# 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.

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’
• subtraction

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

Today, Wednesday 24 August 2022 is readilearn’s sixth birthday. Thank you for joining our journey.

To celebrate this milestone, I have made a new birthday-themed interactive resource Make Words from the Word ‘Birthday‘.

This resource is designed for use with the whole class on the interactive whiteboard. Children use the letters of ‘birthday’ to see how many smaller words they can make. Each letter can be used only once in each word.

Children drag the letters to form new words, then type the words into the text box. The page of words can be printed if you wish to keep a record. Progress can also be saved for another lesson if you still have more words to find when the lesson is over. A printable PDF activity sheet for individuals or groups of children to use is also included.

As a birthday gift from readilearn to you, this resource is available free until 14 September.

It is just one of the birthday-themed resources in the collection. Others include:

Happy Birthday — an interactive resource to personalise I used it to make readilearn’s sixth birthday card. The card can be personalised and printed for children on their birthdays.

# Lessons to teach 3-digit numbers – #readilearn

The recent audit of readilearn resources for teaching number showed that, while there were many lessons for teaching understanding of number and place value to 100, lessons for teaching numbers above 100 were scant. This is somewhat understandable as confidence with numbers relies upon a firm foundation in understanding the basics of our decimal system. However, it was a situation I needed to remedy.

Last week I added 1000 Pancakes to the collection, a lesson to help children visualise 1000 objects by counting in 1s to 10, 10s to 100 and 100s to 1000.

This week, I added Let’s Count Pancakes — 3-digit numbers, a lesson that helps children recognise and represent 3-digit numbers and understand the value of each numeral in its place. The interactive lesson ready to teach on the interactive whiteboard consists of ten different slides ready to discuss with the children.

On each slide, children count the pancakes and write the number of hundreds, tens and ones they count.

# Developing understanding of number with three new resources – #readilearn

An understanding of number is crucial to navigating our complex world. It is something we use everyday whether we are aware of it or not. From things as seemingly simple as matching the number of socks to our number of feet, to scheduling our day, through to more complex activities like balancing our budget, an understanding of number and mathematics is involved.

It always saddens me when people say, ‘Oh I can’t do maths’, especially when those people are young people. I think a lot of the inability and fear was learned. I know it was for me. Perhaps that is why I am on a mission to make learning in maths enjoyable and meaningful. It doesn’t have to be fearfully abstract and complex if we build strong foundations in the early years.

There are already well over one hundred mathematics resources in the readilearn collection, and this week I have added three more. Two of the resources are interactive lessons ready to teach on the interactive whiteboard in the classroom or, for those still teaching online, via screen sharing software. The third is a printable resource. All support your teaching and are open-ended and adaptable to the needs of you and your learners.

#### Repeating Patterns

Let’s Make Patterns is designed for teaching and reviewing repeating patterns on the interactive whiteboard. Patterns are an important part of mathematics. Learning about patterns with objects helps children understand the patterns upon which our decimal number system is based.

# Keep children engaged and learning with fun Easter lessons and activities – #readilearn

Easter is coming in 2020 along with school holidays, school closures and lockdowns. While readilearn lessons and activities are designed with teachers of the first three years of school in mind, perhaps, in these challenging times, parents may also find them useful in supporting their children’s learning while they are out of school.

The collection now numbers over 400 resources and more than 70 of these are interactive lessons and stories. All resources can be accessed with a small annual subscription or purchased individually. Many of the resources are free.

While teachers would normally use the interactive lessons on the interactive whiteboard with the whole class or small group, parents access them on their home computers. Just as teachers would discuss the resources when using them with a class, so too, parents discuss them with their children as they work through them together. The most benefit for children comes from the discussion. They are not designed for children to use independently.

#### Lessons and activities with an Easter focus

Lessons and activities in the readilearn collection cover a range of topics and curriculum areas. However, the focus of this post is on those with an Easter theme and how they can be used to keep the children thinking and learning while having fun. (Note: All readilearn Easter-themed resources can be found here.)

# readilearn: Interactive whiteboard resources for kindergarten

“I’ve got an interactive whiteboard in my room but I don’t know how to use it.”

“What readilearn resources can I use with my kindergarten children?’

“Schools have said they want our children to come to school able to listen and follow instructions. What resources can we use?”

These are some of the statements and questions that teachers of children in their kindergarten year, the year before they start formal schooling, have put to me.

The main focus of my preparation of readilearn teaching resources is on the first three years of school. I hadn’t considered their application with children aged four to five. However, teachers have assured me that some of the readilearn interactive whiteboard lessons are very suitable for children in kindergarten as one part of a rich play-based learning-focused environment.

Using readilearn lessons on the interactive whiteboard in kindergarten

• provides variety,
• introduces children to the use of technology and some of the skills involved such as drag and drop, and click to select items,
• provides opportunities for children to take turns, work cooperatively, listen actively to the teacher and other children,
• encourages vocabulary development – the lessons are intended to be teacher-led and involve discussion with the children.

readilearn lessons support kindergarten teachers with

• lessons ready to teach – login in the morning, keep one tab open – stay logged in for the day,
• opportunities for children to make the connection between print and spoken language,
• providing children who are ready to read opportunities of doing so.

readilearn interactive resources and lessons suitable for use in kindergarten:

# readilearn: Engage learners with pizza-themed cross-curricular teaching and learning resources

Pizza is a popular food in many countries around the world and is often a children’s favourite. Why not capitalize on children’s interests to make learning fun and meaningful?

This week I have uploaded six new pizza-themed resources with suggestions for learning across the curriculum; including literacy, mathematics, and science.

The new interactive resource What’s on your pizza is a great stimulus for engaging children.  Children help Andy and Paige make their own pizza by choosing the toppings and working out the different combinations of toppings that are available. The resource can be used as a springboard for discussion, writing, mathematical investigations, science explorations and talking about healthy food choices.

In this post, I outline some ways pizza-themed learning can be incorporated across the curriculum. I anticipate the suggestions will inspire ideas of your own with relevance to your own group of children.

##### Literacy
###### Oral Language

Discussion is one of the best ways of developing children’s language. Starting with topics already familiar to and of interest to children facilities discussion into which new vocabulary and concepts can be added. Discussion could centre around; for example: who likes pizza, types of pizza, when children have pizza and their favourite pizzas.

Learning lists of sight words is an activity familiar to beginning readers, their parents and teachers. There’s no denying the importance of being able to recognise words by sight, and the aid it is to reading fluency and comprehension. Yes, comprehension. Due to the constraints of short-term memory, it is difficult to think about meaning, when working memory is employed in attempts to figure out individual words.

Many lists of basic sight words are available, but there is a consistency to the words included and their number, generally varying between one and two hundred. Many of the words do not have a regular letter-sound correspondence and cannot be “sounded out” using knowledge of phonics. They are also words that have meaning only in context and cannot be “pictured”. The words make up a high percentage of those appearing in texts for beginning readers and so are often referred to as high frequency words.

Children are often given lists of words to take home and learn with the assistance of parents. Not all parents know how to encourage children to learn the words and it can be a battle if children struggle to remember them. If you are sending children home with words to learn, it is important to provide parents with strategies as well as what they need; for example:

Provide the words on strips or in small booklets with the word written on one side and a short sentence with a picture on the other for checking.

Provide one set of words. Spread the words face up on the table. Ask the child to find the word; for example, put. This is easier at first as other letter/sound cues can be used. Later, as the child is

# Take a gander at this – #early childhood teaching resources

This week at the Carrot Ranch Charli Mills has challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) write using the word gander as a verb.

Gander, the verb, means to look. Since a gander, a male goose, has a long neck which is, without doubt, suitable for sticking out and into things, the meaning to take a look is probably apt. However, I must say that, until reading Charli’s flash pieces, I was unfamiliar with its use as a verb, and still feel a bit uncomfortable in using it so, but I’ll give it a go – later.

First: What I would love is for people to take a gander at readilearn, a website I have been working on for more years that I care to tally right now.

It is a year since I took the leap and engaged a company to develop the site. It was nine months (not the one month promised) before the site was launched, just over three months ago. To use the nine months analogy of pregnancy; it wasn’t an easy gestation or birth, and we’re still experiencing teething problems and growing pains, including “how to grow?” pains.

Audience wanted

Marketing, as in attracting, building, and maintaining an audience, is difficult, as any writer knows. It is not just a matter of writing the stuff and hoping an audience finds it. It takes time, effort, and know-how. I’m a bit short on all three, but I’m going to stick my neck out, and ask if you’d be willing to help me a little with the know-how in finding my target audience.

readilearn is a collection early childhood teaching resources. The target audience is teachers of children between 5 and 7 years of age, be they teaching in a school environment, or homeschooling their children. The resources are also suitable or use with children learning English as a second or other language, and with children with special needs.

There are resources for most areas of the curriculum, with suggestions for integrating learning across curriculum areas in a meaningful context.

The materials are Australian (I’m Australian) but are suitable for use internationally.

There are:

• Digital and interactive resources to access and use online

Including:

• Original stories
• estories (digital stories)
• Teaching ideas and suggestions
• Lessons plans
• Games
• Printouts for parents

Features

• New resources are added almost every week
• Many resources are free to registered users
• An annual subscription of less than 50c per week (or less than the cost of 5 cups of coffee a year!) is easily affordable; and that’s Australian dollars – even less for UK and US subscribers! It’s even discounted until the end of 2016!

So what’s different?

I think that what differentiates readilearn is the integrated resources focusing on purposeful learning in context. The open-ended nature of many of interactive resources allows teachers to adjust the discussion to suit the needs of their students. readilearn is not just bunch of worksheets for repetitive practice of skills in isolation, or endless pretty charts to hang in the room. It is designed to support effective teaching and learning in meaningful contexts.

More than just resources

• Each Friday I publish a blog post filled with teaching ideas and information, including how to get the most from readilearn resources.
• I also email users each Friday to inform them of new resources uploaded during the week – no more wondering if there’s anything new or where to find it.
• The newsletter, published on the last day of each month, includes a summary of blog posts, a list of new resources, and a preview of events in the coming month.

I would very much appreciate it if you could spread the word to any of my target audience in your circles: teachers of children from 5 – 7 years. I’d also love some suggestions for ways of connecting with my audience. Although my audience may differ from yours, what you have learned may also be useful for me.

Maybe you’d like to gift an early childhood teacher their first year’s subscription. It’s easy. Just email hello@readilearn.com.au to find out how.

Now back to Charli’s challenge to include gander as a verb in a 99-word story. It got me thinking about all the bird words in common use, even when not referring to birds. I decided to incorporate as many as I could into a story while still maintaining a certain amount of sense. I have used over twenty. Can you (bird)spot them all? I hope you think it’s grouse! (Well, maybe just a little bit not too bad. 🙂 )

Bird (non)sense

Finch’d had an eagle eye on the play all day.

Robin’d been hawking chicken pies. Now sold out, he wandered over to gander with Finch.

Robin craned his neck, just as “He’s out for a duck!” was announced.

“He’s out for a duck,” he parroted. “That’s something to crow about.”  One team was swanning around, exuberant as monarchs. The other was as despondent as miners on strike.

Martin was larking around. “Yeah,” he sniped. “The silly goose was distracted by the kite and missed altogether.”

“More like a turkey, I’d say,” Robin reterned swiftly.

“You’re a hoot!” chirped Finch.