on Tour. Please read to the end of the post for details of other posts celebrating Robyn’s work.

About Robyn

Robyn Osborne is an Australian author and teacher based in Queensland. She is dog obsessive and many of her books, including Bruno, have been inspired by her furry friends. Robyn grew up on the Sunshine Coast in South East Queensland where her father worked as a sugarcane cutter. As a child, she was surrounded by pets and quickly became an animal fanatic. At age eleven, when she made the connection between cows and steak, she became a vegetarian.

Although she always wanted to be a writer, a number of uncreative roles got in the way. It was when she became a teacher that she rediscovered her love of writing. She has won or been shortlisted for many awards and has published many short stories, junior novels and picture books.

About Bruno, the Boisterous Blue Dog from the Bush

This is a timeless Aussie tale celebrating the friendship between Bob the bushie and his best buddy, Bruno the blue dog.

Continue reading: Interview with picture book author Robyn Osborne – 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

reading the Iron Man by Ted Hughes to spark imagination, inspire writing and motivate making

Reading the Iron Man to spark imagination, inspire writing and motivate making – Readilearn

One of my favourite read-aloud books is The Iron Man by Ted Hughes. The influence of poetry is obvious in this compelling modern fairy tale that begins as it might end.

When I introduce this book to children, I conceal it so they cannot see from which part of it I am reading. I tell them the title of the book and ask them to tell me whether I am reading from the beginning, the middle or the end of the book.

I then read, mostly without interruption though I do explain that ‘brink’ is the very edge, the first two pages that describe the Iron Man and how he stepped off the top of a cliff into nothingness and crashed into pieces on the rocks below.

The children listen in awe, fascinated by the size of the Iron Man, incredulous that he would step off the cliff, mesmerised by the telling of each part breaking off and crashing, bumping, clanging to lie scattered on the rocky beach.

They invariably tell me it is the end of the story. How could it be otherwise? When I tell them it is just the beginning, they are amazed and excitedly discuss how the story might continue. This could lead to writing if the children are keen, but there are other opportunities further into the story.

When this initial discussion has run its course, I go back to the beginning and read it again, stopping to encourage further discussion and to spark the children’s imaginations.

allow their imaginations to contemplate possibilities

Continue reading: Reading the Iron Man to spark imagination, inspire writing and motivate making – Readilearn

Halloween mathematics lessons for the interactive whiteboard

readilearn: Engaging mathematics learning with Halloween themed resources

In just a couple of weeks, people in many parts of the world will be celebrating Halloween. Even in Australia, where the festival has only recently begun to take hold, merchandise now fills our (mainly discount) stores, and children look forward to a night of fun, knocking on doors and collecting treats from family and friends.

The festival dates back two thousand years to its origins in what is now Ireland, England and France. Irish immigrants took the festival to America in the 1800s. Halloween arrived in Australia with immigrants and through its portrayal in movies and on television. Always looking for an excuse to party, Australians are ready to join in.

Originally, the festival celebrated the end of summer harvests and marked the beginning of the long dark northern winters. The festivities have evolved over the centuries with changes to focus and traditions.

I have always thought that adding a bit of fun to the school day helps the learning go down. If the children are going to be distracted by thoughts of their Halloween costumes and what booty they might score in an evening of trick or treating, why not harness those distractions and channel them into learning?

To combine fun with learning, this week I have uploaded three new interactive Halloween themed maths resources for use on the interactive whiteboard. The resources help to develop number concepts up to ten and are available to subscribers. As do other readilearn resources, they acknowledge that it is the richness of discussion occurring between teacher and children that helps to consolidate children’s learning.

Continue reading: readilearn: Engaging mathematics learning with Halloween themed resources