Tag Archives: teaching ideas

Once Upon a Whoops! — Teaching Ideas – #readilearn

In this post I share some ideas for using Once Upon a Whoops! in the classroom.

Once Upon a Whoops! is a collection of over 40 fractured fairy tales and ridiculous rhymes written and illustrated by Australian authors and illustrators and published by Share Your Story in 2021.

The activities suggested in this post support teaching of the literature strand of the Australian Curriculum F-2. The list not comprehensive as there are too many stories to go into detail for each one. Instead, I provide some general ideas and reference just a few stories for each suggestion.

Of course, in addition to these, the stories can be used as a stimulus in art and technology units if children make props and other objects to support retellings, puppet plays and performances. Many of the stories also provide opportunities for mathematical discussions.

Once Upon a Whoops! is available from Amazon and other online bookstores.

Please note: this book is now also available in Dyslexia font.

Many of the stories have been recorded by the authors. The videos are available on YouTube by following this link.

My stories Silverlocks and the Three Bears and The Three Alpha Pigs are also available on the readilearn YouTube channel. Click on the titles to follow the links.

Once Upon a Whoops! — what’s in the book

Continue reading: Once Upon a Whoops! — Teaching Ideas – readilearn

Fruit, Vegetables and Food for Thought — Science Week – #readilearn

Next week, from 14 – 22 August, is National Science Week in Australia. The theme for this year is Food: Different by Design which fits perfectly with this year being the International Year of Fruit and Vegetables.

Focus on fruits and Vegetables

Here is a wonderful video promoting fruits and vegetables for the International Year.

The video is fun to watch and makes my mouth water with all the bright and colourful photographs of delicious fruits and vegetables. If you watch the video with your students, it may lead to many and varied follow-up discussions and activities. Here are just a few suggestions.

Discussions

What fruits and vegetables can you name?

Which of them are fruits and which are vegetables?

What is the difference between fruit and vegetables?

Which of these fruits and vegetables have you tried?

Which is/are your favourites?

Is your favourite included in the video?

What is your favourite way to eat these fruits and vegetables?

Activities

Extend vocabulary — make a list describing the fruits and vegetables and what children like about them; for example: sweet, juicy, crunchy, soft, ripe, nutritious, delicious, raw, cooked, bitter, exotic.

Have children draw or write about their favourite fruit or vegetable treat.

Set up a fruit and vegetable market in the classroom using laminated children’s drawings or images cut from magazines; plastic, wooden or paper mache fruit and vegetables, and use it for a variety of activities including sorting and shopping.

Food

Make a fruit salad or fruit kebabs. Invite every child to contribute a piece of fruit. Share it for brain break or morning tea.

Make vegetable soup. Invite children to contribute a vegetable. Serve it with bread or savoury scones, which you could also make, for lunch.

These readilearn resources provide suggestions for other lunch ideas that are easily prepared at school.

How to make a healthy smiley face sandwich is a procedural text with step-by-step instructions that are easy enough for children to follow on their own with the supervision of an adult in a small group. The activity is suitable for use in literacy groups. It could be incorporated into a unit focusing on healthy eating.

Continue reading: Fruit, Vegetables and Food for Thought — Science Week – readilearn

Ocean Devotion by Elizabeth Cummings — a review – #readilearn

Earlier this month on 8 June, we celebrated World Oceans Day, so I was delighted to be invited to participate in the Books on Tour promotion of the new book Ocean Devotion written by Elizabeth Mary Cummings and illustrated by Melissa Salvarani.

World Oceans Day is a day for celebrating, protecting and conserving the world’s oceans. ‘The purpose of the Day is to inform the public of the impact of human actions on the ocean, develop a worldwide movement of citizens for the ocean, and mobilize and unite the world’s population on a project for the sustainable management of the world’s oceans.’

The theme for 2021 is One Ocean, One Climate, One Future — Together’

The book Ocean Devotion helps to spread that message in an empowering story which urges us to take action to care for the ocean and life in and beneath its waves.

The message begins with the dedications:

“Our oceans are precious. Let us join together to build a cleaner, greener future for all. With love and thanks to you Dad for your example.” E.C.

“In a few years we have created a sixth continent made of plastic, a practically indestructible material. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle are the three magic words that can change the world.” M.S.

About Ocean Devotion

Continue reading: Ocean Devotion by Elizabeth Cummings — a review – readilearn

Honouring Eric Carle, Children’s Author and Illustrator – #readilearn

This is a special month for me. It is my birthday month. It is also the birthday month of one of children’s literature’s favourite authors and illustrators, Eric Carle. I had already planned to write a post about Eric Carle’s books during this month of his birth. It seems even more important now since he passed away in May, just a month before his 92nd birthday on 25 June  — such a loss to the kidlit community, but what a legacy he has left.

Eric Carle was a prolific author and illustrator of children’s picture books. He wrote and illustrated more than 70 books. I’m sure everyone knows at least one, and probably several, of Carle’s books. There are possibly several of his books on the shelves of every early childhood and lower primary classroom. Everyone will have their favourites, but I think possibly the best known and the one that comes to mind first for many people is The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

In this post, I list ten of my favourite Eric Carle books and suggest at least one teaching idea for each.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Continue reading: Honouring Eric Carle, Children’s Author and Illustrator – Readilearn

stickers and stars - how effective are rewards - Alfie Kohn

Stickers and Stars — How Effective are Rewards? – #readilearn

Don’t you love it when you find someone who not only shares your ideas but extends them in ways that challenge and make sense at the same time? I do.

I was recently introduced (in the virtual world) to educator Alfie Kohn. First, I listened to his book Punished by Rewards and am now listening to Unconditional Parenting. The bonus with both books is that Kohn narrates them, so the ideas come across exactly as he intended, and it sounds like he is presenting rather than reading. These books are great for both parents and teachers as well as others in any form of managerial role. I wish I’d had the opportunity of reading Kohn’s work before I became a teacher or a parent for the joy it would have given me in sharing and affirming ideas.

If you are a teacher or parent who questions the real value of offering children stars or stickers in the hope of motivating them or of grading the work they turn in, you will find much of interest in Kohn’s work.  You could begin by exploring his website or dive straight into his articles and books as I did.

Here is an interview he did on Oprah in 2013 about his book Punished by Rewards. It includes some interesting perspectives from teachers and parents with whom you may or may not agree.

Continue reading: Stickers and Stars — How Effective are Rewards? – readilearn

Christmas lessons and activities for P-2

Christmas Lessons and Activities for P–2 – #readilearn

December is packed with excitement for children in Australia. It marks the end of the school year and the beginning of the long summer, often called ‘Christmas’, holidays and, of course, Christmas itself.

Once final assessments for the year are done, it can be difficult keeping children focused on learning when their thoughts are turning to imminent adventures.

However, it needn’t be so, and here at readilearn we have a variety of lessons that keep the children learning while having some Christmas fun.

For me, the real meaning of Christmas is being kind and generous in spirit. But of course, those values are not confined to Christmas and hopefully children have been developing their friendship skills and ability to get along throughout the year. Maybe you’ve used some of the readilearn friendship skills lessons to support their development.

Who celebrates Christmas?

Before you dive into Christmas activities, a survey will help you 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. A generosity of spirit develops when we see that what we share is more important than the ways in which we differ. Learning about each other is an important way of developing understanding.

Count down the school days 

Continue reading: Christmas Lessons and Activities for P–2 – readilearn

November days to celebrate in the classroom

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

It’s November already and we’re starting the countdown to the end of the year, but there are many more things to celebrate before we welcome in the new year.

The month starts off in a wonderful way by celebrating reading with Australia Reads from 1 – 12 November. I don’t think there can ever be too many days to celebrate reading, literacy and literature.

The Australia Reads Kids digital event on Monday 9 November at 10.30 am is free for all Australian schools. For other events, including interviews with authors and digital story readings, check out this list. Events most days. The site also has some suggestions of great books for children at different year levels.

The week culminates on 12 November with the Reading Hour, when everyone is asked to drop everything and read! What a great excuse to spend more time reading and sharing the love of literature. You can read to yourself or read to the children.

You can join up at the Australia Reads website to take the pledge too (and even make your own logo, as I did):

“I will read for an hour on Thursday 12 November.
I will read books in any shape, form or size.
I will read, whether with bumps, letters, pictures, sound.
I will read to myself or someone else.”

Outdoor Classroom Day on 5 November is a perfect time for taking children outdoors to learn and explore. The day is “a global campaign to celebrate and inspire outdoor learning and play.” This year’s theme is Love the Outdoors.

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

Special days and events for classroom celebrations - June

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

It’s almost June already and the change of season is upon us. I don’t know how you have felt during lockdown, but for me it has felt like time has stood still and sped by at the same time. Where have those months gone when so much has been put on hold, but teachers have still been working as they learn new ways of teaching and interacting with their students? I hope wherever you are, that you are staying safe and well and finding much to enjoy in life.

In this post, I share some dates in June you may wish to celebrate with your students, whether teaching in the classroom, as most are in Australia now, or online, as some are still doing overseas.

National Reconciliation Week is celebrated from 27 May until 3 June so it’s not too late to join in the celebration now. The aim of the week is to provide “a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.” For this to occur, “Reconciliation must live in the hearts, minds and actions of all Australians as we move forward, creating a nation strengthened by respectful relationships between the wider Australian community, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

National Reconciliation Week

The theme for this year is “In this Together”.

You may wish to refer to the post I wrote last year for some suggestions and a list of picture books to read.

The list of picture books may be downloaded here (free).

World Environment Day is celebrated on 5 June . The theme of this year’s World Environment Day is Biodiversity with a focus on the ‘interdependence of humans and the webs of life, in which they exist’.

Follow this link to take a biodiversity quiz, find out how you can be involved in the day, and discover a wide range of projects for engaging children in activities that promote environmental awareness and action.

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

May - special days and events to celebrate in the classroom

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

May is almost upon us so I’ve put together a list of days and events that you may like to celebrate whether you are teaching in the classroom, online or at home.

Before I present the list though, I’d like to let you know that readilearn interactive lessons, of which there are over 70, are ready for you to teach in any of those circumstances in which you find yourself. While they were designed to use on the interactive whiteboard in the classroom, you can use them if you are teaching online using screen sharing software such as Zoom. I’ve made a video to explain.

Now let’s check out these days to celebrate in May. You may read them below or download the free list here.

World Laughter Day is celebrated on the first Sunday in May, which is the 3rd this year. There is no denying that we could all do with a little more laughter in our lives. While we may not be able to gather together to laugh in large groups this year, there are still many ways we can find to add laughter to our day. We could have a laughter get-together online, watch a funny movie or videos of comedians. What will make you laugh on World Laughter Day?

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

special days and events for classroom celebrations

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

We are only a quarter into the year but it seems so much longer with so much happening and situations changing constantly. While the situation will be far from business as usual for most of you, I will try to keep this post as close to usual as possible.

Whether children are at home or at school, their learning must continue. readilearn supports you with lessons and activities that focus on progressing children’s learning rather than simply keeping them busy. With resources easily affordable, and many of them free, readilearn is good value for teachers or parents working with children aged 5 – 7. If you feel yours is a special situation which places this low-cost resource out of your reach, please contact us.

April Fools’ Day

Be careful on 1 April as it is April Fools’ Day and tricksters and pranksters are about. Be on the lookout for fake news stories and all sorts of jokers trying to trip you up. Who will you trick?

International Children’s Book Day  

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