Tag Archives: teaching ideas

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

teaching and learning with nursery rhymes

Teaching and learning with nursery rhymes – reblogged from readilearn

Nursery rhymes are often a child’s first introduction to our literary heritage. Parents sing nursery rhyme lullabies to soothe their babies to sleep and play nursery rhyme games to entertain them in their waking hours. All the while, children are learning the rhythms and tones of our language, developing vocabulary, ideas and imagination. When children learn the repetitive patterns of nursery rhymes, they are also developing their memories.

Australian author Mem Fox is often quoted as saying that

“Experts in literacy and child development have discovered that if children know eight nursery rhymes by heart by the time they’re four years old, they’re usually among the best readers by the time they’re eight.”

While I am aware that others question the existence of research to back up that statement, I think most teachers would agree that children who have been spoken to, sung to (including nursery rhymes) and read to before school will find literacy learning much easier in our classrooms. Success with literacy learning often correlates with success later in life.

Already on the readilearn website, there are resources to support your literacy teaching using the nursery rhymes Humpty Dumpty and Little Miss Muffet. More are in development. While some nursery rhymes may be considered to have questionable origins, those origins have no place when teaching them to children. The benefits flow from having fun with the rhythms and rhymes of language.

Teaching literacy skills & developing creative thinking with Humpty Dumpty

The Humpty Dumpty suite of resources includes:

Continue reading: Teaching and learning with nursery rhymes – readilearn

learning is fun with Halloween-themed activities

Learning with Halloween fun – readilearn

Halloween is just around the corner and many of us wonder how we can have fun with a Halloween theme while ensuring learning is not forgotten in repetitious and meaningless worksheets.

readilearn teaching resources support teachers in keeping the learning alive while the children are having fun with Halloween-themed lessons.

trick or treat printable game for Halloween

The printable Trick or Treat Game for Halloween is a fun board game for two or more players of all ages, 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.

Everything required to play the game is included in the zip folder. All you’ll need to add is a dice and a sense of fun. There are treats to collect and instructions to follow. Try not to be scared by those witches and ghosts and, most of all, look out for your friends.

The kit also includes additional ideas for lessons in maths and writing.

Each of the game components are also available individually to use in other ways if you wish.

Continue reading: Learning with Halloween fun – readilearn

be prepared - the casual teacher's motto

readilearn: Be prepared – a casual teacher’s motto

It’s not always easy being a casual teacher, taking over another teacher’s class for the day. You might be in a different class at a different school, working with a different age group and a different set of expectations, and probably playground duty, every day of the week.

But it does have its advantages too. You can arrive just before school begins and leave when it finishes. You don’t have to do assessment, write reports or be involved in parent meetings.

But it is important to be prepared.

Familiarise yourself with the class timetable and program

Many teachers leave a program for relief teachers to follow and, if one is available, it is important to follow it to maintain continuity for the children and to avoid interrupting the teaching and learning schedule. However, there may be days when a program is not available, and a casual teacher needs to be prepared for these.

Whether a day’s program is available or not, it is important to remember that it’s not your class. There will be established class expectations, procedures and timetables. The day will work best if these can be followed as closely as possible, particularly if teacher aides, support personnel and specialist teachers are involved.

Introduce yourself and your expectations

Continue reading: readilearn: Be prepared – a casual teacher’s motto

Ideas for playtime at school – Readilearn

We generally think of recess as fun time for children. But it is not always so for those who find socialising difficult or for those who have trouble thinking of something to do.

Incorporating social and friendship skills into the daily class program has enormous benefits in preventing unhappy times in the playground.

Happy and peaceful playgrounds can be cultivated by:

  • providing children with strategies for friendly play, including how to join in, participate, and allow others to join in;
  • teaching children activities and games to play alone or with others;
  • offering equipment to support those activities and games.

Peaceful playgrounds filled with happy active children contribute to a healthier, happier community more able to focus on learning during class time.

Being active contributes to children’s overall physical development, including gross and fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination, and fitness.

Opportunities for introducing activities and games can be seized in many areas of the curriculum. In addition to the obvious; physical education, they can be slotted into

Continue reading: Ideas for playtime at school – Readilearn