Wundersmith: The calling of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

I’ve just finished reading Wundersmith: The calling of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend.

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This is the second book in the Nevermoor you won’t be able to put down.

Morrigan is still living in Nevermoor and is finally part of a society filled with many other people who have gifts – just none like hers. Read along as Morrigan navigates school, tries to make new friends and of course encounters adventure and danger along the way!

The characters, especially Morrigan are so real, so alive and in so many ways relatable to everything that you are unsure of or proud of in your own life.

I loved this book – can’t rate it highly enough.

Buy it for someone who needs some extra magic and another wonderful book in their collection! Ages 10 and up!

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Ruben by Bruce Whatley

Ruben’s dreams were of places that made no sense to him. Places that didn’t exist. At least not anymore.

Ruben, a young boy lives on the outskirts of a damaged, abandoned and futuristic city. Every day when he wakes he writes about his dreams and flicks through images of places he once knew.

Living alone, Ruben often wanders the streets, avoiding the huge machines that live in Block city who destroy things humans need for survival – freedom, safety and knowledge.

One day, on his way through the city in search of food and water, he discovers Koji, another child who is also alone. Together they understand each other, share secrets and dream of escaping on one of the fast trains that leave the destroyed city.

Bruce Whatley is a master illustrator who has created this whole world in black and white – giving it the grim and abandoned feel it needs. Readers will pour over the illustrations for hours as they journey with Ruben hoping that he can escape this formidable place.

Although set in the future, the sketches of objects Bruce Whatley has included, pull on our own heart strings and lead us to think – what if? Children of all ages will ponder the possibility of places in our world that already look like this or the possibly of our own country looking like this if we don’t care for others around us.

This Dystopian world that Ruben lives in is one that young children can enter without the violence of many other Dystopian fiction books on the market.

I have explored this book with some Gifted Year 4 students and they have thoroughly enjoyed learning more about Ruben and then creating a Dystopian world of their own.

So what can you do? 

GRASPS Task – – Ruben by Bruce Whatley

GOAL: You are going to create your own dystopian world using as many as the key areas as you can.

ROLE You are the engineer of this futuristic society. You are the designer of the people, their plight and their place.

AUDIENCE You need to create a world that will appeal to readers aged 8-12. .

SITUATION : In the book market there are many fiction books set in Dystopian worlds but they are for older readers and any are full of violence. You need to create a dystopian world without violence. There are many other ways the world can become dystopian so use your create juices and move away from the violence we hear about in the older books.

PRODUCT. The world you create needs to be a combination of things so we can get a true insight into this world. You can use: Diary entries, maps, posters, sketches, storytelling, newspaper articles, radio correspondence etc.

You will be marked out of 15.

STANDARDS and CRITERIA [INDICATORS]

 

1 2 3
Key areas of a dystopian world. Student has used 3 key areas in their dystopian world Student has used 5 key areas in their dystopian world Student has used 6 r more key areas in their dystopian world.
Understand how texts vary in complexity and technicality depending on the approach to the topic, the purpose and the intended audience (ACELA1490 Student has developed three different types of texts to engage the audience Student has developed four different types of texts to engage the audience Student has developed five or more different types of texts to engage the audience
Discuss how authors and illustrators make stories exciting, moving and absorbing and hold readers’ interest by using various techniques, for example character development and plot tension (ACELT1605 Outline how they developed characters and settings briefly. Outline how they developed characters and settings in details. Outline how they developed characters and settings in detail and respond to questions with good explanation.
Create literary texts by developing storylines, characters and settings (ACELT1794 Outline the basic process of creating this Dystopian world. Discuss how characters were developed and how they fit into the world created. consider how and why particular traits for a character have been chosen. Discuss in details why the setting has been created and how the idea was developed.
Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive print and multimodal texts, choosing text structures, language features, images and sound appropriate to purpose and audience (ACELY1704 Many errors made in final draft with little editing present. Some mistakes made in final products wth some editing present. Excellent final product with little or no mistakes.

 

 

 

Educational services

Please contact me if you would like any of the following paid educational services

 

– Written teacher notes linked to the Australian curriculum for novel studies.

– Talks for parents and teachers about Gifted education.

– Lesson plans and units of work related to picture books, junior and young adult fiction , science and sustainability.

I can be contacted by email at nes.ryan@bigpond.com

Please see my About me tab to see my experience in the field of education.

Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts.

She took a deep breath and she simply asked, “Why?”

Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts is a celebration being inquisitive, persistent, independent and creative!


In this delightful picture book, we meet Ada Twist , a young scientist who doesn’t start to speak until she is three (echoing Einstein). Once she does start talking her world is full of why, how, what, when and many different experiments and investigations along the way.

Ada’s parents and teacher are bombarded with her constant questioning and messy investigations but luckily they see her passion and her gift and give her the time and the support that she needs.

And that’s what they did – because that’s what you do when your kid has a passion and a heart that is true. 

The illustrations by David Roberts are brilliant and not only support the story but add so much more to it. As we read along you can search for the pet cat, the smelly socks, her brother and the trail of investigations Ada leaves behind.

The reader can see her thoughts floating around her written not only in words but also through her facial expressions.

Andrea Beaty’s rhyming text is not only a perfect way to tell the story of young Ada but a perfect way to teach young children that when they follow their passions and dreams, with the support of those around them, they can achieve anything.

Ada Twist,  who we leave in Year Two, still makes a mess and still makes mistakes but she is learning along the way and her passion is infectious – we see many of her class mates also taking part in her investigations and experiments.

Ada Twist, Scientist is a brilliant story based on inspiring female scientists such as Marie Curie and Ada Lovelace. Perhaps this story will inspire your daughter or female students to reach out and achieve their scientific dreams.

So what can you do at home? 

Gifted Education

Gifted education is a passion of mine and when I read this story to myself and out loud to different children I really loved the support Ada’s parents gave her. They weren’t smothering her by enrolling her in every course or after school activity and they also were not dismissing her talent by telling her to stop asking so many questions.

I think that parent’s can take note of Ada’s supportive parents and perhaps start to look at their child and see what they need, listen to their questions and answer them in the best possible way. Many gifted children do not turn their gifts into talents because of the lack of support and the feeling that they are asking too many questions.

  • Listen to your children and answer their questions.
  • Show them that you don’t always know the answers and help them to research or investigate.
  • Give them time to play and investigate rather than always being involved in an after school activity.

Science Investigation: Smell

  • Investigate the olfactory system.
  • Investigate how long smell takes to travel to us and if we need to see something to know what it smells like.
  • Create your own perfume for different purposes (to repell mosquitoes, to smell nice by the beach, to smell nice at a party, to ward off witches etc)
  • Compare different smells and work out how we know the difference between good and bad smells and what those smells are really telling us!

Teacher Guide is here: http://www.abramsbooks.com/adatwist/

 

Finding your child’s gift

Have you ever wondered if your child is gifted?

Perhaps they taught themselves to read at an early age?

Maybe they display empathy towards others beyond their years?

Some gifted children can manipulate numbers ten years before their age peers.

Being gifted can be seen in many different ways and although my blog has a strong focus on books and global issues, gifted education is something very close to my heart.

Having a masters in Gifted ed and working closely with gifted children over many years of teaching I have come across gifted children in all different types of classrooms.

One issue many gifted children have is not being recognised by their teacher. Parents often have a good sense (but sometimes doubt themselves or don’t know who to compare their children to) of what their children can and can’t do – and need to pass this onto their child’s teacher.

In order for our children to be supported we need to recognise the gifts they have and support them.

Here are some possible ways you can recognise if your child is gifted

  • Walk and/or talk early
  • Have an unusual sense of humour
  • Be very curious and ask complex questions
  • Show an early or intense interest in books, often learning to read at a young age
  • Make unusual connections between topics
  • Be self motivated, perfectionist, persistent or independent
  • Have a long attention span and unusual memory for details or facts
  • Learn rapidly, with little practice
  • Think faster than they are able to write
  • Prefer the company of older children
  • Have unusual perception and problem solving ability
  • Worry about adult issues and problems
  • Need less sleep than most children
  • Not always show their abilities in a school setting

It is important to remember that:

  1. Giftedness is not static – it is always changing so don’t arum just because your child can’t read at two that they are not gifted.
  2. Anyone can be gifted – It is not restricted to age, race, gender or disabilities/abilties.
  3. Being gifted does not always mean you are gifted in everything – You may only be gifted in one particular area

 

There are many different ways gifted children can be supported depending on their needs, some are:

  • Subject acceleration
  • Grade acceleration
  • Mentoring
  • External programs with like minded peers
  • Working alongside teachers in planning how they learn.

There was a great article in the Australian today stating that one of the key problems gifted students face is boredom in the classroom which can lead to low self esteem, poor behaviour and disengagement with education. As parents and teachers we need to make ourselves aware of what to look for in order to identify gifted students and then how we can best support them so that their gifts turn into talents.

I will be running a course for both parents and teachers later on this year, please register your name by emailing me if you are interested: nes.ryan@bigpond.com

 

Gifted Ed - The Australian 21st July.jpg

 

Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan

‘Never step on a snail’

Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan explores a relationship between two boys or brothers over the course of the summer holidays. This book is shelved in the Fiction section of our library and although younger readers may enjoy the pictures – it really is a book for readers who can think more deeply about what is happening as each page is turned.

cover-illustration-shaun-picture-book-rules-summer

There is no particular narrative in this story but rather a series of rules that one must not forget if they are to survive summer.

Each page adds more intrigue to the story being told through pictures and leaves many questions being asked by the reader. You may find many questions of self reflection being asked about children’s own approach to different situations and why that crow appears in nearly every page.

We had a lot of fun working through this picture book in four lessons. If you would like to go on a summer journey too: Visit my TPT store to purchase the lesson outline you can use with your group to explore:

– Details of the pictures

– The role adults play in the lives of children.

– Changing perspective.

– Creative thinking through the KAPLAN model.

Challenge through interests

Challenging our children.

It is easy to assume that bright children will devour everything that is thrown at them, enjoying any bit of learning, finding it easy and engaging.

This is not always the case.

As parents as educators we need to tap into our children’s interests and learning styles so we can help them to develop their gifts, ignite their passions and stir their imagination.

If we are to tackle problems like climate change, plastic ridden oceans and toxic waterways we need our creative thinkers to be passionate, to be engaged and to want to learn more about the world.

We need to extend our young children, accelerate their learning and enrich any task at hand. Without challenge and enrichment of learning these children can learn to just cruise through schooling and life, not realising the talents that they have.

So what can you do through books?

  1. Find  books that engage your child. There is a book out there for everyone. Talk to your child, talk to the librarian and take the time to read together from as young as possible. Everyone loves reading something.
  2. Whilst reading ask your child some deeper questions. Not only ‘What?’ questions but also ‘how?’ and ‘why?’
  3. Talk about the book after you have read it. Ask more challenging questions such as – how would you change the ending? If you could be one of the characters who would you be? Could you change the ending? What if ……had happened?
  4. Find out more about the author – many authors have great websites and talk about how they came to be authors. Many will talk about persistence and passion.

 

Soon to come….a free e-book on questioning stems!  Watch this blog!

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.

theriver3

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

theriver
  • 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!
    theriver2
  • 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!