The heart of a whale by Anna Pignataro

Heart of a Whale is a beautiful picture book to be read out loud whilst spending time pouring over the illustrations that make you feel just like you are in the ocean alongside the whale and the other creatures he meets along the way.

Whale is all alone, he sings his song so everyone can hear. Some feel calm when they hear his song, others cheer up whilst some drift off to sleep.

But Whale is lonely and longs for the company of another whale, he sighs but as he sighs the ocean listens to his wish and carries it away into the ears and hearts of some other whales – who soon find him and fill his empty heart.

The heart of a whale by Anna Pignataro can promote discussion about loneliness, the importance of family and friendship and how we support each other at all times.

It promotes the gifts that we all have and how by sharing our gifts we can help others in our community. But it also shows us that without close relationships sometimes those gifts and talents may not feel good at all.

Whale has a beautiful song but with an empty heart he just can’t hear it – it’s the power of others that can help us to see just how amazing we are!

Teaching notes

Life cycles and animals – Science

What do you know about whales? Are there different types of whales?

If we didn’t have whales what might the ocean look like?

Whales often swim around in herds – what does this mean?

What sounds do whales make? Listen to some different whale calls  – do different whale species make different sounds?

Personal awareness

If you had to walk around every day all by yourself – how would you feel?

When do you feel lonely?

How did the whales in each story change how they looked when they weren’t lonely anymore?

What are your special gifts? How do others help you with these?

 

Join my facebook page – growing socially and globally conscious children for some great ideas and teaching tips!

 

 

 

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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

Tiggy and the Magic Paintbrush. A school day smile by Zanni Louise.

Tiggy has a big imagination. She sometimes has BIG feelings too. But everything is A-Okay, because Tiggy has a very special secret….

Zanni Louise has created the beautifully told story of Tiggy. A young girl who is starting her first ever day at school – and of course like most children is worried about making new friends, learning new things and being brave in an unfamiliar place.

BUY HERE:

A Pet Called Nibbles (Tiggy and the Magic Paintbrush)

A School Day Smile (Tiggy and the Magic Paintbrush)

Tiggy and the Magic Paintbrush  – A school day smile, is part of a new series for younger readers. Parents can read this story out loud or encourage new readers to have a go themselves. This is a wonderful story for beginning readers and one which can foster a love of reading.

Accompanied with delightful black and white illustrations by Gillian Flint, (with magical colour splashed in at the right moments) The reader meets Tiggy and her friends as they learn how to cope in a difficult situation – the first day of school!

Tiggy has her magic paintbrush with her all the time, and it can always help her out whenever she needs it. But sometimes having a magic paintbrush stops Tiggy from being herself  and Tiggy needs to be brave enough to realise when it is time for her to rely on the goodness inside herself rather than the paintbrush.

Tiggy shows the characteristics many new Kindergarten children will show when they are in a new situation but she also shows resilience and self belief.

Children will love this idea of a magic paintbrush and it will possibly give them that little boost in the back of their mind when they feel nervous, worried or sad.

Tiggy and the magic paintbrush is a new favourite at our house and we can’t wait to read the next book in this series!

Check out my interview with Zanni Louise coming soon to this blog.!

What else can you do with this book?

Here are some questions you can ask children after they have read the book –

  • Why are the illustrations in black and white (except for the paintbrush)?
  • Have you ever felt like Tiggy?
  • How did you behave when you were in a new situation?
  • Do you have a magic paintbrush to help you when you are nervous, worried or sad?
  • If you had a magic paintbrush, how would it help you?
  • Could the magic paintbrush cause trouble?
  • How might Tiggy feel if she loses it?
  • Do you think Tiggy always needs her paintbrush? Think about what she realise when she looked in the mirror.

Those things called sight words…

Perhaps you have been given a long list of sight words by your child’s teacher with simple instructions as to help your child to learn them.


Firstly, don’t try to learn lots of words at the same time. Try to break the list down into 3-4 words a week. This way the words can be focussed on and learnt properly.

Secondly – give meaning to the words. There is no point just learning a word if your child cannot comprehend the word. Comprehension is key when learning to read. Give your child a sentence with the sight word within that sentence. Help your child to make there own sentence with this word too. Read books that have the weekly sight words in them.

Thirdly – encourage sounding out. Your child isn’t going to sound out the word forever so by helping them to understand the sounds that are in that word you are giving them skills to read more words. Some ‘sight’ words do have different sounds but by allowing your child to attempt sounding out you can then teach them how some letters have a variety of sounds.

Fourth – Don’t rush learning sight words. You need your child to understand what they are reading. You need your child to understand how they are decoding. There is no point just learning a word as this will not help them to be able to read in the future.

Fifth – Find the whole sight word list and reorganise how you introduce them to your child. So you can: 

  • Rearrange the words into similar sounds (but, by, big etc.)
  • Words that rhyme (be/me/he/she/we)
  • Group words that are the same base word but with different suffixes (play, played, plays) If one of these words does not appear on the list there is no harm alerting your child to it.

If you have more time, check out some more ideas on this fantastic resource: http://www.spelfabet.com.au/2015/08/reorganising-high-frequency-word-lists/ . It breaks down the sight word list into seven stages of learning words and also different ways you can group the new words.

Follow this blog for some more updates on how to make sure sight words make meaning to your child!

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I’m sure many new kindergarten children are very eager to learn to read but what if that eagerness fades with sight words?

Play snap. Talk about the word when a pair matches up. 

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Mix up the sounds in the words and put the words together. Do this for words that are decodable. (easily broken down into phonemes) 

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Find the words in a book! This makes links to what the word means in context. Read the sentence the words is in. 

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Find other words that rhyme with that word and use the same spelling.

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Play sight word soccer for those children that can’t sit still! 

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When should we send children to school?

This is a question that I am asked very often!

child-and-school

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.