ANZAC day classroom ideas

At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them. 

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Australia Remembers by Allison Paterson is a book written for children of all ages.  

Using visual literacy, young children can be engaged whilst the detailed descriptions of war time events will engage older children who will gain an understanding of why we remember the past on these days. 

Set out in a magazine like format, children can grab information through real photographs, did you know boxes, maps and quotes. They can utilise the clearly set out chapters and glossary to find out what they need to know and engage in some fun activities such as making their own Anzac biscuits, poppies and war memorials. 

Any topic such as war events often interests many children but there is not a lot of information about the war Australians were involved in that have been written for primary school aged children.

Australian remembers is able to engage all children through the easy to manage layout, short snippets of information and photos from the past.  This book would be a wonderful resource to have in the classroom for ANZAC Day and Remembrance day – not only for those students who want to know more but also for those who need to see – through images – what these events are all about. 

In the Australian primary school curriculum these special days are highlighted throughout so having a resource like this will help teachers and children to have a greater understanding as many schools do hold a ceremony, but not often devote lesson time to it.

Why should I read this book in the primary school classroom?

With this book, students can read from pages and study the images through literacy sessions, participate in art creations mentioned in the back pages and use maps in geography lessons to gain a better sense of where these events happened in the world. It would also assist those older students who have difficulty reading more in depth books about the world wars of the past.

Australian Remembers by Allison Patterson is a great resource for parents and teachers to share with children of all ages. This book shows that these stories will always play an important part in our society and that by reading them, talking about people who stand in these pictures and remembering the amazing feats done, their legacy will never be forgotten.

Original Post: https://educateempower.blog/2018/11/06/australia-remembers-anzac-day-remembrance-day-and-war-memorials-by-allison-paterson/

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The street beneath my feet by Charlotte Guillain and Yuval Zommer

Have you ever wondered what is underneath the road, path or bush track you are walking on?

Have you ever dug down just a little and noticed a change in soil type or creatures?


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Well this just might be the book for you!  The street beneath my feet by Charlotte Guillain and Yuval Zommer is not only a colourful and informative book, it also folds out to around three metres in length! 

As you unfold each page you are taken deeper and deeper underground , exploring different life forms, buried rubbish, fossils, ancient artefacts, underground rivers and different types of rock.

This book will ignite so many conversations of how we use the underground world for our own benefit and perhaps might make you think what we are destroying in order to get to rocks like coal which we seem to think we desperately need.

Children will love to see the hot lava and magma which bubbles underneath our feet and the glorious gemstones which are created by this heat.

Rocks and different parts of soil are so important to the health of plants and animals which live on earth and through reading this book you can really talk about the importance of looking after the soil by thinking about what you throw in the bin, what you place down the drain and how you dig things up!

But overall I think the winning aspect of this book is the fact that is does fold out and the children can move through the soils – gaining some idea of the depth soil goes to.

A great read and one for budding environmentalists, scientists, historians and geographers!

So what else can you do?

 – Have a read of another book about soil

– Dig a hole and look at how the colour changes as you go down. Look at what is in the soil sample – animals, insects, rocks or rubbish?

– Conduct your own science experiment and see the best type of soils for plants to grow in. Learn about how much of a role soil plays in the life of a seed. Try sand, dry dirt, wet dirt, potting mix, compost etc. Place them all in the same location and give them a similiar amount of water. Predict and then watch!

– Explore the rocks we use for buildings, science and energy. Where do they come from? How do we get them out? Are they running out and are there alternatives?

– Could you create another book in this style? What could the topics be?

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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

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)

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

 

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.

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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.

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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)

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!!

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.

Mad Magpie by Gregg Dreise

mag3

This is such a bright and fun book  for children of all ages. I was immediately drawn to the bright colours and the indigenous artwork – I just had to find out more about Mad Magpie by Gregg Dreise!

Mad Magpie is a book that states it is for anyone who has ever been picked on, which I am sure many children have.

The story follows magpie who has been teased by the Butcher Birds. He doesn’t know how to manage his anger or ignore the Butcher birds so turns to swooping.

The elders are there to help Guluu (magpie) and eventually he learns to ignore the bullies, be calm and be at peace. The other birds soon learnt too that it wasn’t any fun teasing and soon enough the bird world was at peace.

mag2

So what can you talk about as you read or after you read this book?

Bullying is the key issue here so talking about so here are some ideas you can talk about:

How we feel when others bully us

how we feel when we tease others

why do we tease others?

why do others tease us?

Can you think of a time when you have been teased?

How did it make you feel & why did they tease you?

If talking about this is hard – and it can be. Ask children to draw a magpie. Write in the left wing: How I feel when I am teased. Right wing: What do I do when I am teased. Body: How can I be strong like Guluu? Tail: How can I be calm like Guluu? If children need to talk about a time when they were teased let them – it is good to discuss these events and reflect on what they can do if it happens again.

There may also be a need to talk about peer pressure. Here we could use the birds again but have a group of butcher birds drawn up. In there heads write how we feel when we tease others. Wings – actions we take when we tease others. Body: How we feel after we tease others. Tail – what can we do if we feel this pressure again?

Kidsmatter is a great site full of resources that help to build social and emotional intelligence in children.

mag

ACPPS055 | Content description | Years 5 and 6 | Health and Physical Education | Personal, Social and Community Health | Communicating and interacting for health and wellbeing  

ACPPS037 | Content description | Years 3 and 4 | Health and Physical Education | Personal, Social and Community Health | Communicating and interacting for health and wellbeing  

 

Walking with the seasons in Kakadu

There is more to a season than just a change in name or change in our clothes – but do city dwelling children know this?

The weather plays a big role in our lives. As a modern day city dweller the weather affects the clothes I wear, my daily activities and my choice between thongs or gumboots as I run outside to feed the chooks.

BUT for many seasons play a vital role in survival.

Weather effects growth of food, healing of soil, hibernation of animals, plants and insects, movement of land and traditionally movement of people.

Walking with the seasons in Kakadu focuses our learning towards the seasons of the Top End of Australia. As we walk through the story we learn how the people feel with each changing season, what happens in that season and how they prepare for the next.

This story is full of rich illustrations and the information is presented to the reader in small easy to digest format spoken by members of the tribe.

Although this book is set in the top end you can relate it to your own environment. You can help children become more aware of the seasons around them – take them and show them there is more to a season than just a change in the name. Go outside and watch buds grow, notice the different insects that come out at different times of the year, and keep a photo diary to remember and compare.

How can we link this to our students and children at home?

Science

Life Cycles – See my teacher pay teachers store to purchase this inquiry based lesson plan: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Different-Kids-Different-Lessons

Senses

– Go outside at least once a day and take notes about a tree, grass patch, small srhub. Note the change in leaf colour, insect and animal behaviour around the plant, smell in the air, bud appearing and soil texture.

– Purchase a rain guage and outside thermometer – children will love to see what the temperature is at theie house as compared to the local weather report!

Out by Angela May George

Out by Angela May George (Published by Scholastic Australia)  is a sad yet heartwarming story about a young refugee girl who has settled in a new country with her mother.

This beautiful story follows how the girls feels in her new home and the fears she still faces because of what she has been through.

out

Owen Swan’s illustrations provide the gentle and moving touch needed to really allow the reader to feel like they are moving along with the girl and feeling what she is feeling.

I shed a tear at the end of this story.

This week is Refugee Week and really, we should always be thinking of the refugees that are in Australia and those who want to be in Australia. Many hold terrible memories like the young girl and her mother and need support to start fresh.

I hope that you can share this story with others, showing the refugees are not the enemy but just like you and me. They too need love, support, friends and family. They too hold memories of fear and hope.

So how can we embed this into the curriculum?

Before you read:

  •  Why are two people in colour on the front cover and the rest in black and white?
  • What might out mean?
  • Back Cover: What does it mean ‘ I’m called an asylum seeker but that’s not my name’ ?

As you read

  •  What does Brave mean to you?
  •  Have you ever felt like the girls running on page 2?
  • Imagine feeling as isolated as the boat in the ocean scene.
  • When do you feel free? What does feeling free mean to you? How does this differ from the girl in the story?
  • Does this story have a happy ending?

fathers day gifts

After you read

LITERACY

  •  Older students could write a recount/ diary entry remembering a time when they felt fear – if they cannot recall an event they can imagine it.
  •  Find images of Refugees & asylum seekers. Link emotions to their faces.
  • Dramatise different emotions linked to different situations in the story.  Show a picture in the story and ask children to freeze an emotion.
  • Write a persuasive letter to the government outlining why we need to accept Asylum seekers.
  • Have a debate about asylum seekers in Australia.
  • Look at the picture of the girl and mother huddled together on the boat – list how they are feeling. Think of a time you have felt like this.
  • Which stories would you tell if you were on a very long journey without any technology?
  • Can you find out about another language? Create your own simple welcome brochure for your own community.
  • Link this book to other books (The happiest refugee by Anh Do, Mirror by Jeannie Baker) compare and contrast the different stories of these young children.

NUMERACY

  • Research statistics on the number of refugees in Australia. Compare this to other countries around the world.
  • Find out where refugees have settled in Australia. Use tables to show this information.

SOCIAL JUSTICE

  • Why are people refugees? Find out the different reasons someone may be a refugee.
  • What is a refugee? What is an asylum seeker? What is an immigrant? FInd out and compare differences.
  • Discover different popular music from different lands. How do people enjoy this music. Compare and contrast the different music.
  • How can we make our community more welcoming for those who are new to Australia?

PROBLEM SOLVING

  • Could you catch a fish with just two simple materials such as a shoelace and a hook? Shoelace and a button? Think of as many combinations as you can from two objects that you have on you right now.
  • Why do we have refugees in this world? Can we rid the world of needing to have refugees? Are there different types of refugees?
  • What does it mean to be BRAVE? How can we be BRAVE? Do we need to be BRAVE?

Buy this unit of work here with accompanying printables:
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Curriculum links:

Ethical understanding

Intercultural Understanding

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My Green Day

My Green Day by Melanie Walsh is a vibrant and fun book for readers of all ages to enjoy.

With hidden pictures, flaps to lift and holes this picture book is not only an informative book but it is also fun!

My Green Day outlines through picture, simple sentences and colourful illustrations how we can all try to be more environmentally friendly in our every day activities.

These simple tips include having a compost bin at home, drying clothes on the clothes line, making presents rather than buying them and eating all of our food!

Children will enjoy these tips and I am sure they will feel that it is something that they can do at home, quite simply.

So how can we have more fun with this book?

Literacy

Persuasive writing

  •  Write a persuasive argument about the importance of being more environmentally friendly, drawing ideas from the book.
  •   Persuade parents to buy a compost bin, have chickens or use the dryer less.

Imaginative text

  •   Students can write their own comic strip outlining there own ‘green day’

Informative text

  •  What is a compost bin? How do they work?
  •  What is plastic? How is is made? Can it be reused or recycled?

Numeracy

Numeracy

  •  If we all threw out one apple a day, how many is that in a week? Two noodles of pasta? Half a piece of bread? etc.
  • Look at your shopping list. Using fractions and percentages work out the fraction of recyclable materials in the packaging. Plastic materials. No material/no waste.
  • How many litres come out of a tap/shower in thirty seconds? Work out how many litres each student uses per day after they record their times at home.

 

Science

  • What is in our lunch boxes? List and group the different materials.  (Objects are made of materials that have observable properties (ACSSU003) ) 

 

  • What is recycling? How can we recycle and what happens? Investigate worm farms, compost bins and school rubbish and recycling bins. Everyday materials can be physically changed in a variety of ways (ACSSU018)  ,  People use science in their daily lives, including when caring for their environment and living things (ACSHE035) ,  Different materials can be combined for a particular purpose (ACSSU031)

 

  • Ask – why do we need to have a green day? Investigate the effects of not having a green day by taking home a daily diary to record and reflect on activities that are ‘green’ and those that are not so ‘green’ Science knowledge helps people to understand the effect of their actions (ACSHE051)

 

  • Investigate how long it takes to break down different substances (in dirt, in a bin, in a compost bin, in sun etc) Relate this to what students do with their own waste.
  • Investigate the use of plastic and how long it takes to break down as compared to reusable bags. With guidance, plan and conduct scientific investigations to find answers to questions, considering the safe use of appropriate materials and equipment (ACSIS065)

 

  • Create an action plan for the school so that the school can have a green day every day. In order for the school to feel that they are making progress gather initial data such as contents of bins, amount of rubbish in the bin, amount of waste coming from each classroom after each week, time lights are on in classrooms, computers left on. Gather this data to show where the school is at and then re gather after a month or two to see progress in the school action plan. With guidance, plan and conduct scientific investigations to find answers to questions, considering the safe use of appropriate materials and equipment (ACSIS065)

A forest by Marc Martin

A forest by Marc Martin immediately captured my attention with the creatively painted forest on the front cover.

forest

The tiny trees that envelop the front cover , each one completely different from each other, have been drawn with water colours, texta, pencil and ink.

A forest tells a story through simple words and captivating pictures about a forest being destroyed due to human greed but then growing again through human care. A true story of hope and empowerment.

I loved reading this story to my children and they enjoyed listening and looking at the illustrations. It is a poignant story and one which helps to grow awareness of the importance of the natural world just outside out doorstep.

It’s a brave story with tender words and memorable images. It’s a must read for anyone who loves a good picture book with a message of hope.

So,  how can we have fun with this story before, during and after we have read it?

 

Literacy

  1.   Tell the story without any words – ask your child or class to tell their own story. Storytelling is a timeless art, increases vocabulary and imagination and is a lot of fun. Children can see the story how they wish to see it. Give it a go.

Mathematics

  1. Using measurement skills, work out how many trees per cm2. Students can attempt to work out what this would look like if the scale was 1cm2=1km2. Research different forests of Australia and the size of them. Predict how many different trees would be in these spaces & perhaps even the variety of trees (Fostering the importance of biodiversity)
  2. Make tree patterns, not only learning about different types of patterns but also exploring different types of trees around the school or neighbourhood!
  3. Measure different tress that are in the school grounds or the local park. This could even be monitored over the year to see how they all grow differently.
  4. How many different types of trees are in the local area? Create different data displays.

Visual Art

  1.  Create your own forest – perhaps an Australian version (rainforest, eucalyptus forest, mangrove, melaluca etc) . Or create your own city – research cities of Australia and the world. Look at the lines used in the buildings and recreate your own using texta.

Thinking skills & sustainability

  1. Compare the differences between the two groups of people portrayed in this story. Link this to people who are in our world. Try to walk in both shoes and work out why people make these decisions and why they think they are doing the right thing OR even why people do things even though they know they are being destructive to the natural world or other people.
Links:

Literacy

Experiment with text structures and language features and their effects in creating literary texts, for example, using imagery, sentence variation, metaphor and word choice (ACELT1800),
Create literary texts using realistic and fantasy settings and characters that draw on the worlds represented in texts students have experienced (ACELT1612)
Create literary texts by developing storylines, characters and settings (ACELT1794)
Create imaginative texts based on characters, settings and events from students’ own and other cultures using visual features, for example perspective, distance and angle (ACELT1601)
Create events and characters using different media that develop key events and characters from literary texts (ACELT1593)
Recreate texts imaginatively using drawing, writing, performance and digital forms of communication (ACELT1586)
Retell familiar literary texts through performance, use of illustrations and images (ACELT1580)

Mathematics

Sort and classify familiar objects and explain the basis for these classifications. Copy, continue and create patterns with objects and drawings (ACMNA005)
Measure and compare the lengths and capacities of pairs of objects using uniform informal units (ACMMG019)
Create displays of data using lists, table and picture graphs and interpret them (ACMSP050)
Identify symmetry in the environment (ACMMG066)
Choose appropriate units of measurement for length, area, volume, capacity and mass (ACMMG108)
Calculate perimeter and area of rectangles using familiar metric units (ACMMG109)
Solve problems involving the comparison of lengths and areas using appropriate units (ACMMG137)

Visual Arts

Use and experiment with different materials, techniques, technologies and processes to make artworks (ACAVAM107)
Use materials, techniques and processes to explore visual conventions when making artworks (ACAVAM111)
Explore ideas and practices used by artists, including practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, to represent different views, beliefs and opinions (ACAVAM114)

Sustainability

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.

A patch from scratch

A patch from Scratch written by Megan Forward.

 

patch

This book reminds me of my own little family and I am sure many other families who live in the suburbs of large cities! We have had lots of fun (and still do) in our backyard thinking of ways that we can make our yard a mini farm. We have chickens, compost bin, worm farm and a veggie patch and although it is a bit of work to maintain it is a great reward to have our own eggs and vegetables right in our own backyard.

A patch from scratch is written from the perspective of a young child, which I think really empowers young readers to think – how can I do this in my own backyard? The illustrations show how the family make the different items needed for their own backyard farm and offer some simple tips throughout.

This is a cleverly written book, giving readers insight into how they can create their own veggie patches, chicken coops and compost bins. It shows that growing your own food can be fun and rewarding without being too much hard work.

But what about those who live in apartments? Children who live in these places may feel like they cannot connect to this book – but they can! Many suburbs now have community gardens so search your area for one. Your child’s school or daycare may also have a small patch that they can be a part of.

There are many mini compost bins you can buy that can sit on balconies and mini herb patches where you can grow your own herbs. Be creative, getting in touch with dirt and plant growth is vital so that young people understand where food comes from – not just a supermarket!

Watch this great Ted talk by Jamie Oliver : https://www.ted.com/talks/jamie_oliver?language=en

This is a great book, and one that we have enjoyed reading over. We have spent time looking at the illustrations as we have read the words and noticed the fun the family in the story are having. A great read that can be enjoyed by the whole family!

So what can you do to link this book to the curriculum?

Science

Life Cycles

  1. Find out about the life cycle of a chicken. Extend this into other animals that we eat and other animals that we eat the produce of.
  2. Can you compare two of these animals?
  3. To extend research how different countries harvest honey, what they feed their cows or how they eat different meat.
  4. Can all plants grow in your area? Research which plants grow best in your area. When to plant them and where they grow best in the garden.

Science – insects

  1. Research Australian stingless bees. Where do they live? How do they collect honey? How do they move about? Compare the different types of stingless bees in Australia. Find out why their hive is designed the way it is.

Literacy

Descriptive texts

  1. Imagine you are in charge of creating a new patch for your backyard. You may have a little bit of magic up your sleeve – how can this help you to grow delicious food and perhaps some food that hasn’t been eaten in years (due to it’s unpopularity) Link here to look at heirloom seeds and the Diggers club.

Informative texts

  1. Write a report about how to grow a vegetable or fruit of choice.
  2. Create your own plant diary like the child did in the story. Grow a seed of choice and record how it grows in different locations and with different amounts of sun, water and love.

Persuasive texts

  1. Write a letter to your local Councillor outlining why there needs to be more veggie patches in your community. Suggest how this could happen (free compost bins, land for a community patch, gardening workshops etc)

Mathematics

  1. Give students a designated backyard space in which they need to design their own sustainable backyard. They can be given budgets, time constraints and must have items.
  2. Work out which plants and how many can grow in a designated area. Different vegetables and fruits need space so work this out and then apply to a patch of dirt.

 

Curriculum links

Science

Early Stage One

Living things have basic needs, including food and water (ACSSU002)

Stage One

People use science in their daily lives, including when caring for their environment and living things (ACSHE022)

Living things live in different places where their needs are met (ACSSU211)
Living things grow, change and have offspring similar to themselves (ACSSU030)
Pose and respond to questions, and make predictions about familiar objects and events (ACSIS037)
Stage Two
Living things have life cycles (ACSSU072)
Living things depend on each other and the environment to survive (ACSSU073)
Stage Three
Living things have structural features and adaptations that help them to survive in their environment (ACSSU043)
The growth and survival of living things are affected by physical conditions of their environment (ACSSU094)
Mathematics

 

Stage Three

Calculate perimeter and area of rectangles using familiar metric units (ACMMG109)

Solve problems involving the comparison of lengths and areas using appropriate units (ACMMG137)

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

 

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Uno’s Garden

uno

I think Graeme Base is one of my favourite picture book authors and illustrators. Not only can I spend time reading the story but I can also spend time searching through the pictures to see what else is in there.

I am intending on covering many of his stories throughout my blog so here is the first!

Uno’s Garden is a story about a man named Uno who falls in love with a beautiful space in a rainforest. He builds a simple dwelling and is depicted as living simply, alongside the plants and animals.

However, with so many beautiful places, other people also want to enjoy them.

As the pages turn we see more and more people living in the area until the beauty that once was, is gone.

However, there is hope – which is such an important part of this story. Without hope children reading this would not feel that they too can do something too.

The people in this story do come to realise that they have messed the world up and start to make changes.

Graeme Base ends his story in a repaired world, everyone happy and at peace, and although something is still missing, the reader can move away from the story with hope.

We can move on knowing that there is a chance that people now in our world who are doing wrong by the environment might start to make a change. It might be small to start – but small is better than nothing.

Graeme Base has added other elements including counting, prime numbers and hidden animals – such fun when reading with children of any age.

Pick up this book today – it is a magical read.

 

Parent shared reading tips:

  •   Before you begin – who is Uno? What sort of person might he be?
  •  As you read – count the animals – use the tips in the back of the book to support any numeracy.
  •  As you read – search for animals. Ask why the animals have the names that they do.
  • As you read – What are the people doing? What are they thinking?
  • As you read – How have the people changed the world? How are some people trying to fix the world?
  • Look at different words and work out the sound they start with. Focus on the sound, not just the letter they start with. Stretch out the words and search for the phonemes. This will develop phonological awareness.

Teaching tips

These can be embedded into any literacy teaching time:

** Problem solving: Create categories of the animals that appear in the story.

** Creative thinking: Discuss the animals Graeme Base has created – which animals has he based these on? Can students create there own special animal?

**Visualising: What might the future look in your neighbourhood if you don’t care for the natural things around you?

**Inferencing: What is Uno’s garden? Who could Uno be?

Links to the Australian Curriculum & Sustainability.