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Mr Chicken Lands on London: Teaching Notes

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Mr Chicken Lands on London by Leigh Hobbs (author, illustrator), Allen&Unwin, 2014.

imageWHO:

Leigh Hobbs is the author and illustrator of over 20 books for children. Some of his iconic characters include Old Tom, Horrible Harriet, Fiona the Pig, Mr Chicken and Mr Badger. Leigh has always had a passion for art, history and culture, and his books certainly reflect these with his own distinctive flair and rousing sense of humour. On February 8th 2016 it was announced that Leigh is to follow on Jackie French’s position of Australian Children’s Laureate; a well-deserved, prestigious role to “promote the importance of reading, creativity and story in the lives of young Australians.”(www.childrenslaureate.org.au)

Mr Chicken Lands on London REVIEW:

Following on from Mr Chicken’s grand adventures in Paris, in flies this zippy character once again. This time he’s visiting his (and Leigh’s) favourite city in the world – London.
imageWithout hesitation, Mr Chicken grabs his camera and his parachute and makes a splashing entrance into the River Thames. His extremely busy schedule waits for no chicken as the yellow bird escapades gallantly around the city. From the fancy Savoy Hotel and dining on a full English breakfast, Mr Chicken makes good use of his time in London. His first port of call is to visit the Queen (well, excuse me!) before exploring attractions like St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. He also takes charge by driving double-decker buses, topping a tall column at Trafalgar Square, circling the London Eye and becoming one with the beating heart of London – Big Ben. His stay is only short-lived, but my guess is, this traveling chook will be back again soon!

Humorous, entertaining, and a delightful kind of sensory overload, Mr Chicken Lands on London will tickle the fancy of all readers, big and small. Leigh Hobbs’ intricate and distinctive style of art in this wonderful array of events is sure to create plenty of memorable, shared experiences for readers and viewers, alike.

POP-UP QUIZ:

1. Name three (3) other (not mentioned above) London attractions that Mr Chicken visited.

2. What is the name of the building where the Queen lives?

3. What game does Mr Chicken play on the London Eye?

4. Which city will Mr Chicken be heading to next?

DISCUSSION / ACTIVITIES:

HISTORY / GEOGRAPHY / TECHNOLOGY.

Look at the map of London on the endpapers. Name and discuss the different attractions and landmarks. Have you been there before? What do you know about them? What is the significance of each of them?

RICH ASSESSMENT TASK:

Look at and discuss a real map of London. Pick one attraction or landmark for research and create a poster or Slideshow presentation to explain your findings.

image Image: http://www.inlondonguide.co.uk

SOCIAL STUDIES / LITERACY.

What can you tell about Mr Chicken’s personality? What are some behaviours that showed his kindness? What are some cheeky things that Mr Chicken did? How do you think Mr Chicken felt about London? How do you know?

TASK:

Name and list some adjectives to describe Mr Chicken, or write a personality profile listing his likes, dislikes, traits, quirks, etc.

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VISUAL ART / CULTURE.

Choose a page spread to explore. What do you notice in these illustrations? What clues can you see that tell you more about the location? How has Leigh Hobbs depicted the atmosphere of the city and the nature of the people? What kinds of visual media has he used and how does it suit its purpose?

Where does Mr Chicken visit to see art? What famous works and artists might you find there? Have a look at and discuss some of these and their history.

TASK:

Create your own line, watercolour and collage picture showcasing your favourite part of London (or your own favourite place).

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NUMERACY.

See if you can spot the clock on Big Ben at several points in the book (towards the end). What do you notice about the different times? Mr Chicken wanted to be inside Big Ben (the beating heart of London) at a quarter past nine. Why do you think he chose that time? Did he achieve what he set out to do?

TASK 1:

Create a timeline showing Mr Chicken at several locations throughout the day, from morning til midnight. Be sure to include standing inside Big Ben at 9.15pm.

TASK 2:

Make your own Mr Chicken clock with yellow paper for the face, cardstock and a split pin for the hands. Practise understanding of quarter past, quarter to, half past and o’clock. For more advanced students extend their knowledge to five minute intervals (eg. 9.05pm), then one minute intervals (eg. 9.16pm).

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SCIENCE.

How does Mr Chicken enter and exit London? Why does he choose these modes of transport? Looking at the way he enters – what does ‘air resistance’ mean? How does it work?

TASK:

Test air resistance and make your own parachute using a bag, paper plate and string. Find an explanation and instructions at Kids Activities Blog.

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IT’S YOUR STORY CALENDAR 2016 by Leigh HOBBS

FREE download can be found at the Australian Children’s Laureate website.

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Lessons and photography by Romi Sharp, BECS, Dip.Ed (Primary).

© My Little Story Corner 2016.

www.facebook.com/mylittlestorycorner

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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.

This post contains affiliate links to Boomerang Books.

This review and lesson plans are not paid and are my own educated opinion.

Purchase Mr Chicken Lands on London.

Information about the author illustrator, Leigh Hobbs 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.