Minimising waste and reading more books!

2018 has been a great year, filled with so many wonderful books sent for reviews and bought for home or our school library.

I don’t have the time right now to list all of my favourites and I don’t know if I can choose either!! But here are a few Recent ones:

Another great thing that has happened this year is our movement towards creating less waste in landfill this year.

We’ve kept on composting and worm farming,

Reducing our food waste by making banana peel cake

Making our own dishwashing detergent, dishwasher powder and other sprays around the house!

And trying to use less packaging where we can.

I’m hoping to share more tips and tricks for parents to create less landfill waste in their homes without stressing about being zero waste – which I am sure turns many people off as it is quite unattainable for many who work full or part time, live in the suburbs, have kids, care for others .

If you know anyone who would like to join me and learn from my mistakes and my successes then pass on my blog.

See you in 2019!

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Endangered plant spotlight :Wee Jasper Grevillea

The Wee Jasper Grevillea, found in only two places in the world : wee jasper and on the slopes above Burrinjuck Dam has bloomed for the first time in twenty years!

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The hard work from the Saving our Species team and the National Parks and Wildlife service has saved this species from extinction.

The Wee Jasper Grevillea can grow up to 2.5m tall and has been in the past a delicacy for roaming cattle.  It grows around the many caves that are around the Wee Jasper area and flowers in winter and spring. It is interesting to note that it is predominately pollinated by birds.

So why is it critically endangered?

– Weeds take over the area it needs to grow in

– Feral Goats and grazing cattle have eaten it

– Recent fires have wiped out some of the small population.

– Human interaction with the area (tramping on plants and seedlings)

How is this plant being looked after?

Fences have been put in place around the species so that any young growth cannot be trampled on. This is paying off so the fencing will stay in place so that more plants can grow to adult size.

What can you do?

  • Report any feral animals you see to local farmers and NPWS.
  • Stick to the path when out bushwalking. Take photos only, do not pick the flowers.
  • Make sure your boots are clean when walking in different areas so you do not carry seeds from weeds.

 

That’s not a daffodil by Elizabeth Honey

Does your child know how flowers grow?

Do they know that all flowers were once seeds?

That’s not a daffodil is a beautiful story about a young boy’s relationship with his next door neighbour. The neighbour, Mr Yilmaz, shows the boy a daffodil – but to the boys surprise it is only a bulb (which Tom – the young boy –  thinks is an onion)


Not understanding the time it takes for a seed to grow into a flower or the things you need to do to nurture the seed so it grows, young Tom is always bewildered when Mr Yilmaz refers to the pot of dirt with the bulb inside, as a daffodil.

As we see the bulb slowly grow, we also read creative similes, metaphors and figurative language that cleverley describe the daffodil in each state of growth.

The relationship between Tom and Mr Yilmaz also blossoms as the daffodil grows, just showing how simple acts of kindness can lead us to learning about someone we may not have always chosen to know.

That’s not a daffodil by Elizabth Honey was a CBCA shortlisted book in 2012 and is definately one for the home bookshelf. It not only teaches children about plant growth but also the importance of patience, kindness and the ability to see beyond the simple picture.

 

So what can you do at home?

 

  • Grow some seeds. Find some pots and plant seeds and watch them grow. If you can, keep a seed diary so your child can monitor when the seed is watered and how long it will take to grow into a plant.
  • Learn about the life cycle of a plant or an animal, discover how long other things take to grow and what they need for survival.
  • Imagine a world without regular rain or temperatures that are too cold – what might happen to plants that rely on rain and warmth?
  • Enjoy some green space and digging – it is a wonderful activity for the soul.

LOTS. The diversity of life on Earth by Nicola Davies.

LOTS. The diversity of life on Earth by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Emily Sutton is a creative, eye catching non -fiction picture book that conveys the message of the amazing diversity of life we have on our planet Earth.

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Nicola Davies invites us to look everywhere and when we do we will find so many different types of life.  Through magical storytelling the reader finds out small facts about different creatures, how they live, how many species there are and where they hide. Emily Sutton illustrates with care, bringing the natural world into focus and helping us to se the intricate details of each animal, plant and insect.

LOTS is a great book to ignite your child’s interest in animals and perhaps a future in animal and habitat conservation.

LOTS is a gentle way to teach children about the importance of all life forms and how we all play a role in caring for them.

An informative and entertaining book, LOTS is one for the science lesson, literacy lesson and just the quiet book before bed.

So what can you do with this book? 

Before you read – write down three things you know about life on earth.

After you read – write down two facts you learnt. Write down two things you would like to know more about. Write down two ways you are going to help make sure no more animals become extinct.

Animal conservation

  •  read about an animal in this book who has become extinct. Work out why they became extinct and actions that may have saved them.
  • List and group all of the different animals in this story. How many groups of animals are there?
  • Look at the page on food/life cycles – can you investigate other animals and how they link in with each other for food and life?
  • Donate money to an organisation or do some volunteer work that would help restore habitats for animals.

Use this book as a springboard to help your child to be aware that everything they do makes an impact. Every piece of rubbish, every flick of a light switch and every trip in the car impacts another.

How can you make a difference as a family? 

 

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Florette by Anna Walker

Have you ever felt like the world you live in lacks green? Or perhaps you can’t remember the last time you saw a flower bloom or a butterfly flap past.

Florette by Anna Walker is just the book to read to inspire you to turn your world from grey, brown man made landscapes into luscious green spaces that encourage laughter and love.

Mae’s family moved to a new home, away from friends and her garden. Mae misses the apples trees, daffodils and leafy cubbies. She misses the wavy grass, daisies and space for a swing.

Until one day she discovers a Florette and  a small stalk of plant. Mae doesn’t know where the stalk will take her but she has a new spring in her step, hope in her heart and inspiration in her mind.

Anna Walker’s illustrations bring this story to life as we watch Mae transform from the dull grey landscape into the living green space she creates.

Florette is a beautiful story for those who might  live in a world of grey, showing that with a little inspiration we can all have our own green patch.

So what can you do?

At Home

  1. Grow your own seeds: Grab an old egg carton and some seeds (use apple seeds, tomatoe seeds or store bought seeds). Place some tissue in the carton and then place a seed on the tissue. Cover with another layer of tissue and add water.
  2. Where are the local green spaces in your area? Find them – can you walk to them?
  3. What is the purpose of a Florette? Investigate any local Florette’s in your area.
  4. Grow a new plant from the graft of another plant. Investigate which plants can do this – you will be surprised!

In the Classroom

  1. Inferencing:

START

– Focus on Mae’s point of view – how is she feeling? How can we learn what she is feeling? How do we know this. Discuss if these inferences are justified. Then move onto her parents point of view. (Page can be split into two)

– How do they both feel about their new home? New view? New lifestyle? Find images and words in the story to help justify this.

CREATE

– How would you feel in this landscape: What would you do? Draw your viewpoint.

Extend 1 :

–  Compare the different points of view. How and why are they different? Use a Venn diagram to compare differences and justify these differences through quotes. Draw the differences of what they might see out the window.

Extend 2:

–  Create an image to recreate from both Mae’s and the mothers point of view. How might they see the garden differently? The new house? Are each of their view’s fair on each other? Could one viewpoint overtake the others? What would it mean if one viewpoint was to disappear?

Numeracy

Plan a garden of your own in a space in your neighbourhood or backyard!

The importance of nature play. 

There is a lot of new research coming out on the importance of play and the importance of play outside.

As a teacher I have always observed children learning best when they are in a relaxed and informal environment. In saying this, there is always a place for teaching and mentoring but there is also a place for exploration, making mistakes and collaboration.


I love being outside – it just makes me happier. I love being in natural areas where there is less human activity and more time to sit back and admire what is around us. So when I became a librarian I couldn’t think of a better way to get children outside than through books!

Research shows that playing outside increases happiness, problem solving and motivation. When children play outside they use more imagination as there are less boundaries, they can problem solve and they can learn about the world they live in through their 5 senses.


Now, you often think of books as an inside activity – which they can be (and often are) and this is fine BUT what if we can take ideas from these books and use them to inspire some outdoor play?

Here are some books which might inspire you to take a trip outside!

 

Go on an adventure

We are going on a bear hunt

This is a classic book that we all know and love. It is so much fun to read and sing to and is a favourite of ours.

After you read this book, with your child you can…..

  • Go on your own bear hunt! Find some swishy grass, splashy water and sloshy mud – lots of fun!
  • Can you go on a native Australian animal hunt? Which animals live in your area?
  • Pack a bag and go on a short hike. Think of the different things you need to cope with storms, rain, wind and sunshine!

Worm explorers

The worm who knew karate by Terry Denton and Jill Lever

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….

After you read this book, with your child you can…..

  • go and dig up some dirt – find some earth worms!
  • Go and buy a worm farm or explore your local community garden worm farm.
  • Feed the worms – what do they like best?

Create a garden

The curious Garden by Peter Brown

One boy’s quest for a greener world, one garden at a time.

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.

After you read this book, with your child you can…..

  • Keep a seed diary – plant a seed and watch it grow! (use quick growing seeds like herbs, beans or sunflowers)
  • Look at a local park or your own backyard and redesign it so there is more growing and more green.
  • Make an inventory of the nature in your area. Discuss biodiversity of plants and animals.

Explore insects

Mechanics by Lance Baldachin

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!

After you read this book, with your child you can…..

  • Find some insects and sketch them. Look at how they move their arms and legs. Try to recreate an insect out of natural material.
  • Create an insect house for your local insects. Many insects are lacking in city gardens as there are not enough small holes for them to live in.
  • Look for signs of life cycles of insects  – these can be hard to find but it will make your child look in the small places that we often overlook.

Explore new places

Bogtrotter by Margaret Wild

The Bogtrotter 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.

After you read this book, with your child you can…..

  • Go to a new park, a new national park or any outdoor space.
  • Walk a path you walk everyday but do it slowly and try to notice the small things as you go along. Talk to people, say hello and notice what is happening.
  • Take something outside that you normally do inside – does it make a difference?

 

Imagination

Incredibilia by Libby Hathorn

I loved reading Incredibilia by Libby Hathorn and illustrated by Gaye Chapman to my children, the pictures really transport you to an imaginative world full of crazy creatures, whispy clouds and natural beauty. We loved looking at each page and imagining what Georgie was thinking about, what she was playing and how the others could play to.

After you read this book, with your child you can…..

  • Take some ribbons, balls, string and scraps and see what you can do with them outside rather than a specific toy.
  • Create new names for the local insects, trees and flowers in your garden or local park – imagination!
  • Go somewhere or find something that you think is incredibilia!

Being Green

Leaf by Stephen Michael King

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.

After you read this book, with your child you can…..

  • Perform a puppet show outside with leaves as the characters – draw on them and create a story!
  • What can you grow out of different substances? Explore how seeds grow and what they need to grow.
  • How heavy are different trees. Use problem solving to try and work this out.

 

I hope this has inspired you to read some books and play outside! I have many more ideas each week on my blog so please sign up to flickingonthebook.wordpress.com

 

 

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!

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.

 

 

 

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?

bogtrotter

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

 

Writing and drawing about sustainabillity

I have just received an email about this wonderful competition for primary school aged children.

If you would like to link sustainability and literacy please have a look at the Wilderness Society’s and The Environment Award for Children’s Literature competition.

This is a beautiful way to bring to life children’s ideas about sustainability and what it means to them.

Competition link: http://www.eacl.org.au/learn/

Some of the books I have blogged about are in their shortlist of the 2016 Environment Award for Childrens Literature. So have a look back through my blog if you need any help integrating these books into the classroom.

Phasmid: To come! Follow me for updates!

Seagull

The River

Once I heard a little wombat: To come! Follow me for updates!

Thirst:

Mister Cassowary: To come! Follow me for updates!

Platypus

WATCH THIS SPACE! OR HEAD OVER TO FACEBOOK AND LIKE MY PAGE!

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.

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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!!

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!

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

 

Instagram: Flickingonthebook

Twitter: Vanessaryanr

Facebook: Flicking on the book

 

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.