About educateempower.blog

Mother, environmentalist, teacher librarian and book reviewer.

Gifted education musings: Creativity.

Gifted children, from an early age can show the capacity to think creatively, critically and abstractly.

Have you ever had them ask a question and you wondered how they came up with that thought? Or wondered why they have thought so hard about something that just seems trivial to you?


Gifted children need to know that these thoughts are valid and wonderful! As a parent you need to support this thinking and foster it in the best possible way so you not only have a confident child but you are a confident parent.

Being a confident parent allows you to inform teachers the strengths and weaknesses of your child.

What can you do?

  • Build a home environment that nurtures this creativity. Allow your child to flourish at home and have a space that they can always create.
  • Before praising them about the way the have responded or created something,, ask them how they came up with the idea. Learning how to explain their thinking is a great tool.
  • Provide them with opportunities to explore their area of interest and link in with like minded individuals. Think after school activities, holiday clubs, online groups, links with universities, visits to art galleries, performances and music halls.
  • Keep records of their creations and try to create with them.
  • Encourage taking risks when trying new techniques and talk about mistakes and why we need to make them to learn.

If you need support with your gifted child or a gifted student in your classroom. Please get in touch for one on one consultations and workshops.

Vanessa: educateempower1@gmail.com

And read this great tip sheet created by The National Association for Gifted Children

http://www.nagc.org/sites/default/files/Publication%20PHP/NAGC%20TIP%20Sheet%20-%20Nurturing%20Creativity-FINAL-UPDATED-October%202017.pdf

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A few books about families


Just the way we are by Jessica Shirvington and Claire Robertson

Reading this story with your child will help them to know that families come in all different shapes and sizes and because of that we are all shaped in different ways in how we look, feel and act.


The family hour by Tai Snaith

The family hour by Tai Snaith explores how different Australian animals spend time together – frog dads sing, seadragon dads carry their babies in their pouch, echidna mothers feed their babies pink milk and Tasmanian devil families love to be noisy! 

As we read through this book we had a laugh at some of the  family antics, a hint of jealousy at some and a feeling of wonder with others. The animal world is so intricate and it is wonderful to read books like this one to make these facts much more fun for children.


The patchwork bike by Maxine Beneba Clarke and Van T Rudd

The Patchwork Bike by Maxine Beneba Clarke and Van T Rudd is a fun book filled with onomatopoeia, vibrant adjectives and outside active play.

As you read through this story the energy seeps out of the pages as the children tumble through the streets, run up and down hills and zoom along on their homemade bike.

Family forest by Kim Kane and Lucia Masciullo

The modern family comes in all shapes and sizes, with half-sisters, big brothers and step-parents. Some kids have a family tree, and others have a family forest! Created by the award-winning author Kim Kane and celebrated illustrator Lucia Masciullo, half-sisters, this gentle and witty picture book explores one such gorgeous family.

Erik the Lone Wolf by Sarah Finan

Everybody knows that wolves live in packs. But one little wolf cub dreams of setting off on his own adventure… all by himself! Will life as a lone wolf be everything he hoped, or will he miss the rough and tumble of the pack? This fun adventure story featuring a cute wolf cub teaches young readers about the value of friendship, showing how good friends can still be with you, even when they’re not!


Save time, Save money and be eco #3 – Oranges and Apples

So being Eco-friendly and sustainable looks too expensive? Takes up too much time? Doesn’t do the same job?

It can be – organic food can be double the price and also hard to find, sending you to different shops and vendors. And some more earth friendly products just don’t do the same job as they promise.

But you can change this by making products of your own, that do not take more than a couple of minutes!

Orange spray for cleaning.

Why orange for cleaning? It adds a nice freshness to the cleaning and it acts as a solvent so help remove tough stains.

How to make?

  1. Eat at least 2 oranges.
  2. Keep the peels and place them into a wide jar.
  3. Cover the peels with plain white vinegar
  4. Leave on the bench for at least one week, temperature dependant you may want to leave for longer.
  5. Decant into a spray bottle and use on kitchen benches, stainless steel and ovens!

Apple Cider Vinegar

Why make? Apple Cider vinegar can retail at quite a high price and it is sooooo easy to make! It contains bacteria good for your gut and adds taste to different dishes – just check out some great recipes and you will see!

How to make?

  1. Eat at least 3 large apples or 6 small ones.
  2. Place into a clean wide jar.
  3. Cover apple cores and peels with filtered water and cover with a cloth and rubber band.
  4. Leave for 7 days (temp dependant – may need longer or shorter so keep an eye on it!)
  5. Remember to burp every day and check apples are still covered.
  6. Once there is a vinegar smell, remove the cores and peels and leave to brew and use as necessary!

Imaginative Texts – Books that take you to other worlds

Here is a list of some great books that can take your class to another world and inspire some great imaginative writing.

Beware the Deep dark forest by Sue Whiting

Errol by Zanni Louise & Phillip Bunting

‘Errol. Errol. Errol! Come this very minute!’ calls Errol’s mum. But does Errol listen? Not very likely. Errol has much better things to do!

ERROL is illustrated by Kate Greenaway Medal nominee Philip Bunting, and published by Scholastic in Australia, UK and Asia.


Let’s escape by Mike Dumbleton and Kim Gamble

Let’s escape by Mike Dumbleton is an adventure story that takes place within different storybook lands and times.

The young boy creeps through a forest, rides a wild horse and shotos past giants – all in his pyjamas!


The boy on the Page by Peter Carnavas

One quiet morning, a small boy lands on the page.  As a world begins to grow around him, he finds himself doing all sorts of things.  He rolls down a hill.  He catches a shiny, silver fish.  He climbs a mountain, falls in love and builds a house.

But one question troubles him…

Why is he here?


The Tunnel by Anthony Browne

Anthony Browne is at his most brilliant in a new edition of this profound picture book about sibling relations.Once upon a time there lived a brother and sister who were complete opposites and constantly fought and argued. One day they discovered the tunnel. The boy goes through it at once, dismissing his sister’s fears. When he doesn’t return his sister has to pluck up the courage to go through the tunnel too. She finds her brother in a mysterious forest where he has been turned to stone…


Castles by Allan Baillie

One day a Princess came to the beach. She built a castle.

But it wasn’t long before a rotten irate arrived. . .

A day at the beach becomes a wonderful adventure in this picture book by Allan Baillie, the acclaimed author of Drac and the Gremlin. With stunning illustrations by Caroline Margerl, this magical story celebrates play and the imagination.

http://t.dgm-au.com/c/357229/69171/1880



The incurable imagination by Paul Russell and Aska


Right from the start, everyone knew there was something a little bit different about Audrey.

Do you know a child who has a wonderful imagination? Or perhaps you know one who doesn’t have one at all?

The Incurable Imagination is a delightful picture book about the wonder of imagination.

We follow little Audrey as she draws ogres, creates her own songs and talks to giraffes dressed in suits. Her imagination grows and grows and even the most boring of lessons can’t stop it.

Soon enough Audrey’s wonderful imagination become contagious and everyone in her classroom (including the teacher) began to see the world in a completely different way.

The Incurable Imagination by Paul Russell and Aska shows the importance of imagination and how much power it can give us. Many children have become too reliant on tv shows, pre made games and toys to amuse them and thus when left with a blank slate in any situation – don’t know what to do.

Paul Russell also highlights the importance of inspiring teacher who help children to find that imagination and Aska’s illustrations show just how wonderful imagination can be.

This book will encourage young children to use their imagination more often and go beyond the boundaries that have been set. It will also encourage parents to let their children be bored so their imagination can fire up and be a vibrant as little Audrey’s!

The Incurable Imagination will hopefully allow your body to catch ‘imaginitis’ so that  learning and activities can be a lot more fun!

Little Bird’s Day by Sally Morgan and illustrated by Johnny Warrkatja Malibarr


Little birds flit around us all of the time, but what do they eat? Where do they go when the sun goes down and why do they wake us up so early?

In Little Bird’s Day by Sally Morgan and illustrated by Johnny Warrkatja Malibarr the daily life of a bird is explained through simple language and traditional art techniques.

Through the story we hear the personification of the clouds and the moon, we wonder about the dreams the little bird has and we listen to the daily movements it needs to make to survive.

On each page the reader is told what is happening to the little bird and then in italics there is a whisper from the world telling the little bird what to do

Here come Cloud, huffing and puffing.

Time to play little Bird, time to spin across the sky.

Johnny Warrkatja Malibarr is the inaugural winner of the Kestin Indigenous Illustrator award and through his illustrations this story is brought to life. The cross hatching of the animal skin show texture, the colours of the desert show the variety of landscape in the desert regions and the night sky pages is full of dreams and wonder.

This story will appeal to readers of all ages as not only will readers learn about the daily life of a bird but Indigenous art techniques and the use of figurative language.

So what can you do?

Sustainability

What do birds need from the natural world to survive? What happens to them if some of the things the little bird does in this book go missing?

Literacy

Look at the personification of dusk and the moon. Why have they used this literary technique? Explore different ways to personify objects.

Science

Explore the daily life of a bird and create a flowchart to show this.

STEAM

Create a book based on the daily life of a bird local to your area using indigenous techniques from a local artist if possible.

Write a story about the daily life of a native animal local to your area – perhaps as it lives naturally and then as it lives in the urban environment. How would different objects interact with it?

Junior Flyer Logbook

Any travel plans?

Making memories are a huge part of the reason we love to travel and the Junior Flyer Logbook created by http://www.juniorflyers.com.au is a great way for young children to record the details of the journey!

This logbook is for children who love air travel or are perhaps feeling a bit apprehensive about it. Children can record their seat number, food they ate and in flight entertainment. They can draw or paste a memory of the flight and write down any travelling companions they may have.

Not only can children record these details, they can also learn lots of great facts about air travel ranging from statistics on different types of aeroplanes, where aviation museums are and famous pilots!

There is space for 36 flights in the log book so lots of memories can be kept together for many years.

Recommended for children who fly in planes!

Hayden’s Bedtime by Wendy Haynes. Illustrated by Brett Curzon

Do you have a young child that puts off bedtime?

Do they suddenly need to tell you something? Ask you to find a lost toy? Or search for whatever might be lurking behind the door?

If so, you (and the young reader) will enjoy Hayden’s Bedtime by Wendy Haynes and illustrated by Brett Curzon.

It’s 8 o’clock and time for bed but Hayden has other plans…who really wants to go to bed when there is so much to think about and do!?

No matter what his Dad tries Hayden needs his questions answered and his mind put at ease. Hayden will do anything he can before the lights get turned off! .

He asks his Dad to search under the bed, behind the door, inside the cupboard and in the drawer and this leads to many fascinating discoveries!

You’ll be surprised (or perhaps not…) at what is found and how it all helps Hayden to settle down.

Children and parents will relate very well to this book and find there are some wonderful discussions to be had around the different things the Father and son find.

The story is written in rhyme which makes it a fun book to read out loud to little ones. The illustrations are bright and colourful, adding sunshine to this night time tale!

Children can explore colours through different objects found under Hayden’s bed but also the vibrant and joyful illustrations.

Exploration of prepositions and their usage around a familiar place, study of rhyming words and also the link to day and night time can all be explored through this fun and easy to read picture book.

And most importantly, children can have the important discussion about the importance of sleep and that there is no need to fear.

Hayden’s Bedtime is a wonderful picture book that will be enjoyed again and again and perhaps help those imaginative minds to sleep as they see Hayden nod off at the end of the book.

Enjoy some great teacher notes here too

The Dog runner by Bren MacDibble


“When the world turns upside down, the ones that survive are the first ones who learn to walk on their heads.”


The Dog Runner , written by Bren MacDibble is a  poignant Middle grade fiction book that allows readers to delve into a world where food is scarce and the world population is suffering.

We meet Ella, the quiet city girl who has lost her mother and hasn’t seen her for 8 months.  She borrows books from her neighbour by sliding them under his door and she remembers life before people started to become dangerous.  Her father and brother live with her and each day, although comforting to still have some of her family, is an act of survival.

Until her Dad doesn’t return home.

Ella and her brother Emery need to find not only their Dad but also Ella’s mum and Emery’s home out in the Mallee scrub. If they can find this place not only will they find his family but they will be able to live off the land and not have  to live off canned sardines and old books.

But to get there they need to pass people who will stop at nothing and land that has little water or shade. Ella and Emery shouldn’t have to take a dangerous journey like this – but they must.

But that’s when Maroochy, Wolf, Bear, Oyster and Squid come in –  A pack of dogs who are strong enough to pull a sled across the barren land. The adventure starts when they take off from the city and it is non stop suspense as they bump and race over the land.

The Dog Runner highlights the importance of the danger of relying too heavily on the use of pesticides on farmed land, large corporations who focus on one type of grain and thinking we can constantly kill our soil and hope that it continues to give us more food.

In this world that Bren MacDibble creates, a fungus has killed all crops around the world and it is only the genius of Emery’s grandpa that gives Emery and Ella hope that the world will again be fed and hopefully more aware.

Indigenous farming methods are the best suited farming methods for Australia and it is about time that we started to take more notice of how they looked after the land and always had diversity in what they grew. Many crops in Australia are not suited to the climate and the soil has been mistreated so poorly that the reliance on pesticides is increasing.

This book sends a message to us all – re learn your Australian history and trust the methods and the crops that the first Australians grew. Stop relying on multinational companies and start looking towards smaller scale farms that take time to look after soils and produce.

Let the judging begin!

Every year the CBCA announce a list of books that are notable from the previous year and every year we sit and wonder who will win.

Many schools hold their own voting competitions but I thought it would be much better for the students to learn how to judge a book themselves.

Attached are three documents that you can use in the lead up to the CBCA announcements and any other book competition for that matter!

Enjoy

CBCA Notable lesson ideas

Older readers

Lenny’s book of everything by Karen Foxlee

Tales from Inner City by Shaun Tan https://educateempower.blog/2019/03/06/tales-from-the-inner-city-by-shaun-tan/

Younger readers

Black Cockatoo by Carl Merrison

His Name was walter by Emily Rodda

Early Childhood

Collecting Sunshine by Rachel Flynn

Beware the deep Dark forest by Sue Whiting

Picture book of the year

Room on our rock by Kate and Joe Temple

Girl on Wire by Lucy Estela

The incredible freedom machines by Kirli Saunders

The all new must have orange 430 by Michael Speechley

When you’re going to the moon by Sasha Beekman

Cicada by Shaun Tan

Eve Pownell Award

Digby and Claude by Emma Allen and Hannah Somerville

The flying optometrist by Joanne Anderton and Karen Erasmus

The great lizard trek by Felicity Bradshaw and Norma MacDonald

Australian Birds by Matt Chun

Bouncing Back by Coral Tulloch and Rohan Cleave

Under the Southern Cross by Frane Lessac

Waves by Rawlins, Donna, Potter, Heather , Jackson, Mark 

Our Birds: Ŋilimurruŋgu Wäyin Malanynha by Stubbs, Siena

Sorry Day by Vass, Coralillus. Leffler, Dub


Collecting Sunshine by Rachel Flynn and Tamsin Ainslie


A collection, by definition is both the action of collecting something or a group of things.

Children love collecting things and we often get caught up with their desire to collect stuff we need to buy – but this book Collecting Sunshine – shows that collections are everywhere we look, and do not cost a single cent.

Mabel and Robert are out for a walk collecting anything they can touch, smell, hear, taste and see. Their senses are alive with wonderment as they count their collections, play in the rain and collect things that cannot fit into pockets.

Reading Collecting Sunshine makes you realise how much joy children get from being outside and taking the time to look closely at the world around them. A simple 5 minute walk can turn into an hour but they joy they find in their collecting, is second to none.

Collecting Sunshine will be enjoyed by young children and inspire them and hopefully their adults to start collecting things from the natural and outside world around them rather than the shopping centre!  

The illustrations are vibrant and full of detail, giving the simple story so much more. Young eyes will love the tiny details of the cats up in trees, budgerigars watching closely and rainbows dancing on the grass.

In the classroom

Numeracy

Take your class outside and collect things. Record this on a sheet and create graphs to show the different types of collections and the amounts of things we can have in a collection.

Science

Use this book to look at the five senses and how we can look at different things differently through a sense. E.g : We can touch a collection of rocks but can we taste rocks? Hear rocks? Smell rocks? See rocks?

Activity Pack : https://www.penguin.com.au/content/PRH_FLYNN_PBOTM_PACK_HR.pdf

Teacher notes: http://www.lamontbooks.com.au/media/126706/september-2018-ec-collecting-sunshine.pdf

The Dream Peddler by Irena Kobald and Christopher Nielson

Once upon a time a boy was born.

He laughed. He kicked.

He grew.

He wondered, and had many dreams

A picture book inspired by a mother’s anguish over her son’s ice addiction, The Dream Peddler is a story designed to start a conversation with older readers that dreams sold to us falsely are not always as they seem.

Told in folktale format, we meet  boy who lives with his family. Time goes on and he grows up and leaves home with a heart full of dreams.

Until he meets the Dream Peddler who entices him to try a different dream which in turn leads to him to not only forget what his original dreams were but also to develop an addiction.

This story is simple yet deep. It can be read on so many levels. Young readers will grasp at the idea of chasing dreams and becoming addicted to something so much that we forget who we are. Older readers will start to see the connection to drugs and how life with them can be nothing but broken hopes and dreams.

Addiction to drugs is too real and too many young people use these drugs either daily or recreationally. Children need to know what the side effects of drugs are before they start to try them out. They need to know who is giving it to them and consider if they really need them.

This book does focus on the illegal drug ‘ice’ but with a growing world there are so many other ways we can become disjointed from our world and addicted to things that take our lives away.

The Dream Peddler is a great book to read to young people so that they can see how important family, friends and following your hopes and dreams are. One off highs and addictions only ruin lives and it is something we need to address more fiercely.

In the classroom

This book can be used within PD lessons on Drugs

Literacy

You can look at the style of folk tales and fables in this story – how a simple story can send us such a strong message without telling us what to do.  

Visual literacy

Look at how the following have been represented: Loss of direction in life, drugs, drug seller, anger, anguish, addiction, realisation

Buy here through Booktopia

Read more here: http://www.dirtlanepress.com/press

In the bush I see by Kiara Honeychurch.

What do you see when you walk in the bush? A playful platypus? A nosey wren or perhaps a slithering snake?

When you come on a walk through this picture book you will meet an ensemble of animals who move throughout the Australian bush.

Kiara Honeychurch has created colourful animals who exude colour and life as they move about on their daily expeditions.

Young children will love the rainbow colours added to each animal and the small details that give texture. They will love the text for it’s simplicity and the ability for them to know what will come next once they have read it again and again! Kiara Honeychurch has done a marvellous job adding tones and changing light to each illustration

The echidna is a favourite at our house with it’s waddling walk and it’s shiny nose. Just this one page has started some extra research into these magnificent creatures!

As you read along you can talk about the noises each of these animals makes, how they move, where they live and what they eat.

. This book is part of a series by Magabala Books called Young Art which showcase young indigenous artists through easy to read board books.

Tales from the inner city by Shaun Tan


We took the orca from the sea and put it in the sky. It was just so beautiful up there, so inspiring. But the calls of the mother never stopped.

Every story in this compilation will make you think about the world we live in and the relationships we have with animals.

You will come across animals we have forgotten, places that once were and never will be again, animals that live within our urban environments and others that want to live with us. You meet animals with agendas  – and will come away from each story wondering how much you really know about the animals that are part of this world.

Each story is accompanied with an illustration which adds more depth. Each story is filled with ideas rather than character or plot development but leaves you wondering – how did we get here?

These stories and poems can just be read for pure enjoyment and reflection but they can also be pondered upon – with the question – Is this really it?

This book is for older readers to enjoy and think about how animals can save us, and how our lives are forever entwined, for better or for worse.

So what can be done in the classroom?

Animals & Sustainability

Look at the table of contents and explore the way this has been created. Research how humans have and do interact between the animals and themselves. Draw similarities between the animal and human.

Compare and contrast the living habitats of animals who dwell in urban and rural areas. Are there benefits to either way of living

Explore the collective nouns for each of these animals.

Literacy

Explore flash fiction / microstory about a chosen animal after reading one in Tan’s novel (crocodile, butterfly, snails, shark, cat sheep, hippos, orca)  

Explore the famous short story by Ernest Hemingway

Why is this a good story?

Explore how picture books can tell a story in less than 500 words.

What do they need? What don’t they need?

Flash fiction does not have images – or perhaps only one – so you will need to tell more but still not as much as a short story.

Under the southern Cross by Frane Lessac.


Take a fact tastic tour on Frane Lessac’s most recent picture book – Under the southern cross and discover many intriguing facts about Australia that perhaps you never knew.


Such as

  • A golden staircase rises from the sea over Broome with every full moon.
  • Ribbons of rainbows hover over Tasmania at certain times of the year
  • Cape Tribulation is home to one of the oldest rainforests in the world
  • The southern cross is used not only for navigation but to help with seasons and of course storytelling.

Each page is filled with simple facts but overarching this is the double page lllustration highlighting the beauty and wonder of the particular place in Australia.

Details abound and so much can be gained from just looking at the illustrations before reading the facts.

Under the Southern Cross is a great book to use in the classroom to show how we can learn about what really makes each place around Australia unique. We often get caught up in the basic facts and landmarks – this book will inspire your students to look further into each individual place and see what really makes it different.

What can you do with this book?

Geography

Plot each place on the map of Australia then compare at least two of them to discover the similarities and differences.

Why have these places been chosen to be in this book? Find another place or two that you think should be included in the book for their uniqueness.

Literacy

Write a short piece – similar to how each place is introduced in the book to introduce a place of your choice.

STEM

Explore other constellations that are important in the Southern Hemisphere.

Locate these in the night sky and find out if there are any Indigenous stories that accompany them.

Teacher notes:

https://www.franelessac.com/wp-content/uploads/Under-the-Southern-Cross-Classroom-Ideas.pdf

The wonder of trees by Nicola Davies and Lorna Scobie

A third of our planet is covered by trees so surely they should be something we know a lot about?

Perhaps not.


The wonder of trees by Nicola Davies and Lorna Scobie is an in depth book which explores the extraordinary diversity of trees, the animals that need them and the clusters of them around the planet.

Not only are the pages filled with easy to read information, they are also adorned with stunning illustrations which detail the leaves, bark, root systems and animals.

Many scientific names are included on each page, allowing children who otherwise may not be, exposed to scientific language.

The wonder of trees is a book to keep returning to as there is quite a bit of information to be absorbed. Although young children will love the illustrations, older children from ages 5 will enjoy reading pieces of the information which is organised in small clusters around the pages.

The book is also broken up into sections such as different types of forests, how people use the forest, what animals need, how trees grow and the different amazing parts they have for survival.

This A3 size book will be enjoyed by children not only for its information but also the intricate illustrations. It’s one that can be used to explore areas of science, discuss sustainability and wonder about the world that the trees which surround us support.

Save time, save money and be eco #2 – Veggies

So you’ve been told to only eat organic, only buy from farmer’s markets and nothing wrapped in plastic – tricky? Yes!

After reading many years ago that the pesticides that are sprayed on our vegetables cause more harm than good to not only our bodies but also the environment, I was determined to eat better.

We tried organic for everything

First we tried organic. Eating certified organic food is one of the best possible ways you can avoid nasty pesticides but it is very expensive and often wrapped in unnecessary plastic to differentiate it from other vegetables.

So I found a list: https://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/dirty-dozen-fruits-and-vegetables/

And we tried to stick by this but as you are well aware time and money comes into play

So we found this – A local coop : Harvest Hub

Harvest hub has been a great find for us. It supplies Sydney suburbs with small scale farmed produce and many of it is spray free. This means they are not certified organic but still limit the amount and types of sprays they use. The fruit and vegetables are fresh – no sitting in freezers for month and we are supporting locally grown produce – no overseas food miles here.

We may spend a little bit more money but the produce lasts A LOT LONGER than supermarket food. I have had carrots fall to the bottom of the drawer and be found two weeks later still crispy and delicious! (that would never happen with the supermarket bought carrots)

So what do I recommend?

  1. Buy organic if you can but only if it is not wrapped in plastic. Local coops and farmers markets can offer affordable organic produce at times.
  2. Buy spray free if not organic. Google your local coops for this and seek farmers markets.
  3. If you cannot afford either, soak your vegetables in one tablespoon of baking soda to a bowl of water (https://foodrevolution.org/blog/how-to-wash-vegetables-fruits/) to remove pesticide residue.
  4. Buy local food and buy in season. You do not need mandarins from USA in summer if you can buy melons and berries grown in Australia.
  5. Buy fruit and vegetables that are not wrapped in plastic – does it really save you time? I highly doubt it.

What do you do to lessen your impact on the environment and your wallet when buying fruit and vegetables?

The ultimate animal counting book by Jennifer Cossins


1 Blue whale: Blue whales are one of the loudest animals in the world and they can hear each other from up to 1600 kilometres away.

The ultimate animal counting book is most definitely an ultimate counting book. From numbers 1-100 you can explore an increasing number of animals who inhabit this planet.

In amongst the animals you will find facts about how they live, what they can do and how they are unique. You will also notice that although each page is dedicated to one animal in particular – they are all very different.

Zebras all have completely different spots (check out the 15 different patterns with number 15!)

The 48 Ibises are not all the white feathered and black beak bin divers we see in our suburbs but also red, green and brown.

And the 100 fairy flies are usually so small that we can’t even see many of them without a microscope.

Wild and domesticated animals, urban and rural dwellers, pests and endangered species have have all made it into this book which is important to show just how diverse the animal kingdom is and how our interaction with them plays a huge role.

Jennifer Cossins has created many other wonderful books about animals and this one is a great addition to the collection. Children of all ages will enjoy learning how to count, reading the different facts and pouring over the illustrations of each individual animal.

Art/Numeracy activity

Can you create a whole class counting book with a focus on endangered animals, animals in your local area or animals in your country?

Integrate skip counting or addition sums with your science unit on living things.

Where happiness lives by Barry Timms and Greg Abbott


Where does happiness live? How do you find it and hold onto it?


This delightful picture book Where happiness lives by Barry Timms and Greg Abbott is not only a cleverly rhymed story but the illustrations are intricate and the peep holes through to the adjoining pages make the story lots of fun.

The story begins at Grey Mouse’s house. It i safe, roomy and filled with friends and family. Grey Mouse thinks he has a wonderful life until he spies a much bigger house far off in the distance.

Thinking that a big house with many beautiful things must mean happiness, little grey mouse and his friend White mouse go on a journey to find what they think will make them happy.

But it is along the way that the reader can pick up on the things that the little mice are not noticing – the fluttering butterflies, the singing birds and the sweet smelling flowers – and wonder why they think that a big house with lots of treasures will somehow give them more.

It isn’t until they meet the brown mouse that they realise what true happiness is.

This book will spark conversations about what makes us happy and why we feel that things make this happiness. We live in a society where we are told to buy more and spend up to feel good – but we need to start to teach our children that this is not the pathway to be taken.

Where happiness lives by Barry Timms and Greg Abbott is a great springboard to inspire young children to stop and look at what they have, appreciate the goodness in the simplicity of life and the beauty that friendships can bring.

Buy here today

The day we built the bridge by Samantha Tidy and Fiona Burrows


The first thing that you will notice in this picture book are the end pages, adorned with Australian native flowers – Gum blossoms, Wattle and Geraldton Wax flowers.

The day we built the bridge by Samantha Tidy and Fiona Burrows is a beautifully illustrated picture book that allows younger readers to explore this important timeline of Australian history.

Fitting in perfectly with any Australian history lesson, this book has a key focus around Sydney’s need for the harbour bridge. We see the journey from the bridges inception in the 1890’s until the day it was finished and celebrated in 1932.


As a key icon of Australia, many of us may not know how much thought and how much time it took for this bridge to be built. It is something we see all time time in either our passing over it or viewing it on commercials about Australia. It’s connection is not only that of two land masses but also of a community that wanted more.

The pictures in this book tell just as much of a story as the words do, and together they create a magical book that takes you back in time to a place that Sydney was.

The day we built the bridge is an excellent way for children to see the time it took for the bridge to be built and the other things that were going on whilst this all was happening. It allows them to see what children did, how families worked together and the day to day life of Australians through the war and times where money was scarce.

Stunning illustrations and poignant words will bring you back to this book again and again. It is one to share in the classroom and at home.

So what else can you do with this book?

History

Write down different words that you associate with commemorative events in Australia. Why is the building of the bridge so important? Are there other events just as important? Can we rank these events?

Use trove.nla.gov.au to explore images and newspaper articles from this time in Sydney and make comparisons to bg events of today.

Research how bridges were made then and how they are made now – are there any differences?

Create a timeline in your own space of the events that took place in the lead up to the bridge being created. What else can you add?

If the bridge was a different design, how might Sydney look or feel?

https://t.dgm-au.com/c/357229/137028/2741

Save time, Save money and be eco….#1

So you look at those bloggers and instagrammers and see how easy it is to live waste free, chemical free and gluten free.

And rather than being inspired, you feel guilt.

Am I right?

We need to remember that many of these infamous influencers are

  • Single or without kids
  • Have a steady income to support organic food
  • Do not work
  • Live close to cafes that cook good quality food.

You may not tick all of these boxes but you still can achieve a waste free, better eating and less of an impact lifestyle – – – – – and I am going to talk about how this can be done!

I’ve been on this eco-health journey for quite some time now and I’m still not perfect at it. I work part time and have two young children so being waste free and healthy all the time can be impossible.

BUT, I can get there most of the time and I am sure you can too.

Are there any things that you do now to make a better difference than last year?

Is there something that you wish you did years ago that would not only make less of an impact on the planet but also an impact on your wallet?

I’d love to know as I am going to share how we have built up to have less rubbish in our bin at the end of the week, better food in our bodies and more money in our pockets!

Join me!

The Australian students guide to Writing and Grammar by Claire Duffy


Many students find studying grammar a chore – because of the way it is taught and the wonder of – do I really need this?

This book, The Australian students guide to Writing and Grammar by Claire Duffy, is a very concise yet easy to use book about grammar and writing for students who need to know a little bit more in their own time.want to know more.

The Australian students guide to Writing and Grammar by Claire Duffy provides students information about basic grammar and skills in writing before it delves into how to be a writer who can write creatively, persuasively and analytically.

Examples are provided throughout each chapter and the language used talks to the students in a friendly and easy to understand manner.

I loved the nerd corners for the extra fact and the tables filled with accessible information about different types of writing.

This book doesn’t ask the reader to do anything except read the information provided. There are no tasks to complete or quizes to fill in. I think because of this students will return to this book when they are unsure of any aspect of writing and grammar, knowing it is a place they can read, learn and do in their own time.

I know that I will be using this to revisit some of the writing techniques not only in my own writing but in the lessons I teach.

Highly recommended for teachers and students as it fits nicely into a bag, is simple to use and very informative.

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There are fish everywhere by Britta Teckentrup


This non-fiction hardcover book will delight anyone who has ever cast their eyes across a natural body of water and wondered what might lie underneath.

Colourful illustrations fill each page alongside with snippets of fishy facts. The facts are easy to read yet give the depth young fish enthusiasts crave and will perhaps inspire them to find out more.  

The number of different types of fish around the world is phenomenal. They can be bony or cartilaginous, live in salt or fresh water and some have even been found in caves, under ice and deserts!

Each fact is accompanied by an illustration making the information easier to digest and pour over. There are flow charts, timelines and diagrams as well as information that compares different types of fish.

There are fish everywhere by Britta Teckentrup is an excellent book to inspire a love of nature and the inner scientist!

Library lesson

Research a fish  that is local to your waters and draw or paint an image of it. Add a diagram or flowchart to describe more about this fish using ideas from the picture book

Sustainability

Why do we need so many different types of fish?

Look at the food chain and wonder what life would be like without fish.

Visual art

Research a fish

Science

Explore life cycles of different fish as inspired by Britta

Compare and contrast different types of fish

Geography

Learn about the world according to where different fish are found.