Environmental books, Picture books that address current issues

Munkle arvur and the big dry – some simple ideas! 

This is a great read aloud story for all children as it introduces then to many different literacy devices and a big environmental issue of water conservation.

This book reminded me of Dr Suess as the story is filled with nonsense words, alliteration and rhyme.

Water is precious! ‘This land has dried up!’ Munkle said, feeling sad, ‘Dustified desert? oh, it’s crickling up bad.’

‘And the Tikaroo Springs? They’ve been sucked up this hose! I smell Bod-mischief here and it’s blocking my nose.’

Readers are introduced to the importance of water conservation through this energetic story of the water stealing Bod and the Eco loving Munkle! It was a refreshing environmental tale as I find many have a sad tinge to them:this one doesn’t but still sends across a message for our young readers to take in.

So what can you do at home or in the classroom? 

  • Play with alliteration! Can you make up sentences that contain all the same sounds as your child’s first name sound?
  • Rhyme! As you read see if your child can finish off the sentence.
  • Nonsense words. What do these words really mean? How did Nikki Slad Robinson come up with them? Try to create your own words by blending two words together!
  • Compare: find some dr Suess books and compare the language and writing style. Try The Lorax as this also has an environmental theme.
  • Do you know any Bods? Keep a water diary at home to see who is the biggestBod in your house! Think of some ways you can conserve water.
Advertisements
Uncategorized

National Tree Day

This Sunday will be national tree day. What will you be doing?

trees

If you  can’t make it to an event why not read a book about trees with your children and go outside! It’s the simple things that make the difference!

Try one of these books:

Forest by Marc Martin

Leaf by Stephen Michael King

Uno’s Garden by Graeme Base

Last tree in the city

The Lorax by Dr Suess

Where the Forest Meets the sea by Jeannie Baker.

 

Let me know if you would like any help in adding more to your literacy or home reading time.

Enjoy your day appreciating the trees!

Environmental books

The Very Hungry Bum by Claudia Rowe

I love this book so much! Luckily my children love it to so I can read it to them over and over.

hungrybum

What would you do if you had a bum that was so hungry it would eat not only your underpants but sleeping bags, butterflies and tennis racquets? That’s one of the many great questions we can use when reading this book.

But why am I linking this into my blog on books about sustainability? Well humour can get us a long long way and while many environmental books are hopeful they are often quite sad too.

I have really wanted to blog about this book as I feel that the issue of bums eating underpants is a major issue!

Just recently clothes have started to become cheaper and cheaper and becuase of this we have become more of a throwaway society, not worrying if a shirt rips after one use as it was only $5. These clothes are ending up in landfill too quickly and too easily. We need to make more of a conscious effort.

So how can reading this book inspire thought in you and your children or students?

  • Look at how clothes are made. Choose an item of clothing in your house, see what it is made from and then research this material or item.
  • Map on the world where all the clothes in your house come from – this will raise an interesting discussion. Can you change this somehow?
  • How is a pair of underpants made? Guess how it is sewn together, how pictures are placed on these and what the material is made of. Research and check your hypothesis.
  • How can we ensure clothes last? Look at the types of materials that last longer by using some websites of companies whose aim is to make clothes that last forever such as:  http://www.buymeonce.com/clothes/ and http://textilebeat.com/category/clothing-waste/
  • Is it really cheaper to buy cheap clothes that need to be replaced more often?  Use clothing catalogues of cheap store and then add up the price of a different items and compare to a more ethical brand. Ask your child what they think is the best outcome for the long term? What would they prefer? There are many arguments for and against but try to keep in mind being sustainable!
  • Research Australian companies that have cheap, throwaway goods. Find out their ethical statements about impact on the environment. Do you really think they are following through with this? Write them an email to them to ask further questions.
  • How are clothes made or how were they made in more traditional societies or in the past?
  • CREATE: How can we use these goods when they are no longer able to be used for their original use? Look at Reverse Garbage and upcycle projects to create some ideas. Create your own new item from old clothes and plastic objects.
  • Literacy: Parodies – what are they and how have they been used? Create your own parody of a well known book (see the others Claudia Rowe has!)

 

LINKS TO THE CURRICULUM

SCIENCE

Different materials can be combined for a particular purpose (ACSSU031)

Natural and processed materials have a range of physical properties that can influence their use (ACSSU074)

DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY

Recognise the role of people in design and technologies occupations and explore factors, including sustainability that impact on the design of products, services and environments to meet community needs (ACTDEK010)

Investigate food and fibre production and food technologies used in modern and traditional societies (ACTDEK012)

Examine how people in design and technologies occupations address competing considerations, including sustainability in the design of products, services, and environments for current and future use (ACTDEK019)

Critique needs or opportunities for designing, and investigate materials, components, tools, equipment and processes to achieve intended designed solutions (ACTDEP024)

SUSTAINABILITY

OI.6 The sustainability of ecological, social and economic systems is achieved through informed individual and community action that values local and global equity and fairness across generations into the future.

OI.7 Actions for a more sustainable future reflect values of care, respect and responsibility, and require us to explore and understand environments.

OI.8 Designing action for sustainability requires an evaluation of past practices, the assessment of scientific and technological developments, and balanced judgements based on projected future economic, social and environmental impacts.

OI.9 Sustainable futures result from actions designed to preserve and/or restore the quality and uniqueness of environments.

Environmental books

Verdi by Janell Cannon

A quick snapshot post – Just some quick ideas for your day!

My son is fascinated by snakes so this book was chosen purely on the standout image on the front cover.

verdi

Snakes are feared by many and because of this there are many endangered species. This book brings about an awareness that snakes are animals that are just trying to have fun!

Verdi by Janell Cannon is a heartwarming story of a young python named Verdi who doesn’t want to grow up – seeing the older green snakes as boring and unimaginative.

Throughout the book the reader can view intricate images of Verdi and his crazy antics.

We see him develop into a larger green python and learn that it isn’t that bad becoming older as although we see life in a different way, we can still have fun with the younger generation.

So how can we talk about this book?

SCIENCE

  • The back two pages is full of fascinating facts about snakes. It is very wordy for young children so I would pull out facts that are straight to the point. You might even want to research snakes yourself from here.
  • Create a life cycle of Pythons and then perhaps some other great Australia snakes!
  • Ask: Are snakes endangered? Why?
  • Where do Australian snakes live? How do they live?

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

  • Growing up is fun but be careful of the risks you take ( Link to when Verdi fell)
  • Older snakes can be wise and full of fun too (Link to Verdi playing with the young snakes)
  • How can we have fun with older people in our family? How do we link in with members of our family?

LINKS

Investigate resources and strategies to manage changes and transitions associated with puberty (ACPPS052)

Environmental books

The Legends of Moonie Jarl

 

Fraser Island is a large Sandy Island that many people love to visit for it’s pristine waters and sandy terrain. However there once was a tribe that lived here – the Butchulla Tribe.

The Legends of Moonie Jarl, contains legends from the Butchulla tribe that were used to teach young Indigenous children about the origins of birds, animals and plants.

The difference with this tribe was that as the stories were told, the signs and symbols were drawn into the dirt. These symbols were then woven into their dilly bags so that the stories remained part of their every day lives.

As we read the stories within this book it was interesting trying to interpret the pictures which accompanied most of the legends.

Learning about our Indigenous past is important for all Australians and we need to do this more often with our young children. Many of these stories tell us ways in which the land can be cared for and how we can respect the native flora and fauna.

So what can you do?

  • MAIN IDEA: Create your own story by drawing a picture in a square. Look at the stories in the book to get ideas how the ideas are portrayed. Remember that they do not follow our western way of storytelling, be creative and look at how Moonie Jarl as drawn the stories. As you create, think of a story that teaches others something about the land and it’s creatures.

To help create the story think about:

  • Which stories told children about safety?
  • Which stories are about animals? plants? birds?
  • Are any of the stories frightening?
  • What sort of colours are used? Why?
  • Why are there different names for animals we know? Can you find out more about the Butchulla language?

Many aspects of the curriculum can be infused with learning of our Indigenous past

http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/crosscurriculumpriorities/aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-histories-and-cultures/overview

OI.5 – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ ways of life are uniquely expressed through ways of being, knowing, thinking and doing.

OI.3 – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have holistic belief systems and are spiritually and intellectually connected to the land, sea, sky and waterways.

Parent tips, Uncategorized

Screen time

I’ve just read an article about screen time and it alarmed me as they quoted that some parents allow their children to be in front of a screen for 4 hours a day! When you are only up for 12 hours that is quite a long time for a small child.

https://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2015/02/12/why-slowing-down-stimuli-to-real-time-helps-a-childs-brain/

Screen time in this article consists of television watching and computer game playing – not work as I know many adults would use screens for most of their day.

The concern here is why are we allowing our children this many hours of screen time?

  •  Are we too busy with work and this is our babysitter?
  • Do we see the screen as an educational tool so deem it OK for it to be on for a long period of time?
  • Have we run out of options to entertain our children?

 

Here are some of my suggestions and what I do at home:

  • During the week (and most weekends) we only allow television in the afternoons and try to limit it to up to 2 hours a day. There are days when I am tired, need to get something done or the children just need a break themselves and I think television is great for this. We generally watch ABC for Kids or our own DVD’s.
  • I avoid television in the morning as I find it just puts the kids out, they just don’t seem to function as well after even half an hour. The article suggests that the brain can get tired from too much stimulation  – many computer games can do this too.
  • When my children need downtime we pick up some books and sit down together to read. We all get a break, we can sit closely and have some quiet time.
  • I allow them to play with ‘stuff’ I keep old boxes, bits of plastic, toilets rolls and let the kids create there own things. They can use the masking tape to make their own inventions and I find this can keep them busy if I need to do some work.
  • Find simple toys that empower them and ignite imagination – blocks, duplo, string, lego, playdough. All of these toys require little supervision or adult input. You may need to start them off for 5-10 minutes but then you can get things done on your own.
  • If you feel that you really need the TV perhaps you need to look at how your child plays. Perhaps they need to be taught how to play; so show them. Find a period of the day where you can give them your full attention so you can upskill them in play. If children cannot play they will find learning at school difficult.
  • Have a look at what your child is watching or playing. Is it age appropriate? Is it over stimulating?
  • Could you try music instead? There are some great Kids radio stations and great CD’s. I have found having the radio on at home can provide that added stimulation.

And lastly:

  • Get outside! Even if you take your laptop or washing to fold out with you, being outside is much better than always hanging inside AND you’ll feel better for it!

trees

 

Picture books that address current issues

Mad Magpie by Gregg Dreise

mag3

This is such a bright and fun book  for children of all ages. I was immediately drawn to the bright colours and the indigenous artwork – I just had to find out more about Mad Magpie by Gregg Dreise!

Mad Magpie is a book that states it is for anyone who has ever been picked on, which I am sure many children have.

The story follows magpie who has been teased by the Butcher Birds. He doesn’t know how to manage his anger or ignore the Butcher birds so turns to swooping.

The elders are there to help Guluu (magpie) and eventually he learns to ignore the bullies, be calm and be at peace. The other birds soon learnt too that it wasn’t any fun teasing and soon enough the bird world was at peace.

mag2

So what can you talk about as you read or after you read this book?

Bullying is the key issue here so talking about so here are some ideas you can talk about:

How we feel when others bully us

how we feel when we tease others

why do we tease others?

why do others tease us?

Can you think of a time when you have been teased?

How did it make you feel & why did they tease you?

If talking about this is hard – and it can be. Ask children to draw a magpie. Write in the left wing: How I feel when I am teased. Right wing: What do I do when I am teased. Body: How can I be strong like Guluu? Tail: How can I be calm like Guluu? If children need to talk about a time when they were teased let them – it is good to discuss these events and reflect on what they can do if it happens again.

There may also be a need to talk about peer pressure. Here we could use the birds again but have a group of butcher birds drawn up. In there heads write how we feel when we tease others. Wings – actions we take when we tease others. Body: How we feel after we tease others. Tail – what can we do if we feel this pressure again?

Kidsmatter is a great site full of resources that help to build social and emotional intelligence in children.

mag

ACPPS055 | Content description | Years 5 and 6 | Health and Physical Education | Personal, Social and Community Health | Communicating and interacting for health and wellbeing  

ACPPS037 | Content description | Years 3 and 4 | Health and Physical Education | Personal, Social and Community Health | Communicating and interacting for health and wellbeing  

 

Creativity

Incredibilia

You may ask: why is this linked to environmental books?

I decided to link it because it is about a young girl who has a beautiful imagination. She is creative, she dreams and she plays.

We need more creative people who can dream big and believe that their dreams can be acted upon to make a difference in the world. The world needs our help in so many ways and by linking creative thinking to our daily lives we can encourage everyone to think outside the box and look for ways we can make a change.

I hope this blog full of books and reading tips can help someone to make a difference! (as inspired by my weekly email from Alice Nicholls: The Whole Daily.

incredibilia

I loved reading Incredibilia by Libby Hathorn and illustrated by Gaye Chapman to my children, the pictures really transport you to an imaginative world full of crazy creatures, whispy clouds and natural beauty. We loved looking at each page and imagining what Georgie was thinking about, what she was playing and how the others could play to. Another great blog I follow has explored some simple ideas about play in her own backyard and the amazing possibilities a tree can offer!

You too can read this book to yourself, to your class or to your own children.

Questions to ask

  •  What is Georgie thinking?
  • Why won’t the other children play with her?
  • Draw what you love to think about.
  • Draw an imaginative world where happiness, love and peace reign. (or write a story for those who prefer to write)
  • Max and Harriet didn’t think Georgie’s imagination games were worthwhile. How can we make sure we include everyone in our play?
  • Why do we need imagination?
  • Research some successful people who have dreamt big when others didn’t believe them. Here are some starter websites: failedatfirst  Bigdreamers successandfailure

This links in closely with the Kids Matter units of work in that it raises children social and emotional intelligence.

This book looks at:

Self Awareness: be proud of your passions. Be proud of your dreams. Don’t let others opinions hamper you.

Social Awareness: We can include others by merging our ways of learning together. Sometimes great things can come out of collaboration.

Relationship skills: Learning how to play together, how to include others and how we can play fairly.

 

 

 

 

Parent tips

Quick reading out loud tips

toptips

 

Whenever you start any book with your child:

  1. Look at the front cover and ask…I wonder what this book could be about – draw ideas from the pictures. Read the title and draw ideas from this. Encourage creative thinking – no wrong answers!
  2. Read the authors name and illustrators name. Discuss what they are.
  3. Look at the spine – Note the title and author is here and this is how we easily find books on the book shelf.
  4. Back cover – this will give us more ideas about what the book is about so read the blurb, look at the pictures and read any reviews that others have given.
  5. More detail – discuss what a barcode is, an ISBN number and the price!
  6. This will all encourage creative thinking in your child. Encourage any responses – no one can be incorrect from a guess!

Enjoy reading!

 

Environmental books

Walking with the seasons in Kakadu

There is more to a season than just a change in name or change in our clothes – but do city dwelling children know this?

The weather plays a big role in our lives. As a modern day city dweller the weather affects the clothes I wear, my daily activities and my choice between thongs or gumboots as I run outside to feed the chooks.

BUT for many seasons play a vital role in survival.

Weather effects growth of food, healing of soil, hibernation of animals, plants and insects, movement of land and traditionally movement of people.

Walking with the seasons in Kakadu focuses our learning towards the seasons of the Top End of Australia. As we walk through the story we learn how the people feel with each changing season, what happens in that season and how they prepare for the next.

This story is full of rich illustrations and the information is presented to the reader in small easy to digest format spoken by members of the tribe.

Although this book is set in the top end you can relate it to your own environment. You can help children become more aware of the seasons around them – take them and show them there is more to a season than just a change in the name. Go outside and watch buds grow, notice the different insects that come out at different times of the year, and keep a photo diary to remember and compare.

How can we link this to our students and children at home?

Science

Life Cycles – See my teacher pay teachers store to purchase this inquiry based lesson plan: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Different-Kids-Different-Lessons

Senses

– Go outside at least once a day and take notes about a tree, grass patch, small srhub. Note the change in leaf colour, insect and animal behaviour around the plant, smell in the air, bud appearing and soil texture.

– Purchase a rain guage and outside thermometer – children will love to see what the temperature is at theie house as compared to the local weather report!