Under the southern Cross by Frane Lessac.


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


Such as

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

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

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

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

What can you do with this book?

Geography

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

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

Literacy

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

STEM

Explore other constellations that are important in the Southern Hemisphere.

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

Teacher notes:

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

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Would you like Palm oil with that?

We hear about Palm Oil a lot and the devastation it can cause to rainforests.

But how do you talk to children about this so to empower them to make the right decisions?

Bornean-Orangutans-photo-via-WWF

Photo from :https://greenglobaltravel.com/bornean-sumatran-orangutans-endangered-species/

Check out this graphic that shows you how the big companies are still harming the environment with their gathering of Palm Oil : https://issuu.com/greenpeaceinternational/docs/final_countdown_pages_lr_greenpeace

deforestation-palm_0

Talking about Palm Oil

  1. Look at the list of the big companies that are still causing harm to many rainforests with their consumption of Palm Oil.
  2. Open your cupboard and see if you have any products of this brand OR owned by this brand
  3. Together list alternatives to a favourite brand of yours – can you by it from someone else? Can you make it? Can you live without it?
  4. How can you raise awareness of this?

Here are some ideas:

Make a graph to show to percentage of rainforest left in the world.

Learn about the different animals who live in these rainforests.

Learn about the people who live here – what is happening to them?

Try and find some recipes so you can make your own cosmetics, chips or chocolate bars!

 

Big brands to avoid —–

L’Oreal owns: Maybelline New York, Garnier, Lancôme, Helena Rubinstein, BioMedic, Vichy, Biotherm, Shu Uemura, Kiehl’s, Soft Sheen-Carson, Redken, Matrix, Kerastase, Giorgio Armani, Inneov, Sanoflore, CCB Paris, Dermablend, The Body Shop, Skinceuticals, Ralph Lauren, La-Roche-Posay, and Yves Saint Laurent.

Nestle owns: https://www.nestle.com.au/brands

Pepsico owns: http://www.pepsico.com.au/brands/

 

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Charlie’s Adventures by Jacqueline De Rose-Ahern and illustrated by Sophie Norsa.

Charlie’s adventures in South Africa by Jacqueline De Rose-Ahern and illustrated by Sophie Norsa.

Have you ever wanted to visit South Africa but the thought of the long flight with small children was too much?

https://www.derose-ahernstories.com/

You will either be satisfied just reading this book or will be more inspired to head on over there after reading the adventures young Charlie has with his family in South Africa.

As you follow Charlie’s journey you will learn a little of the local lingo, meet the animals that live on the savannah, walk through the city, taste the local produce, dance to some music and of course help Charlie to solve the riddles in order to find hidden treasure!

After Charlie visits a new place in South Africa, he receives a clue which he needs to hold onto in order to solve the final riddle.

The characters talk about a map which they use to move around South Africa and I would recommend pulling out a map so children can see where they might be travelling to as they visit different places.

There is an added bonus in this story – a postcard at the back! Children love reading postcards and this one is blank, leaving space for children to write their own thoughts about this mini holiday!

Charlie’s adventures in South Africa is part of series of travel books for children (which I haven’t’ read, but would be interested in seeing as it is a different way to ignite interest in other countries and its people.) In Jacqueline’s other books he visits Australia, Hawaii and England.

Teacher’s will also love this book as it looks at a country in a different way – through the people and the eyes of a child. It will encourage an interest in maps and perhaps ignite some postcard sending!

What can you do in the classroom? 

– We looked at where South Africa was on the world map, then where is was in Africa.

– As I read the book I showed matching images from South Africa – to make connections.

– As I read I asked the children to listen to and look for clues.

– After we read the children in Kindergarten drew what they thought Charlie saw on his adventure. You can see below what they have drawn and written.

Join my facebook group – Growing Globally and socially conscious children – a closed group where we share ideas on how we can talk about big issues with young children through simple activities. 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/sociallyconsciouschildren/about/

And join in on the Book Blog tour running this week!

blogtour

The gum family finds home by Tania McCartney and Christina Booth.

Do you actually know how hard it is to find the perfect home?

The Gum family are in need of a new home – it needs to be safe, secure ,comfortable and of course somewhere amongst the gum trees – where will it be?

Join Tania McCartney and Christina Booth as they take the Gum Family on a rocky adventure around Australia, visiting many different and amazing geological formations in Australia.

They visit the 12 apostles, wave rock, Kata Tjuta and the Glasshouse mountains – just to name a few. At each place the look for the perfect spot for a new home admiring the different ways the rocks have formed and changed over time.

Children have a great sense of wonderment and awe and this book arouses just that.

After we read this book we pulled out a map of Australia, books about each place visited and jumped on the internet to learn more.

The book does contain a map, small pieces of information and real photographs but the need to learn more was inspired – so we did just that!

Many students knew about Uluru and the Three Sisters but that was about it – so thank you to The Gum Family – these students all now know a lot more about the country they live in.

I also enjoyed pulling out old photographs of my trip around Australia to many of these places and reminiscing about how I felt in each location.

So this is what we did after we read the book:

– We researched further into each location and wrote down some more points.

– We worked out why tourists visit here and created a new brochure.

– We discussed what might happen if some of these places crumble up? Get destroyed by human interference?

– We discussed what koalas need in a perfect home.

What have you done with this book?

Love chocolate? Read on

I am sure that most of the population love a piece of chocolate here or there but do we ever think about where it comes from?

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A recent article discusses some major chocolate companies and their bid to decrease deforestation and child labour in key areas where cocoa is grown.

A lesson in the classroom or at home that involves chocolate is always a fun lesson

So how about:

For the love of chocolate (and humanity)-3

Around the world in 50 ways.

If you had a round the world ticket where would you go?  

This great new book by Lonely planet allows children to participate in a choose your own adventure style travel book – what fun!

As you arrive at each destination you learn something new and get to decide how you will travel – which allows you to move to a new country depending on the mode you choose.

The information is short and simple so kids will learn just enough before moving on and the way you travel to the next city teaches children about distances between places.

Travel is important but it is more important to understand the places you are travelling to and in – we shouldn’t expect places we visit to be like our own cities.

By introducing children to facts and figures about new places that are different to our own it can show them how wonderful travelling can be – as they will learn about a new culture, be part of the lifestyle and absorb language and mannerisms.

Round the world in 50 ways is such a fun way to teach geography and can be read again and again!

Want to know how to be a globally conscious traveller? Check out this post:

And – come over and join my facebook group where we discuss how we can help our students and children understand and take action on these big issues!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/362368594250457/

Bird to Bird by Claire Saxby and Wayne Harris.

A bird drops a seed to the floor of the forest. The seed grows into a sapling, then a tree. The tree is felled and taken to a busy city.

Bird to Bird is a beautfully told story about the life cycle of a tree in it’s natural state and then man made state.

Not only will children learn about how trees can grow they will also see the many uses timber can have.

Children will learn about the history of Australian settlement by the English through the tree and how out lifestyle is supported by this amazing part of nature.

Based on fact, Bird to Bird tells us how trees felled in England were used to make beds for the convicts being transported to Australia.

It also tells us that something that may not be of used anymore can often be used in a different way and given more life.

Children will see the timber being used for beds, weaving looms, a house and then a sculpture.

Imagine if all the objects we had in our lives had such a story to tell? Imagine if we could all be more creative with the things we don’t need anymore and turn them into something else to stretch out it’s lifespan.

Bird to Bird is an excellent story to use at home but it also makes fantastic links to so many subject areas across all grades at school.

Australian history, life cycles, sustainability and transport are all covered within this gently told story and you will find that this book is not one to be read quickly, but one to be read slowly with lots of discussion.

So what else can you do with this book?

Sustainability

  • Is there anything you have that has had another use before the one it is used for now?
  • Is there something broken in your house that could be fixed or used in a different way before you throw it in the bin?
  • Check out your local repair cafe or upcycle place.
  • Explore what you can do with broken pencils, crayons or other school items before they end up in the bin.
  • Explore where our rubbish goes after we have placed it in the bin. Which rubbish will turn back to dirt and which rubbish will stay for longer?
  • Explore natural fibres and the importance of using these over plastic.
  • Explore how logging can be done sustainably and investigate places where this may not be happening.

Check out these great teacher notes:http://www.lamontbooks.com.au/media/116024/publishers-notes-bird-to-bird.pdf

BUY FROM FISHPOND NOW:

 Bird to Bird

JOIN MY FACEBOOK GROUP FOR PARENTS AND TEACHERS WHERE WE EXPLORE BIG ISSUES AND HOW TO BEST TALK ABOUT THEM WITH KIDS.

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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?

Want to become a global guardian?

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Australia Illustrated by Tania McCartney

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to look at a starry sky without a single sound around him? 

Or looked at a wildflower and not known the name?

Perhaps you’ve only ever visited the big cities and never explored further afoot.


Well, look no further, Australia, Illustrated by Tania McCartney is an amazingly illustrated picture book which explores many different aspects of the Australian landscape.

Australia has such a diverse landscape and this book captures so many of the hidden gems that each state has to offer.

As the reader explores each state they learn about famous Australians, the type of weather and the iconic buildings. We also explore the endangered and endemic animals, local food and hidden bush tracks.

As we read through this story I was able to talk about the different places I had visited and places we would love to go. We were also able to wonder about how people feel about living in different parts of Australia and what those children might get up to on the weekend.

Australia Illustrated by Tania McCartney is a book that you can read little by little or in one sitting. It is also a great book that you can return to again and again as there is so much to discover on each page.

Tania McCartney is a superb illustrator and if you can’t be inspired to take a trip around this great big land, then perhaps no book can convince you!

So what can you do at home?

 – Check out a map of Australia and see where Tania has illustrated.

– Look at the large map of Australia and each state and read the different towns and cities that make up the illustration. Choose one or two to find out more about.

– What has Tania McCartney drawn to make each state unique? Do you agree with this?

– Could you create a book like this about another country?

Out of the Blue by Alison Jay

Out of the Blue by Alison Jay is a stunning wordless picture book which draws you into each image, searching for stories within stories.

A young boy lives in a lighthouse and spends his days beach combing – where he meets a young girl and together they play until a storm rolls in.

The boy retreats to his lighthouse home, to only find once awakening, that a giant octopus has emerged from the storm and is stranded on the beach – alive but tangled in old netting.

The boy and girl rescue the octopus along with other caring beach goers and release it back into the sea to all of the other sea creatures.

No words are needed for this story to make you feel warm with hope, blue with sadness and energised with joy. The illustrations allow your mind to wonder throughout the story and long after it has been read.

Take your time to read this story again and again – and draw fact from the back pages to learn more about the creatures of the ocean and how we can take better care of them.

So where to from here?

SUSTAINABILITY

  • The Ocean Clean up is an amazing company who are working on creating an eco friendly way to clean up the ocean by removing plastic bags that lie around in the ocean, harming wildlife and their habitat.
  • Investigate organisations which act to look after the ocean.
  • Should plastic bags be banned? Debate this – look at the pros and cons and work out why large companies are reluctant to ban them.
  • Visit the beach or a local waterway and see how much plastic you can find while you are there. Categorise the plastic – what is turning up the most? What state is the plastic in? How might these pieces of plastic be harming wildlife (links to numeracy: graphs and creating categories)

SCIENCE

  • Investigate ocean animals that live in the deeper parts of the ocean. What do they look like? How are their survival techniques different from animals who live on the upper levels of the ocean?
  • Have there been occasions where a deep sea creature really has appeared on the beach out of the blue?

LITERACY

  • Rewrite this story from the octopuses point of view or even the little girls point of view.

Bee and Me by Alison Jay

 ~ A story about friendship ~

Have you ever read a book without words? Some people may find this difficult as it opens up many possibilities, different interpretations and imagination. But it is something we need to introduce ourselves and our children to – as just because the words are not on the page does not mean they are not there.

I have always loved books without words as you can decide what happens on each page and look more closely at the illustrations which can tell us so much more.


Bee and Me  by Alison Jay is set in a bustling city of cars, trucks, people, shops and high rise buildings but no flowers.

A little girl is frightened by a bee who lands on her windowsill but luckily rather than swat it with the fly swatter she looks after the exhausted insect and sends it on it’s way.

The bee returns in need of more care and the two form a beautiful friendship.

The double page of play between the girl and the bee is wonderful to sit and stare at with your child. Talk about what they are doing together and the emotions they are feeling as they spend wonderful moments together.

The bee soon realises that although he has the girl – he longs for flowers. So together they embark on a magical journey to find flowers, seeds and more green to the dull city.

Bee and Me warmed my heart – the friendship between the two is infectious and the message about the importance of bees is also taught – which is vital as so many cities are lacking bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects due to lack of flowers, plants and green!

So what can you do at home or at school with this book?

Sustainability

  • Have a look around your home and see what would entice any type of insect to your area? all insects are beneficial and attracting them to something they can live off or eat is important. It’s better they live off the plants than things in your house!
  • PROJECT: How can we provide the best home for attracting bees? Investigate what the bees (local to your area) need. Draw up a plan of what the hive would look like, where it should be placed, what conditions it needs to attract bees and to survive. (This project includes outcome links to mathematics, literacy, science and geography)
  • Alison Jay has left a parting note at the back of her book about the beneficial flowers you can plant in your garden. Herbs are an easy plant to start with as they can be grown in small planter boxes on windowsills – give rosemary, thyme or mint a go.
  • It is important that you find out about the beneficial flowers that help bees in your area too. Australian stingless bees love:

 

Abelia x grandiflora Abelia
Buddleja * Butterfly Bush
Callistemon  Bottlebrush
Eucalyptus  Gum Blossom
Grevillea Spider Flower
Lavandula Lavender
Leptospermum Tea Tree
Melaleuca Honey Myrtle
Westringia Rosemary
Many Varieties Daisies

 

Literacy

  • Visual Literacy – Books without pictures open a myriad of possibilities. One activity to try is to tell the story from the bee’s perspective and then the girls. Compare the two stories – compare the emotions, the goals and the thoughts of the two characters.
  • Find some more books that have bees in them – you’ll bee surprised! Do these stories all have a similar message to tell?
  • Compare scientific literature to children books that are on the topic of bees. Why do we need both types of literature out there to understand the need for bees in our world? Create your own bee themed picture book based on some scientific literature.
  • Create your own story about your adventure with a bee. Which flowers would you like to visit? Divide a page into four sections and draw a series of pictures that show what you would like to do with a bee to make sure there are enough flowers, fruits and vegetables in the world.

SCIENCE

How is honey used in our lives apart from to eat? Investigate the different properties of honey and how it is used in a myriad of products!

GEOGRAPHY

Where are bees located? What type of environment do they need to thrive? Create a honey bee and a stingless bee map of Australia.

NUMERACY

Why are honey bee hives made out of hexagonal shapes?

Why do stingless bee hives spiral shaped?

Investigate the different shapes of bee hives across the globe and why they are this shape. Could they be another shape? Investigate if there is a better way to keep honey in a hive.

Thirst By Lizzie Wilcock

Thirst by Lizzie Wilcock was on the shortlist in the Wilderness Society’s  Environment award for children’s literature.

thirstI loved reading this book from start to finish. Perhaps I am a little biased as I do love the Australian outback and the flippant nature of it. I love the sense of freedom and would love to learn more about bush foods and bush survival. The two main characters in this story had their troubles but were so strong in their ability to survive under dire circumstances.

This is a great book for older readers and I think all students will love it. Thirst  follows two young children on a journey through the Australian desert. The imagery in the story is amazing and you can really feel that you are a part of the outback.

Kuranda and Solomon come across many difficulties both physical and mental as they search for freedom and somewhere to call home. There are lots of layers in this story but they’re not complex to unravel. I loved that it showed the kids’ deepening love for the outback environment while never trivialising the harshness of it. It might even inspire your family to take a trip into the desert to learn about the wonders that abound in it.

Follow up activities

  •  Grab a map of Australia and work out where Kuranda and Solomon may have been.
  • Explore the six seasons of Kakadu. 
  • What is bush food – could you survive in the desert for days or weeks?
  • Explore foster care – discuss the pros and cons of the system that is currently in place. Look at the emotional effects foster care can have on children – both positive and negative.
  • Plan a family camping trip. Work out what you would need to take for at least 3 days of camping where there are little amenities.

 

 

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!

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? 

mech

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

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!

 

 

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)

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.

Last tree in the city

Loss and Hope.

Children look at the world differently to adults. They notice so much more than we do  and appreciate the small things that we overlook.

Peter Carnavas has written a poignant picture book that shows how much joy nature can give. The images add more depth to the well written story, they are simple and green – highlighting the natural world in the main characters life.

This story drew my thoughts to life as an adult compared to that of a child. As adults we can become caught up in our jobs, money and homes and never stop to realise that there may not be a tree down the street, a bee buzzing in the flowers or a native bird singing in the backyard.

Last tree in the city is the story of a boy who loves to climb the only tree in the city until one day he finds it has been removed. The young boy is upset but demonstrates resilience by not wallowing in despair, but moving on with hope to spread a new green around the city.

This book hits the mark with the current awareness that many city dwellers have with the lack of green space. I have seen in my own city of Sydney that cities are slowly moving towards a greener colour with planter boxes growing on roofs,  small trees on the sidewalk and mini herb gardens aside cafes and homes. This book shows that a little bit of green can go a long way in changing the mood of the world.

This book is a heartwarming story full of hope and gives children (and adults) the belief that there is nothing too small that they can do to help improve the world in which they live in.

Teaching tips

  • Ask students to look around the school environment and note any small changes which can take place to make it a ‘greener’ place to live in.
  • Investigate which herbs can be easily grown in pots and used in salads and cooking.
  • Investigate plants which help to improve the air quality indoors.
  • Learn more about how inner city buildings now have bee hives, working gardens and native plants growing.
  • What are community gardens? Find the local one that your child or class can visit.
  • What is resilience? How did this boy demonstrate resilience in the story. Discuss what the boy could have done if he wasn’t resilient and hopeful. Discuss other environmental ‘warriors’ who have displayed resilience.
  • Compare and contract areas of your city that have become greener or even areas that have become less green due to population expansion.

NSW Curriculum links:

Geography

Stage 1:  Features of places.

Stage 2: The Earth’s environment

Stage 3: A diverse and connected world.

Science

Stage 1: Earth and space, Living world

Stage 2: Living world.

PD

Personal health choices & Problem solving.

 

Milo and the magical stones

 

Symbiosis

A strange word I used to associate only with the rainforest  – strangler figs, leaf cutter ants and fungus and many plants and butterflies. All of these works in different symbiotic ways – negative and positive. Which is very similar to the way humans and the planet work together.

As the population of the planet increases and we all want more, we are working against the planet by not giving it enough time to grow and survive.

Milo and the magical stones by Marcus Pfister is a beautifully written story that allows the reader to decide how they think the mice should treat the island that they live on. A mice named Milo finds a magical stone and then discovers there are many more. He is told by the wise mouse, Balthazar that if they are going to all take a stone each that they must give something back to the island. The reader can then choose to pursue the ‘Happy ending’ or the ‘Sad ending’ to see how symbiotic relationships can blossom or fail.

By allowing children to choose which path they take allows them to think about the path they would take and also see the outcome of the opposing path.

There are many actions in our daily lives where we can choose to make a difference to the planet we live on.

This books provides a simple start for children (and adults) to start to become more conscious of the actions they take on a daily basis.

Teaching tips

  •  Ask students to write down different activities they do each day and then with a partner work out how this action could be more environmentally friendly.
  • Write a letter to their parents outlining how they can make small changes to work in a positive way towards the environment.
  • Compare this story to a real life current situation (coal mining and land degradation, tree logging and soil degradation, large scale deep sea fishing and loss of habitats and species, land clearing for farming or housing and lack of green space). Use a Venn diagram to make the comparison easier. Use current newspaper articles, images and videos for younger students.

milo

NSW Curriculum links:

Geography

Stage 1:  Features of places.

Stage 2: The Earth’s environment

Stage 3: A diverse and connected world.

Science

Stage 1: Earth and space, Living world