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Big Pet Day: Teaching Notes

imageBig Pet Day, Lisa Shanahan (author), Gus Gordon (illus.), Lothian Children’s Books, 2014.
Shortlisted in 2015 Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards (5 – 8 years).

What an exciting day at school! ‘Big Pet Day’ is a tale of mammoth exuberance as Lily’s class celebrate the individual qualities and talents of their pets. Much to her dismay, Mrs Dalton’s classroom quickly becomes a disorganised chaotic mess. The principal, Mr Fisher, will be judging the best pet later that day, so keeping everyone under control is of the utmost importance. There is a runaway ferrett, a pooping pony, and a cordial-drinking puppy. Lily’s pet dragon is very well-behaved though, but she is the only one who knows how special he is. In a hilarious finale, involving a squealing, hermit crab-fearing Mr Fisher, it is Lily’s dragon who is now ‘seen’ as the most deserving gold trophy winner.
The text by Lisa Shanahan is absolutely comical, with many personalities evident – the cheekiest would have to be Mrs Dalton! There is a lot to discover, with the various children and the shenanigans of their pets, and illustrator Gus Gordon covers all these aspects expertly with charm and humour. I love the page with the kids looking exactly like their pet counterparts! Gorgeous! His use of scanned images, adorable hand-drawn characters and fine details (like Mrs Dalton’s book titled ‘Pet Management’) allow for hours of perusal and plenty of giggles.
‘Big Pet Day’ is perfect for primary school aged children (and their teachers), with scope for open discussions on pets (real and imagined), classroom management, friendship and loyalty. This book is both entertaining and heartwarming. It’s a winner!

This review appeared first at Boomerang Books.

Discussion.

Before Reading:

Use a story bag and fill it with items relating to the story. Eg. Pictures / toys of different animals and a dragon, a gold trophy, pet accessories (brush, collar, ball, etc).
Have children guess what the story might be about as they refer to the items.
Ask, Do you have a pet? If you could have any pet what would it be? How do you take care of a pet? Can a dragon be a pet? Why or why not? What would you teach a dragon if you had one as a pet?

During Reading:

Would you like to take your pet to school? What tricks would you like it to show? Do you think Mrs Dalton likes having the pets in her classroom?
Do you think Courtney is right about Lily’s dragon? What do you notice about the technique used in the pictures?
How do you think the teachers and students will respond to Lily’s dragon’s roars?

After Reading:

What unusual things does your pet do? Which animal/s in the story did you like best? Why or why not?
Why do you think the class liked Lily’s picture of herself and her flying dragon best?
How did each student get their pet ready for the parade? How did Lily get her pet dragon ready? What are the special qualities about Lily’s dragon that make him unique? Do you think he deserved to be the gold trophy winner? Why?
How did Lily handle the others not believing in her dragon? Could she have responded to Courtney’s untrustworthiness in a different way? Could Courtney have responded to Lily’s stories differently?

Thinking Activity.

De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats.
Download Big Pet Day 6 Thinking Hats, formulate and answer your own questions about Lily and her dragon in ‘Big Pet Day’. Here are some examples.

Blue Hat – Processes. Thinking about thinking: Organise your own class pet day.
White Hat – Facts. Information and data: List the ways the children took care of their pets when getting ready for the Grand Parade.
Red Hat – Feelings. Intuition, instincts: How did Lily and her dragon feel to be the winner? How did they feel when no one took notice of them?
Green Hat – Creativity. Ideas, possibilities: What creative things could you teach your pet?
Yellow Hat – Benefits. Positives: What are the best things about having a pet dragon / any pet?
Black Hat – Cautions. Difficulties, weaknesses: What are the most dangerous / difficult things about having a pet dragon / any pet?
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Literacy.

Writing:
– Persuasive Text. Complete and illustrate: ‘The best pet is…. because…’.
– Creative Writing. Write a story around the theme of keeping a pet dragon.

Reading:
– Comprehension. The students got their pets ready for the Grand Parade.
Match the description of how they took care of their animals with the correct picture. Download Big Pet Day Match Up
Big Pet Day Match Up

– Read other books and fairy tales about dragons. Compare and contrast fierceness vs gentleness, personality traits and appearance, and so on.

Numeracy.  

Measurement: Ordering Pets by Size.
Collect a range of toys of different sizes. Have student/s order and identify them from smallest to largest.
Use other vocabulary to describe sizes. Eg. Tiniest, medium-sized, biggest, etc. Draw them in their order and label.
– Sorting. Use the Big Pet Day Cut and Paste to sort the animals into various categories.
A three way venn diagram is included for categories of three (eg. Feathers, Fur, Fins).
Big Pet Day Cut and Paste
Graphs and Data: Favourite Pets Graph.
As a group, list a range of favourite pets. Students survey each other and make a tally against each given pet. Count and mark the number of votes for each pet, and graph the results on a bar or picture graph. Discuss results.
Optional: include imaginary pets in the survey.

Science. 

Bubble Creatures.
Bubbles are always a fascinating discovery with the mixture of detergent and water and its transparency, soapy surface, expanding and popping qualities.
Here’s a fun way to explore bubbles and create your own ‘bubble-breathing’ dragon at the same time! From Two-Daloo.
dragon2

Arts / Crafts.  

Dragon Crafts.
Find a range of fantastic dragon crafts from Activity Village.
dragon_bookmark
Collage Art.
Cut out pictures from magazines or photos, and incorporate them into a painting of your favourite scene, or create your own Grand Pet Parade.
Materials: magazine cut outs, photos, paint, pencil, glue.

  

Lessons by Romi Sharp.
© My Little Story Corner 2015.
www.facebook.com/mylittlestorycorner
All sourced resources have been credited.
These lessons are for personal or classroom use only and are not permitted for commercial purposes without written consent.

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Visiting Mr Huff and his creator, Anna Walker.

Just like her picture books, Anna Walker is sweet, gentle and thoughtful, and as well as being down-to-earth, she’s also exceptionally gifted. Meeting her at her Mr Huff Exhibition at the gallery in Melbourne’s CBD was like a dream becoming reality. Her books are well-loved and highly treasured in our household, and for so long I have longed to make contact but didn’t have the courage.

  
But now I’ve done it! Face-to-face! I felt like a brave little chicken being swept away with the excitement in the city!
Anna was simply delightful. She answered all my questions generously and politely, even the silly ones! And her work, well, you think it’s enchanting in the books? Yes. But even more so to view up close and personal! Just sublime. The amount of detail with individually cut and pasted floorboards, leaves, tiny characters all with their very unique personalities. The level of skill in her intricate watercolour paintings, etches and sketches, and miniature models is simply extraordinary.   

   
   
  
Backtrack a bit… This was the second attempt at making the trip into the city, but as it turned out, the weather was (slightly) better, and we (Miss 5 and I) had time to prepare a little gift for the talented author / illustrator (one of our faves), just to show how much we love her. With some prior planning, (and a little bit of help from me), Miss 5 drew and painted her favourite Anna Walker characters in what we thought turned out to be quite a whimsical piece.

  
The teacher in me was happy to see her drawing on her knowledge of various Walker tales and creating an innovative pictorial story. “Alfie is searching for Sharkie and he’s shouting so loud that he’s blowing Peggy away with the wind from his mouth!” (Can you spot Sharkie?!)
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But did Anna Walker like it? She certainly seemed impressed and complimented Miss 5 on her artistic skills.:)
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So, for a glorious half hour or so, we had Anna Walker and her magical ‘Mr Huff’ world all to ourselves (pretty much), feeling absolutely enchanted by her brilliant words and images. Wow! An experience to remember!  

Inside Scoop!

 Anna is currently working on a new story about a little girl on a ‘flowery’ kind of adventure! It sounds absolutely magical. Only to be released in two to three years, though. But her new ‘What Do You Wish For?’ Christmas book with Jane Godwin will be out soon! Yay!  

See more of Anna Walker and her books on her website.

Buy Mr Huff here (affiliate link).

Written and photographed by Romi Sharp, 2015.  


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Teddy Took the Train: Teaching Notes

9781760112134 Teddy Took the Train, Nicki Greenberg, Allen and Unwin, 2015.

Review.

Teddy Took the Train is a suspenseful and heartwarming story of a brave little girl who waits in anticipation for her teddy to return home after accidentally losing him on the train. Dot is eager to show Teddy the sights and sounds of the city passing on by their window seat inside the train. But with all the hustle and bustle, Dot and her Mum hurriedly depart the train, soon to realise that the train has taken Teddy… “No, Teddy took the train!”As best as she can cope with the grief of his sudden departure from her life, Dot reassures herself that Teddy’s train trip had been preconceived and he will make his way back to her in good time. His picnic at Bear Bend, his crowd surfing at Flinders Street, his river ride, and worldly adventures were all part of his plan. And when doubt and worries creep in, she handles these thoughts with maturity and optimism. But will Dot’s little world-travelling companion make it home in time for bed?

Nicki Greenberg’s text paces rhythmically and steadily, effectively engaging its young readers as they journey around town with this adventurous toy. I love how she builds emotion and encourages interaction with some bold sound words, repetition of what’s taking Teddy and the incorporation of questions. Nicki’s illustrations are equally animated and intriguing with their mixed media acrylics, scanned textures and collage techniques that keep your eye roving throughout every page.

A delightfully imaginative story about dealing with missing toys in a courageous and resilient way. It is perfect for preschoolers, and those who especially understand this situation all too well.

Short listed in the 2015 Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards.

Available for purchase here.

tumblr_no0mw8qMTQ1qcjicdo1_500
Discussion.

Before Reading:
Ask, have you ever been on a train? What did you see, hear, smell inside and outside? Where / which way do you like to sit?
Look at the cover. What do you see? Where do you think Teddy might be going? Why do you think he’s taking a trip on the train?

During Reading:
Do you think Teddy likes being crowded on the train? How do you think Dot lost Teddy? Do you think Dot is worried about Teddy? How do you know? Do you think Teddy is worried about Dot? Why or why not? Do you think Teddy will make it back home? Why or why not?

After Reading:
Do you think Teddy really did all those things? Why does Dot tell her other toys about Teddy’s adventures? How do you think Dot felt when she thought Teddy was taking a long time to come home? What words can you use to describe Dot? Teddy?
Have you ever lost a favourite toy? How did it make you feel? What thoughts did you tell yourself to make you feel better?
Were there things you noticed about the different people in the book? Were there things you noticed about objects or textures in the pictures?

Thinking Activity.

Dot and Teddy Venn Diagram.
Create a Venn Diagram showing the similarities and differences between Dot and Teddy. Think about their appearances, character traits and actions. Eg. Dot has blond, curly hair / Teddy has short, brown hair. Dot had a picnic with her toys / Teddy had a picnic with his bear friends. Draw the ideas and label your pictures.

Literacy.

Recount Writing.
Write about a time when you lost, or misplaced, something you were fond of. What did you do? How did you feel? Did you find it in the end? If not, how did you overcome the problem? Illustrate with your favourite part of the story.
Creative Writing.
Imagine one of your toys took an adventure. Where would they go? How would they get there? What obstacles did they have to overcome? Did they come back to the original destination?
Writing Lists.
Write a list of places you would like to visit, real or imaginary.
Vocabulary / Grammar.
Write a list of adjectives to describe Dot. Write another list to describe Teddy. Include appearance, character traits, actions. Also see Thinking Activity (Venn Diagram).
 Comprehension.
Complete the sentence: ‘The ____ took ____! No, _____ took the ____!’ Illustrate.
Phonics.
Tt is for Teddy. Make a list of words beginning with ‘Tt’. Draw/make a train and write each word in the carriages.
Teddy took the train word train
Reading
Read other books by Nicki Greenberg. Compare and contrast similarities and differences between writing style and illustrations.
PhotoGrid_1436833366839

Numeracy.

Space / Location.
Help Teddy find his way back to Dot.
Make your own or download and complete the Teddy Took the Train Maze.
PhotoGrid_1436507398916
Puzzle Maker: http://puzzlemaker.discoveryeducation.com/AdvMazeSetupForm.asp

Number.
Train Addition Game.
Objectives:Reinforce number recognition and one-to-one correspondence counting skills.
Http://stayathomeeducator.com/build-a-train-a-preschool-addition-game

IMG_9189

Measurement: Time.
Train Travel. Teddy explored the city of Melbourne via the train network. Choose your own city’s travel network to explore for the following activity.
Materials:list of train (or tram, bus, etc) stations, train track / hard floor with labelled stations, toy train or homemade propelling train (See Science activity), timer or stopwatch.

Materials: paper, scissors, pencil, sticky tape, blocks/train with wheels, balloon, paper rolls, timer or stopwatch

Materials: paper, scissors, pencil, sticky tape, blocks/train with wheels, balloon, paper rolls, timer or stopwatch


Directions:
1. Make your own train route with different stations (we simply stood labelled paper rolls up as the stations).
image
2. Make or use a toy/propelled train. Tip: if using a balloon, attach the tape underneath and not over the neck so you don’t restrict the airflow
image
3. Set the train at the start of the track, and let go! Time how long it takes to travel from one station to the next (adult assistance required).
image
4. Record results. Eg. Melbourne Central Station to Southern Cross Station: 6 seconds.
5. Extension: Increase the number of stations on your track. Estimate and time how long it takes to complete the whole route.

Measurement: Time.
Clocks. It took from breakfast to bed time for Teddy to complete his outing on the train.
Make a time wheel or timeline showing your daily routine / activities, dividing the day into either:
Breakfast, Morning tea, Lunch, Afternoon tea, Dinner, Dessert, or
Morning, Mid-morning, Midday, Afternoon, Evening, Night, or
9:00am, 11:00am, 1:00pm, 3:00pm, 5:00pm, 7:00pm.

Science.

Make your own self propelled train.
The science of ‘force’ is fascinating and can be explored in many ways. Use this train in the above Numeracy activity (Train Travel), or simply experiment and discuss the nature of ‘forces’ in this Science activity.
Instructions on how to make a balloon powered car (or train) here: http://m.wikihow.com/Make-a-Balloon-Car
image
A few more great ideas on learning about forces here: http://www.science-sparks.com/2014/01/29/ideas-for-learning-about-forces
image

Arts / Crafts.

A trip to the market.
Dot and her Mum bought oranges, a bun, leafy greens and a cup of coffee. Create a train that carries items you might find at the market.
Http://play-trains.com/natural-freight-toy-trains-summer
image
Paper Roll / Egg Carton Train.
Take Teddy for a ride on your very own homemade train.
Http://www.thecrafttrain.com/1/post/2013/03/egg-carton-train.html
image
Cardboard Box Car and Train Tunnel.
Take your train through the City Loop with this fantastic box tunnel.
Http://celebrateeverydaywithme.com/diy-project-for-your-train-loving-car-racing-kid
image

Geography Project: My Place in the World.
Teddy visited lots of destinations around the world. Get to know your place in the world with this brilliant geographic activity.
Since Australia is both a country and a continent, you will include it twice. Discuss this fact by making comparisons to other countries / continents.
Http://kidworldcitizen.org/2011/11/26/my-place-in-the-world-project
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Find templates for a map of Australia, including plain coastal, plain States and labelled States here:
Http://d-maps.com/pays.php?num_pay=281&lang=en
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Music.

Train Songs.
Http://www.letsplaykidsmusic.com/down-at-the-station-train-songs

Lessons by Romi Sharp
© My Little Story Corner 2015.
www.facebook.com/mylittlestorycorner
All sourced resources have been credited.
These lessons are for personal or classroom use only and are not permitted for commercial use without written permission.


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Hello From Nowhere: Teaching Notes

Hello From Nowhere, Raewyn Caisley (author), Karen Blair (illus.), Viking, 2014.

HelloFromNowhere_CVR_800Review.

Eve lives in an incredible place; in the middle of the Nullarbor. She has a visceral connection with the wildlife and the fascinating people that come to visit. The sandy world is her oyster, she just loves being at one with nature. But since leaving the city there is one thing she misses – her Nan. She sends her a postcode from Nowhere to come and visit, with all the love and hope in her heart. But with no sound from Nan, Eve’s hope begins to fade as the days roll by. Then the bus pulls in, and Eve gives Nan the most wonderful, memorable and magical adventure around the outback she could never have imagined.
I love the moment shared between the two as they hold hands and look out in to the twinkling night sky. Certainly an impressive scene.

With Karen Blair’s gentle, serene, whimsical and expressive watercolour illustrations, ‘Hello From Nowhere’ is a beautiful story about connections; home, culture and the special bond between a girl and her grandmother.

Children from four years old will relish this heartwarming tale of an endearing and creative character, gain an appreciation for the Australian outback, and all its unique and loveable creatures and features.

CBCA 2015 Notable Picture Book of the Year.

Discussion.

Before Reading:
Look at the cover. Where do you think ‘Nowhere’ is? Do you live in the city, suburbs or rural place? What’s special about where you live? What would it be like to live somewhere with not many people? What do you know about the outback? What might you find there?

During Reading:
Why do you think the wildlife need to stay inside? Why do you think Nan doesn’t want to visit? What does the sign show us about this place? What kinds of things do the visitors like to do there? Have you ever written a postcard?

After Reading:
What does Eve like about her new home? Why did Nan change her mind about the middle of Nowhere? What did Nan like about Eve’s new home?
What have you learned about the Nullarbor? How do the illustrations help to understand the vastness / type of environment in the outback?
How do the illustrations show us the bond between Eve and her Nan? What special things to you do with your grandparents?
If you moved far away, what would you miss about home?
How are the endpapers different in the start and end of the book?

Thinking Activity.
Complete a Venn Diagram comparing Eve’s home with yours.
What are the similarities and differences? Think about dress, wildlife, activities, weather, buildings, transport, landmarks, and so on.
Hello From Nowhere Venn Diagram

Curriculum Activities.

Literacy.

Letter Writing
Create and write your own postcard to a special person in your life. Be sure to include a stamp, address, and message about what makes your home / that person special, or invite them to visit.
Find a postcard template here:
http://www.primaryresources.co.uk/english/pdfs/postcard_template.pdf
Postcard template
Creative Writing
Write your own story about living in the Middle of Nowhere.
Set the scene, character/s, plot with beginning, middle and end. Brainstorm different activities that Eve might do in the outback. Example, cartwheels, sleep in a tent, kayak, dig for fossils / gems, play with the wildlife, collect river pebbles.
Use story stones to inspire storytelling and encourage writing (see Arts / Crafts).
Alternatively, create stick puppets and use as props for retelling the story. Download , print and cut out the Hello From Nowhere Character Cut Outs
Hello From Nowhere Character Cut Outs

Word Study
Make your own or download and complete our Hello From Nowhere Wordsearch.
Hello from nowhere wordsearch
Phonics
Nn is for Nowhere, Nullarbor, Nan, neighbours, night, native.
Write a list or create a chart with Nn words relating to the story.

Numeracy.

Measurement: Distance / Length.
Using a map of Australia, draw different landmarks in each state. Research actual distances or measure between landmarks with a ruler or other concrete materials.
Alternatively, use an oversized map of Australia with a group of students.
Record in a table. Eg. The distance from the MCG to the Sydney Opera House is actually 884.7km, but students can record this as their own measurement in centimetres or blocks, etc.
Measurement: Time / Number.
Eve enjoyed doing cartwheels in the sandy desert. With a partner, time each other to record how many cartwheels, hops, skips, ball bounces, etc you can do in a row without stopping.
Then, for a one minute duration, record how many times you can do the above or other activities. Eg. Write ‘Dear Nan’, or draw stars or kangaroos, etc.
– Graphing and Data.
Research different towns and their populations. List the findings, then record them visually as a chart or graph, or other kind of display.
For example, Melbourne = 4.4 million, Nullarbor Plain = 4, Gold Coast = 527,000.
Hello from nowhere map

Arts / Crafts.

Watercolour Landscapes
Using watercolours, paint your favourite scene from the book as a landscape painting. Eg. Red-dirt outback, starry night sky, 200 foraging kangaroos.
Hello from nowhere outback pic

Dot Paintings
Create a beautiful dot painting using natural earthy tones. I like this kangaroo painting from:
http://www.familyholiday.net/australia-crafts-for-kids
Australia-Crafts-for-Kids_13

Story Stones
Paint your own story stones with images relating to the book.
See Literacy for storytelling ideas. Instructions and writing ideas can be found here:
http://www.playdoughtoplato.com/story-stones-encouraging-writing-storytelling/
Camping-Themed-Story-Stones.jpg-977x1024

Nature Play
Use natural materials to create native Australian animals, play games, construction, and more.
Red Ted Art has a great list of nature play activities to try:
http://www.redtedart.com/tag/nature-play/
12-Nature-Play-Ideas-having-fun-with-nature-items-outdoors

Science.

Australian animal study
Select and study a native Australian animal found in the outback. Eg. Blue-Tongue Lizards, Kangaroos, Kookaburras, and so on.
Present information as a visual display or Powerpoint show.
Astronomy
Find some amazing astonomy activities for kids on Pinterest:
https://www.pinterest.com/ticiam/astronomy-for-kids/

Find some fantastic Earth and Space Science lessons from the CSIRO website:
http://www.csiro.au/en/Education/DIY-science/Earth-and-Space-sciences
For example, a geology lesson on ‘Thirsty Rocks’.
dry-soil

Lessons by Romi Sharp, BECS, Dip. Ed (Primary)
© My Little Story Corner 2015
www.facebook.com/mylittlestorycorner
All sourced resources have been credited.
These lessons are for personal and classroom use only, and are not permitted for commercial use without written consent.


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Max: Teaching Notes

MarcMartin-Max_CoverMax, Marc Martin (author, illus.), Viking Penguin Books, 2014. CBCA 2015 Early Childhood Notable Book.

Review.

‘Max’ is a story of a sweet (and salty) friendship between man and bird, with a key focus on one common theme… A love of chips!
Max the seagull is like other ordinary seagulls – he likes fish, and he likes chips. But what makes him extraordinary is his loyalty to Bob. Bob is the owner of the fish and chip shop, you see. So when Max behaves, he is rewarded. Max and Bob enjoy many good times fishing together, until one day, Bob disappears. After waiting for weeks, Max eventually forgoes his beachside location in search of his long-lost mate. Familiar smells lead him to the city, where he stumbles across a brand new fish and chip shop. Of course, it belongs to Bob! Will Bob recognise Max? Will they remain companions when things have changed?

I love the narrative focus from Max’s perspective, and together with the illustrative details, readers with a discerning eye (and ear) will pick up the emotional clues and reasoning behind the events. Marc Martin won the 2013 Crichton Award for new illustrator, and deservingly so. His eccentric quality of details, shapes, patterns, textures, animated characters, ‘bird’s-eye’ views and vivid watercolours are definately like a delectable feast for the senses.

‘Max’ is an endearing, whimsical tale of friendship and change that is full of zest and salty goodness. It is sure to fly off the shelves into its readers’ hearts, satisfying long after the book has been put down. For children from age three and up.

Discussion.

Before Reading:
Ask, have you been to the beach? What kind of things might you see there?
Draw a mind map (or a Fishbone Diagram!) showing each aspect according to different categories, such as animals, food, buildings, people, activities, etc.
Look at the cover. What can you see? What do you know about seagulls? Who do you think ‘Max’ is? Can you add anything else to your mind map after looking at the cover?

During Reading:
What kind of shops can you see in the pictures? Why is Max a bit mischievous? How does Max help Bob fish? Why does Bob seem sad? Where do you think Bob is going? Why?
Do you think Max will find Bob? Will Bob know who he is?

After Reading:
Why did Bob have to close his shop at the beach? Why do you think Max wanted to see Bob again? What are some of the differences between the beachside and the city? How do you think Bob felt when he saw Max again? How did Max feel when he was waiting, and when he found Bob? What has changed and what is still the same? What makes a good friendship?

Literacy.

Friendship Ladder.
With a partner, discuss / list the activities that you enjoy doing together. Then, using a Ranking Ladder, write them in order from least favourite (at the bottom) to most favourite (at the top).
IMG_9024
Poem / Letter.
Write or draw a friendship poem / picture or a friendly letter to someone you haven’t seen for a while. Eg. An old kinder friend or someone who moved schools. Write about the things you enjoyed doing with that person, and how you feel about their absence in your life.
Creative Writing.
Write a story about ‘change’. This open-ended topic can relate to many circumstances, including moving room, house or school, losing a loved one, changes in nature, changes in your body, and so on.
Comprehension.
Finish the sentence: ‘Max likes ____, _____ and ____.’ Write your own sentence: ‘I like ____, ____ and ____.’ and/or ‘My friend likes ____, ____ and ____.’ Illustrate. Make a class book.  

Numeracy.

Number: Fishing Game.
Number Recognition. Write numbers 1-10 on paper fish and attach a paper clip to each one. Using a magnet on a piece of string, ‘catch’ the fish and say the number as you go.
Extension: Addition – record each number caught and add the next number caught to the previous. Eg. 5 and 4 is 9. Continue adding numbers until all the fish have been caught.
Number: Chip Number Stories.
Use materials, such as pop sticks, pipe cleaners, pencils or paper strips to represent chips. Make up, write and model number stories using addition, subtraction, groups of or shared between (depending on level) about Max and the chips. For example, ‘On Sunday Bob gave Max 2 chips, and on Monday he gave him 3 chips. How many chips is that altogether?’
Max maths1
Number: Money.
Open up your own ‘Fish and Chip’ shop with a register. Invite customers to buy your food using play (or cut out paper) money. Label the products with price tags, or write them up on a blackboard. Practise recognising different coins and notes, counting and adding money, and giving change. How much money did you make in a day?
Space / Location: Model City.
Max flew over the ocean, trees, around the city and above tall buildings in search of Bob. Make a model city with these features. Using prepositional language, instruct a partner to fly a paper seagull to different locations. Eg. ‘Fly Max around the red building.’ ‘Fly Max under the bridge.’ ‘Fly Max over the forest.’
: Maps.
Design and draw your own street map on a grid, showing various features including parks, buildings, houses, trees, rivers and roads. Formulate questions to find a particular feature on the map. Eg. In which grid reference would you find Bob’s Fish and Chip shop? A5.
IMG_9021
Graphs and Data: Favourite Food Survey.
Survey your friends to find out what they like to eat the most. As a class, list the foods and tally the votes once each person has been interviewed. Represent the results as a graph (bar, picture, pie chart), and discuss. What was the favourite food? Least favourite? What does this tell you about the class’s eating habits?
Alternatively, pick your own topic to graph.  

Science.

Water Science:  Oil and Water Study of pollution / oil spills at the beach / ocean.
http://sciencekids.co.nz/experiments/oilandwater.html

http://www.oneperfectdayblog.net/2012/02/27/mixing-oil-and-water-science-experiment/

  
Study of birds.
Choose a species of bird and research its appearance, habitat, migration, food, breeding, and so on. Present visually and/or digitally.
MarcMartin-Max_01-580x290

Art / Craft.
Make a paper plate seagull.
http://www.localfunforkids.com/home/preschool-summer-bird-craft-paper-plate-seagull.html
summer+craft+paper+plate+seagull

Origami.
Have a go at folding a paper seagull with this origami craft. See how ours turned out!
http://www.paperorigamiblog.com/2013/06/sea-gull-origami-folding-diagram.html?m=1
1 origami max seagull

Painting.
Paint your own aerial view of the city with watercolours and pencil. Experiment with other media like paper collage from textured paper or magazine cut outs.
– Paint the scene with Bob and Max fishing on the pier, using watercolours for the underwater section.
Max book image

Construction.
Make a cardboard box shopping strip with a variety of shops. Don’t forget the fish and chips!
http://krokotak.com/2013/03/cardboard-city/
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Game:
Make a fishing rod and some fish to catch (see Numeracy: Fishing Game activity).
IMG_6082_2 IMG_6139_2
Game:
Toss the fish and chips into the seagull’s belly. See the following link for instructions (alternate penguin for seagull).
Http://pinkandgreenmama.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/cardboard-penguin-toss-game-and-fish.html?m=1
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Water Activities
http://www.localfunforkids.com/home/10-preschool-summer-water-activities.html
Love these chip-looking sponge splash balls from momendeavours.com!
Water-Splash-Balls
Gift Wrapping.
Wrap a gift for a friend in fish n chip paper / butcher paper. Decorate and tie ribbon. That’s o-fish-ally a wrap!
http://papercrave.com/weekly-wrap-149-mint-dotty/
mint-dots-gift-wrap

Lessons by Romi Sharp.
© My Little Story Corner 2015.
http://www.facebook.com/mylittlestorycorner
http://www.pinterest.com/mylilstorycrner
All sourced resources have been credited.
These lessons are for personal and classroom use only and are not permitted for commercial use without written permission.


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The Duck and the Darklings: Teaching Notes

resized_9781743312612_224_297_FitSquareThe Duck and the Darklings, Glenda Millard (author), Stephen Michael King (illus.), Allen & Unwin, 2014.  

Review  

Shortlisted in the CBCA’s Picture Book of the Year 2015 awards, Glenda Millard and Stephen Michael King have produced something stellar and truly special. If ever there was a book about hope, friendship and triumph, with a glint of desolation and an explosion of warmth, then ‘The Duck and the Darklings’ is the one.  

Peterboy and his Grandpapa live in the land of Dark. Below the surface they dwell in a hole, “built with care, lit with love”. All is spoiled and broken, dark and gloomy, and only the youngsters dare to face the world in search of comforts to take back home. This is because the old ones have disremembered yesterdays, sunups and sundowns. From what begins of Peterboy’s observation of a tiny glimmer of light, he is able to spark a dazzle in the eyes of his Grandpapa, and longs to keep it there. His search for a scrap of wonderfulness leads him to the discovery of a downy-hearted duck called Idaduck. Although ambivalent at first, Grandpapa’s glow of forbidden fondness is soon restored as he nurses the duck back to health. With Grandpapa’s loving memories returning and the most magnificent fare-thee-well for a now mended duck, Idaduck spreads her wings. The Darklings watch with hope in their hearts, and the world becomes strangely bright and beautiful once more.  

Written with such poetic phrasing, gorgeously constructed sentences and use of alliterations, Millard’s text is intriguing and captivating. Her language is creatively descriptive in a discerning yet compelling way. Stephen Michael King’s illustrations are absolutely spellbinding. The Darklings are drawn as simple outlines, set against all the light and shade that make the backgrounds so bold and striking. His mixture of pen, brush, ink and digital effects, and wide angled scenes of shapes and lines are so masterfully combined to capture the depth and impact of the story.  

‘The Duck and the Darklings’, with its brilliant author / illustrator pairing, is a heartwarming story of family, friendship and optimism. It tenderly connects the importance of remembering fond memories of the past and how that influences a brighter future. Children from five years old will certainly hold a candle to this shining star.

Review by Romi Sharp

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Discussion  

Before Reading:
Ask, do you have a favourite memory? How does it make you feel when you remember it? How might you feel if you didn’t remember your good memories? How do you like to share your memories?
Look at the cover. What do you think this story might be about? Looking at the picture of the boy, what do you think he might be searching for?  

During Reading:
Why do you think they live in the cave? Why is the world so dark outside? Why do they need to go to the finding fields?
What does it mean, ‘The light put longing into Peterboy’s heart’? What does ‘wanderlust’ mean? Can you imagine this colourful world Grandpapa speaks of in his stories?  

After Reading:
Why do you think Grandpapa held his memories close to his heart? What did Peterboy notice about Grandpapa when he talked about his memories? What was it about Idaduck that Peterboy thought would help put the light into Grandpapa’s eyes? Why didn’t Grandpapa want to share their home with the duck at first? How did he feel about her later?
Why couldn’t they keep Idaduck, and why did Grandpapa want her farewell to be so memorable?
What does it mean, ‘…the wounds man had made’? Do you think the Darklings future will be brighter from now onwards? Why, how will they be able to come out of living in darkness?

Curriculum Activities

Literacy.

– Write a poem to a loved one including some fond memories of times you spent together.
– Write a persuasive text arguing the benefits or disadvantages to living in a cave / in the dark.
– Write an information text on caring for injured animals.
– Script Writing. Write a play about one of the scenes from the book. Act it out (props or none).
– Alliteration
“…crept into cracks and crevices, corners and crannies.” ,”…squeezed small speckled surprises into his slippers.”
Write a sentence using alliteration about a place or an action.
– Word Study / Comprehension.
Find / discuss the meanings to the interesting / unusual words in the book, such as disremembered, spiderling fingers, trickle, wonderfulness, wanderlust, oompapas.
Write them in your own sentences.
– Letter Study.
Find all the words that begin with ‘s’, ‘c’, ‘f’, and so on. Display each letter on a separate chart.

  
Words can also be divided into columns, including noun, verb, adjective.

  
– Read other books about the power of memory or the importance of our older generations.
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‘When I see Grandma’ by Debra Tidball and Leigh Hedstrom,
‘Celia and Nonna’ by Victoria Lane and Kayleen West,
‘Harry Helps Grandpa Remember’ by Karen Tyrrell,
‘Wilfred Gordon Macdonald Partridge’ by Mem Fox and Julie Vivas.

– Read other books by Glenda Millard and Stephen Michael King. Compare writing style and illustrating similarities and differences.
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– Read other books by Glenda Millard.
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– Read other books by Stephen Michael King.
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What are your favourite books? Which resonate most with you?

Numeracy.

Measurement (Time).
Create a timeline or time wheel showing some of your most memorable moments, in order of occurrence. Eg. Baby sister born (2013), won a trophy (2014), lost a tooth (2015), etc.

 Number / Area / Modeling.
Pose a question, such as ‘If the Darklings’ world was 10 metres square, and new trees grew every two metres, how many new trees would there be altogether?’
Step 1: Draw It. Using a grid of 10 x 10, draw a tree every two squares, starting in the top left hand corner.
Step 2: Count It. How many different ways can you count the trees? By 1s, 2s, 5s, multiply horizontal by vertical, count in columns / rows, etc.
Step 3: Model It. Make a model of the area using matchsticks and playdough (for the trees) on the grid (laminate for durability).
Step 4: Discuss It. Discuss the methods for resolving the answer and different strategies used to count.  

Science.

– Earth studies. Explore human and nature destruction to the earth.
– Reflections: Light

Kidspot’s experiment on ‘refraction’ (bending light).
Http://www.kidspot.com.au/kids-activities-and-games/Science-experiments+10/How-to-bend-the-light+11693.htm

Make your own candle experiment.
Http://www.kidspot.com.au/kids-activities-and-games/Science-experiments+10/Make-a-candle-experiment+10986.htm?utm_source=outbrain_kidspot

This site explores reflections through mirrors, using a variety of materials and concepts.
Http://buggyandbuddy.com/science-experiments-kids-reflections-mirrors
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This site includes a range of games, experiments, videos and  facts that all relate to ‘light’. Some are ‘light and shadows’, ‘light sources and reflections’, making rainbows and bending light.
Http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/light.html

Arts / Crafts.

– Paint a scene from the book using light and shade, line and silhouettes, with mixed tools like pens and brushes, and you can even scan the picture and add digital effects!

– Design and create an inventive object that makes light. Eg. Candle hat.
Materials could include: toilet tube, paper plate, construction paper, cellophane, torch, tape, textas, other decorative craft items.

– Make a kaleidoscope.
http://www.sheknows.com/parenting/articles/1008403/diy-kaleidoscope-craft-for-kids
kaleidoscope-craft
– Make shadow puppets of characters from the book (or your own).
Shine a torch on the puppets against a wall and role play the story (you can use your script from the Literacy Script Writing activity).
Example here: http://mollymoocrafts.com/halloween-shadow-puppets/
shadow_puppets
– Use a light box to explore shapes and objects.
Use your ‘spiderling fingers’ to paint and print-make with cling wrap on a light box.
http://www.teachpreschool.org/2011/06/painting-on-the-light-table
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Search for ‘scraps of wonderfulness’ in a sand / salt box sitting on a light box.
http://www.teachpreschool.org/2012/02/everyday-light-table-play
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If you don’t have a light box, you can make one!
See easy DIY light box instructions with different boxes here.
http://www.playbasedlearning.com.au/2011/10/simple-d-i-y-light-boxes
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– Create and/or collect memories using photographs, souvenirs, drawings, items from visited places (brochures, tickets), and display them in a scrapbook, photo frame or special keepsake box.
About me album: http://shenanigansinsecond.blogspot.com.au/2013/04/end-of-year-madnessnew-units.html
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Craft Stick Photo Frame: http://www.firstpalette.com/Craft_themes/People/craftstickphotoframe/craftstickphotoframe.html
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Memory Box: http://www.countryliving.com/diy-crafts/how-to/g432/memory-boxes-0704/?slide=1
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Games.

– Play Murder in the Dark.
– Play Hide n Seek in the dark using torches. (Look for people or hidden objects)
– Do some moon and star gazing. Use a telescope if you have one!

Visit my Pinterest board with more activities for The Duck and the Darklings here.

Lessons by Romi Sharp.
© My Little Story Corner 2015.
All sourced resources have been credited.
These teaching notes are for personal and classroom use only and are not permitted for commercial use without written permission and credit given to My Little Story Corner.

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Books for Mum – Mother’s Day 2015

“To each and every mother in our world…”,
Read a book together to “…secure extra precious, magical time with your children…”
– blurb from ‘I Wish My Mum Was an Octopus’.

Here are a few tributes to Mum to look out for this Mother’s Day.  

my_mum_plc_hi-resMy Mum Says the Strangest Things, Katrina Germein (author), Tom Jellett (illus.), Black Dog Books, 2014.  

From award-winning author Katrina Germein and illustrator Tom Jellett, the dynamic duo are victorious again following the success of ‘My Dad Thinks He’s Funny’ and ‘My Dad Still Thinks He’s Funny’; this time paying homage to mums in ‘My Mum Says the Strangest Things’. Totally hilarious, and with plenty of idioms that we can all relate to, this book will have the whole family nodding their heads, and perhaps even rolling some eyes. Because it’s true!
Each saying is represented with Tom Jellett’s characteristically comical cartoons and their cool retro colours. I love the red ants crawling out of the boys shorts as he explains how Mum says he has ants in his pants. And an aerial view of the boy when he’s grumpy – “…Mum says you could land an aeroplane on my bottom lip.” We’ve got wind changing faces, television turning eyes square, tired mum meaning tired kids, and the list continues.
‘My Mum Says the Strangest Things’ is great for primary school kids to crack a joke with their mums. It’s quirky, it’s entertaining, and it’s oh-so-funny!  

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hey-mum-i-love-youHey Mum, I Love You, Corinne Fenton (author), Black Dog Books, 2014.  

An absolutely adorable tribute to mums, and written for her own mum, Corinne Fenton’s ‘Hey Mum, I Love You’ captures all the littlest moments and characteristic nuances that mothers and babies share in the most loving and affectionate ways. Each quality that makes Mum special are represented with photographic images of beautiful animals. A baby polar bear nuzzling its mother shows “the softest sigh”. A tiny monkey resting in its mother’s arms is “the snuggliest cuddle”. Mum is the protector, the nurturer, and the supporter. “Because I know with you beside me I can do anything. And I know how lucky I am to have a mum like you.”
‘Hey Mum, I Love You’ is perfect for mothers and their babies to have a giggle, a snuggle and a few sneaky kisses. Doesn’t get any cuter!  

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JamforNanaJam for Nana, Deborah Kelly (author), Lisa Stewart (illus.), Random House Australia, 2014.  

‘Jam for Nana’ is a delectably sweet story of a little girl and her Nana as they make pancakes with jam and sugar. Nana recalls the days when she lived on the farm and had ‘real’ apricot jam with the warmth of a hundred summers, and it tasted like the sun. The little girl longs to give her Nana the same precious gift, and surprises her with her own version of the delicious apricot jam – jam that is made with love and sunshine.
‘Jam for Nana’, with its soft and gentle illustrations, is sure to have its readers licking their lips, wanting to revisit Nana’s warm summers with its delicious goodness!  

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9781925000375I Wish My Mum Was an Octopus, Shona Revie Keenan (author), Lee Burgemeestre (illus.), Ford Street Publishing, 2014.  

Written in rollicking rhyme, a young boy and his mum simultaneously imagine all the jobs she could accomplish with eight tentacles; in the hopes that there is still enough time left for him. An ode to all the super-mums out there who really do juggle a zillion tasks at once – coordinating extra-curricula activities and social events, preparing meals for a range of functions, tackling the never-ending pile of laundry, attending to sick and injured family members, looking after the baby, achieving goals at work, being an active sports mum to the eldest child, and finally, enjoying creative learning time with the middle child.
‘I Wish My Mum Was an Octopus’ is a lively and fun story, with colourful, whimsical illustrations that showcase the extremely busy lives of mothers. A reminder of what’s most important – spending time with your precious ones.  

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More book reviews on busy mums…  

mum-goes-to-workMum Goes to Work, Libby Gleeson (author), Leila Rudge (illus.), Walker Books, 2015.  

Originally published in 1992, ‘Mum Goes to Work’ is back in 2015. A story of the importance of mums and an awareness for the many hats they wear, including a view into the world of working mothers.
We are introduced to all the mums and their children as they congregate at the child care centre. The story continues with snippets into the busy days of each mum at work, and their child at care. Nadia’s mother is a student (of architecture, as seen in Leila Rudge‘s illustrations), and it is paintings of houses and building blocks that Nadia meticulously works on at child care. Laurence’s mother serves food and coffee in a cafe, whilst he makes a three-layer sand cake and lots of sand biscuits with his friend in the sandpit. We see mums as nurses, at-home mums, receptionists, retail assistants, office workers and teachers. Meanwhile, the children play with baby dolls, puzzles, construction, ride bikes and read books.
Leila Rudge’s illustrations perfectly suit the tender feel of the story, delivering a touch of humour and meaning to the words, and plenty of details to explore.
‘Mum Goes to Work’ is a welcome insight into the daily lives of working mothers and children in child care. It’s a joyous story of identity and having a place in this big world. Readers can gain a greater appreciation for the commitment, sacrifices and pleasures that women achieve for their families. Equally, this resource allows mums wonderful opportunities to further bond and relate to their children. Fun, interactive and visually appealing; it’s a win-win for all!

See the full review, and other Libby Gleeson books about nurturing roles at:
http://blog.boomerangbooks.com.au/libby-gleesons-books-in-review/2015/03  

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1733911_origHop Up! Wriggle Over!, Elizabeth Honey (author, illus.), Allen & Unwin, 2015.

See the review at:

http://blog.boomerangbooks.com.au/elizabeth-honeys-hop-up-wriggle-over-one-for-mum-and-bub/2015/04

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More picture books tributing Mums and Grandmas…
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HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!