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Two Birds on a Wire: Teaching Notes

two-birds-on-a-wireTwo Birds on a Wire, Coral Vass (author), Heidi Cooper Smith (illus.), Scholastic Australia, 2015.  

Review.  

In an utterly amusing and entertaining tale, two birds; Black and Blue, pick a squabble up high on a wire. When the pair refuse to share, pandemonium strikes and the snapping, snorting, pushing, shoving, hassling and heckling battle breaks loose. Some puffing and panting later, the bickering birds turn tail and decide to rather sit together and enjoy the view.  

The fun rhyming verses, together with the characters’ exuberance and cheekiness brings out plenty of laughable, yet thought-provoking moments. The illustrations are eye-catching to say the least, but I also love the softness of the autumn colours in the background that remind us to enjoy the tranquility that is right in front of us (or below if you were a bird on a wire).  

So, let’s get some perspective here! The story takes place above a country town, overlooking trees, farm houses and animals. The unique angle that Heidi Cooper Smith has so cleverly introduced is highly effective. But from another clever angle is Coral Vass’s underlying theme of valuing cooperation and unity. It’s about ‘seeing’ the bigger picture, and not getting tangled in pettiness.  

‘Two Birds on a Wire’ is a perfect read aloud book for early childhood readers with a vision to learn the importance of sharing and problem solving, and have a giggle at a pair of silly birds at the same time!  

Discussion.  

Before Reading:
Put one chair out for two people. Ask two children to try and sit on it. How did they react when they both wanted to sit on the chair? Did they argue about who was there first, or who was bigger, or louder?
What would be the best solution? What are some kind and friendly ways to solve the problem?
Look at the front cover. Do you think these birds are happy with each other? What does their body language tell you about what they’re thinking? What do you think they’re upset about?  

During Reading:
Do you think Bird Blue should’ve shouted at Little Black to go? Do you think Little Black reacted well? Do you think one of the birds will be the winner?  

After Reading:
When Bird Blue first shouted at Little Black, what are some things that he could’ve said so that they didn’t argue? What might you do if someone was angry at you?
What do you think the birds learned from their squabble? How did they solve the problem in the end? Do you think they will always share from now on?
Do you ever have times when you don’t want to share? What are some things you can share and what are things you can’t share?  

Literacy.  

Writing.

Creative writing. Write a story about a pair (of animals or humans) who fight over an object. How did they argue? How did they resolve the issue?

(Check out Anna Kang’s ‘You are (Not) Small’ and ‘That’s (Not) Mine’ about disagreements).  

Reading.

Rhyming Words, Rhyming Birds.
Find the rhyming words in the story. Some may not have the same rime spelling (eg. ‘at’ in cat, hat, sat), but the sounds are the same.
Download, laminate (optional) and cut out the Rhyming Words, Rhyming Birds to play a rhyming game.
Separate each bird so that the matching pair can be re-found by stating the two rhyming words.
(To make it easier for less advanced students, cut a different pattern inbetween each bird so that they will easily be able to match the birds back together. Eg. Wiggly line, wavy line, zigzag, etc.)  
Two Birds on a Wire Rhyming Birds1 Two Birds on a Wire Rhyming Birds2

Angry Bird Verbs.
Write some verbs (doing words) around the angry birds to describe their silly actions. Eg. snapped, snorted, pushed, shoved, hassled, heckled, scowled, etc).
Download the Angry Birds Verbs sheet here.  
Two Birds on a Wire Angry Birds Verbs

Numeracy.

Number. Less Than, Greater Than.
The birds argued that they were bigger, louder, better than one another.
Play this fun game to extend your counting and comparing skills.
Materials: Greater Than, Less Than print outs, bundle of toys / real life materials.
Objectives: Practise skills in counting, comparing, estimating, place value and fractions.
Directions:
1. Count out 2 piles of toys (upto 20 objects depending on level). Ask, which is larger? Smaller? Equal? Use the print outs to show each answer. If student is unsure they can use the numbers on the number line to see how they ascend.
2. Read the sentence. Eg. ’15 is greater than 5′, ’12 is less than 18′, ‘6 is equal to 6’.
3. Extension. Play the same game using fractions – use parts of whole items and/or pictures. Eg. ‘1/2 is greater than 1/4’.  
Two Birds on a Wire Greater Than Less Than Two Birds on a Wire Equal To2

Space / Location.
Mapping Coordinates – Bird’s Eye View: Map a Farm.
The birds overlooked a little farm from their wire. Complete the grid as per the key and state the coordinates for each item.
Download Bird’s Eye View Map a Farm.
Extension. On your own grid, use unifix blocks to build a city. Working in pairs, have each person take turns to build a tower and state the coordinates. Eg. ‘The blue tower is in A4.’  
Two Birds on a Wire Map a Farm

Science.  

– Explore flight and propulsion with this fun whirlybird!
See instructions for craft from Minieco.
whirly-bird

Art / Craft.  

Create some gorgeous birdy artwork with these ideas:  

Black Silhouette Birds on a Wire
Materials: watercolour paints, paper, paint brush, black paper, scissors, white crayon, glue.
Directions:
1. Create an abstract painting with your chosen colours and with water, blend together. Tip: once painted, tilt your paper side to side to blend the colours further.
Birds on a wire art2
2. With your white crayon, draw your bird shapes onto black paper. Cut out.
3. Cut a thin black strip for the wire.
4. Paste the wire first, then the black birds onto the paper in position.     
Birds on a wire art

Paper Plate Birds on a Garland.
From Pysselbolaget.
2015-11-17-14-01-49-1275738551

Patterned Birds on a Wire.
Found on Flickr.  
4257676189_2215a51e9a_b

Lessons and photography by Romi Sharp, BECS, Dip.Ed (Primary).
© My Little Story Corner 2015.
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 Two Birds on a Wire.

Information about the author, Coral Vass can be found here.
Information about the illustrator, Heidi Cooper Smith can be found here.

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Pig the Pug: Teaching Notes

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Pig the Pug Aaron Blabey  

”Pig was a Pug and I’m sorry to say, he was greedy and selfish in most every way.”  

I’m a sucker for a good dog story, particularly a hilarious one like Pig the Pug by award-winning author / illustrator, Aaron Blabey. With a front cover that creates a lasting impression; a bulgy eyed, flat nosed pug that is so ugly that it’s really quite adorable, you just can’t resist!  

In true toddler tantrum-style behaviour, Pig the Pug blatantly refuses to share his food and toys with friendly sausage dog, Trevor. And it is the mere suggestion that really sets Pig off.
”Well, Pig flipped his wig.”  
The crazed expression on his face, and the name calling, with toys being tossed in the air… this behaviour would never be condoned, but, I’m sorry to say, it’s so ashamedly funny.  

So Pig gathers all his belongings with a huff and a puff, and stands tall on the top of his tower like a spoilt brat, until… he endures an utter misfortune. With a distinguishable reference to the phrase, ‘When pigs can fly’, Pig the Pug cannot and receives his just deserts, which only turns out to be sweet for one… Trevor! With no choice in the matter, Pig is forced to play with his canine friend. And although not totally deserved, we can’t help but feel some compassion towards Pig, but we still sneak in a final little giggle nevertheless.  

Pig the Pug is delightfully told in fun, exuberant rhyme, with vivid, amusing illustrations. Aaron Blabey has brilliantly depicted cleverness, humour, a touch of darkness, and a clear lesson in learning to share. A wildly funny read for all ages.  

Title: Pig the Pug
Author/Illustrator: Aaron Blabey
Publisher: Scholastic, $16.99 RRP
Publication Date: 1 July 2014 
Format: Hard cover 
ISBN: 9781743624777 
For ages: 3 – 10 
Type: Picture Book  

Also see the review for Creative Kids Tales here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1056057748  

Pig the Pug
Available for purchase from Boomerang Books ($13.59 + $6.95 shipping per order)

My Little Question Time!  

Before Reading:
Why do you think this dog’s name is Pig? What does it mean to be greedy and selfish?
Role play / puppet play a situation where one character does not want to share. How might the other character feel?  

During Reading:
Why do you think Pig wants all the toys to himself? What does ‘Pig flipped his wig’ mean? What do you think will happen to Pig on top of the pile?  

After Reading:
Why do you think Trevor wanted to play with Pig when he wasn’t being nice? Why was Pig the Pug forced to share with Trevor? What happened to him? Do you think he learned his lesson? Will he share with Trevor when he’s better?
Make a list of Pig’s characteristics. Are any of these ones that you would like to have?
Make a list of Trevor’s characteristics. Would you like to be like him? How?  

My Little Learning Time!  

Writing.
– Write about a time when you didn’t want to share something. What was the other person’s response? What were the consequences of not sharing? What did you learn from that experience?
– Write a story with a strong moral. For example, write a story around learning the lesson that greediness ends in unfortunate circumstances.
– Research different kinds of dogs and write a list of characteristics about them. Illustrate.
– Brainstorm different kinds of phrases / idioms. For example, When Pigs Can Fly, or Cat Got Your Tongue. Draw a picture to match the phrase. Collaborate with others to make a book of funny phrases.      
peppa-pig-angel catgottongue1
Peppa Pig / www.sketchedout.wordpress.com

– Beginners – Finish the sentence: ‘I like to share my…..’, ‘My favourite toy is…..’, ‘I don’t like it when….’
– Letter Study: Pp. P is for Pig, Pug, play, puppy, pile, etc. Brainstorm or walk around the room searching for things that begin with Pp. Write on a sheet of paper.
Make a paper construction of one of the words on the chart. Eg. Paper bag puppy.  

Reading.
– Read other books by Aaron Blabey. What similarities are there with his writing style? Do his books always have a moral?  
PhotoGrid_1411452576112

Arts / Crafts.
– Choose your favourite part of the book and paint a picture of it, using a mixture of watercolour paints and pencils.
– Bobble Head Pug.
Materials: Egg carton, scissors, pen, brown pencil, glue, white and coloured paper, needle and cotton, straw (cut in half).
Directions:
1. Cut out three egg cups from the carton.
2. Cut out the paper shapes in proportion; small circles for eyes, paws, feet and tail, two ears and a mouth. Draw nose and mouth on mouth piece, eyeballs on eyes.
IMG_5761
3. With needle and cotton, make a knot at the end and pierce through middle of one egg cup.
4. Glue and fit another egg cup inside the threaded one (this forms the body).
IMG_5763
5. Make a knot about 3-4cm up the cotton, and pierce needle through the third egg cup.
IMG_5765
6. Cut the cotton to the desired length, and tie onto half a straw.
IMG_5766
7. Decorate your pug with the paper shapes.
8. Make your pug wobble and jiggle!  
IMG_5767

– Paper Bag Puppy   
IMG_5745
– Toilet Roll Dogs  
IMG_5747
IMG_5746
http://www.myrecipemagic.us/paper-roll-puppy-craft-2/
– Felt Dogs  
IMG_5739 IMG_5740
– Concertina Sausage Dog  
concertina dog
– Footprint Puppy  
IMG_5742

Mathematics.
– Measurement: Height.
Materials: Metre ruler, 30cm ruler, tape measure, blocks (plastic, wooden), various sized boxes, books, pencils, etc.
Have several work stations with different materials to build and measure the height of a tower.
Eg. Station 1 – Build a tower with boxes, estimate and measure the height with a tape measure. Record.
Station 2 – Build a tower with small blocks, estimate and measure with pencils. Record.
Then children can compare and discuss measurements using terms like greater than, less than, longer, and shorter.

– Measurement: Weight.
Materials: balancing scales, various containers, blocks, counters, coins, matchsticks, other small objects.
Have several work stations with different materials to weigh different objects on the balancing scales.
Eg. Station 1 – Estimate and measure the weight of five blocks and the weight of five counters. Record.
Station 2 – Estimate and measure the weight of a container full of coins and a container full of matchsticks. Record.
Then children can compare and discuss measurements using terms like greater than, less than, heavier, and lighter.  

Science / Technology.
– Flying Machines. Help Pig the Pug to fly!
Design and construct a machine that can be propelled through the air.
– Straw Rocket. http://www.pbs.org/parents/crafts-for-kids/easy-paper-rockets/
IMG_5938 IMG_5936 IMG_5937
– Balloon Rocket. http://www.education.com/science-fair/article/volume-air-far-balloon-rocket-travels/
balloon-rocket-diagram
– Catapult. http://kidsactivitiesblog.com/28871/catapult-for-kids-to-make
build-a-catapult2
– Hoop Air Glider.  http://www.sciencebob.com/experiments/straw_hoop_plane.php    
hoop-plane-002

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