Tag Archives: lower primary teaching resources

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

February - special days and events to celebrate in the classroom

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

It is during the final weeks of January and the first weeks of February that most teachers and children in the Southern Hemisphere begin their school year. Parents breathe a sigh of relief as the long holidays come to an end and teachers and children look forward to the year ahead with mixed feelings ranging from the excitement of a new adventure to anxiety or even dread. Perhaps it is no coincidence that Children’s Mental Health Week falls in the first week of February.

Children’s Mental Health Week

Children’s Mental Health Week runs from 3 – 9 February this year. The purpose of the week is to encourage children to look after their bodies and their minds. A positive classroom environment that is both welcoming and supportive helps to ensure children stay happy with healthy mental attitudes. It supports the development of self-esteem, self-confidence and the development of social skills, including getting along with others.

Here at readilearn, we can help you establish a supportive classroom environment and provide you with teaching resources that focus on developing social-emotional skills. While these are appropriate for any time of the year, a special focus during mental health week provides opportunities for reading books and engaging children in activities that are conducive to positive attitudes.

Of special note this year is that many children in Australia may begin the school year distressed by what they have personally experienced or may have seen or heard about the bushfires that have caused so much damage to our country.

While I am unable to give specialised support for dealing with trauma, this article in the Conversation has suggestions to help teachers support students, and includes links to other information. It is pleasing to see that extra funds have been made available to assist teachers and students who have been affected by the fires. If you have been affected and I can support you with a free subscription to readilearn, just let me know.

Resources for a supportive classroom environment

You can find suggestions for establishing a supportive classroom in these previous posts:

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

preparing the classroom for a successful school year

Preparing the classroom for a successful school year – #readilearn

A new year begins! Happy New Year!

I wish you all an enjoyable, rewarding and successful 2020.

For many of us in the Southern Hemisphere, the school year begins later this month or early next month. Most of us are already making preparations for the year ahead, thinking about how we will organise our classrooms and what we will teach. Preparation can take a lot of our ‘own’ time but being organised can reduce anxiety when the school year begins.

At readilearn, our aim is to lessen your workload by assisting with preparation, giving you more time for those things non-work-related things you enjoy.

Start out right from day one

Establish a supportive classroom

When you are confident and organised from day one, the children (and their parents) will feel welcome and have positive attitudes to you, your classroom and school. You will set the tone for a successful school year for both you and your students.

The free resource Getting ready for the first day with Busy Bee resources lists some first day resources with suggestions for using them; including a welcome letter, a welcome sign for the door, desk name templates, name badges and a birthday chart.

Continue reading: Preparing the classroom for a successful school year – readilearn

special days and events for classroom celebrations

Special Days and Events for Classroom Celebrations #readilearn

Teachers are forward thinkers and future planners. Even though 2019 is not yet done, many will already be thinking ahead and planning for the 2020 teaching year.

To assist in that planning, I have compiled a list of special days and events you may wish to celebrate in your classroom throughout the year. While the information provided in this list is brief, on the last Friday of each month, I will publish a more detailed list of the special days for the following month with accompanying teaching suggestions. By the end of 2020 we should have a substantial list of days to celebrate and suggestions for doing so. Please let me know of any days I have omitted that you would like to see included.

Of course, it is not intended that you would celebrate all the days. Rather, that you would choose those of interest to you and your children and those that fit with your program.

A printable copy of this list is available to download free here.

Leap into 2020 the International Year of Plant Health

2020 is a leap year so get ready to celebrate. It is also the International Year of Plant Health with the theme Protecting Plants, Protecting Life.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations,  the year is

a once in a lifetime opportunity to raise global awareness on how protecting plant health can help end hunger, reduce poverty, protect the environment, and boost economic development.”

Now would be a good time to begin thinking about what you can do throughout the year to celebrate and protect plants, perhaps using the topic as an overarching theme for the year.

Ideas for teaching and learning about plant health:

Continue reading: Special Days and Events for Classroom Celebrations – Readilearn

appreciating and exploring poetry in lower primary classrooms

Appreciating and exploring poetry in lower primary classrooms – reblogged from readilearn

Poetry is a wonderful tool for learning language. When children listen to or recite poetry, they are learning the rhythms and sounds of language, exploring ideas and how to express them, expanding vocabularies, deepening understanding in nuances of meaning, and having fun with thoughts and their expression.

Children are exposed to rhythm and rhyme from their earliest days through nursery rhymes, chants and songs as well as the text of picture books. It is important for children to have opportunities for appreciating and exploring poetry into and throughout their school years. The Australian Curriculum places poetry firmly into the literature strand of English teaching each year. But it is not necessary to relegate poetry just to a poetry unit of work when stipulated by the curriculum. Poetry, rhymes, chants and songs can be easily incorporated into the daily class program.

Michael Rosen, who you may know as the author of Going on a Bear Hunt and who I previously introduced to you in this post, shares some recommendations for teaching poetry on his blog. Although the suggestions were written for a year one teacher, I think the suggestions could be extended out to other years. Following his recommendations would more than cover the expectations of the Australian Curriculum, and what a wonderful way to turn children (and yourself) onto poetry.

I’m only sharing a few of his recommendations here. Please visit his website to read the others.

Michael Rosen’s suggestions for teaching poetry

  • Get as many poetry books into your classroom as possible. Encourage the children in pairs to browse, choose and read.
  • Read poems to them every day, use vids of poets (check out Michael Rosen’s YouTube channel) , use national poetry archive. Writing poems with no poems in your head is too big an ask. Fill their heads with ‘What poetry can do’ ie loads of poems.

Continue reading: Appreciating and exploring poetry in lower primary classrooms – readilearn

celebrating three years of readilearn

Celebrating Three Years of readilearn with a Gift for You – readilearn

This week, readilearn celebrates three years of supporting teachers and parents of children in their first three years of school.

In recognition of this milestone, we are offering, until the end of the month, a 50% discount on any readilearn resource, including subscription. To take advantage of this offer, simply enter the code *birthday* at the checkout.

Continue reading: Celebrating Three Years of readilearn with a Gift for You – readilearn

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children's Day

Let’s celebrate National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day – readilearn

Ideas and resources for celebrating National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day held on 4 August each year.

This Sunday 4 August, is National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day. Celebrated on this date for over thirty years, the day provides a special opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families to celebrate their children and for us all to get to know a little more of their culture.

Although this year the day falls on a Sunday, there is no reason it can’t be celebrated in the classroom during the week. In fact, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures one of the ACARA cross-curriculum priorities, every day is a good day for celebrating our children and helping them to feel special and included.

The theme for this year’s celebration is We Play, We Learn, We Belong. It focuses on the importance of education for young children with special emphasis on the need for it to be culturally appropriate. The website has many suggestions to help you celebrate the day and some free downloadable resources.

In this video, this year’s ambassador, Nanna from Little J and Big Cuz, introduces the day.

Continue reading: Let’s celebrate National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day – Readilearn

celebrating 100 days of school with lessons ready to teach readilearn

Celebrating 100 days of school with lessons ready to teach – readilearn

Celebrating 100 days of school is a wonderful opportunity for acknowledging the passage of time, learning progress and a growing understanding of number. Children love a party and there can be nothing better than a celebration to increase their motivation and get them all involved.

As the school year in Australia consists of approximately 200 days, the 100th day occurs close to the half-way mark. While it is fun to count up to 100, it can also be fun to count back from 100 to know how many more school days remain in the year.

Celebrate 100 days

Several readilearn resources with lessons ready to teach support you and your students as you count up to and celebrate one hundred days, including:

Whether you’ve used it from the beginning of the year or not, the interactive digital resource Busy Bees 100 chart is great for all your usual number board activities and can be used to keep a count of how many days you’ve been at school. Simply display the resource on the whiteboard at the beginning of each day and move the bee to the next number. The chart also helps to develop a visual idea of what 100 objects look like.

Each of these next three resources can be accessed individually or through the Busy Bees 100 chart.

Continue reading: Celebrating 100 days of school with lessons ready to teach – readilearn

remembering-anzac-day-in-the-classroom

Remembering: Anzac Day in the classroom – readilearn

Tomorrow, 25 April is Anzac Day, a day of national significance and a public holiday in both Australia and New Zealand. The day is the anniversary of the first major military campaign fought by Australian and New Zealand forces in World War I, but now commemorates all who have served in any military campaign or operation since. The acronym stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. Ceremonies are held around the country and well-attended by past and present servicemen and women, their families and friends, and the general public.

While most children and teachers in both Australia and New Zealand are still on school holidays, they will undoubtedly discuss, and conduct ceremonies in recognition of ANZAC Day when school returns.

To assist your discussions, I remind you of Allison Paterson’s wonderful book Australia Remembers: Anzac Day, Remembrance Day and War Memorials, about which I interviewed Allison in November last year as part of the Books on Tour promotion.

About the book

The book explains, in a way that is detailed but accessible for a young audience, the origins and significance of both Anzac Day and Remembrance Day. Explanations of the traditions and symbols ensure that children understand why it is important to observe these historical events and why we should never forget those who fought for our country and those who keep us safe today.

Here are some reminders of Allison’s book:

Continue reading: Remembering: Anzac Day in the classroom – 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