Tag Archives: 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

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

classroom-activities-for-celebrating-mothers-day

Classroom activities for celebrating Mother’s Day – readilearn

With Mother’s Day just a little over a week away on Sunday 12 May, teachers are looking for classroom activities that are easy to implement but foster learning while making something special for the children’s mums to treasure. readilearn Mother’s Day suggestions help you do just that.

Benefits of written gifts

Writing letters, cards and books for mothers is one of the best ways of fulfilling all these requirements.

Written gifts:

  • are easily slotted into the class writing program
  • provide opportunities for teaching and learning writing skills
  • encourage creativity
  • are gifts from the heart
  • are unique and personalised for each mother or carer
  • become treasures that never wear out and are easy to keep
  • require little to no additional purchases or expenditure on the part of the teacher

Start with discussion

The best preparation for writing is discussion.

Discussion provides children with an opportunity to:

  • share ideas
  • be inspired by others’ ideas
  • decide what they wish to write and how they might express it
  • consider alternative recipients for their writing

Read books for inspiration

Many beautiful picture books celebrate mothers.

Reading aloud to children helps to:

  • Foster a love of books and language
  • Develop language and vocabulary
  • Stimulate ideas
  • Inspire creativity

A few of my favourite picture books about mothers are:

Continue reading: Classroom activities for celebrating Mother’s Day – readilearn

interview-with-jacqui-halpin-author-of-wheres-lucky

Interview with Jacqui Halpin author of Where’s Lucky? – readilearn

This week it is my great pleasure to welcome author Jacqui Halpin back to the blog. In this interview, Jacqui talks with us about her recently published picture book Where’s Lucky, the story of an orphaned joey and his road to recovery and release.

We previously met Jacqui in 2018 when she discussed her first picture book Parmesan, the Reluctant Racehorse. As we talked with Jacqui in that interview about her writing process, today we focus our discussion on her new book Where’s Lucky?

About Jacqui

Jacqui Halpin’s passion for children’s literature started when reading bedtime stories to her children. They outgrew their childhood books, but Jacqui never did. Jacqui writes picture books, junior fiction and middle-grade fiction. Her short stories appear in anthologies by Stringybark Publishing, Creative Kids Tales, and The School Magazine.

Her first picture book, Parmesan, the Reluctant Racehorse, illustrated by John Phillips, was published by Little Pink Dog Books in October 2017.

Where’s Lucky?, illustrated by Sandra Severgnini and published in April 2019, is her second picture book with Little Pink Dog Books.

While writing and editing, Jacqui loves to sip tea from fine china and eat copious amounts of chocolate. She also has a love of bookshops and should never be allowed to enter the children’s book section with a credit card in her possession.

About Lucky

Lucky, the orphaned swamp wallaby, has a knack for getting into mischief at the wildlife rescue shelter where he lives.

Continue reading: Interview with Jacqui Halpin author of Where’s Lucky? – 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

libraries books reading, importance of school libraries

readilearn: Libraries, books and reading = infinite worlds to explore

What is your fondest memory of a library?

Books, books, and more books. More books than I could ever read.

Books to inform, books to entertain, books to amuse, books to escape the everyday world.

Libraries, books and reading

As a child, I borrowed from the school library and the public library. I remember walking the 3.7 kilometres (2 ¼ miles in those pre-metric days of my childhood) to the public library most Saturdays and coming home with an armload of books.

As a parent, I read to and with my children many times a day —morning, afternoon and evening. Books were always given as gifts, and we had shelves filled with books we owned, but these were always supplemented with books borrowed from the library. We could never have too many books.

As a teacher, I shared my love of reading with the students, making the most of every opportunity to read to them, regardless of whether it be reading time, maths time, science time or whatever time.

Many of the children I taught had not had early opportunities to fall in love with books. I believed (believe) it is imperative to foster a love of reading and learning to empower children, soon-to-be-adults, in making their own educated and informed life choices. The families of many of these children could not afford to purchase books, but with access to school and public libraries, there was never a reason for them to be without books to read.

Nowadays, libraries are not just books, and the old library cards have been replaced with digital catalogues and borrowing systems. Not only is there more to know, but there are also more ways for information to be stored and shared, and more ways to learn.

The role of teacher librarians

 

Continue reading: readilearn: Libraries, books and reading = infinite worlds to explore

Learning to be friends to combat bullying – Readilearn

With today 16 March being the National Day Against Bullying and Violence and next Wednesday 21 March being Harmony Day in Australia, now is a good time to think about what it means to be a friend, what bullying is, and how to combat it. Of course, any time is a great time for developing friendship skills, but these special days help to raise awareness.

The purpose of the National Day Against Bullying and Violence is fairly clear in its title. Harmony Day is for celebrating cultural diversity. “It’s about inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone.” That sounds very much like friendship to me.

The development of social skills, including the friendship skills of getting along, can not be left to chance. The skills must be actively encouraged and taught. Children must learn what behaviour is friendly, what is not friendly and what is bullying.

The teaching of these skills and behaviours should not be left to one or two days of the year but integrated into the teaching program. In fact, the best way to encourage friendship and discourage bullying is through the implementation of policies that foster respect and accept

Continue reading and see new teaching resources from readilearn: Learning to be friends to combat bullying – Readilearn

Let’s read, write and spell with Schuyler: readilearn

I don’t normally post twice a week, but this post is really an addendum to the previous post What’s in a name? Teaching phonics, syllabification and more! so I decided to break with tradition and share it.

For the inspiration for this post and the resource it describes, I must thank Pamela Wight, who featured in the author interview last month.

In commenting on the What’s in a name? post, Pamela mentioned the awkwardness of singing and spelling her grandson’s name – Schuyler, a name with which I was unfamiliar. I joked to Pamela that I’d thought of recording a few names, innovating on the tune of BINGO, to show how “easy” it might be. Pamela suggested I should, even though I explained that my singing voice is anything but, and she told me the pronunciation for Schuyler: Skylar. Well, I couldn’t help myself. My head started racing with ideas of incorporating Schuyler’s name into reading and writing lessons teaching phonics and spelling skills. The result is the resource Let’s read, write and spell with Schuyler,

and the recording.

Continue reading: Let’s read, write and spell with Schuyler: readilearn

Are you ready to learn? A shout out for readilearn – Readilearn

About six months ago, not long after the launch of readilearn, I was invited by Dr Gulara Vincent to talk a little about it on her wonderful blog through which she provides support for writers as they find their inner voice. I thought you might be interested in finding out a little more about how readilearn came to be. Although I share the interview here, please click through to meet Gulara and read the interview on her blog.

Hi Norah, Welcome to my blog.

Thank you for inviting me. I am delighted to be here.

Norah, congratulations on the recent launch of your website. Tell us a little about readilearn.

Thank you. I am very excited about my new website. readilearn is a collection of early childhood teaching resources that I have written. Many of the resources I used, trialled if you like, in my own classroom. I had always thought about sharing them with others but, when I was teaching full time, didn’t have the time to present them professionally or even think about marketing them.

Norah, what makes your resources different? Why would people choose readilearn resources?

Continue reading at: Are you ready to learn? A shout out for readilearn – Readilearn

About Bullfrog’s Billabong

This post is republished from the readilearn blog.

Hi, and welcome again to the readilearn blog. I hope you’ve had a good week. Thank you for your interest in readilearn. I apologise to those who have experienced difficulty in applying the discount coupon codes at the checkout. Know that I will honour the coupon offer with a PayPal discount refund if your subscription goes through with payment in full. I appreciate your persistence and patience while we improve flow with the payment system. Please contact me if you experience any difficulties.

Bullfrog's Billabong - cover

Getting to know readilearn resources

In this post I discuss the Bullfrog’s Billabong suite of resources.

Bullfrog’s Billabong is a cumulative story which takes place at a fictitious Australian Billabong. Bullfrog is the first to arrive at the billabong. He decides it would be a great place to live and makes it his home. Each day, more animals arrive at the billabong. They too think it would be a good home and, after asking permission, decide to stay. Unfortunately, as the billabong becomes more and more crowded, the animals have difficulty in getting along. Their racket attracts another visitor who also sees the potential of the billabong as a home.

The story includes mathematical concepts including counting, growing patterns and days of the week.

The repetitive structure supports children’s reading and encourages them to make predictions based upon obvious patterns involving counting and days of the week. Their knowledge of narrative structure encourages prediction of possible events and conclusion. The end may surprise some children and they may or may not approve of the author’s choice. A discussion of alternative ways to conclude the story could lead to some interesting writing, and an understanding that what happens in stories is a choice made by the author.

While the animals will be familiar to Australian children, the story provides a great opportunity for children from other countries to find out about them too.

I hope you and your children enjoy reading the story and using the resources.

The suite of existing resources includes:

Bullfrog’s Billabong – an estory (The story can be displayed on the whiteboard for reading to, with, or by the children.)

Bullfrog’s Billabong – Covered cloze (This interactive resource for use on the whiteboard is great for teaching effective reading strategies. For best effect, it should be used before any other Bullfrog’s Billabong resources.)

Bullfrog’s Billabong – Cloze – How to use this resource  (Refer to this resource for suggested use of the covered cloze interactive resource. For more information about covered cloze as a teaching strategy, refer to Covered Cloze – teaching effective reading strategies)

Bullfrog’s Billabong – Covered cloze Sampler (This is a free one-page sneak peek at how the interactivity works before making a commitment to purchase a subscription.)

 Look what's new

What’s new – uploaded this week!

I have been working on new resources to support and complement the existing Bullfrog’s Billabong resources.

This week I have added three new resources to the collection:

Bullfrog’s Billabong – The facts (This information sheet explains what a billabong is and verifies that all the story’s animals may live in a billabong, though possibly not the same one.)

Bullfrog’s Billabong – the next chapter (Children draw and write what they think happens next on this printable sheet.)

Bullfrog’s Billabong – Days of the week (Use these three sets of printable cards when teaching or revising the days of the week. There are A5 cards for use with the whole class, and smaller cards for use by individuals or small groups.)

© Norah Colvin

© Norah Colvin

I am working on other resources to add to the suite, including presentation of the story as a play. There is also a set of animals to print that can be used to make pop stick puppets for a performance. Watch for these, and others, coming soon.

I hope you and your children enjoy using these resources. I had fun making them and thinking about the responses of children.

Please contact me if you have any questions. I welcome your feedback, especially suggestions for improvements to existing resources and ideas for new ones.

Introductory discount

Remember, if you haven’t yet subscribed, an introductory discount of 20% is available to all who subscribe this year. Just use the coupon code welcome2 at the checkout to receive your discount.

ncblog welcome2

I’ll see you next week. In the meantime, enjoy the weekend.

Thank you

Thank you for reading.

Happy teaching and learning,

Norah

 

You can contact me:

via email hello@readilearn.com.au

via the Contact page

on Twitter @readilearn or @NorahColvin

on Facebook @readilearnteachingresources

on my other blog NorahColvin.com

I invite you to rate and review any resources you use, and to share information about readilearn on social media.