How to teach your child about the importance of water.

Water is life.

As a city dweller I am sure you take water for granted. We barely need to think when we turn the taps on as water always flows out, fresh and clean.

The people who have the best access are the people who need to take better care of it. We need to educate our children so they are aware of where water comes from, where it goes after we have used it and who needs it apart from us!

Water wise activities:

  • Look at some different ocean and river animals. How do they live in and around the water?
  • Get outside and see where the pipes go after the water goes down the drain.
  • Look at the different products that you use to wash your hands, wash the clothes, wash your hair. Read the ingredients and see how these might negatively effect the waterways.
  • Find out where your water comes from – where is the local water tower, dam or river?
  • It is a human right to have access to water. Where in the world do people not have access to water?
  • Read some books that have water as a focal point such as:

river,

The river and the book,

Down the Drain,

Aquatica,

All I want for Christmas is rain

Two summers

Spark your child’s natural wonder and help them to become globally conscious and people who want to look after the world they live in. 

Whatcha Building? by Andrew Daddo and Stephen Michael King

It’s exactly what this town needs.

I adore this book, Whatcha Building? by Andrew Daddo and Stephen Michael King is a story about endings and new beginnings, imagination and determination and a sense of community.


The old milk bar around the corner from young Davey’s house in being pulled down and a new building is replacing it. Davey observes the daily deconstruction of the milk bar and each day takes a piece of timber home. The builder and the reader’s imagination run wild with all the possibilities of what young Davey might be building.

It’s only until right at the end the masterpiece is unveiled with a timely message for us all.

I love the illustrations in this story as they not only accompany the text but they add more  depth to each page. Stephen Michael King has used recycled garbage, cardboard, pen and ink to create the illustrations and this combination brings life to the story. Throughout the images we can get a real sense of the community at work and the role we all play in our environment.

So what else can you do with this book? 

Sustainability

  • We all throw out too much and many of this can be reused or recycled. Investigate what you can do with things that are no use to you anymore. Rather than just throwing them out can you create something new? Give it to someone else? Or recycle it in the best possible way.
  • Create your own doll sized house purely from recycled and reused materials.
  • What sort of materials are best for the environment? Compare and contrast different types of floorboards available to the community – work out which ones are best using categories such as value for money, ecological impact and community impact.

Global values

  • Watch building really makes us think about how important people and space is to each of us. Many of us get caught up in consumption and needing the best of everything. Is there a place in your community where people can come together?
  • Design a space where people of all ages and backgrounds can come to share the love of where they live – without having to buy things.

Literacy

  • Look at the slang used throughout the story – what do each of these slang words mean? How does this portray Dave the builder?
  • What is the significance of Davey not saying many things throughout the story?

 

Some great thinking questions:

Do endings always have new beginnings?

If all the buildings in your town were replaced how would that effect your community both negatively and positively? 

Select one architect who has changed the way we build sustainably. Find out how they approach design and how they want to improve life for all.

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Let me know how you go! It’s a beautiful book – I hope you can enjoy it too.

Wolfie: An unlikely Hero by Deborah Abela and Connah Brecon

Those Poor wolves.

Have you ever read a story where the wolf is a hero? The wolf is the good character? Or the wolf is someone that we should all look up to?


I haven’t but perhaps there is hope that not every story with a wolf in it has terror within!

Wolfie: An unlikely Hero by Deborah Abela and Connah Brecon is a humorous tale where a wolf tries to take on the storytelling skills of the narrator…and gets more than he bargained for!

Wolfie wants to be known for his running skills, his gleaming teeth, his loyalty and his bravery and the narrator takes note….but not in the way Wolfie was hoping for.

Wolf: an unlikely hero made us laugh and it also made us feel sorry for poor Wolfie – but it also made us think that perhaps we shouldn’t trust wolves…or should we?

Wolfie: an unlikely hero allows the reader to see how stories, when changed in the slightest way, can make huge differences. This story shows the reader how wonderful storytelling is and that we can all play a big role in telling different stories.

Fairytales are great places to help children become interested in reading and Wolfie plays on all of those wolf containing stories!

How can you add more to this story?

LITERACY

Predict: What do you think will happen to this wolf? Why is he an unlikely hero? How do the other characters on the front and back cover feel about this wolf?

Visualise: Think about how the wolf wants to be seen and how the narrator sees him by using the same words.

Storytelling: How can you create a story with many different endings? What events need to happen so a story can be changed so easily?

Reflect: Think about all of the different stories with wolves in them. Group these according to the different types of personalities, things they get up to and how the story finishes for the wolf.

Stereotyping:

How are wolves portrayed in different stories? How are princesses portrayed? Pigs? Dragons?

What is stereotyping and how do we stereotype in society?

 

Fairytales:

Can you create a fairytale with a different ending?
Continue reading “Wolfie: An unlikely Hero by Deborah Abela and Connah Brecon”

The tomorrow book by Jackie French and Sue Degennaro.

Written on a solar-powered computer and printed on recyclable paper The tomorrow book by Jackie French and Sue Degennaro is a story filled with hope for tomorrow.

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Many environmental books are filled with doom and gloom – as the media tells us that is where we are headed. BUT with imagination, creative thinking, problem solving and open minds, tomorrow can be a wonderful day where we harness the sun’s energy, we repair things instead of throwing them away, we each have our own veggie patch and wind power is just another form of easy to use energy.

Jackie French is a marvellous story teller and through this book she ignites ownership of the world in children and a belief that they can all make a difference to the world they live in.

Many of us are too caught up in what we are used to doing and find change so difficult but as we can see through this story that sometimes it is only the simplest of changes that makes a difference to our human world, the animals and natural habitats within in.

Sue Degennaro’s illustrations are an energetic mixture of pastel and collage (using recycled materials of course!) and add so much more to the story being told. Degennaro’s illustrations really highlight the fact that tomorrow isn’t just about humans.

So what can you do?

SUSTAINABILITY

  • Redesign your day: How would you get to work or school if you made one change? What would your meals look like?
  • How can Easter be packaged better? Reflect on the waste over Easter and how you can make a change for next year. Re design an Easter egg package so it is better for tomorrow.
  • Check out my long list of sustainability books. 
  • Check out this great program on Self-sufficiency in the suburbs!  Tell Laura I sent you.

Visual Literacy

  • How to the illustrations add more depth to the story?
  • Does the use of recycled paper change how you see the story? Why aren’t more books printed this way?
  • How does collage add a different dimension to this story – can it be used in all stories?

 

Reading books to children is a great place to start igniting ideas to make changes in the world we live in. Start conversations and take responsibility together to make a difference in the world we live in.

 

More from Harper Collins: http://static.harpercollins.com/harperimages/ommoverride/The_Tomorrow_Book_TN.pdf

Where is Bear? by Camilla de la Bedoyere

Where is Bear? by Camilla dela Bedoyere and illustrated by Emma Levey takes the reader on a wonderful journey all over the world to meet different types of bears!


Who knew that there were this many types of bears and of course many more that aren’t mentioned in the book!

This book is full of fun dialogue between a rabbit and all of the different bears she encounters on her journey to deliver a birthday present to her friend Ping the Panda Bear! As we meet each type of bear we also meet the different animals who share the same habitat.

Children learn many different facts through the conversations the animals are having with eachother and will enjoy spotting what each animal is up to.

Emma Levey’s illustrations are colourful and eye catching so your child will not only be engaged with the fun dialogue but also with the creative drawings.

Where is Bear? is a wonderful book to engage your child into not only the world of bears but also an awareness of different habitats around the world.

So what can you do with this book?

SUSTAINABILITY

  • Which bears are threatened or endangered species? Investigate why this is happening.
  • What sort of habitat do the different bears live in? Are any of these habitats changing due to human action?

SCIENCE/GEOGRAPHY

  •  Could any of these bears ever encounter each other?
  • Plot on a map where the different bears are from – make it more detailed than the one in the story.

LITERACY

  •  Create your own non-fiction picture book that allows the reader to learn about something in a fun way. Aim to engage younger readers into more complex topics.

Rock Pool Secrets by Narelle Oliver

Rock Pool Secrets by Narelle Oliver was the last book she produced in her artistic career and it truly is a wonderful book to be remembered by.


Rock Pool Secrets take children on a journey into the secrets of a rock pool through high and low tide. Children can discover the different animals that hide amongst the rocks and see how they survive fluctuations in the water level, food availability and predators.

Rock Pools are always a fascinating place to be and there is so much hidden deep down crevices and cracks, behind seaweed and darkness.

Each page engages the reader as they search for camouflaged animals, hidden molluscs and inky octopuses.

Rock Pool Secrets is a beautiful book to help your child become aware of these imagination inspiring places and how something so small can do so many amazing things.

So what can you do with this book?

SCIENCE

  • Learn about different animals that live in rock pools. Discover their life cycles, habitat and eating habits.
  • Where are rockpools situated?
  • Are there any famous rockpools in the world and why are they famous?

 

LITERACY

  • Using this book as a springboard, choose another area of interest in the area of science. How could you present this new topic in an interesting and engaging manner? Try to engage your peers in a new way so that they can learn something new.

SUSTAINABILITY

  • Why do we need rockpools?
  • How can the ph of the water effect the livelihood of rock pool creatures?
  • What sort of creatures only live in rockpools?
  • Are rockpools ever in danger of destruction?
  • If all rockpools were destroyed, what might the oceans look like?

Wendall the Narwhal by Emily Dove

This book was the find of the year. My three year old son loves Whales and therefore had a great interest in Narwhals and then we saw the name of the narwhal: WENDELL!! Wendell rhymes with our surname – who would have thought?!?!

AND it is a fantastic book!

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Wendall is a Narwhal who lives in the ocean with many other noisy sea creatures. As Wendell listens to the sounds the talented creatures make, the reader is able to experience the beauty of onomatopoeia.

Pop, Pop, Pop, Wubba, Wubba Wub, Tweeeeeedly Dee, Whoosh, Clap, clap Clap! 

And then there is Narwhal who can’t make a sound….luckily he has friends who are kind and think of a way that he too can join in with the undersea orchestra!

Wendell the Narwhal is a great way to introduce musical sounds to your young reader and also bring awareness to the amazing creatures that live in our oceans.

The illustrations are cute and add depth to the onomatopoeia. Emily Dove’s illustrations really personify each sea creature as they play their sound and feel different emotions. .

We spent some time after reading the book looking at videos of Narwhals, clams and whales. Perhaps you can too!

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

Conservation and sustainability.

  1. Research why Narwhal’s have tusks – you will be intrigued! Try to draw your own conclusions as it seems that scientists still haven’t worked it out.
  2. Where do all of these sea creatures live? Do they live side by side in reality?
  3. Are any of these creatures at risk due to human behaviour?

Language

  1. Explore the onomatopoeia words and think of some more!

Music

  1. Create your own piece of undersea music or even change the location to amongst the trees or sand dunes? Use words instead of instruments – just like the undersea orchestra in this story!