Aussie Backyard BirdCount week 22-28th October

What will you be doing next week?

Keen to count birds with your children, students or those youngsters in your care?

The annual Aussie Backyard Bird Count is a great way to connect with the birds in your backyard no matter where your backyard happens to be — a suburban backyard, a local park, a patch of forest, down by the beach, or the main street of town.

You can count as many times as you like over the week, BUT remember – each count is completed over a 20-minute period. The data collected assists BirdLife Australia in understanding more about the birds that live where people live.

You can do it in your backyard, your local park or on your verandah. The Aussie Backyard Bird count just wants to know how birds are fairing in your area of Australia – and hopefully increase awareness of how important having trees, shrubs and flowers are for their existence.

We love the birds that visit our backyard even if they regularly have a heated discussion with our chooks.

Teachers & parents – link this in with numeracy!!

Counting one to one correspondence, counting by twos or other groups.

Creating graphs about the different birds seen.

Adding up the time spent outside counting.

And how about Science

How can we make our natural spaces more native bird friendly?

Which Australian birds are your favourites? Find out more about these birds and the types of trees they like to eat from and live in.

Learn about the life cycle, migration paths and population of your favourite bird.

Evaluate the effectiveness of the Aussie Backyard survey – can you design something different/better or something to add to its value?

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Along came a different by Tom McLaughlin

Children and adults alike will be inspired by this picture book that shows us that even if we look different, act different or like different things – we can all be friends!

Along came a different by Tom McLaughlin is a story about shapes – reds that love being red, yellows that love being yellow and blues that love being blue but the problem is they love being themselves so much that they can’t seem to like each other – that is until some very different shapes come along and make the reds, blues and yellows realise just how silly they are acting!

This is a great book to look at the importance of accepting all different people who live in our society and that in the end we are all very different – which is great!

Children can also explore different shapes both regular and irregular, colours of different objects and the beauty we see when colours get all mixed together.

Try this book to ignite some great conversations amongst both adults and children in a time when we really need to foster acceptance in the multicultural societies we all live in today.

Peg and Cat by Jennifer Oxley and Billy Aronson

Eid al-Adha is something unfamiliar to my children so this book was a perfect way to introduce them to this very special time of year.

With mathematics, singing and celebrating, this picture book opens up minds to learning and fun!

We learnt that meat needs to be divided into three equal parts, we need to share with those less fortunate and eat delicious food with our family and friends.

If you love maths but are also looking for another way to learn about the world you live in – this book is fantastic!

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/

One very tired Wombat by Renee Treml

Feeling a little sleepy but ready to learn about some beautiful Australian animals?


Put on those snuggly pyjamas and have a read of this delightful counting book – One very tired Wombat by Renee Treml.

One very tired Wombat by Renee Treml is a intricately illustrated counting book where one wombat just wants to sleep!

As the wombat tries to snuggle down he is disturbed by furtive frogmouths, playful penguins and bubbly budgerigahs until he sneezes – which you’ll have to read for yourself to find out what happens to all of his noisy guests!

Not only will your child be exposed to counting both forwards and backwards between one and ten but they will also learn a little bit about each cheeky animal throughout the story and then on the back page of the book.

Renee Treml is a very talented artist and each animal has been drawn with expert detail and care – so much so that your child will easily recognise these birds if they are seen in the wild.

SO what can you do at home?

  • Learn more about these cheeky birds who you might hear in the morning if you live near nature reserves.
  • Create your own counting book with ten of your own favourite animals from your country.
  • Renee has used alliteration throughout the story. Explore the words she has used and then think of how you could describe some different Australian animals and birds.
  • Visit Renee’s website and learn about how she creates her images. Perhaps you could try this with young children by scratching onto wet paint to create a picture using lines.
  • Plot on a map where these animals live in Australia. Are any of them close to you? Are any of these animals endangered?
  • Where do wombats live? Explore where wombats usually sleep so they can avoid noisy feathered friends!

 

 

Don’t forget the numeracy skills

There is a lot of focus on Literacy skills – and so there should be BUT numeracy is equally important and the embedding of those basic skills in the early years is really important.

However, many parents may feel that numeracy doesn’t play a role in home readers and sight words BUT it can.

  •  Count the letters in each word in the selected group of sight words. Group them according the number of letters in each group.
  •  Clap out and talk about or write down the amount of syllables in each word.
  •  Stretch out each word and count how many sounds there are in the word as opposed to just letters. (e.g. shop has ‘sh’ ‘o’ ‘p’)

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When reading:

  •  Look at the page numbers – discuss odd and even numbers. Look at how many pages there are and count on from the last number.
  • How many illustrations are in the story?
  • How many full stops?
  • How long is the book? Use informal measurements such as fingerspaces before you measure in centimetres.
  • How heavy is the book? What might it weigh the same as?
  • What shape is the book? What else is shaped like this? Count sides and then think about why books are square and not triangle or circular!

 

And perhaps consider this article, a very good reason to help your child to love mathematics: http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/a-dire-lack-of-interest-in-students-wanting-to-pursue-maths-careers-20170330-gv9pwa.html

 

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.

Leaf by Stephen Michael King

I stumbled across this book whilst I was shuffling through the K section of the picture books.

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The green cover stood out (as I was looking for some more environmentally themed books) so I pulled it off the shelf and quietly read the story.

Stephen Michael King has written some fantastic books that children love and this one is another book for children to enjoy.

Leaf contains little language which is fantastic as it allows the reader to form their own version of the story.

It is wonderful to encourage young readers to let their imagination flow. Children love being given ownership of their own learning and ideas and graphic novels and picture books can allow this creativity to flow.

Leaf shows the love of nature that children can have when given the chance. It also shows the adult world and how everything needs to be neat, tidy and regimented. A sad story on adults behalf!

In this magical story a little boy  grows his own seedling in his hair and loves it, cares for it and shares many adventures with it. He spends every waking minute finding the best way to care for his seedling.

Unfortunately it’s time for a haircut and the adult world tries to take his small tree away from him. However, his determination and resilience shines through and he continues to care for the tree as he grows older.

This is a beautifully drawn book which not only intrigues the reader but really hits the spot on how we need to take a step back and let the natural world become a part of our daily lives.

Take some time out to read this with a child (and by yourself) you will feel refreshed and inspired to make changes in your world.

 

Teaching ideas

This links in easily to the sustainability strand in the Australian curriculum.

English: Writing imaginative texts, Inferencing and reading books with limited writing.

Maths: Creative problem solving – how long could he have kept a tree on his head before it would have made his head lean to the side under the weight?

Create a short puppet play!

Read a ‘green’ script’ (See my post on Little Green Hood)

Work with students to learn how to write a script. (characters, taking turns, importance of italics for movement direction)

OR

Read Leaf by Stephen Michael King & then create a script to perform this as a simple puppet show. You can make it as detailed as you like. (You can use sock puppets or paper plates to keep it simple)