My Little Story Corner

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Santa’s Outback Secret: Teaching Notes

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9780857982254
Santa’s Outback Secret
Mike Dumbleton
Illustrated by Tom Jellett

Find the Review here.

Santa’s Outback Secret: Question Time!  

Before Reading:
Have a bag full of disguises, like funny glasses, wigs, hats, moustache, etc. Ask a child to pull out an item and put it on themselves or a toy. This is a disguise. Why might people wear disguises? .  
Look at the cover and title. What do you know about Santa? Does this man look like Santa? What do you think Santa’s secret might be? Where is the outback? What might Santa do there? What would be your wish for Christmas?  
IMG_1004 IMG_1002 IMG_1007
During Reading:
Why do you think Santa needs to disguise himself and hide his reindeer? Ask if children know the meanings of the words ‘jackaroo’, ‘tucker’, ‘crook’. What does it mean for the horse to be ”trickier than a thoroughbred”?  

After Reading:
Do you think the boy knew that the man was really Santa? Why do you think Santa chose to help Ben after reading his letter? What was the boy’s wish? What does this tell you about the boy’s nature? How do you think the trail bike will help the boy and his dad when Santa’s gone?  

Santa’s Outback Secret: Learning Time!  

Writing.

– Write your own letter to Santa about a very important Christmas wish to help someone else in need.
– Write a story about a time when Santa came to visit your house for a day. What would he do there? Did he solve a problem or help you in any way? What gift did he leave at the end of the day?
– S is for Santa. Write all the words in the book that start with ‘Ss’. (Santa, secret, special, skies, stained, snake-skin, shirt, stockman, swag, spray, smile, skill, speed, and so on).
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– Using the ‘s’ nouns listed above, draw and cut out, place blue tac on the back of each picture, then use to ‘dress up’ your Santa. Optional: Laminate for durability.
(Draw Santa (or download a Santa picture), stained jeans, snake-skin belt, shirt, shoes (boots), sun hat, sling water bag, stockman’s whip, canvas swag, spray). Make sure everything is labeled.
(See Mathematics Ordering activity for follow up).  

Reading.

– Comprehension Activity. Match the Aussie slang words to their meanings.
Download Santa’s Outback Secret Aussie Slang Match Up worksheet.
Santa's Aussie Slang
– Rhyming words. Find the rhyming words in the story. Think of other words that rhyme with: jackaroo, speed, bike, etc.  
– Read other Christmas books. What messages do they offer? What are the similarities and differences?
PhotoGrid_1418819481147 PhotoGrid_1418819703928

Mathematics.

– Space / Location. Prepositions:
List the prepositional language in the book. Match word with a drawn picture. Eg. beside a dusty homestead track. Santa leaped onto his back… The horse jumped up. The horse jumped over the stockyard fence!
Make a model Santa and a horse and demonstrate these actions (Make a model from anything like blocks, playdough, paper or pipe cleaners).
– Number. Santa’s Ordering Activity:
Order the items of clothing and accessories as Santa put them on. You can use your cut-outs from the writing activity and place them in order from 1st to 9th. Add your own item to make it the 10th piece.  
Science.
– Investigate Transport / Force.
What modes of transport can be found in the story? (Reindeer pulling a sleigh, horse, trail bike). How are each powered? Investigate by making models.
Find some terrific science, maths, art and games activities for the transportation theme here:
http://www.123child.com/lessonplans/other/transportation.php

– Santa Science Kids Activities.
http://www.growingajeweledrose.com/2012/12/more-santa-science-kids-activities.html
Cool activities from Magic Milk, Ice and Salt, and Holiday GOOP!     
Christmas+Science+Kids+Activities magic+milk+experiment

Art / Craft.
– Santa in Disguise. Make yourself a pair of Christmas glasses
http://picklebums.com/2014/11/14/christmas-glasses  
christmas-glasses-title
– Homemade Button Christmas Cards. Write a special message for a loved one.
http://craftsbyamanda.com/2014/12/homemade-button-christmas-cards.html
Button-Christmas-Cards-for-Kids-1
– Gorgeous Christmas Crafts
http://mumsgrapevine.com.au/2011/12/25-fabulous-christmas-crafts/  
xcraft5
– Fantastic Santa Crafts. Why not try making an Aussie Santa wearing a flannelette shirt!
http://onetimethrough.com/everything-santa-claus-45-kids-ideas-christmas/  
Everything-Santa-Claus-One-Time-Through-Blog

Purchase Santa’s Outback Secret from Boomerang Books for $17.99.

Lessons devised and adapted by Romi Sharp 2014.
All sourced resources have been credited.
These lessons are for personal or classroom use only and not permitted for commercial use.  

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Author: Romi Sharp

Qualified teacher, reviewer, writer and avid picture book fanatic, constantly immersed in the world of children's literature. Founder of My Little Story Corner and Just Write For Kids.

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