My Little Story Corner

For the love of picture books

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Puddles are for Jumping: Teaching Notes

puddles-are-for-jumpingPuddles are for Jumping, Kylie Dunstan (author, illus.), Windy Hollow Books, 2015.  
2015 Speech Pathology Australia Shortlisted Book of the Year (0-3 years)


The first thing you’ll notice upon picking up this book are the awesome illustrations. Each spread is entirely created with bright, cut and pasted paper characters and scenes in primary colours, suiting its wet weather theme and straightforward storyline. Kylie Dunstan cleverly takes her early primary-aged audience on this rainy adventure through the park, market, the neighbourhood and back home again to bed, simply by stating the actions in the words and demonstrating them in the pictures. Written in present tense, the short sentences are relatable and encourage readers to focus on how different objects can be utilised in the most enjoyable way possible.

“Bottoms are for wriggling, Sisters are for laughing!”
“Beds are for BOUNCING, Books are for sharing”.

‘Puddles are for Jumping’ is both visually and actively entertaining. This truly playful and joyous book is perfect for promoting experiences in the creative arts and movement areas, as well as supporting themes of friendship and citizenship.  

This review appeared first on the Boomerang Books Blog.  


Before Reading:

Look at the cover. Ask, Do you like to jump in puddles? What words can you use to describe different puddles? (small, big, shallow, deep, watery, muddy, etc).
Stand up and pretend to jump in puddles. Don’t forget to put your boots on!
What other things do you like to do in rainy weather? What else would you wear and take with you?  

During Reading:

Can you tell where the mum has taken the sisters? What can you see in the pictures?  

After Reading:

What were the places the characters in the story visited? How did they get there? Have you been to any of those places?
Do you remember some of the words used to describe the way they walked? Ate? Greeted people?
What did you notice about the illustrations?  


Identifying nouns and verbs.
Write the nouns (things, places, names) and verbs (doing words) found in the book in two separate columns.
Complete the Puddles are for Jumping Match Up sheet.
Puddles are for jumping match up

Play Puddle Jumping Game.
Use high frequency words, such as ‘are’, ‘for’, or a list of Magic Words.
For extension, make up your own verbs to follow on ‘Puddles are for…’, and have child jump on the word they say (eg. jumping, splashing, kicking, flicking, tapping, etc).
See the Bridie’s Boots Teaching Notes for these instructions and more weather-themed activities.

Read other books by Kylie Dunstan.
What are the similarities and differences between her writing style and illustrations?


Comprehension: Finish the sentence.
Use your own ‘verbs’ to complete, ‘Puddles are for…’, ‘Shops are for…’, ‘Skirts / Boots are for…’, ‘Beds are for…’, and so on.
Illustrate your sentence/s. (see Art / Craft Paper Collage activity).

Creative Writing.
Write your own story or class book about going on an outing. Using similar language and short sentences, what are the things you see on the way and how can it be used.
For example, going to school might include; “Bikes are for peddling, bags are for unpacking, friends are for giggling, teachers are for admiring ;), pencils are for sharpening, paths are for racing, books are for loving, and beds are for snoozing.”  


Graphs and Data. Outdoor Tallies.
Make a list of things you will see on your outing, things that can be counted. For example, number of puddles jumped in, number of trees climbed, number of dogs spotted, number of apples bought, etc.
Record the tally as you encounter each item on the list.
Formulate the results by graphing them as a picture graph. Item against number.
Discuss the results. Which had the most, least, same, how many more…, etc.  
Puddles are for Jumping Graph


Make a Fizzy Puddle.
Watch the puddle react with baking soda for an awesome fizzy effect!
From Simple Fun For Kids

The Water Cycle.
Choose from a cool selection of water cycle experiments, including evaporation, transpiration, precipitation, condensation!
From E is for Explore  

Art / Craft.

Rainbow Puddle Splash.
Use sidewalk chalk and puddle water to create a work of art!
From Lemon Lime Adventures

Winter Rain Watercolour Resist Painting.
Using white crayon and watercolours, create a stunning rainy day piece of art!
From Elementary Art Fun

Paper Collage Cut and Paste.
Choose different-coloured papers to create your own collage picture. Choose a scene from the book or make your own rainy day fun!  
Puddles are for jumping collage pic

Lessons and photography by Romi Sharp, BECS, Dip. Ed (Primary).
© My Little Story Corner 2015.
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 Puddles are for Jumping.
Information about the author / illustrator of ‘Puddles are for Jumping’, Kylie Dunstan can be found here.


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Foxtrot: Teaching Notes

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


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.


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.  



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.  


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?  


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.  


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  

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.

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
Sticky tape


1. Cut to fit and cover toilet roll tube (body) with green paper.
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.
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!
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.
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.
7. Hold the string in one hand and the straw in the other. Make your fox dance!

Straw Blown Paintings.
Make your paint dance across the paper with this fun activity from The Imagination Tree.

Dance School Diorama.
Design and construct your own Dance School diorama with character puppets / figures.  

Lessons by Romi Sharp.
© My Little Story Corner 2015.
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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Adventure Tour Bus Craft

9781922081322 Make your own Adventure Tour Bus  

Activity based on the picture book, Calpepper’s Place
Trudie Trewin (author)
Donna Gynell (illus.)
Windy Hollow Books, 2014.

Find a review of Calpepper’s Place (under C) here.  

Australian Curriculum Standards:
Responding to literature
Discuss characters and events in a range of literary texts and share personal responses to these texts, making connections with students’ own experiences (ACELT1582)
Creating literature
Retell familiar literary texts through performance, use of illustrations and images (ACELT1580)
Texts in context
Respond to texts drawn from a range of cultures and experiences (ACELY1655)
The ways the activities located in a place create its distinctive features (ACHGK007)
Represent data and the location of places and their features by constructing tables, plans and labelled maps (ACHGS009)  

Before Reading
Who do you think Calpepper is, and what might he do in this story? Has anyone been to the snow, beach, city, desert? Do you have a favourite place to be? Why might it be good to visit different places?
After Reading
Why do you think Calpepper wanted to leave his home at first? What did he learn along the way? What do you know about different locations in Australia? What state might you find the desert? Beaches? and so on. Do these regions change as the seasons change?  

Adventure Tour Bus Craft  

Small recycled cardboard box (we used a crackers ‘n cheese box)
Craft glue
Coloured pencils or textas
Pipe cleaners x2
Pom poms (optional)
Map of Australia (optional) Download here.  

1. Mark the windows with a texta on both sides of the box. Cut out windows and the bottom side (adult help required).
2. Mix half paint and half glue (make enough only to cover the box). Paint the box on each of the five sides.   
IMG_7639 IMG_7640
3. Once dry, decorate the bus with a sign and wheels (lights, etc).
4. To make the luggage rack on top: (adult help required)
Cut seven equal lengths of one pipe cleaner (about 3cm to 4cm each). Poke six tiny holes along the top of the bus (three to a long side). Place six of the cut pipe cleaners into each hole and fold down underneath. With the second pipe cleaner, starting on a corner, fold over each of the smaller pieces as you wrap the larger piece around forming a rectangular shape. Place the last small piece across the short end to complete the luggage rack.
Optional: place pom poms (or other small objects) in the luggage rack for suitcases.
5. Draw, colour and cut out characters to ride in the bus. Place inside and secure with a dab of glue (or sticky tape).
IMG_7641 IMG_7643
6. Extension:
Download and print a large map of Australia. Drive your Adventure Tour Bus, and with some pencils draw and label the types of regions Calpepper visited around the country (snowy mountains, city, beach, desert).
Label the states of Australia as you go.
List all the places in Australia you might find snow, beach, etc).  

Lesson and photography by Romi Sharp.
For personal and classroom use only, not permitted for commercial use.
© My Little Story Corner 2015

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Whale in the Bath: Teaching Notes

Whale in the Bath
Kylie Westaway
Illustrated by Tom Jellett

Read the Review.

Whale in the Bath: Question Time!  

Before Reading:
Ask some silly questions, like ”Would you ever find an elephant in your toilet?”, ”Would you find a polar bear in your fridge?”.  Encourage children to think of their own examples and write them down.
Look at the cover. Did you think a whale could fit in a bath? Do you think this might be a true story or make believe? What do you think the boy might say to the whale? What would you say to the whale?  
whale in the bath titles

During Reading:
Ask, Do you know what krill is? Do you believe Bruno? Do you think he really had a bear under the bed and a walrus in the backyard? Do you think the whale has nice manners? Can you wash like a whale? (Do the actions).  

After Reading:
Do you think Ally sees the whale or is she making it up? Why do you think Bruno’s family didn’t believe him? Why do you think Bruno didn’t want to have a bath? What would you do if someone didn’t listen when you asked them to do something? Have you ever tried to avoid something you didn’t want to do? What happened?  

– Using the ideas listed prior to reading, write a new title about a large animal in a small item. For example, ”Hippo in a Teacup”. Illustrate to create a front cover.
– Using the above front cover, write a new story about yourself trying to use the item that the animal is sitting in. What was it doing in there? Why doesn’t it want to get out? What would you say? What do your family say?
– W is for whale. Make a list of words that begin with ‘Ww’. Encourage children to copy or trace some of these words. Accompany each word with a picture to represent it.
– Make a paper model of one of the ‘w’ words. Eg. paper whale (see Art / Craft), walrus, window, etc.
– Write an alliteration sentence with ‘w’ words. Eg. Wally Whale wondered why the water wasn’t warm. Illustrate.  

– Read other books about whales.
– Find and write a list of verbs associated with the word ”splash”, in a whale template.
Alternatively write adjectives to describe the whale, or nouns listing the items he used in the bath.  

– Measurement: Length. How big is a Blue Whale?
Objectives: Children understand the size of a Blue Whale. Practice predicting and measuring skills.
Materials: roll of string (100 feet or 30.5 metres), Blue Whale picture, pencils, large butcher paper, corridor or outdoor area, paper plates.
1. Research and write measurements of the Blue Whale on the picture.
2. On large butcher paper, draw the head of the whale, as life size as possible. Do the same with the tail.
3. Have children draw eyes, mouth, scales onto the head and tail.
4. Mount the head at one end of the corridor, then stick (or tie) the end of the string to the head.
5. Unravel the string (30.5m) and attach with the tail.
6. Children predict how many paper plates (and/or other materials) it would take to fill the entire length of the whale. Write estimates, measure and record.
7. Discussion: Who’s prediction/s was closest? Refer back to book. Compare and contrast – Would it be possible for this whale to fit in a bath? A car? A house? What else might be as big as a Blue Whale?
(Activity adapted from  

– Find a range of online whale maths games and videos at the following site:  

– Research facts about the Blue Whale (use size measurements in Maths activity above). Present as a booklet, poster or visual technology presentation.
Some information can be found at:
Learn all you wanted to know about blue whales with pictures, videos, photos, facts, and news from National Geographic.  

Art / Craft.
– Look at the illustrations by Tom Jellett. Draw cartoon style pictures and paint with cool, earthy tones.
– Download these awesome drawing and colouring activities by Tom Jellett, found at:     
IMG_7117 IMG_7118
– Make your own Paper Plate Whale.
How cute is this one from Krokotak! We made our own using one paper plate, textas and some gold paper! Simple and adorable!
Instructions here: .    
025c3b584f452b91ea47eda710be3cc9 IMG_7114-1
– And this Blue Whale Paper Toy:
– Crayon Relief Whale.
Materials: crayons, watercolour paint, water, paintbrush, paper, googly eyes and glue (optional).
Directions: 1. Draw a large whale with crayon and colour in as desired.
2. Dab water in to the watercolour paint to form a runny mixture, and paint over the entire sheet of paper.
3. Notice the crayon wax resisting the water. Allow to dry.
4. Glue on a googly eye/s (optional).    
– Crayon Fun in the Bath!
Have a whale of a time and be creative in the bath with some bath crayons. You can easily make your own.
See instructions here:  

– Find a range of whale activities, including literacy, mathematics and crafts, on Kylie Westaway’s Pinterest page:  

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

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My Dad STILL Thinks He’s Funny: Teaching Notes

my-dad-still-thinks-he-s-funny My Dad STILL Thinks He’s Funny
Katrina Germein
Illustrations by Tom Jellett

My Dad STILL Thinks He’s Funny
Book Review

My Dad STILL Thinks He’s Funny: Question Time!

Before Reading:
Ask, What kinds of things do you like to do with your dad? What makes your dad special? Does your dad say funny things?
Look at the cover. What can you see? What is the dad doing? Why is this funny?

During Reading:
Ask and explain to children what the jokes mean to confirm comprehension. What are the pictures showing?

After Reading:
Which joke did you like the best? Were there any that you didn’t understand? Do you think the boy likes his dad’s jokes? Why or why not? What did the boy do at the end?

My Dad STILL Thinks He’s Funny: Learning Time!

– Research different kinds of jokes, riddles, puns, pranks, limericks, etc. Make your own joke book with your favourites.
– Design and create a set of character cards, each with a character and a funny saying or punned or alliterated name. Eg. Garbage Pail Kids. Illustrate. Make lots and swap them with your friends! We brainstormed some well known book / tv characters.
IMG_5503 IMG_5499
– Create an advertisement with an engaging catch phrase about a product for dads.
– Write a hilarious story about a boy / girl and their dad. What jokes can you include? What are the humorous events that take place?

– Comprehension: Understanding different kinds of jokes.
Fill in the blanks. Eg. ‘I suggest chicken for dinner. Dad says,_____ _____’,
my dad still thinks he's funny dinner
‘Who’s the bully who ___ the cream? They probably beat the ____ as well.’
my dad still thinks he's funny cake

– Read other books about dads:
My Dad Thinks He’s Funny by Katrina Germein
Kisses for Daddy by Frances Watts
I Love My Daddy by Emma Dodd
My Dad is Brilliant by Nick Butterworth
Some Dads by Nick Bland
My Dad’s the Coolest by Rosie Smith and Bruce Whatley
My Dad is a Bear by Nicola Connelly &nbsp

Arts / Crafts.
Tie templates from Activity Village.
IMG_5531 IMG_5521
IMG_5533 IMG_5504

21 Ideas for Father’s Day.

I say, ”What’s the time?” and Dad says, ”Time to get a watch.”
– Father’s Day Crafts: Pocket Watch Accordion
Make this gorgeous pocket watch accordion in a few simple steps:
1. From a 12’x12′ sheet, divide into three equal strips.
2. Fold each piece to make three squares (x3).
3. Glue ends together to make a long strip. Fold like an accordion.
4. Cut the corners rounded, keeping one corner to loop the ribbon.
5. Pierce a hole through the corner on every page.
6. Using a sticky tape roll, trace around the outer side onto paper for the backing circles x6. Cut out and glue inside.
7. Using the inner side of the sticky tape roll, trace onto your photos and kids’ drawings x6. Cut out and glue.
8. Decorate the front as desired. Loop through a long piece of ribbon, long enough to fit more than the entire length of open accordion.
9. Make a knot at the end of the ribbon at the back of the accordion. Tie accordion closed with two ribbon ends.
There you have it! Hope you have the time of your lives!
Check out some other themes!
IMG_5687 IMG_5688

– Pocket watch accordion in shell:
– Toilet roll watches from Red Ted Art:

When Gran tells me there’s something special about me, Dad says, ”Yeah, that’s his father.”
– Make dad a special card for Father’s Day.
Check out this awesome shirt card here:
IMG_5532IMG_5517 IMG_5518 IMG_5519 IMG_5520

Outdoor Activities.
Grandpa tells me I’ve grown a foot. Days says, ”How many has he got now?”
– Have a three-legged race with your dad. Race against family members or friends and their dads. See Mathematics activities.
I say that no one can ride my bike and Dad says, ”No one’s not here so I’ll have her turn.”
– Ride your bike with your family and friends.

I say that I need a haircut soon and Dad says, ”Fetch me the lawnmower.”
– Help dad in the garden, mowing the lawn, pulling out weeds, planting new plants.

Grandpa tells me I’ve grown a foot. Dad says, ”How many has he got now?”
Three-Legged Race Maths:
3-legged race
– Set up your race track. Where does it start and end? How many pairs of athletes will compete? How will you measure the time?
– Allocate each pair with a number, colour, shape or picture to identify teams.
– Number.
Counting – how many people are racing?
Addition – adding each pair (counting by 2s) to reach total.
Subtraction – if one pair falls down, how many pairs are left racing?
Multiplication – how many groups of two? How many legs?
Order placement. Who came first, second, third in your three-legged race?
– Measure of Time. How many minutes / seconds did the winner take from start to end?
– Measure of Length. How far in metres / other units of measure is the track from start to end?
– Space. Use prepositional language to describe where each pair is located at different points in the race. For example, Pair 1 are racing next to Pair 2. Pair 2 are coming up behind Pair 3. Pair 3 are in front of Pair 2, and so on.
– Understand and coordinate left and right foot. Keep in rhythm with your partner.
– Problem solving. Find solutions to given problems about the race. For example, if Pair 1 were behind Pair 2, but Pair 3 were coming last, then who will win the race?
– Graphing. On a bar or picture graph, mark the results of first, second and third places against the time it took them to finish the race. Or, graph results of how many times each pair fell over! (x being racers, y being number of times they fell over).

Measuring Height.
Units of measure: centimetres, metres, feet, inches.
Language: tall, taller than, short, shorter than, equal to, longer, high, higher than, lower than.
Materials: rulers, books, things around the room.
Measure your height on a chart, or walk around the room and measure how tall you are in comparison to the door, window, bed, table, ceiling, etc. Use appropriate vocabulary, for example, I am taller than the chair, I am as tall as the door handle, and so on.
Have a partner trace around your body on large butcher paper. Cut out. Use different measuring units to measure the height of your whole body, arm, leg, head, etc. Use materials like blocks, crayons, ruler, popsticks, etc.
IMG_5537 IMG_5538 IMG_5539

Mum says to have the juice in the fridge and Dad says, ”I can’t fit in there!”
Units of measure: milliletre, litre, cups, teaspoon, tablespoon.
Explore a range of containers and boxes, and units of measure. How many cups of water / teaspoons of rice / blocks, etc fit in each? Estimate and measure. Record results.
Unit of measure: people.
How many people can fit in… a large box? A tent? A square metre? A reading corner?, and so on.
my dad volume

Photography and lessons by Romi Sharp, 2014.
All sourced resources have been given credit.
These may be used for personal or classroom use, and are not permitted for commercial use.

My Dad Still Thinks He's Funny
Available for purchase from Fishpond ($29.95 + free shipping)

My Dad STILL Think He’s Funny
Available for purchase from Boomerang Books ($22.46 + $6.95 shipping per order)