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World Refugee Day

Today is world refugee day

RW-Logo

Refugees are a real, current and terrible problem that we have in our world and possibly one that will get worse if war continues, water rises in low lying islands of the world and famine ravages nations.

We need to help educate our children so that they feel empathy towards these people who just seek safety in a new land where they too can live a peaceful and happy life.

We need to help educate our children so that they can become change makers in our world.

Refugees in our world

We need to empower them to write letters to the government. We need to show them that refugees are good people who can add depth to our society. We need them to know that countries who are in a good place should be looking out for them.

There are many ways you can help children to understand more about refugees.

Download a great unit of work you can do at home or in the classroom

https://www.dropbox.com/s/anfyoef9kldf9lr/Exploring%20Refugees%20in%20our%20world.docx?dl=0 

And check these books out too:

Books that link to refugees

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Book review, Books with current issues, Uncategorized

Stories make us Honest

 

The theme for stories this month, as written by Australian Children’s Laureate – Morris Gleitzman, is ‘Just admit it: Stories make us honest’

Stories make us honest.png

Many stories that we read have an element of truth to them and perhaps ask us to question our own actions too. Here are some prompts to help you think a little bit more about the truth:

  • What is the truth? Can it be different in different settings? with different characters and different times?
  • Do people really like finding out the truth?
  • Should characters always seek to find the truth?
  • Can truth be hurtful or wonderful? Or both?
  • Can you think of some stories where the character had to find out more truths about themselves before they could move on?
  • Have you ever told yourself a story to help you learn or cope about the truth?

Explore the truth through some of these books:

Out by Angela May George

The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon

Room on our Rock by Kate and Jol Temple

Illegal by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin

Feathers by Phil Cummings

Children in our world: Refugees and Migrants

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

Continue reading “Stories make us Honest”

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Missing Marvin by Sue deGennaro

Marvin didn’t budge from his bed. He was hoping the problem would disappear if he hid away long enough. But it didn’t disappear.

Bullying takes place in many forms and sometimes the bully might not realise how much damage they are doing especially if they think they are just having ‘fun’

Missing Marvin explores this type of bullying – one which may seem harmless , but really it is terribly harmful.

Marvin works with his friends at Baggage Handlers United and every day they play jokes on him. At first Marvin doesn’t mind but when they become more often and more hurtful, he doesn’t come back to work.

His friends at first have no idea why he isn’t at work anymore but slowly and surely they realise – jokes just aren’t the same when there is no one to play them on AND jokes are pretty bad when you it’s on you.

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Missing Marvin
Luckily Marvin musters up the courage to return to work and speak to his friends about how he is feeling. And luckily his friends listen to him and change their ways.

Missing Marving by Sue deGennaro is an excellent book to read to children of any age as it helps them to see that playing jokes on someone can be very harmful. Children can also see that being able to have courage to not let these things get you down is important.

We need to build resilience in our children for the times when parents and teachers can’t intervene . We need to teach them to move away from those bullies, talk to them or someone who can make them stop.

Bullying is a much more complex issue these days with so much of it happening online but by reading stories like these we can start to empower our children.

If children are aware of how harmful jokes can be and learn to be aware of other people’s feelings while they are young then perhaps the online bullying may never occur.

So what else can you do with this book?

  • Talk about bullying and the different ways it happens in your school.
  • Draw pictures and write words about how you feel when you have bullied someone or been bullied.
  • Explore pathways to take if you need to stop bullying happening in your school. Explore the school policy as part of this exercise.

EXPLORE THE PICTURE BOOK

  • What sort of jokes were played on Marvin and how did each one effect him?
  • Why has this book been written with animals instead of people?
  • There is a lot of blue in the illustrations – do you think this might mean anything?
  • Look at the pictures on Marvin’s wall – what do they represent?

 

Book review, Books with current issues, Environmental books, Uncategorized

When the mountains roared by Jess Butterworth

Ever since her mum died, Ruby has been afraid. Of cars. Of the dark. Of going to sleep and never waking up. But then the last remaining leopards of the mountain are threatened and everything changes. 

Without warning Ruby’s mother is killed in outback Australia. Her mother, a herpetologist  leaves a gaping hole in Ruby and because of this sudden loss, she doesn’t know how to cope.

Ruby’s father and grandmother are also struggling to deal with this loss and we see this in the first chapter when they race to get away from Australia and on a boat into India without warning – to manage an abandoned hotel at the foot of the Himalayas.

At first Ruby hates living in this remote location but as time goes on she makes a friend, learns about the mountains and sees how much help she can be to the local wildlife.

But despite this new found love of the mountains she soon discovers a dark secret that it hides – poachers. These poachers are on the hunt for endangered leopards and will do anything to hide what they are up to.

You will fall in love with the mountains of India and be in awe of the determination and strength that Ruby displays despite the loss she has just experienced.

Children will relate to Ruby and Praveen and their ability to see beyond what adults see when it comes to making a difference in the world.

When the mountains roared by Jess Butterworth is an excellent read, set out in small chapters and adorned with leopard print, young readers will find this book a page turner yet a mananagable one.

When the mountains roared is a great book for a class novel study as it links in India and Australia, animal conservation and natural disasters.

So what else can you do with this book?

 – Find out where Ruby moves to from reading the description in the novel. Work out how long it would take to get there by boat and bus.

– Does this book have any similarities to Jess Butterworth’s other book ‘Running on the roof of the world”?

– Where in the world are animals poached and why does this happen? Explore what poaching means and measures in place to stop this from happening.

– Explore the differences in children’s lives around the world. Compare Ruby’s life in Australia to Praveen’s life in India as a goat herder.

– What are superstitions and why do they exist? Do you have any superstitions? How can superstitions be helpful and harmful?

– How many leopards (different types) are left in the world? Is poaching the only reason they are endangered?

Book review, Books with current issues, eco living, Environmental books, Uncategorized

Kookaburras love to laugh by Laura and Phillip Bunting

Have you ever wondered about why a Kookaburra up in that old gum tree is laughing?

Did you ever think that perhaps there has to be a serious Kookaburra amongst them all?

Kookaburras love to laugh  is another fabulous creation by Laura and Philip Bunting that will leave youngster having a good giggle as they follow the antics of a rather serious Kookaburra – who simply does now want to laugh.

As expected, the use of prints in this story add to the humour of this book. Simple movements or props added to each image give enough information for the reader to know what is going on and through this technique, children feel that they can add a bit more to the story.

This poor Kookaburra is very serious and he is sick of others trying to make him laugh – so he leaves and finds somewhere where he can have some peace and quiet….that is until he discovers that life without laughter doesn’t seem quite right and surprises his friends on his return.

Watching the subtle eye movements between each picture, talking about some good Kookaburra jokes and wondering what #%*@! Really means is all part of this story.

Kookaburras love to laugh is another wonderful story to add to the tree dwelling animal books we have so far:

Mopoke

Koalas eat gum leaves

I wonder who will be next?

So what else can you do?

  • Make sure you participate in your local areas Bird count. This is a really important way the local councils can learn about which birds reside in their areas through residents input.
  • Create your own Kookaburra jokes!
  • Always wonder what they are laughing at – always!
  • Draw your own Kookaburra and of possible photocopy it to add some extra props to create your own pictorial story board.
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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, Uncategorized

Third Witch by Jackie French

Following on from OPHELIA, QUEEN OF DENMARK and I AM JULIET, this is the third title in the series for young people that focuses on the reinterpretation of Shakespeare’s classic and enduring plays.

 

Third Witch is a cleverly told tale of the Shakespeare play, Macbeth told from the perspective of Annie Grasseyes, a young girl who is the mistress for Lady Macbeth.

Annie is not a witch but when her lady asks her to help her husband rise to become king she weaves magic through words alongside her mother and friend, Agnes.

Third witch shows us the power of words, perspective on what happiness is and how simple actions can mean so much to another.

Macbeth is a well loved play but the language used by Shakespeare has been lost on many due to it’s complexity and use of old English. I do love Macbeth but I have never been truly in love with the language used – this story opened up my eyes to the story and also another perspective of the so called evil and superstition woven into the original play.

Young readers will love this story and I think it is one to read alongside Shakespeare. Not only will it give readers another view on the story it will also allow them to learn why Shakespeare wrote the play as he has.

Themes of friendship, true love and family run strong through this novel as does the power of a single action.

Dreams, power and beauty shine out their true value.

Third Witch by Jackie French is mesmerising and one for any literary bookshelf.

You will have to read this book to find out why it is so important that we think about what we say before we say it, as we never truly know the effect it will have on someone else.

Book review, Indigenous authors, Uncategorized

I remember by Joanne Crawford and Kerry Anne Jordinson

Do you have a memory from many years ago that is as strong as it was the day you did that activity? 

Can you remember the smells, how you felt, what you saw or ate? 

Written by Joanne Crawford and illustrated by Kerry Anne Jordinson, I remember is a beautifully told story that highlights memories and how those that fill us with joy linger within our minds, even when our day to day memory is fading.

We meet our storyteller, an older women, briefly and are quickly transported back in time to a holiday she had as a child.

She tells us in detail her family trip to the Murchison River – the journey in the car, the setting up of the campsite and cooking of damper within hot coals.

Jordinson’s illustrations bring these memories to life so much so that we can feel the heat, smell the gum leaves and hear the night animals.

The gentleness of this story shows the reader just how important happy memories are to an ageing person and how much joy they can bring. It also shows just how important storytelling is – the sharing and listening to of stories brings people and places back to life and sheds light on how we can move forward.

About 4 years ago I visited the end of the Murchison River – near Kalbarri but only spent a day there…it was amazing and I can only imagine the beauty of spending a week or two there would bring. The red rock, the blue river and the green growth – a spectacular place.

I remember by Joanne Crawford moved me, its a book for young and old, one to be shared and perhaps one that will inspire some storytelling around your kitchen table.

So what else can you do with this book?

– Tell stories as often as you can, make them up or retell about a time once had.

– Go camping or spend some time outdoors – entice your senses!

– Find out where the Murchison River is and where you could camp.

– Why is storytelling such an important aspect of Australian Indigenous culture?

– What are memories? Do we need them and if we don’t have them how does this effect us?

– What would life be like if we didn’t have any memories?

Book review, Books with current issues, Uncategorized

The Pink Hat by Andrew Joyner

First there wasn’t a hat.

Then….there was.

The Pink Hat written by Andrew Joyner is a simple story with an amazing message. The issues raised in this story are huge and it has done in the simplest of ways – which I love to see in a picture book.

Andrew Joyner came up with the idea of The Pink Hat after the Women’s March took place on the 21st January, 2017. This march was taken up all around the world and it gave the world a message – women’s rights are human rights too.

We loved reading this story, following the hat and seeing all the different people that cam e by the hat, wore the hat or played with it. Each illustration, done in black and white – with pink of course really added to the importance of the hat and the people it made touch with.

As soon as I finished this story I was flooded with questions about why the little girl was marching and why women and girls do not have the same rights – still – as men and boys.  If my young children didn’t see this state of human affairs as fair – why does it still happen?

We need to raise the big issues with our young children so that they can tackle these problems and make changes for the better.

Women’s rights is a huge issue and still so many women around the world do not have the rights they should.

Thank you Andrew Joyner for creating this marvellous picture book. It will be one that I will share again and again – and I know all children will love it and understand the message being sent.

Some fun activities with your students and child

 – View a youtube video of the march and look at the different signs that were made. What do they all mean? Create your own sign that you would use in this protest march.

– Learn to knit your own hat. Crafts like this are being lost because of our love affair with fast fashion. Aim to make something from locally sourced wool.

– List the verbs used to describe how the hat moved. What other action words can be attributed to a hat?

– Investigate where in the world women’s rights are being abused. Explore why this is happening and if anything is being done to improve this.

– Investigate if women’s rights are being abused in your country, City or local town. Explore why this is happening and if anything is being done to improve this.

– Explore other protest marches that have been held on a global scale. Could you create a book like the pink hat to teacher younger people about this issue?

Book review, Environmental books, Uncategorized

Planet of the Orb Trees by Barton Ludwig

A world that exists only to have fun without any consideration of how we can make a difference?

A world where you live day by day with the hope that destruction doesn’t come your way if you remain behind the fence?

A boy who does something about his and his planet’s future despite what others say – This is Planet of the Orb Trees by Barton Ludwig.

planetoforbs

Set in the future in an old amusement park, where you can have everything you want  – but this everything is just purely amusement rides and food – no trees, no flowers and really no life except for humans.

Planet of the Orb trees explores a world where people don’t seem to care about the world around them only care for themselves and their own outcomes.

Kai, the main character, is determined to reach another planet for a better life and possibly to help his own destroyed planet. In order to do this he has to leave the safety of the amusement park, cross a desert and work out different traps and puzzles.

My older child enjoyed reading this story and although there were some sections that needed clarification, it was overall enjoyed.

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With large colourful pictures on each page, readers aged 7-13 will enjoy reading this science fiction picture book and possibly give themselves some time to think about how they care for the world around them.  Quirky characters abound and strange experiences occur but underneath this lively tale is a message – care for the world as if you were caring for it for others too.

So many of us just care for ourselves and out immediate fun – we act without thought and consequences. Kai’s planet is destroyed because of this and young readers will see the desolation of the planet despite the so called easy life the amusement park residents have.

Mr. Ludwig wrote “Planet of the Orb Trees” with hopes to promote ecological awareness, conservation of resources, and cohabitation and cooperation with animals.

Planet of the Orb trees has been published by Heart Lab Press and is available on Amazon.

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