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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Monster party by The children from Rawa with Alison Lester and Jane Godwin

Monsters come out of the ground tonight. Jeepers creepers, they give us a fright!

In 2017 Alison Lester and Jane Godwin visited Rawa Community school and took part in a project with children from the school that would help them to not only create their own book but build skills in art marking and creative writing.

Rawa Community school is located on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert at Punmu in the Pilbara region of Western Australia – a place where your imagination can run wild!

Monster Party is a fun tale about a band of monsters who decide to come and visit the children at school one day after dancing the night away and keeping everyone up! The monsters can do so many different things on the shores of Dora Lake such as hop, slobber, steal and growl.

Written in rhyme and drawing on the imagination of young children – especially at night time, we learn about the crazy things monsters like to do when we are not looking.

Imagination is a beautiful gift to have but sometimes those dark spaces and lack of noise out in the middle of the desert can make the imagination run a lot wilder that you would hope it does!

The children who helped to write this story have learnt to harness that imagination and turn it into a fun story about life in one of the most remote communities in Australia.

Young children will delight in the crazy, funny and intriguing monsters that pop out on each page and possibly wonder what sort of other monsters are out there dancing the night away?

Monster party is a wonderful picture book for younger readers and there is a lot of learning and fun that can be had with it!

What else can you do?

Explore the different verbs used throughout the book and think of some more things monsters can do.

Learn more about how each of the monsters were created and the printing technique. Try to replicate this technique and create your own monster!

Use a map and find out where Rawa Community school is. Find out more about life there and indigenous stories that come from the desert area.

Write your own story about a monster party somewhere near your school.

Explore the use of rhyme in this story and create your own story in rhyme.

Choose a monster in the book and write a short description of it.

How do you wrap your sandwich

 

I’ve always been intrigued by the amount of people that tell me they can’t stop using cling wrap because they can’t afford to buy reusable containers.

So I decided to do a little research of my own and here you are – some reasons why you should ditch the cling wrap and plastic zip lock bags and move towards reusable containers, beeswax wraps and paper bags!

You can’t cite the cost when they are nearly all the same!!

How much is your sandwich wrap costing you?-3

Book Week 2018 activities for classrooms

Need some inspiration for this year’s CBCA Book Week? Check these out!

Sustainability

  • How can we host a waste free Book week? Come up with ideas for costumes and decorations that create the least amount of waste in our school and community.

Literacy

  • Write a book review on one of the shortlisted books.
  • Write down the name of a book that you treasure on a gold coin, book shape, pirate ship, image from book.
  • Write a letter to the author of your favourite book telling them why you treasure it.
  • Write a letter to someone to tell them you found treasure but you have been captured! Tell them where they need to go to find you!
  • Explain why one book should win over the others
  • Explore the protagonist in each story – which are animals? Which are humans?
  • BOY by Phil Cummings- choose a story that you love and draw it as a comic strip or a whole picture without any words.
  • Choose a book, write the name and the title on some decorated paper or shape and place in on the genre treasure map on display.
  • What is treasure and can it mean different things to different people?

Geography

  • Plot on a map where the authors of each of the shortlisted books have come from.

Numeracy :

  • Graph the winners of past CBCA awards: Male vs female, winners from each state etc.
  • Draw a map of the library and plot where different books can be found.
  • If you could buy ten new books for the library – what would they be and how much would they cost? Write a letter to your principal outlining why the school needs these books.
  • Create a map of where you would hide treasure at our school and write down directions using the points of a compass and strides.

Science

  • Do not lick this book: How is a germ like a treasure? Draw a microbe and show why it is like a treasure!
  • Florette – How is a garden, plant or flower like a treasure? Draw your favourite outdoor space that is like treasure and explain why you need this treasure.
  • Design a new library.

Art

  • Search for different paintings that are considered treasures. Do you agree or disagree and why?

Jasper Juggles Jellyfish by Ben Long and David Cornish

Do you know a child who just can’t sit still in the classroom? Or would rather move about instead of sitting down? Or perhaps you have an interest in creatures with eight legs or even those who blob around the ocean?

Well this book is just for you!

Jasper Juggles Jellyfish by Ben Long and David Cornish is a fun filled rhyming picture book that tells the story of young Jasper, an eight legged student who is having trouble learning how to count.

Learning how to count without doing the act of counting can make things tricky so young Jasper decides to juggle his numbers instead – but this proves to be just as tricky!

Instead of giving up, Jasper learns to take his time and slowly build up his juggling skills. Starting with one willing jellyfish before he moves onto two then three then all 12.

Colourful pictures and easy to read rhyme make this story quite a lot of fun but also provide many different talking points.

After we read this book we researched about different octopi, different types of jellyfish and of course tried to juggle ourselves.

We were also able to explore rhyme and the different types of ways words can rhyme in sentences to tell a story.

Jasper juggles jellyfish is a great story for young children who are learning how to count as it shows that persistence, practice and hands on learning are all key to understanding the great big world of numbers out there! It might also inspire parents and teachers to ensure that whenever learning takes place we make sure it is fun, hands on and linked to the real world!

So what else can you do with this book?

Numeracy

  • Explore different ways of counting to 12.
  • Explore different patterns in counting
  • Explore how many legs were in that counting pattern!

Literacy

  • Look at the different rhyming words used in this story and try to create your own sentence or two.

Science

  • What are the different types of jellyfish that reside in oceans or surrounding waterways near you?
  • Learn more about octopi and their intelligence.
  • How can you juggle? is there a science behind juggling different types of objects?
  • Can jellyfish always be this helpful? Look in the news for times jellyfish haven’t been too helpful.

Girl on Wire by Lucy Estela and Elise Hurst

A girl stands before a wire, anxious about walking across the tightrope that is so far above the ground.

The wind whips her cheeks and the thunder clouds growl – but she knows she needs to walk it.

Courage, confidence and self belief are strong themes throughout this picture book – but they all come with something else – support from those around you.

We can all have confidence, courage and belief in ourselves but none of this will continue to reign if others around us do not support us.

The young girl in this story is experiencing something that many young children will go through at any time of their life – anxiety, self doubt and loss of confidence. The wire represents the hard times, times when we have to try something new or events that make us uncomfortable. But, with the support of those we love, out toes can curl around the wire a little bit tighter, we can stand a little bit taller and we can walk a little bit more confidently.

Girl on a Wire is a simple yet inspiring story.

Accompanied by the painted illustrations of Elise Hurst, with colours that represent the girls thoughts, we can not only read how the girl is feeling, we can also see how she is feeling.

Girl on a Wire is a an excellent story to start conversations about self confidence and the power of believing in yourself . It is also a story to encourage the awareness that we can allow those who you trust to help support you too – we don’t need to do it all alone.

So what else can you do with this book?

 – Explore with your child people who they trust to help them when they need support.

– Explore times we they have asked for support – did it help?

– Explore times when they didn’t ask for support – what happened, could you still do this big task? Could support have helped you?

ACTIVITY: Draw a wire between two buildings and at one end write something that you really want to be able to do. Along the wire write down the people who need to be there to support you and the things you need to do in order to achieve this goal.

– What do you think the feathers represent? What is a symbol for you to help you get through the tough times?

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

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In outer space by Paul Mason

This great book on outer space is filled with Cause, Effect and the occasional bit of chaos!

Journey from Earth out to the sun, through meteorites and asteroids and then onto the planets that neighbour us.

You’ll learn what life is like in space and the effects on astronauts bodies as they float about.

The ever questioning black hole is ventured into alongside galactic cannibals!

All this kid-friendly information is accompanied by colourful pictures that really show the non-reader what is happening on their journey through space.

In outer spaceis a great way to learn more about our solar system and the amazing yet chaotic things that happen way out there!

BUY NOW – click on image below

 Cause, Effect and Chaos!: In Outer Space (Cause, Effect and Chaos!)

So what else can you do with this book?

  •  Work out how long it would take you to visit one or more of these places and what you would need to pack with you.
  •  Why is there chaos in outer space and where are you more likely to find it?
  • Are there side effects to astronauts hanging out in space? What do they need to do when they return and is their life expectancy effected?
  • Explore the space ships that have been to the moon and beyond. When was the last space ship launched and where is it now?
  • What happens to space junk? Explore the patch of ocean that is filled with space junk and the side effects of this watery junk yard!
  • List all the causes and effects outlined in this book. Can you think of some more?

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.

Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai

One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.

Many of us have heard the story of Malala but this magical picture book brings her story to younger readers.

Armed with her dreams of a magic pencil, Malala tells us of all the things she used to wish she could do if she had a magic pencil.

However Malala realises that her magic pencil won’t appear so instead she works hard at school but then once the military move in and try to stop girls from being educate she realises that she has her own pencil and her own mind and voice so she writes letters to the world.

She doesn’t stop there. She speaks to the media, travels around her country and inspires girls to take a stand for themselves and their basic human rirghts.

Malala’s voice has continued to grow loud as time has gone on and she continues to work hard for those girls who are missing out on being educated.

The support she must have from her parent’s is phenomenal and it really is a message to both children and parents.

Children – don’t think you are powerless just becase you are small. You have a voice and you can speak up.

Adults – support your children to speak up. Teach them about the world and how they can make a positive difference.

What can you do at home?

  • Find out more about Malala and the school she has opened in Pakistan.
  • Find out where Pakistan is and why girls don’t have the same rights as boys.
  • Find out where else in the world girls have trouble going to school. Explore why this happens and who is trying to change this.
  • Think about what you can speak out about. Is there something you wish to change in your community? Write letters, connect with like minded individuals.
  • Share Malala’s story and those of other people who have spoken out – be inspired to be the change you want to see in your world.

Jessica’s box by Peter Carnavas

Know someone starting school this year? Or starting a new school?

Jessica’s box by Peter Carnavas might be one to share with them before they start on their way.

This story was written in 2008, has won many awards and has had many teacher notes and activities written about it, so I won’t add to it all but I really just wanted to highlight how great this story is for young children.

This book shows the young reader how important it is to be true to ourselves and that true friends will see who we really are and will love us for who we are – not what we have.

We can teach our youngsters about popularity and how it is fleeting (despite the messages the media throw at us). Peter Carnavas shows children through this store the importance of  knowing who we are and how by knowing, we will find those who will support us through good and bad times.

We have loved reading Jessica’s box and it is one we will continue to visit in times to celebrate friendship or times when we need to re assess the difficult journey friendship can take.

So what else can you do with this book?

– Play a major role in your child’s education so you are aware of how they are feeling. Talk to them about school, read with them after school and be involved when you can.

– Talk about things you are good at and ask your child what they think they are good at. Tell each other what you are both good at. Do this as often as you can.

– For older readers – find times in the media when people have become popular because of one thing but then faded because that thing was gone or no longer popular?

– How is social media like Jessica’s box? How can we become popular on Facebook or instagram? Does this popularity really count?

How will you play a role in order to help your child thrive?

Hark it’s me, Ruby Lee! by Lisa Shanahan and Binny.

Ruby Lee is a little girl with a very BIG imagination

Ruby Lee is a young girl who loves school and loves helping but never seems to get chosen for the jobs she really wants to do. Until one day, when the chosen helpers are away, Ruby Lee and her friend George Papadopoulos finally gets the opportunity to take a message to the office.

However, Ruby Lee’s amazing imagination takes them a little off the track and no where near the office where the measure needs to be! Where they end up will surprise you and the colourful illustrations by Binny will allow you to extend your imagination even more!

Back in the classroom, Ruby Lee, despite her best efforts to deliver the message, is disappointed….. until a pigeon flies into the classroom, and that is when she really discovers what she can do best.

Lisa Shanahan integrates the ideas of creativity, friendship and finding your gifts into this story – showing the young reader that it is really important to be aware of your gifts and not focus on what others do best, but what you do best.

A great read for those starting or continuing pre-school or primary school as it really highlights the importance of friends and the importance of believing in what you can do best.

So what else can you do with this book?

 – Look at the end papers – why are there small birds used?

– What do you think George Papadopoulos’ background is?

– Where did Ruby Lee and George travel do on their message adventure? Create your own story about somewhere you might go in-between your classroom and the office.

– What are your gifts? Write down 5 things you are really good at and proud of. If you have trouble ask a friend.

Koalas eat gum leaves by Laura and Phil Bunting

Do you actually know exactly what koalas eat?

Are you sure?

Perhaps you’d better read this to find out….

Koalas eat gum leaves by Laura and Phil Bunting is a fun filled book where you learn a little more than you bargained for about koalas.

We all know they eat gum leaves for every meal but one little koala is tired of these eucalyptus treats so he sets his eyes on something a little bit more delicious.

Not only will the young reader love the story, they will also enjoy looking at the extra messages within the pictures – the simple change of where the eyes are looking, the movement of the sun in the sky and the arm or leg movement to show something else the koala might be thinking.

Koalas eat gum leaves by Laura and Phil Bunting is a cleverly written story and despite it’s humour there are some lovely hidden messages to find and discuss after you have finished reading.

P.S. Don’t forget to stare at the end pages for at least 5 minutes!

What else can you do with this book?

RESEARCH

– What do koalas eat? Where do they live? Are they endangered?

WONDER

– What would happen if Koalas did eat human food as part of their diet?

THINK

– Why is the koala a national icon? Aren’t there any other animals worthy of this? Choose another animal that should be part of the tourist trail and convince others why.

INVESTIGATE

– How is ice cream made? Can you make your own ice cream? By making your own ice cream,not only are you cutting out the plastic container you are also using fresh and natural ingredients (go on, have a read of the back of the packet…)

CREATE

– Create some different Australian flavoured ice creams. Could you create some that animals could eat? You will need to investigate the diet of each animal .

Flying books

I am sure you, just like me have donated books to charity.


It makes you feel good that someone else is going to enjoy a book or  at least the book isn’t going to end up in the bin.

But have you ever donated a really terrible book? An old book? Perhaps an outdated book?

On a recent trip to Vanuatu we were lucky enough to stay with a local for three nights/four days on the northern tip of Efate. On one of those days we visited a school with a suitcase full of books to donate to the library.

Most of these books were in great condition and were aimed at young children but the lady who took us to the school told us that they do often receive books that are falling apart, too hard to read or too outdated.

Many people might think they are doing to right thing by donating a book but really they are just creating more rubbish in a place that doesn’t need any extra waste or material that will just be burnt.

Next time you hear about a book drive or decide to donate some books consider if it will be read or if it will just be disposed of by someone else instead of yourself.

Consider the people who will be receiving the books – many of those in developing countries who are in need of books do not have very good English skills so the easier the book and there pictures the better.

Don’t send your junk or your old books. Send your best books – these people deserve to read the quality that we all read too.

Read, talk, do – the corroboree frog 

 

Recently we read the story: The little Corroborree Frog  

And it has inspired some action in my children. There was no pushing of we have to do this, we have to learn that or we have to save the world. There were simple discussions after we read the story and little discussions around the house when we used water or decided to make our own snacks instead of buying them.

So what happened?

We made a link

My son and I visited the zoo and were lucky enough to see a Corroborree frog.

We made another link

When we returned home my son and daughter watched a couple of short videos on the computer so we could see how they move in the wild and in captivity.

We learnt something and wanted to share it.

There is no point just keeping all the great facts to yourselves so we made posters that we can stick up at home and take to school for news.

See – simple!

If you have time at home, perhaps half an hour you too can educate and empower your children to make a difference in their world. If we don’t start to take action now many animals and people will not be living a great life in the future.

 

 

 

Escape to everywhere

Have you ever read a book and wished that you could escape to that magical land? Perhaps you wished that your cupboard opened up to a secret land where you could meet animals that could talk, eat sweet biscuits with new friends and watch magic spells come to life with the flick on a wrist.

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Have you ever met a character in a book that you wanted to spend more time with so you could find out more about them, hang out with them and go on some of their adventures or perhaps learn some new skills from them?

Maybe your way of escaping is to learn new knowledge, perhaps you escape by becoming engrossed in new facts, pondering about hypothesis and exploring a new scientific or mathematical concept?

Reading allows us to escape. Reading slows our bodies down and gives us time to absorb what is going on inside us. Studies show that when we sit down and read we breath more deeply, our heart rate slows and our body has time to heal and absorb more nutrients from our day (must be why that hot cup of tea and healthy treat is a must when reading)

If we have the skills to escape through a story or through knowledge we can move away from the fast pace life of social media, fast paced computer  games and action packed news.

So not only during book week should we take the time to escape, we should take the time to escape everyday. We should be teaching our children the art of escaping through books.

Which book will you be reading tonight so you can escape?

Loving all types of literacy

Linking literacy to books is a passion of mine (as you may have guessed) but so is learning to read.

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The early years of any child’s life and then formal education are vital for building a love of literacy. If we miss those years children struggle through many areas of their lives as reading is such a big part of it!

Here are some simple ways you can start to build phonemic awareness in a fun way which involves books. No worksheets. No writing. No repetition. Just books and conversations!

  • When you look at the front cover read it out loud. Read the authors name, illustrators name and perhaps even the blurb. Ask your child if they can think of another name that starts with the same sound as the authors first name. Start with the initial letter but if you child can do it, blend the first two letters and find names with that sound.

 

  • As you read look for pictures that might look like letters – this can be lots of fun and can be done as you drive in the car or go for a play outside!
  • If your child is a keen writer – write down their favourite words or sounds from the book. Stick these words on the wall and they can copy them or even make them out of blocks or shapes when the time suits them.

 

  • Make up your own story together – write it down if you like and illustrate.

 

  • Don’t just focus on home readers – make sure your children are reading books they choose for pleasure.

 

  • You don’t always need to read books – try comics or magazines, non-fiction and audio books! . Exposure to different forms of literacy opens their mind and encourages passion from an early age.

 

  • Let me know your thoughts!

Playing a role in your child’s education

How can I play the best role in my child’s education is one question that many parents ask. 

This is a great question and more parents need to ask this. It seems that many parents see school as a separate entity where they send their child to learn and there is no connection with what they do or day at home with how their child achieves at school

But, there is a strong link and if parents become positively involved in their child’s education their child will be more motivated, have higher self esteem and higher self efficacy. It is important to note that we do not want to smother our children if we are to be involved in their education, we just need to support them in a positive manner.

There are some simple steps you can follow.

  1. Understand your child, where they excel and where they need support.
  2. Know the school and the best schooling option for your child. Understand their policies, teaching methods and how they cater for different children within the classroom.
  3. Connect with the school – this could be through meeting the teacher, taking part in parent and family school activities, volunteering somewhere in the school, reading the school newsletter etc.
  4. Get to know other parents in the school community. This will make your school experience positive and influence how you speak about the school. Getting to know the parents of the children your child is friends with is also a positive step in knowing your child better.
  5. Don’t be negative in front of your child. When you are unhappy with something that has happened at school try to find out as much as possible before commenting. Your child needs to see you being fair to the school and the teachers.
  6. Trust your instincts about your child. You know what is best for them so support them in the way that is best for them.
  7. Involve your child in the decision making process throughout their schooling. Remember it is ultimately their education. You can help them make their decisions but make sure it is in the best interest of your child.

But what else? 

Ultimately, at school,  we want our child to learn new ways of thinking, new facts and new skills but we also want to develop their social skills and emotional skills. By playing a positive role in your child’s education that is not smothering is key. We want our children to be resilient and self confident so that they can make decisions themselves without us always having to be nearby. By showing that you are involved in the school, are positive towards to school and have belief in your child is the first step.

Resilience is something that parents can develop at home. There is a great model called the Resilience Doughnut and is definitely worth checking out as it is such a useful tool for parents.

Basically the doughnut’s centre represents the intrinsic beliefs and motivations of a person. It looks at how the person views themselves, how confident they are and who they feel they can go to for support.

The outside of the doughnut has seven factors which are all related to external influences on the person’s life. They are:

  • The Parent Factor: characteristics of strong and effective parenting .
  • The Skill Factor: evidence of self-competence. How does the person view their abilities?
  • The Family and Identity Factor: What is your family identity?  How do we connect to our family? Do we feel respected? Accepted? Siblings? Trusting adult?
  • The Education Factor: experience of connections and relationships during the learning process. How do we feel towards teachers? Strong relationships with teachers? High expectations? Optimistic? Positive world view? Enjoyment of learning?
  • The Peer Factor: where social and moral development is enhanced through interactions with peers. Development and maintenance of friendship? Belonging, acceptance, peer support, loyalty, self regulation.
  • The Community Factor: where the morals and values of the local community are transferred and the young person is supported. Sporting clubs, religious groups, activity groups…Having links to the local community and supportive social services has been shown to have a major impact on contributing to building resilience Shared values.
  • The Money Factor: where the young person develops the ability to give as well as take from society through employment and purposeful spending. Learn about spending, consuming, material possesions, self regulation. Budgeting, gratefulness.

So that’s just a snapshot of the resilience donut, I recommend you sit down and take a look at it so you can ensure you are playing the best role in your child’s education – remembering not just school facts and skills but skills for life.

Yucky Worms by Vivian French

If worms are underground farmers what are the underwater farmers?

 How does an animal survive without a sense? Investigate different creatures that can live without one of the senses we feel we must have.

 List some other animals that are deemed as ‘yucky’ and find out why. Is there a way to raise their profile?


Have you ever wondered if you chop a worm in half will it just grow a new head and keep on wriggling on? Or why people refer to worms as underground farmers?

Well, look no further than Yucky Worms by Vivian French! Delicately illustrated by Jessica Ahlberg, Yucky worms is an informative story told by a gardening grandmother to her inquisitive grandson.

Perhaps many of us have reacted to worms in the garden as yucky, disgusting, slimy or dirty (which they can be) but without them, as you will discover in the story, we would not have the fertile soil that we need to grow fruits, flowers and vegetables.

As you read through Yucky worms (published by Candlewick press) readers young and old can learn about worm anatomy, eating habits, habitat and how they survive in different situations through story, labelled diagrams and funny worm conversations!

So how can you use this story to inspire some worm loving?

SCIENCE

  • Create a large worm diagram and label it using your own words. Investigate worm life cycles, diet, habitat and anatomy.
  • Buy or make a worm farm!
  • Investigate worm farms – how do they work? What do worms need to eat? What can kill the worm farm worms? What can they live without? What can’t they live without?

GEOGRAPHY

  • Is there anywhere in the world where worms cannot live?
  • Is there anywhere in the world where worms do not want to live due to human acitivity?
  • If you were a worm what would you enjoy doing the most?
  • Many people on the dance floor think they can do a move called the worm but can worms really dance? And, is that move doing worm bristles and muscular movement justice?
  • Write an ode to the worm.

 

 

 

 

 

Bee and Me by Alison Jay

 ~ A story about friendship ~

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sustainability

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

 

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

 

Literacy

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

SCIENCE

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

GEOGRAPHY

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

NUMERACY

Why are honey bee hives made out of hexagonal shapes?

Why do stingless bee hives spiral shaped?

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

I’ve got nits! by Mike Brownlow

I’ve got nits by Mike Brownlow is a great book to read to your children when they have nits!


I found it a fun read but it also put my daughter at ease – which was what I really wanted. She was quite worried that she had ‘bugs’ in her hair but after reading this book she could see how easy they are to catch and also with patience they are easy to get rid of.

I have included this book on my blog as I really wanted to take a natural approach to getting rid of nits as there are so many products out there. All of the products claim that they will get rid of nits straight away  – which is not true (after some research) and many of them contain harsh chemicals which are likely to irritate the scalp and therefore cause other issues!

I was trapped into buying a product – it was totally natural but expensive. I thought that if I used a store bought product I would get rid of the nits. BUT I found that as my daughter’s hair is so thick we nearly went through the whole $13.95 bottle in one treatment – which didn’t work!

I have since read that nits need several treatments over 2-3 weeks and this book really hit home in telling me all you need is conditioner and a fine toothed comb!

So when I discovered the nits had come back we used conditioner (left in for twenty mixtures with a shower cap on), then i combed her hair – for about 20 minutes – with tea tree oil and a bowl of vinegar to fry the darling nits.

We did this every 2-3 days for 2 weeks and it worked! Hooray!

There is a lot to say about the simplicity of essential oils. I have heard  a lot about essential oils in the world lately and have looked into joining some of the programs but for now they are out of my reach as they are quite expensive. Luckily Tea Tree oil is easy to come by and we are only using it for cleaning and nit attacking so I don’t think I need to worry about spending big yet.

Tea Tree oil is one to have in your cabinet as it is antibacterial, anti fungal and a pest deterrent.

I’ve since heard that Neem oil is also a great deterrent for Nits. I might need to get some for our next battle!

And remember  – you don’t need to wash the sheets as nits do not survive for long without a scalp to feed off.

Good luck in battling the nits! I managed to escape infestation this time…

Nit Tips

  1. Cover hair in conditioner – thickly. Leave on for at least 10 minutes  – I did 20. Cover with a shower cap so it stays wet.
  2. Finely comb through hair with a fine tooth comb layer by layer. Use tea tree oil as your comb through.
  3. Dip comb in vinegar to kill off any eggs and seller bugs. Wipe comb after each use so you are not spreading one nit from one strand to another.
  4. Wash hair afterwards.
  5. Repeat every 2-3 days for at least 2 weeks. This is of course your time dependant and also how well your child copes sitting still.

 

Thirst By Lizzie Wilcock

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

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

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

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

Follow up activities

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

 

 

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.