My Little Story Corner

For the love of picture books


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Christmas Favourites for all your Festive Needs

YoU woN’T BE poOr fOR CHoIcE tHiS CHriStMAs!

The Festive Season is here! With the holidays upon us, your little jolly jumpers will certainly need some inspiration and a touch of magic to enjoy this special time with loved ones. Below are some beautiful picture books you might like to share together, and plenty of craft activities to reinforce these magical traditions. Enjoy!

Click

on the book

for details. 

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🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁

Click on the image to find an assortment of craft goodies for Christmas and Chanukah!

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Have yourself a booktacular Christmas, Chanukah and New Year!

Look forward to sharing more bookish fun and new ideas in 2016!

love Romi

x 🎅🎄🎁 x


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Foxtrot: Teaching Notes

Foxtrot, Becka Moor (author, illus.), The Five Mile Press, 2015.  

Review.

imageFoxtrot is a born dancer. He simply can’t get enough of the sport. But when his trotting and tripping feet cause pandemonium in the town, his friends step in to bring Foxtrot’s chaos to a screeching halt. Tying his shoelaces and sticking his feet to the floor make Foxtrot unhappy, as do his own attempts to expand his creative repertoire. In a satisfying finale, Foxtrot and his friends band together to refurnish and re-open his former dance teacher, Mrs Flamenco’s dance school. Of course, it is a huge success!

imageI love the endearing language that so defines this naive but gentle and considerate soul who only has the best of intentions. There are some terrific dancing terms thrown in, too, like ‘boogied’, ‘jived’, ‘tangoed’ and ‘mamboed’ that arouse interest and charm. Together with this humorous, fun-loving and charismatic storyline are the equally vibrant and animated cartoon illustrations that allow for plenty of discussion.

‘Foxtrot’ is a book that undeniably brings a pop of energy and a burst of spirit in this tale of rhythm, blues, teamwork and friendship. Tango-rrific for preschoolers.  

Available for purchase here.

Discussion.

Before Reading:
Put on some music and enjoy a boogie and a jive! Teach children the ‘foxtrot’ dance.
Make a list of words that mean ‘dance’. Eg. Dance names such as Mambo, Tango, Tap, Ballet, etc, and dance moves such as jive, prance, wiggle, spin, twirl, etc.
Look at the cover. What or who do you think ‘Foxtrot’ is? What do you think might happen in the story? Do you think everyone likes to dance?  

During Reading:
Why do you think Foxtrot likes to dance so much? Why didn’t Foxtrot realise that he was causing all these calamities? Do you think his friends are being nice by stopping him from dancing? Do you think Foxtrot should try not to dance? Why or why not?  

After Reading:
What kinds of things did Foxtrot’s friends do to help him? What were unhelpful gestures? Why didn’t his friends think that his plan to open a dance school would work? What made them change their minds? Do you think that Foxtrot will always be the best dancer?
What new dance words did you learn from the book? Add these to your previous list.  
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Literacy.

Reading:

Verbs and Nouns.
Find and make word cards with terms from the book. Sort them into ‘verbs’ (doing words) and ‘nouns’ (name of things).
Verbs include: danced, boogied, twirled, brushed, combed, jumped, jived, swung, swayed, and so on.
Nouns include: mayhem, calamities, customers, chaos, pandemonium, shoelaces, honey, and so on.
Use of alliteration / phonics.
Find and write sentences with alliterations. Illustrate.
For example, ‘He danced as he dressed and did splits as he put on socks.’,
‘He jumped and jived and swung and swayed,
‘He tangoed with his toast and mamboed with his marmalade.  

Writing.

Innovate a story.
Here are some sentence starters to begin.
‘Foxtrot’s dancing feet caused…’
‘Foxtrot tried rock climbing, and…’
‘Foxtrot held a huge opening ceremony for his new dance school, but…’
Persuasive Text. Advertisements.
Write an advert and create a poster inviting people to join your new dance school.
What is the title? Catch phrase? Price? Other details? Pictures? Colours used? Is it effective? What’s different about your dance school as opposed to others?  

Numeracy.

Measurement / Number. Time your Rhythm.
Make up a dance routine for you and your friends. Count how many repeats for each move. How many moves in total? Time your dance against the clock. Can you stay in beat with the music?
Extension: How many times can you jump / twirl / leap in one minute? Count and record.  

Science.

States of Matter: Dancing Raisins Experiment
Raisins can dance, too! I wonder if they prefer the Tango or the Mambo? Explore the matter of gas as the raisins interact with the carbon dioxide bubbles.
From Gift of Curiosity  
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Arts / Crafts.

Make your own dancing Foxtrot marionette puppet!
Check out this gorgeous toilet roll craft adapted from Duitang and get your Foxtrot boogying all over town.

imageMaterials:
Coloured paper (white, orange, green)
Cardboard (such as cereal box)
Pens / pencils / textas (assorted colours)
Toilet roll tube
String (allow for 1.5 metres)
Two (2) small bottle lids
Straw
Sticky tape
Scissors
Glue

——————–

Directions:
1. Cut to fit and cover toilet roll tube (body) with green paper.
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2. Draw a fox head shape and tail shape on to the cardboard. Cut.
Use as a template to trace onto white and orange papers. Cut each piece, use the white head to draw inner ears and eyes. Cut a tip of white for the tail.
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3.Paste all pieces on top of each other, with the cardboard at the bottom.
Stick head and tail onto the body and add details with pens. We added a little hat!
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4. Adult to pierce two small holes in each side of the body for the arms. Cut a piece of string and thread through the holes, tying each end in double knots. Trim excess.
5. Adult to pierce two holes at the bottom for the legs. Attach string to each of the bottle lids. Thread each leg string through a hole and tape down inside the tube. Make sure they are the same length.
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6. Cut three equal lengths of string (approx. 25-30cm). Attach one end to each foot (bottle lid), and attach the other end to each end of the straw. Attach the third piece of string to the back of the head.
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7. Hold the string in one hand and the straw in the other. Make your fox dance!
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Straw Blown Paintings.
Make your paint dance across the paper with this fun activity from The Imagination Tree.
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Dance School Diorama.
Design and construct your own Dance School diorama with character puppets / figures.  

Lessons by Romi Sharp.
© My Little Story Corner 2015.
www.facebook.com/mylittlestorycorner
www.pinterest.com/mylilstorycrner
All sourced resources have been credited. These lessons are for personal and classroom use only and not permitted for commercial use without written consent.
This post contains affiliate links. This review and lesson plans are not paid and are my own educated opinion.
 

Information about the author illustrator of Foxtrot, Becka Moor can be found here.        


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Fire: Teaching Notes

Fire, Jackie French (author), Bruce Whatley (illus.), Scholastic Press, 2014.  

Review.

fireHarsh weather conditions are terrifying enough at the best of times, but what about when Mother Nature plays a hand in the wild and extreme that gamble with actual lives?
Award-winning author and Australian Laureate, Jackie French, together with the unequivocally talented illustrator, Bruce Whatley, have joined forces in producing a gripping and stunningly haunting book of adversity; ‘Fire’. Just like their previous book, ‘Flood’; depicting the horrendous Queensland floods in 2011, ‘Fire’ is another efficacious story of courage and strength in the face of a natural disaster.

Throughout the book are amazing, succinct verses that take your breath away with every word. The story begins with a serene outback set amongst golden hills and limp gum tree leaves. Upon turning the page, we are faced with the sudden impact of ferocious orange flames and black smoke, sending a once peaceful cockatoo fleeing for its life. Ramifications advance, affecting the people who live amongst the burning trees as the fire engulfs the land in a thunderous, cackling roar. Pretty soon, whole page spreads bleed with blood-red paint across the atmosphere, and thick grey ash that forces inhabitants to quickly escape the “gulping smoke and singed debris.”
Fire book imageNext, a gut-wrenching image of the oven swallowing houses, trees, the land. What about the aftermath? Loss, grief, disbelief. But the bravery of the firefighters and the safety of loved ones is what is appreciated most. From pain comes the strength of the Australian spirit, as we see the CFA tending to sick animals, and read of those friends who give love and help rebuild a world burnt bare. And eventually, the Earth is reborn once again.  

The final page details Jackie French‘s personal experiences with fighting bushfires and its effects on the land, and how best to manage its dangers. Bruce Whatley also gives appreciation for the courage of those dealing with these terrors, and his account of his illustration process. It is fascinating that he felt the erratic nature of the fire was the hardest thing to capture, because looking at his daubs, flicks, bleeding outlines, reds and yellows amongst their surrounding darks certainly creates intensely evocative and impactful imagery in my eyes.  

‘Fire’ is a powerful, poignant and moving story of real life truths; a devastingly beautiful, poetic rendition of a tough facet of nature. It is a book about life, love, friendship, hope and the human spirit that is so brilliantly captured in its words and images. ‘Fire’ is suited to primary school children, and is deservingly shortlisted in the CBCA’s 2015 Picture Book of the Year awards. Just phenomenal.

This review appeared first on Boomerang Books.

Discussion.

Before reading:

Ask, what do you know about bushfires? How do you think they start?
Have you seen stories about bushfires on the news? Have you or do you know anyone who has experienced this tragedy?
Look at the cover. What can you see? What does it tell us about this bushfire?

During reading:

What do you notice about the language used? What is a metaphor? How is a fire like a black snake?
What do you think the animals do to escape bushfire? How do the people need to act?
Discuss the illustrations in the book. How effective are they in making such a huge impact on the reader?

After reading:

What people / jobs might you see around the bushfire? What would their roles be?
What happened to the land during and after the bushfire? What could we do to help people who lost their homes in a bushfire? What ways can people protect themselves and their homes when living in the bush?

Curriculum Activities.

Literacy / Writing: Bushfire Poems
Objectives: Discuss language used in the book, including rhyming words, metaphors, symbolism. Discuss the order of events.

Acrostic Poem.
You may choose to write your own style of poem. My Prep daughter wrote an acrostic poem with the word BUSHFIRE.

imageBurning
Unsafe
Save yourself
Help animals
Firefighters are brave
I feel sad
Regrowth
Earth re-born.

———————————-

Technology / Craft: Firefighter and Burning Tree Construction.
Objectives: Understand the role and uniform of the CFA volunteers, and the effects of bushfires on the land, people and animals, and strategies to deal with its adversity.

Paper Roll Firefighter
Materials:
Paper roll, coloured paper (red, yellow, black or brown), goggle eyes (optional), pencil, glue, scissors, sticky tape, pipe cleaner.
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Directions:
1. Cut a strip of yellow paper for the body and attach to the paper roll. Cut a yellow hat / helmet shape and attach to the top of the roll.
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2. Pierce two holes in each side of the body and thread through the pipe cleaner (cut to size).
3. Decorate the firefighter as desired, with details on the uniform, goggle eyes and face.
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Paper Roll Burning Tree.
Materials:
Paper roll, choice of tissue paper / coloured paper / streamer, etc in fire colours (red, orange, yellow), sticky tape, scissors.
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Directions:
1. Cut large piece of tissue paper and stuff into top of paper roll.
2. Cut out flame shapes with another colour and stick in to tissue paper inside roll.
3. Cut out more flames with the third colour and stick into roll.
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4. Use your firefighter to put out the fire in the tree. We added a little pipe cleaner hose for the firefighter to hold.
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Science.
Learn about fire facts and its impact on humans, animals and land. Science Kids has some interesting information.

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 consent.


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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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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.

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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.
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Numeracy.

Space / Location.
Help Teddy find his way back to Dot.
Make your own or download and complete the Teddy Took the Train Maze.
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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).
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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
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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).
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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
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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
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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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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.
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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).
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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
IMG_6110

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
mirror-header

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
Light-table-painting-016
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
IMG_5859

– 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
craftstickphotoframe-mainpic
Memory Box: http://www.countryliving.com/diy-crafts/how-to/g432/memory-boxes-0704/?slide=1
54ea9a86e32e7_-_clx0704ide12-de

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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