Book review, Books with current issues, eco living, Environmental books, life cycles, nature play, Parent tips, Teacher tips and resources

I love this tree by Anna Claybourne

Come and climb up a tree, sit on it’s branches and admire it’s leaves, seeds and fruit.

Wonder no more about the secrets a tree holds as you will find out so many things in this informative non-fiction text about trees – and why so many people love them! 

In this colourfully illustrated non fiction book for children you will discover the world of trees that perhaps you did not know about.

Each page is filled with detailed explanations of trees from how it grows from a seed, how old they can be and who needs them.

The readers will discover that there is so much more to a tree than it’s leaves, bark, fruit and seeds. They will see that trees provide so much for many animals and humans and that they cleverly work so that they can survive in testing conditions.

Not only will readers learn facts about trees, they will also learn about how myths have been created about trees and their importance in different cultures and times.

I love this tree is filled with drawn illustrations and real photographs. Diagrams are labelled clearly, timelines give adequate description and there is even a pie chart! Exposure to different methods of factual information is important for young readers so that they know that reading and writing are not the only ways we can see facts.

Trees from all around the world have been included in this book as well as animals and insects that need them for survival. Perhaps this book would be a great lead into learning more about one tree in particular once you have covered the ground work through the chapters in this book.

How can I use this book at home?

This is an easy one as trees surround us – even in the cities and they are often a focus point of parks and walkways.

 —————–  > Go and investigate trees that are in your area.

——————————- > Look at different leaves that have fallen onto the ground and collect them to make a collage, basket display, sketch or chalk rubbing.

——- > Look for seed pods or flowers and try to work out which tree they have fallen from and the purpose of each one is.

Where would you use this book in the curriculum?

Literacy

There are so many ways to base factual knowledge into persuasive texts, imaginative texts and informative. 

Outdoor Learning

Check out this link on how you can learn outside and meet curriculum standards https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/resources/curriculum-connections/portfolios/outdoor-learning/

Science:

Explore different parts of trees, how they help us to survive and how we can help them to survive.

  • Living things have a variety of external features (ACSSU017
  • Living things can be grouped on the basis of observablefeatures and can be distinguished from non-living things(ACSSU044
  • Living things depend on each other and the environment to survive (ACSSU073)
  • Living things have structural features and adaptations that help them to survive in their environment
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Book review, Indigenous authors, Parent tips, picture books, Teacher tips and resources

Alfred’s War by Rachel Bin Salleh

Alfred had fought in the Great war, but his bravery was not part of the nation’s remembering. He was one of the forgotten soldiers.

A powerful picture book for children aged 7+, Alfred’s War by Rachel Bin Salleh highlights the lack of recognition given to Australian Indigenous servicemen who returned from WWI.

Alfred lived where he liked to live, outside, under the stars, beneath gum trees or by the fire. He lived free and happy as a gardener and labourer, far from home. When he signed up for war not only did he experience the horror of war but also the horror of returning home without recognition for what he did to save Australia.

Many men and women returned from war, scarred from the awful experience they had and many did not receive the support they should have – but to be forgotten would have added more insult to the injuries he sustained.

Indigenous Australians have had many injustices done to them since 1788

Rachel Bin Salleh has written a beautiful story and it really pulls at the heart strings. Children will have so many questions to ask and this is a wonderful thing. We talked about war and we talked about indigenous Australians. We talked about many things I didn’t think younger children would want to listen to, but they did because they saw an injustice in the world.

Samantha Fry’s illustrations add more emotion to each page of the story, giving more meaning to who Alfred was and what he did for Australia.

Creating stories that are told through picture like this are so important and we need to make more of them so that the mistakes of history are not created again and again.

What else can you do?

  •  Talk about war – be honest without too many details. Talk about wars that have been and wars that are still raging. Explore why they start and how they finish.
  • Talk about indigenous people of Australia, what happened to them and why. Look at the indigenous language map of Australia to see where different tribes lived and where some still live today.
  • Why were the indigenous people forgotten about?
  • Look at the different colours used on each page and how those colours make you feel.

BUY HERE – click on book below.

Alfred's War

Author Interview, Creativity

Interview with Zanni Louise about creating Tiggy and the magic paintbrush.

This week I was lucky enough to interview Zanni Louise, author of 2018 CBCA shortlisted book Archie and the Bear, Too busy sleeping and now a wonderful new series called Tiggy and the Magic Paintbrush.

Zanni Louise_ credit Kate Nutt Photography

Zanni explains what inspired her to write this new series, the importance of friendship and how a magic paintbrush can lead to the development of self belief in those tough times.

Thank you Zanni!

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  1. What inspired you to write a series of books about a young girl with a magical paintbrush?

The stories evolved over a number of years. They began as stories about a girl called Wynn and a 3D printing machine, which Wynn used to print things to solve her problems. The idea initially came from a fun conversation with my daughter. Working with editors, though, I ended up ‘refreshing’ the name, and decided that it would be more practical to have a magical device she could take with her, and preferably keep secret.

  1. Why a magical paintbrush?

When brainstorming devices, my daughter rushed past me, hurriedly painting imaginary things in the air with her invisible paintbrush. A paintbrush is handy, portable, and small enough to hide. It also gives Tiggy scope for creativity, which is something I really like.

  1. Tiggy has two special friends at school, and in one of your picture books, Archie and the bear, friendship is focussed on too. How important is it that we have friends in our lives – at all ages?

Friendship is a big theme in my life, and inadvertently a big theme in all my stories. Everyone has a different version of friendship, and I guess I’m interested in exploring all these different forms.

  1. How do you see this book helping young children as they start early schooling or even when they change classes or schools?

The first book A School Day Smile was written because my daughter was at the cusp of starting school, and I was curious about about her emotional responses, and her strategies for coping with this big change. Tiggy is clearly nervous about her first day, but is trying to be brave. I think this is a common experience, and for kids reading this, they feel validated that these are normal experiences. Tiggy also attempts to use magic to make her feelings go away, going as far as changing who she is, so people will like her. But in the end, she has to come back to being comfortable with her Tiggy-ness. I think this is important for all of us.

  1. Tiggy’s paintbrush is a tool she can use but she also learns that she can cope without it. I think this is a really important aspect of the story – why did you feel the need to ensure when children read this that they knew how important it is to realise how wonderful they are and that they can get by without these magical tools?

That aspect to the stories emerged quite unintentionally. It becomes a nice metaphor for reality though, that we don’t need to rely on our ‘crutches’ – we have all the resources we need within us. My editor at Five Mile, Melissa Keil, really helped draw out the ambiguity between Tiggy’s magic and her imagined world. I love too that Gillian’s illustrations bring this to life, by contrasting Tiggy’s ‘real’ black and white world, with her colourful imagined, magical world.

  1. You have written two wonderful picture books and now a junior fiction book. How was the process of writing Tiggy and the Magical paintbrush different to your other stories?

It took me a long time to get my head around writing for this age group. Unlike picture books, junior fiction and independent readers are being read by kids themselves, so the language needs to be very simple, without compromising the stories. The process of writing these stories, particularly as a series, has helped me really flesh out the narrative arc in all my stories. I have always gotten away with writing very intuitively with picture books. But independent readers push me in new directions.

  1. Inspiration can come from many places – how do you find yours and develop these ideas into stories?

I like to keep inspiration and creativity at my finger tips. To be honest, I have half a mind on potential ideas almost all the time! Mostly, I’ll try and write ideas down. When I get a chance, or feel particularly inspired, I’ll start nutting out a story. I’m fairly patient with stories. Some take days to develop. But some take years! Often a partly formed idea will sit on my computer for months before it becomes anything more.

  1. What else will we see Tiggy get up to in future books?

In the next two books, Tiggy tries her hand at performing, and prepares for a birthday party. And next? Well, yet to be seen!

Buy Tiggy and the Magic paintbrush here: 

A School Day Smile (Tiggy and the Magic Paintbrush)

A Pet Called Nibbles (Tiggy and the Magic Paintbrush)

Booktopia

Book review, Creativity, gifted education, Parent tips, Teacher tips and resources

Ruben by Bruce Whatley

Ruben’s dreams were of places that made no sense to him. Places that didn’t exist. At least not anymore.

Ruben, a young boy lives on the outskirts of a damaged, abandoned and futuristic city. Every day when he wakes he writes about his dreams and flicks through images of places he once knew.

Living alone, Ruben often wanders the streets, avoiding the huge machines that live in Block city who destroy things humans need for survival – freedom, safety and knowledge.

One day, on his way through the city in search of food and water, he discovers Koji, another child who is also alone. Together they understand each other, share secrets and dream of escaping on one of the fast trains that leave the destroyed city.

Bruce Whatley is a master illustrator who has created this whole world in black and white – giving it the grim and abandoned feel it needs. Readers will pour over the illustrations for hours as they journey with Ruben hoping that he can escape this formidable place.

Although set in the future, the sketches of objects Bruce Whatley has included, pull on our own heart strings and lead us to think – what if? Children of all ages will ponder the possibility of places in our world that already look like this or the possibly of our own country looking like this if we don’t care for others around us.

This Dystopian world that Ruben lives in is one that young children can enter without the violence of many other Dystopian fiction books on the market.

I have explored this book with some Gifted Year 4 students and they have thoroughly enjoyed learning more about Ruben and then creating a Dystopian world of their own.

So what can you do? 

GRASPS Task – – Ruben by Bruce Whatley

GOAL: You are going to create your own dystopian world using as many as the key areas as you can.

ROLE You are the engineer of this futuristic society. You are the designer of the people, their plight and their place.

AUDIENCE You need to create a world that will appeal to readers aged 8-12. .

SITUATION : In the book market there are many fiction books set in Dystopian worlds but they are for older readers and any are full of violence. You need to create a dystopian world without violence. There are many other ways the world can become dystopian so use your create juices and move away from the violence we hear about in the older books.

PRODUCT. The world you create needs to be a combination of things so we can get a true insight into this world. You can use: Diary entries, maps, posters, sketches, storytelling, newspaper articles, radio correspondence etc.

You will be marked out of 15.

STANDARDS and CRITERIA [INDICATORS]

 

1 2 3
Key areas of a dystopian world. Student has used 3 key areas in their dystopian world Student has used 5 key areas in their dystopian world Student has used 6 r more key areas in their dystopian world.
Understand how texts vary in complexity and technicality depending on the approach to the topic, the purpose and the intended audience (ACELA1490 Student has developed three different types of texts to engage the audience Student has developed four different types of texts to engage the audience Student has developed five or more different types of texts to engage the audience
Discuss how authors and illustrators make stories exciting, moving and absorbing and hold readers’ interest by using various techniques, for example character development and plot tension (ACELT1605 Outline how they developed characters and settings briefly. Outline how they developed characters and settings in details. Outline how they developed characters and settings in detail and respond to questions with good explanation.
Create literary texts by developing storylines, characters and settings (ACELT1794 Outline the basic process of creating this Dystopian world. Discuss how characters were developed and how they fit into the world created. consider how and why particular traits for a character have been chosen. Discuss in details why the setting has been created and how the idea was developed.
Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive print and multimodal texts, choosing text structures, language features, images and sound appropriate to purpose and audience (ACELY1704 Many errors made in final draft with little editing present. Some mistakes made in final products wth some editing present. Excellent final product with little or no mistakes.

 

 

 

Book review, eco living, Environmental books, Teacher tips and resources

How renewable energy works by Geoff Barker

Young children may have heard the term renewable energy or perhaps solar energy – but do they really know what it is and why we use it?

How renewable energy works is another title in the Eco Works series that enlightens readers in exciting world of ecological developments. This series examines green technology and how scientists are searching for the best way we can harness this technology to reduce our carbon footprint and create a better world than we have today.

How renewable energy works by Geoff Barker explore the different types of renewable energy that we are currently using in the world and why we use it. Through photographs and written information, children will discover how energy is harnessed through the use of the sun, the wind, water and waves. They will also learn about biomass, Biogas and geothermal technology.

Throughout the book we are told that these energies need to be harnessed and used by more people so that we can move away from our reliance on fossil fuels – and by giving children the knowledge about these other energy options, it will start to make sense to them why this is so.

Without knowledge, young people can feel that they don’t have the power to lobby for change so by giving them this information through real life images and simple explanations they can start to build their own knowledge and perhaps talk to their parents about the possibility of changing the energy sources their household uses.

How renewable energy works is a great addition to any classroom and makes great links to:

Science

Book review, Creativity, Parent tips, Teacher tips and resources

Tiggy and the magic paintbrush: A pet called nibbles by Zanni Louise.

Today is Pet Day at Tiggy’s school, and Tiggy is a little worried – she is the only person in the class who doesn’t have a pet! Lucky Tiggy has her special magic paintbrush – but will it help her solve the problem this time? 

The second book is this fun series – Tiggy and the magic paintbrush – takes us back to school on pet day.

I’ve never been to a school pet day, but I can imagine they would be lots of fun (and a bit chaotic) but also possibly worrying for children who don’t have a pet.

Tiggy is one of those children, but luckily with her big imagination and magic paintbrush, she can create the best pet that anyone could ask for!

And even though Tiggy can’t quite take a photo of her new pet, she is able to draw one and show her friends just how wonderful he is.

You’ll have to read the story to find out what Tiggy’s pet is and why children will love reading this book!

BUY HERE:

A Pet Called Nibbles (Tiggy and the Magic Paintbrush)

Zanni has written this story with young children and their beautifully creative imagination in mind. There are so many great ideas just waiting to be found in the big world but so often children’s lives are too busy with organised activities or technology they just don’t have the space to dream big.

This story just shows how important imagination is, how it fills your soul and mind with happiness and wonder – and encourages us to show who we are.

Tiggy is a delightful character, as are her friends and with the magic paintbrush in tow, anything can happen!

Tiggy and the magic paintbrush – a pet called nibbles has been a very popular read for my children (aged 6 and 4) and the students at school (I’ve read this to Kindergarten to Year 3!) so keep an eye out for this wonderful new series – I’m sure it will delight!

animals, bees, eco living, Environmental books, global guardian project, Teacher tips and resources

Global Guardian Project -> E-capsule reviews!

Need to inspire your young family? Or students? 

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Want to teach your children about other countries? amazing animals and how they can be activists even under the age of ten?

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Check out the Global Guardian Project, a great monthly subscription that allows you to walk through different topics with your children or class by reading, drawing, writing, viewing and meditating.

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If you want to join use my discount code: GGPVanessa for a 10% discount.

Here are some reviews I have done of some excellent modules.

https://educateempower.blog/2017/11/21/global-guardian-project-australia/

https://educateempower.blog/2018/01/25/global-guardian-project-protect-our-bees/

https://educateempower.blog/2017/12/20/endangered-animals-the-global-guardian-project/

https://educateempower.blog/2018/03/02/introducing-global-guardian-project-junior-exploring-the-ocean/

https://educateempower.blog/2017/11/06/go-litterless/

https://educateempower.blog/2017/10/30/global-guardian-project/

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Uncategorized

Living sustainably in the city links

Need some inspiration on how to live more sustainably but less stressful? Check out some posts I have written about my journey in living a more sustainable life with my family.

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https://educateempower.blog/2018/03/06/book-worms/

https://educateempower.blog/2018/02/07/sustainability-and-parenting/

https://educateempower.blog/2018/01/31/lunchbox-musings/

https://educateempower.blog/2018/01/25/global-guardian-project-protect-our-bees/

https://educateempower.blog/2018/01/17/pegs-for-the-future/

https://educateempower.blog/2018/01/01/disappearing-acts/

https://educateempower.blog/2017/12/18/how-can-you-be-kinder-to-the-planet/

https://educateempower.blog/2017/12/20/endangered-animals-the-global-guardian-project/

https://educateempower.blog/2017/12/21/how-to-inspire-yourself-to-change/

https://educateempower.blog/2017/11/21/global-guardian-project-australia/

https://educateempower.blog/2017/11/17/new-zealand-global-guardian-project-e-capsule/

Book review, Teacher tips and resources

The chronicles of Jack McCool: The Tomb of the Emerald Scarab by R.E.Devine

“I’m coming Finn,” he whispered as he stared up into the darkness of the attic. “But this time it’s you who needs to help me.”

R.E.Devine has written another action packed page turning book in the Jack McCool series. Book 2 – The tomb of the Emerald Scarab takes us back to Jack with his new knowledge of being the Prince of Tara and the only one who can save Eireann.

But being a teenager, Jack just wants to relax back into normal life for a little while despite Miss Medusa still hating him and Oscar constantly bullying him.

We visit Jack again as he prepares for a visit to the museum to see some ancient Egyptian artefacts and although the bus ride and the company are not quite what he expected – what happens when they are in the burial chamber room cause him to rush back to Eireann and Finn as soon as he can.

Rory is missing, the emerald stone is calling him and a strange smell is bothering him.

Where will he head off to in order to find his friend and jewel? Can Finn help him this time and who else will he find on the way?

Another great read by Ruth Devine and I can’t wait to read book 3…

Watch this space!

Book review, find your treasure, Teacher tips and resources

Find your treasure #3: Book mark treasure

Treasure is the word in our library and this week we have created some book marks that will ignite thinking about the wondrous treasures books can bring.

These book marks have been created by children of all ages and through this I can see the different ways students think about treasured books, the different books they love and how they want other students to love the books they have enjoyed.

 

Each bookmark will be hidden inside a book that is on a shelf in the library and whoever finds it, gets to keep it!

I wonder who will find these treasures?