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!

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Minimising waste and reading more books!

2018 has been a great year, filled with so many wonderful books sent for reviews and bought for home or our school library.

I don’t have the time right now to list all of my favourites and I don’t know if I can choose either!! But here are a few Recent ones:

Another great thing that has happened this year is our movement towards creating less waste in landfill this year.

We’ve kept on composting and worm farming,

Reducing our food waste by making banana peel cake

Making our own dishwashing detergent, dishwasher powder and other sprays around the house!

And trying to use less packaging where we can.

I’m hoping to share more tips and tricks for parents to create less landfill waste in their homes without stressing about being zero waste – which I am sure turns many people off as it is quite unattainable for many who work full or part time, live in the suburbs, have kids, care for others .

If you know anyone who would like to join me and learn from my mistakes and my successes then pass on my blog.

See you in 2019!

I can change the world

What can we do?

Worry we aren’t doing enough when all we do is perhaps compost or perhaps you buy your food in bulk?

Do you cook from scratch? Say no to plastic bags?

Or perhaps the best thing you are doing now is educating your children through books and discussions?

 

How can we make the world a better place to live in?

From so many different sources the message is very clear.

Every small sustainable difference we make, every small change we make, every small thing we show others – all makes a difference.

What are you doing to make a difference? How are you showing this?

How are you educating children? Would love to hear what you are doing or what you would like some help doing!

You can buy this great poster at The Global Guardian Project and try my discount for a further 10% off!

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The worm who knew karate! By Jill Lever and Terry Denton

 

If a worm has no back bone, is it really that tough?

We are often told to aspire to be the early bird…what would a worm aspire to be like?

Is it fair to say that all worms hang out with bad apples?

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There are too many worm analogies floating through my head right now…I’m sure you can come up with some more – would love to hear them!

 

The worm who knew karate By Jill Lever and Terry Denton is a hilarious book about a worm who decides to become a braver and stronger worm through the art of karate! Which made me think….how can we help our children to build their confidence? And what do those worms in my worm farm really get up to? Maybe it’s a secret dojo I have never been aware of….

Confidence building in young children is vital. We need to set them up so that they can make it through life’s ups and downs at any stage. By reading books that have characters who make positive changes in their lives allows children to see what they can do when they are in a difficult situation. I know your child is not a worm

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but this book shows them that they can make changes – they can learn something they are unskilled in, they can change friendship groups, they can be different and they can make themselves the best they can be. Books are a great way to tackle those bigger issues and make conversation around them a lot easier.

BUT HOW CAN WE LINK THIS BOOK TO SUSTAINABILITY?

Get yourself a worm farm! Do you need convincing? Here are ten reasons why you need one today:

  1. Worm farms are relatively cheap and need little maintenance.
  2. All your fruit, vegetable and loose leaf tea scraps can do in there
  3. They provide nutritious fertiliser for your garden through their wee. No more store bought chemicals!
  4. They are pets that do not need walking. Your children can easily look after them. There will be no arguments!
  5. You only have to outlay money on your first purchase – worms do their own thing after that!
  6. We have had ours for 5 years and haven’t had to do anything to it so I would say they last for a long time.
  7. They do not smell – great lid design and ventilation.
  8. Easy to use tap to get rid of the worm wee and easily removed lid to feed your worms.
  9. No more stinky bin juice or changing the bin daily.
  10. Your moving one step closer to having a more sustainable household!

 

Literacy lesson ideas:

Think of other sayings like ‘The early bird catches the worm’ Create a story or picture to go with one of these so that the meaning changes.
 – Barking up the wrong tree

 

 

 

Colours of Australia by Bronwyn Bancroft.

Bronwyn Bancroft’s poetry brings the vibrant colours to life as we sail through shadows,ferns, clouds and raindrops.

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Each page brings another part of Australia to life with shades, hues and patterns.

As you read Colours of Australia, a calmness sweeps over the readers, immersing them in the Australian landscape.

We loved reading this story, looking at the different shades of colour and wondering about the beauty of Australia.

This is an excellent resource for anyone who wishes to link picture books to nature through Indigenous art techniques.

So how does this link to sustainability?

PLAY OUTSIDE!!

This book encourages us to go outside – everyone! There is so much research pointing us in the direction of outside play. We need to get more in touch with the land, the plants and the animals that are part of our world. Nature is important in so many different ways. See my blog post on nature play.

CREATE

Compare pictures of some wonderful Australian locations and create them in your own way using colours and shades like Bronwyn Bancroft has.

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Go to your local paint shop and grab some paint cards. You can find so many different shades of every colour and this can help children to discern between the different shades and how they wish to use them.

Look a local river, a river in the daintree, a river in a farming area and a river in flood through the desert. Notice the different colours of the river at different times and different locations.

Learn about Bronwyn Bancroft and her amazing artworks.

 

LITERACY

This book contains fantastic vocabulary to start drawing on the importance of synonyms in creative writing. Create your own synonym wall for each drawing in this book.

Touch and feel words – which words in this story make us ‘feel’ the word? Discuss and find more of these.

How do colours make you feel? What if you had synaesthesia. How would this effect how you ‘see’ colours?

 

Happy reading!

When should we send children to school?

This is a question that I am asked very often!

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The main people who ask this are parents of children who are born between Jan – June – they are either going to be the youngest in their grade: Still four when they begin the school year or will be the eldest, possibly turning six before they begin school.

So, as  a parent, what do you need to consider for your child?

  • If your child goes to preschool or daycare ask what they think. They see your child in a different way to a parent so trust their opinion.

 

  • Consider if your child is ready emotionally. Do they cry easily? Do they anger easily? How do they solve problems? Although your child will learn these skills as they grow up, in order for them to be happy socially, they need to be able to get along with other children as much as possible. They need to be able to talk to other adults and deal with small problems without breaking down. Keep in mind that some children will always be sensitive – have a look at this article about overexcitabilities to see if your child fits into this category: http://sengifted.org/archives/articles/overexcitability-and-the-gifted

 

  • There is some new research that is shows there can be harm in sending your child to school early rather than sending them late. BUT in saying that some children will be ready early as perhaps they have an older sibling or perhaps they are socially ready, eager and ready to learn. Check your child is ready – don’t send them because you want them to go or their friends are going. Send them because they are ready. 

 

  • Don’t think that sending them early is going to mean they will be able to read within a month. Kindergarten is now a time and a space for children to learn through play. Lessons are not as formal as they used to be and children are encouraged to move, talk and touch things in order to learn. Children need time to learn and by pushing them to know their alphabet or sight words will just turn them away from their ingrained passion to learn.

 

  • In saying that – read to your child. Encourage them to sound out words but do it in a fun way. No threats! Yes, reading is a very important skill and once we learn to read we can do so many things BUT pushing your child can teach them the incorrect skills which can do a lot more harm than good.

I once taught a kindergarten girl who was an excellent reader but had no comprehension skills. This was causing a very big issue as she was slowly dropping in her self esteem – she thought she could read and had been praised but now there was something related to reading that she couldn’t do. She had to go back to basics which was very difficult for her. 

 

  • Talk to the school. Ask what they think and allow them to meet your child. They may have open sessions where they can watch your child interact with other children around them and also how they approach different activities.

 

  • Trust yourself. You know your child better than anyone else. Trust that you know what is best for your child. You have raised them to be the best person they can be so far and I am sure you can continue to. Trust that you know what your child can do.

 

  • Keep reading those picture books! Enlighten your child to the world around them. Let them see words, play with vocabulary and have fun looking at pictures.

Crusts by Danny Parker

Wow! This book is so much fun and so creative.

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Who would have thought a great story of loss, adventure, creativity and hope would all stem from some crusts of bread!

Crusts by Danny Parker and Matt Ottley is an adventure story which will inspire those of any age to think about how something small and simple can make a big difference if we put our minds to it!

What would you do if you had kept all your crusts from your childhood? Our main character, Jacob comes up with a brilliant idea and saves a neighboring planet from doom.

So how can we link this to sustainability? 

  • Think about what you do at home or at school with your food scraps? Food waste that is placed in a regular bin can take up to three times longer (or more) than scraps placed in a compost bin or worm farm. Compost bins and worm farms are very easy to come by and require minimal maintenance. Perhaps considering buying one or making your own!
  • Conduct a food experiment at home. Test how long food takes to decompose. Place some in the compost bin, some in the worm farm, some in a plastic bag in the outside bin. Although it is a stinky experiment try to do it for about three weeks. See what happens! You will be surprised!!
  •  Perhaps adults don’t waste their crusts but I am sure many of them waste those disposable coffee cups. What can you do with those waxy lined coffee cups? Or better still – could you buy yourself a reusable cup?

Coffee cup ideas:

  • Plant some seeds in them for the garden
  • Cut them down to make mini bird feeders.
  • Turn them upside down to make some mini scare crows (or chicken scarers)

Left overs

  • What can you make with your dinner left overs (before they go into the compost bin) a fun, yet messy activity! Allows for creativity and imagination.

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We made a little hanger for birds and possums. This was the tops of some burnt cupcakes. (Whoops, we were playing outside and forgot the timer)

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  • Visit places in your local area who collect excess objects that can be put to use in other ways. Reverse garbage is great and you can come away with lots of goodies for craft.

Social Justice

Learn about companies that put left over food to good use. 

Think about how you can create less food waste by being creative with leftovers.

Creating

Create your own spaceship out of food scraps – real or imaginary. Draw up the plan to scale and work out how you would stick it all together. Lots of fun!

 

I loved this book and I hope you have fun with it too!

 

The Curious Garden by Peter Brown

One boy’s quest for a greener world, one garden at a time.

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The Curious Garden by Peter Brown is a book based on fact. The Highline is an abandoned railway line that people began to take back over and return it back to nature and open spaces for people to enjoy.

It is a poignant book as many cities, suburbs and towns are starting to explore how they can become greener, literally.

Many homes are using patches of their backyards for veggies patches and making the most of windowsill space.

We loved reading this story, not only watching the plants grow in strange places but also watching the people come out into their city to cultivate and enjoy the green space.

So what can you do?

Keep a seed diary.

Find some easy to grow seeds that produce colourful results – plenty of different types os sunflowers and everlasting native daisies are wonderful! The Diggers club have some great heirloom seeds on offer, worth checking out! A fresh legacy is also a great website for tips on how to grow a great veggie patch with your family!

Grow your own food.

I just listened to a great podcast by Laura Trotta with special guest Jessica Donovan. It highlights the importance of trying to grow some small amount of your own food. By growing your own food it gives your child a great link to where their food comes from, how long it takes to grow and how we need to help plants to grow. You can check it out here.

Plan your dream garden.

With your children get out your tape measures and scrap paper and plan your dream garden. Would you create a small maze out of lillypilli bushes? A herb maze? A stingless bee hive? A sunflower patch? Native flower garden?  A recycled water feature? The possibilities are endless and you can have so much fun doing it!

Do you work somewhere where you could plan a rooftop garden? If you do see if you can otherwise have some fun planning a rooftop garden on your apartment, townhouse or house roof or walls!

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Edible weeds

How about investigating edible weeds? I haven’t done it yet but I am keen to find out what we can eat in our own backyard. We don’t spray our grass and it’s only the chickens who peck and poo all over it so I would guess our dandelions and purslane and other weeds could be an added delicacy!

Have fun!

Part of growing your own garden is about having fun. We even planted some seeds in an old shoe as we lost the other shoe! Have fun, try something new and get outside!

Links

Mathematics

  •  Measurement – mm, cm and m.
  • Explore cm2 and m2.
  • Explore design with shapes
  • Measure rainfall – ml & l
  • Seeds per m2

Sustainability

  •  Grow your own food.
  • Link the importance of sustainable food growth but growing a variety of food and sourcing local food
  • Understand the importance of biodiversity and the need for different flowers and plants.

 

 

 

Mechanica: A beginner’s field Guide by Lance Baldachin.

How would our planet look if insects did not exist?

Can butterflies be beautiful and brutal?  

Are drones a necessary evil? 

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Mechanica: A beginner’s field guide by Lance Baldachin is a picture book for those who love the earth but wonder what is to become of it if we keep treating it the way we do.

It is circa 2250 and the earth is devoid of any natural life due to human destruction and consumption. However, mechanical creatures have been made to replace what was lost – though these are not always as kind as they look!

This very impressive picture book with detailed diagrams of futuristic insects, small animals and birds captured my attention immediately.

Children will love reading the details about each creature and looking at the intricate designs Lance has included.

There is a glimmer of hope in the Addendum – perhaps nature will always fight us and our consuming ways.

How can you use this book at home or in the classroom?

Science

  • With every animal in the story try to compare and contrast it to a real animal in your own country (if possible) (Links in to higher order thinking skills)
  • Choose any insect in our world and explore how that insect helps us to grow food, keep soil healthy or rid waste.
  • Create your own Mechanica creature. Give it a new name. Outline the details similar to Lance Baldachin descriptions.
  • Create the life cycle for these Mechanica. How is their life cycle altered when they turn bad?
  • What are drones? Explore the history of drones and wonder if we really need them….

Geography

  • Using a world map find out where these futuristic creatures live. Ask why they might live in these regions and not others.
  • What sort of Mechanica could live in your home town?

Literacy

  • Write a journal from the perspective of Miss Liberty Crisp. Outline her journey through the Orient, her experiences in Saraswati and her excursion to the National History Museum.
  • Write a persuasive outlining to others the importance of starting to take care of the world we live in. Present this in a TV advert – make it catchy, straight to the point yet entertaining.

Art

  • Create your own mechanics using recycled materials. Find old nails, bolts, cutlery etc. Not only are you creating something from waste but you are also alerting children on how much waste we do create!

 

Welcome to future Earth.
Despite repeated warnings, the environment has become polluted to such an extent that many areas of the globe have become uninhabitable, and wildlife is now extinct.
From the ashes, a new style of ‘wildlife’ is created. Wildlife that will not remain harnessed by humankind.

Welcome to the world of Mechanica.

Back Cover: Mechanica – Lance Balchin

Why should you read picture books?

Why read picture books #1

Your child will be exposed to rich vocabulary which in turn will help their reading ability. Picture book writers use a variety of language such as alliteration, rhyme, metaphors and similes. Early exposure to this eclectic mix of language devices will equip your child for their own language development.
Even wordless books provide children with vocabulary as they have to think about it and create their own words to match the story.

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Why read picture books #2

Picture books expose children to world issues that may be too complex to grasp.

The aim of my blog and this Facebook page is to enlighten parents, teachers and children about picture books that focus on how we can live more sustainably and equally.

If you take the time to sit down with your child and read a book that addresses a topical issue AND have a short discussion or follow up activity they will start to understand these big issues sooner and on their own level.

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Why read picture books #3?

Every picture book exposes children to different ways to illustrate stories. Children can view painting techniques, ink, water pastels, crayon, pencil, collage and many more! We can view art works that expose us to different perspectives, different viewpoints and different techniques.

In many cases the art of the book is what captures our imagination.

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Why read picture books #4

When we read books by ourselves we connect with the author, illustrator and characters.

When we read out loud we connect with those around us. We listen to the voices they use to tell use the story. We listen to how they read the story and we can share our thoughts as we read.

Reading with our own children brings about a closeness that is different to achieve in any other activity. We can laugh together, be surprised together, wonder about the characters, question interesting things in the images and just have a cuddle!

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Why read picture books #5

Picture books encourage play.

As we look at the illustrations we are playing as we are seeking out hidden pictures, secret codes or minor characters.

We can use ideas we have read about or seen in a picture book to play a future game with.

We can talk to each other about what we have read immediately (as most picture books do not take long to read) and have fun discussing the intricacies of the story. We can talk about how we each saw the book, which characters we loved and who we would like to be.

Picture books offer hours of fun and it doesn’t all have to be sitting down!

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Why read picture books #6

 Visual literacy!
This is a key element in many school literacy programs.
Visual literacy is how visual information adds meaning to text.
Illustrations incite the imagination, they help us to get more meaning from the text and invigorate our creativity.
Deeper and more challenging questions can be asked through knowledge of how to ‘
read’ pictures.
So what are you waiting for?

A River by Marc Martin

How is a river like our body’s circulatory system?

How is the river in this story like an idea? 

Rivers have opened up the world and closed them off. Discuss. 

A river by Marc Martin (published by Penguin Books) feels peaceful from the front cover.  It’s dreamlike illustrations and gentle words found peace and quiet in our reading time today.

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From a window and the young girls imagination takes the reader on a journey of the river from the busy, smoggy city to the calm and colourful jungle.

We see cities, farms, green hills, jungles and mangroves.

Animals are hidden within the landscape which give time for wandering eyes to pause on the picture that little bit longer.

BUY HERE:

A River

Through this story you can learn about the endless cycle of rivers and the water within them.

It is mesmerizing and meditative, inspiring and illuminating.

So what can you do?

Join my Facebook page and group: educateempower11 or closed group for teaching ideas : growing globally and socially conscious children. https://m.facebook.com/groups/362368594250457

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  • Collect some leaves. Categorise the leaves into size, shape, colours, lines and points!
  • Use these leaves to re create a picture from Marc Martin’s book, The River!
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  • Collect some rain – where can you put the rain? How much was collected? You could keep a rain diary over a month or more.

Enjoy – let me know what you think!

Fuzzy Doodle by Melinda Szymanik

Creativity seems to be a recurring theme at the moment – and I love creativity, it links in so many different topics and encourages thinking in so many different ways.

Fuzzy Doodle is a sophisticated picture book that delves into creativity through a small fuzzy doodle that magically comes to life through eating ink and words. Each page brings our imagination to life as we see this small scribble develop, change and grow into a beautiful butterfly. The pictures are eye catching and children love seeing the transformation of the print as Fuzzy grows.

 

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Fuzzy Doodle uses different poetic devices to tell us the story in a sing song fashion and really captures readers of all ages.

The pictures are stunning and the illustrator Donovan Bixley has used an array of painting and drawing techniques to show the little Fuzzy Doodle change and grow.

 

So how can we use this at home or in the classroom?

Science

Literacy

  • Explore the adjectives, adverbs, nouns and verbs used within this story. How does Fuzzy eat the words? Think of as many different words as you can for eating and rank the words from the hungriest type of eating to the least. Rank them from the politest to the rudest types of eating.

Creative thinking

  • Create your own doodle and swap with a partner. Ask them to grow and change the doodle so it grows into something.

Sustainability

  • Explore small insects and how they grow and develop over time. Explore why we need insects to make the world go around.

 

Curriculum Links

Living things have life cycles (ACSSU072)

 

Living things, including plants and animals, depend on each other and the environment to survive (ACSSU073)  

Living things grow, change and have offspring similar to themselves (ACSSU030)

Circle by Jeannie Baker

Circle is another visually striking masterpiece created by Jeannie Baker.

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As a young boy watches from the confines of his wheelchair, we learn about the annual migratory path of the Bar Tailed Godwit.

The Godwit takes part in a truly amazing journey, covering around 11,000 km in order to breed and feed.

Jeannie Baker’s images capture the landscape that the Godwit has to come across, highlighting the damage the humans are doing to not only the land by over developing but also to the many migratory animals who rely on different areas of the world to take part in their life cycle.

Circle teaches us about the Godwit’s journey through imaginative language and beautiful scenery. It allows the reader to take into account the difficult journey that these birds need to take every year in order to survive.

We also see the length of time through the eyes of the young boy as by the end he is out of his wheel chair – yet still dreaming of flying.

This is a beautiful book which can be read by all ages and understood in many different ways.

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SO how can we use this book in the classroom?

Before you read

  •   What is a God wit?
  • Where do they travel throughout the year?

As you read

  • pinpoint the countries on an adjoining map that the Godwit visits so children have an idea of the distances between countries
  • Look for other animals that can be seen, note them so you can find out more about their migratory paths.

After you read

SCIENCE

  • Research a migratory animal which has been effected by human development. Find out how it has been effected and if the animal has made it’s own changes to the path or if it’s numbers have gone into decline. Compare and contrast the different animals.
  • Life cycles: Map out the life cycle of the Godwit. Examine the different parts of their life cycle and predict what might happen if the wetlands disappear.
  • How do scientists know where these birds migrate to?
  • Can you create a better way to monitor the birds migration patterns?
  • If the Godwit’s cannot land in China, what are the roll on effects for not only the Godwit but other animals or plants? Could it land elsewhere? Investigate the terrain and habitats needed by the Godwit. 
  • Would humans have a better understanding of the world if they still had a path of migration?

GEOGRAPHY

  • Human over development: Where in your own community has over development taken place – ask this question before you provide any materials.
  • Look at different case studies of over development and if any action is being taken place to rectify the issues.
  • Look into why we have National Parks and world Heritage areas and how they have protected areas. Places to look at include: The Great Barrier Reef, Tasmanian forests, Galilee Basin, Murray-Darling River, Clarence FloodPlain, Collaroy Beach (storm of June 2016).
  • Learn more about some great places to visit around Australia. Man made structures are abundant but so are the natural ones. How can we ensure that visitors to Australia visit both and why do we want to encourage the visiting of both man-made and natural?  Check out these top 100 places!
  • Do we need National Parks and World Heritage areas?

HISTORY

  • Research great migrations of the past they may not happen any more.
  • Do animals really need to follow the same path of migration?
  • Do humans follow paths of migration?

MATHEMATICS

  • Collect Data on the numbers of decline in chosen endangered animals.
  • Collect data on the numbers of animals that are no longer endangered and compare to the endangered animals. How have different animals risen in numbers?
  • Why are numbers, tables and data collection important to the survival of animals? 

LITERACY

  • How do images engage us? Use the images from Circle and from other Jeannie Baker books to look at how her artworks engages you in the story as compared to drawn images.
  • Circular stories – This book follows a path, a journey. Can you find other stories which follow a circular pattern?

AT HOME

  • Are there any animals that visit your house on a seasonal basis? Try to find out more about them. Keep a bird, animal or insect diary.
  • Create your own collage like Jeannie Baker does. Collect local bits of nature to create a scene which represents being outside to your child.

 

Jeannie Baker’s books are always wonderful and this one tops that!

 

 

Bogtrotter by Margaret Wild

What is a Bogtrotter you might ask?

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He is a delightful creature that lives in the bog – a gloomy, marshy, mushy bog! Bogtotter, written by Margaret Wild is a book that focuses on belonging, trying new things, playing outdoors, loneliness and discovery.

The illustrations by Judith Rossell are marvellous, really bringing to life the Bogtrotter and his feelings.

The reader steps through into the life of the Bogtrotter, watching him start off doing the same thing every day, not knowing how to make a change. It is through talking to other animals around him and picking a flower that he sees that there is more to his bog.

So how can we use this book?

  • Get outside more often. It is easy to be inside with all of the gadgets, toys and applicances but some of these can be used outside too! Grab a pile of books and read them outside, take a picnic blanket onto a small patch of grass and set up some games, eat lunch outside, take photos, pick flowers/grass/leaves! there are so many things we can do outside.
  • Learn outside – many teachers spend all the teaching time in the classroom. Is it possible to have at least one lesson outside? Start with one a week then build it up.
  • Try something new – even if it is something small, once a week. You are opening yourself up to new experiences which in turn helps your thinking and view of the world.

 

SUSTAINABILITY

  • In order to understand the world and the issues within we need to get out. We need to try new things, read new things and listen to others ideas. Ignorance really is bliss but there is so much out there in the world that by trying something new or listening to someone else’s thoughts actively, we can really make a difference!

LITERACY

Before you read:

What is a Bogtrotter? What is a bog? How will picking a flower change his life?

As you read

Have a set of word cards (see my store) out that can be found during the reading (you may like to read once without the words so children can enjoy the story). As the words are found, discuss the meaning using skills of inferring. Group these words into groups of your choice (verbs, adjectives, feelings etc)

After you read

  • Retell the story in your own words using the pictures to help. Which words from the book will help you to tell the story in the most interesting way?
  • Why does Bogtrotter only say ‘Ah’ (this allows us to think more, perhaps he only needs to say ah) If you were to re tell this story – would you change this?
  • Cycles: Draw up the daily cycle of the Bogtrotter at the beginning of the book. Add to this or draw another to show how his cycle evolved over time. Link this to how we can make small changes in our life to make a difference in how we feel.
  • What are the main themes here? See what the children can come up with. Ask them to give examples through words used in the story and images drawn.
  • Persuasive text: Why should we make changes? Why should we play and learn outside?
  • Link to Choose your own Adventure stories  – How can we choose our own adventures? Look at these great planning ideas.
  • Thought bubbles: How would we write this as a comic strip or a story which uses thought bubbles? Discuss how thought bubbles can tell a story and create one!

 

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

  •  Bogtrotter feels lonely but through meeting a frog, he is inspired to make a change. Discuss how children can make changes to their life to improve it. Write down a list of things they would like to change and a plan on how they can change it by themselves or through the help of others. Draw on the importance of community and that loneliness is one of the biggest causes of depression.

 

 

 

 

 

 

LINKS TO CURRICULUM

LITERACY

Discuss characters and events in a range of literary texts and share personal responses to these texts, making connections with students’ own experiences (ACELT1582)

Use comprehension strategies to build literal and inferred meaning about key events, ideas and information in texts that they listen to, view and read by drawing on growing knowledge of context, text structures and language features (ACELY1660)

Create short imaginative and informative texts that show emerging use of appropriate text structure, sentence-level grammar, word choice, spelling, punctuation and appropriate multimodal elements, for example illustrations and diagrams (ACELY1661)

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

Describe how respect, empathy and valuing diversity can positively influence relationships (ACPPS037)

Participate in outdoor games and activities to examine how participation promotes a connection between the community, natural and built environments, and health and wellbeing (ACPPS041)

Examine the influence of emotional responses on behaviour and relationships (ACPPS056

Recognise how media and important people in the community influence personal attitudes, beliefs, decisions and behaviours (ACPPS057)

 

SUSTAINABILITY

OI.5 World views are formed by experiences at personal, local, national and global levels, and are linked to individual and community actions for sustainability.

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

Phasmid: Saving the Lord Howe Island Stick Insect by Rohan Cleave & Coral Tulloch

Phasmid: Saving the Lord Howe Island Stick Insect is not only a remarkable read but it is also an extraordinary tale of survival and the efforts of Australian scientists to save a small insect. Jane Goodall gives a forward in this book also.


Believed to be extinct, these intriguing insects were found on a rocky crevice offshore from Lord Howe Island.

Children will love this book for it’s an easy to read story , detailed images and excellent facts.

This book will shed light on the destruction introduced species can cause and how even little insects play a major role in our ecosystems.

How can we adapt this book for our younger readers?

SUSTAINABILITY

  • Research another insect that is critically endangered in Australia.
  • Draw another endangered animal or better still enter this great competition
  • If the Phasmid became extinct how would our world change?
  • Have there been other instances where rats have caused problems or extinctions?
  • How can we raise awareness of endangered animals? Create an anthology of different types of writing so that anyone who reads the anthology will be brought in to the importance of the issue through at least one piece of writing.

 

  • CREATIVE THINKING

    • What if there were no insects? What would the world look like?
    • List some reasons why we need insects.
    • If you could be an insect – what would you be?
    • What are some differences and similarities between a Phasmid and a water?
    • Are bugs the food of the future? If they are how can we ensure that we don’t make insects extinct due to our eating habits?

LITERACY

  • As the primary reader you can read through the book, stopping to explain and question the words and images. Here are some focus words.
  • camouflage Nocturnal
    Exoskeleton Mottled
    adulthood Predators
    Melaleuca leaves Banyan Leaves
    Phasmid Lord Howe Island
    Extinct Balls Pyramid
    Scientist dedicated
    breed captivity
    Invertebrates Critically endangered
  • Map: Find a map of Australia and also Lord Howe Island. Look at where LHI is and the location of Balls Pyramid.
  • Phasmid: What is Phasmid? Create a diagram which children can label. What sort of creature is it? How do we know it is an insect?
  • Create a story – Children can create their own story about the Phasmid and it’s amazing tale of survival. Encourage children to take on a different perspective – perhaps we could learn about how it got to Balls Pyramid? How it felt when the scientist took it to the lab?

SCIENCE

  • Life cycle – create a life cycle of the LHI Phasmid using the book for inspiration.
  • Learn about how scientists look after animals who are critically endangered. Look at zoo programs.

 

 

Useful weblinks

https://blog.csiro.au/childrens-book-reveals-how-phasmids-escaped-extinction/

http://www.zoo.org.au/melbourne/animals/lord-howe-island-stick-insect

http://www.lordhoweisland.info/library/species.pdf

 

Writing and drawing about sustainabillity

I have just received an email about this wonderful competition for primary school aged children.

If you would like to link sustainability and literacy please have a look at the Wilderness Society’s and The Environment Award for Children’s Literature competition.

This is a beautiful way to bring to life children’s ideas about sustainability and what it means to them.

Competition link: http://www.eacl.org.au/learn/

Some of the books I have blogged about are in their shortlist of the 2016 Environment Award for Childrens Literature. So have a look back through my blog if you need any help integrating these books into the classroom.

Phasmid: To come! Follow me for updates!

Seagull

The River

Once I heard a little wombat: To come! Follow me for updates!

Thirst:

Mister Cassowary: To come! Follow me for updates!

Platypus

WATCH THIS SPACE! OR HEAD OVER TO FACEBOOK AND LIKE MY PAGE!

Quoll by Sandra Kendell

Quoll by Sandra Kendell was published in 2008 but is still a poignant book that addresses the issue of feral and introduced animals in Australia.

quoll2

This book is full of sadness in that the poor Quoll needs to leave her home because the Cane Toad has invaded her habitat.

However, the author Sandra Kendell makes us think during the book. When the Quoll meets the cane toad the cane toad is portrayed as a thoughtful creature who just wants somewhere else to live! It made me think – are cane toads really that bad? Do they just want somewhere to live? But then common sense prevailed and I knew that although they are animals and have a right to live the fact is they are taking over habitats of the native wildlife. They do need to be stopped.

quoll

There are great organisations out there in Australia working hard to help these amazing Australian animals. Australian Quoll conservancy is one of them.

So how can we use this book with our young readers?

Get outside and see what animals are in your backyard, local park and bushland. Write down and then research which ones are native to Australia and which ones are introduced

SUSTAINABILITY

  • How can we raise more awareness?
  • What are feral animals? When is an animal feral? Explore how some animals which are problematic here are not overseas.
  • Do we need feral animals? Do we need introduced animals? Explore rabbits, cane beetle and cane toad!
  • Is it fair that we allow introduced species into the wild? Are there penalties?
  • If there were no feral animals /introduced species. in Australia would there be other issues?
  • Write a letter to your local council member outlining the problems pets can cause if they are not looked after properly.
  • Present an argument for feral animals/introduced species.

LITERACY

  •  A great way to use this book is to research a feral animal or introduced species. Think of how you can : Raise awareness of the problems this animal causes and/or how we can eradicate or limit the spread of this animal. FAME is a great organisation who aims to bring about awareness of Endangered species: http://fame.org.au/projects/western-quoll
  • Encourage this to be done through an anthology of writing pieces. Children need to know that to spread a message we need to think of our audience. AND our audience members all see, hear and think differently. SO by writing an anthology full of different pieces of writing we will grab everyone’s attention with at least one of those pieces of writing.
  • This could include: Comic strips, arguments, narratives, picture books, documentaries, poems, songs, explanations and descriptions just to name a few.

See my teacherspayteachers store to purchase this great unit of work.

 

NUMERACY

  • Look for statistics on feral animals – look for their numbers over the last 50 years.
  • Look for statistics of local native animals and their rise or decline. Look at maps and the spread of the feral.
  • Explore endangered animals, extinct and endemic!

SCIENCE

  • What is a cane toad? Where did it originate? Why did it come here – create a time line of the cane toad.
  • What is the life cycle of a cane toad? Look at how they reproduce and how many young they can have!
  • What is a Quoll? Where does it live in Australia? Explore the life cycle and habitat of a Quoll.

 

 

 

LINKS

Create literary texts that adapt or combine aspects of texts students have experienced in innovative ways (ACELT1618)

Living things have life cycles (ACSSU072)

Construct displays, including column graphs, dot plots and tables, appropriate for data type, with and without the use of digital technologies (ACMSP119

Describe and interpret different data sets in context (ACMSP120)

Imagine by Alison Lester

Imagine by Alison Lester, published by Allen and Unwin, is a wonderful book which enlightens young readers of the habitats for different animals of the world.

The two main characters explore different places animals live in the world through their imagination.

Imagine brings to life unknown animals, unknown  areas of the world and most importantly how we can learn through play and imagination.

We loved reading through the different animal names which bordered each page and I even had to research a few!

parrot

This book opened us up to many things and it can for you too.

  • Which animals live in more than one type of habitat?
  • How can animals live in certain habitats. List how different animals can live in each area. (Look at them and see how they have adapted to that climate)
  • If you could live in one of these pictures, which one would you live in?
  • Ask: Would you like to research one of these animals? Perhaps one we don’t know much about! My son wanted to know why the whale in the picture was so small so we looked at some videos on line. We found a really moving one, quite apt for this blog. I found it quite sad to watch but all was well in the end and we saw some magnificent whale breaches. Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcXU7G6zhjU
  • Find the similarities and difference between two habitats of choice.
  • Find the similarities and differences between at least two animals of choice.
  • Can you imagine one animal moving to a different habitat? What would it have to change to survive?

 

 

The Magnificent Tree by Nick Bland and Stephen Michael King

The Magnificent Tree is a beautiful collaboration by Nick Bland and Stephen Michael King. It was published in 2012 by scholastic but is ties in well with National Tree Day this weekend.

magtree3

The book’s main characters display a loving and respectful relationship between a granddaughter and her grandfather. The young girl loves doing things simply and the grandfather loves ideas that are ‘big, brave and brilliant’ but together they can work together to come up with wonderful ideas!

One day Bonny and Pop decide they need something so they can see the birds better. Pop thinks BIG and starts to draw his ideas whilst Bonny thinks simply and plants a seed with care.

We can draw many different teaching points from this book whilst enjoying the fun illustrations.

SUSTAINABILITY

  • Trees are magnificent! Are there many trees, shrubs or flowers around you that you think are magnificent? Why are they each magnificent?
  • Can man made objects be part of our landscape? How can we improve our man made landscape to make nature a part of it? Look into new ways cities are becoming greener with rooftop gardens and green spaces!
  • Create a tree diary. How many different tress are in your school? Home area? playground or local bush land?Some great ideas on this blog for looking at the amazing Banksia!
  • What can you grow in your backyard or own your balcony?
  • Can you make a simple toy to play with? Find some bits and pieces around the house that are no longer needed. This is a fantastically fun activity and it allows children to use their imagination and be creative! Create a toy that can be used outside. It will be amazing what it created if not given too many boundaries. You might like to encourage some planning and you may like to challenge them by limiting the amount of objects they can use. Try it!

THINKING – DISCUSSION POINTS

  • What are ideas? How many different ideas did Bonny and Poppy come up with?
  • What is a simple idea? What is a complex idea? Create a list of ideas and place them into categories.
  • Draw up your own inventions – one that is simple and one that is complex. Both need to fulfill a similar purpose.

SCIENCE

magtree2

 

This is a heart warming story which shows a loving and respectful relationship between grandfather and granddaughter. A great one to read on grandparents day!

It also shows that simple ideas can be wonderful so encourage those simple ideas from your children and students as from little things big things grow!!

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.

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.

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)

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.

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