Tag Archives: books

Children’s books – lesson ideas – resources 2

23 Oct

I have just realized that I have created a post like this about a year ago! Well I guess I can keep going as over the years I have added more ‘favorite’ stories to my collection!

My small collection!













1. Are we there yet ? (Alison Lester)

are we there yet










Most of the ones I found were for primary children:


http://teacherfeatures.com.au/lesson_plans_and_activities_for_picture_books_novels_and_graphic_novels (this link has so many wonderful teacher support notes for many books!)


http://www.kids-bookreview.com/2009/08/teachers-notes-z-book-titles.html (this is another one with lots of notes for lots of books)



2. A squash and a squeeze (Julia Donaldson)













http://www.sharemylesson.com/teaching-resource/a-squash-and-a-squeeze-teaching-resources-6109851/ (TES is free to join and the lessons have been created by teachers and for teachers! )


http://youtu.be/-tI0bQ-A-H0 ( youtube song clip)

https://www.pinterest.com/clarkyfreak/literacy/ (Printable word labels for the story)


3. Big Rain coming (Katrina Germein)

big rain coming 2















I will keep going over the next few weeks putting up more stories and resources.



Aboriginal/Indigenous activities : You me : our place

13 May

Here I am back again! Finally

I have been doing a lot of relief teaching.

So two things I noticed

1. 20,000 people have looked at my ramblings! So a big thank you!

2. Most of the inquiries were about indigenous activities for children, and to be honest these are the very same things I look for myself!

So I was delighted to come across this wonderful book You me : Our place

Such a wonderful book written by Leonie Norrington and illustrated by Dee Huxley

I have yet to have the joy of sharing this book with children but I decided to add some online activities I found and then add my own experiences as a later date!

1. http://www.globalwords.edu.au/units/Indigenous_JPY3_4_html/pop01.html

2. http://www.leonienorrington.com/ This is lovely as you get to learn about the author and what inspires her!

3. http://www.thebookchook.com/2009/01/book-review-you-and-me-our-place.html a lovely review written by Susan Stephenson

I look forward to adding my own ideas soon!

you me our place 1

Children’s book reviews

9 Jul

I thought I would add some children’s book reviews I have been privileged to write for The Book Chook  http://www.thebookchook.com/

This one is my most recent review.

1. Home in the Cave by Janet Halfmann


I loved the opportunity to write this review as I was able to chat to the author!(via email)

2.  Wanted: The Perfect Pet by Fiona Roberton  http://www.thebookchook.com/2012/04/childrens-book-review-wantedthe-perfect.html

3. Handa’s Surprise by Eileen Browne  http://www.thebookchook.com/2011/12/childrens-book-review-handas-surprise.html

To say that I have become totally addicted to children’s literature is an understatement! As I am with young children all week I delight in finding new, fun and engaging books for children to enjoy. The advent of affordable online companies such as Fishpond.com and The Book Depository have made it possible for my addiction to grow and grow!! I have a study filled with books and as I share them with children I am always delighted with their response! I know this is the digital age and our classrooms and teaching methods as always absolutely need to adapt and engage children in an ever changing world, but I believe books will always remain! In my humble opinion when you sit with children and bring them into that magical world of the story there is nothing quite like it!

I am hoping for more opportunities to write reviews. I will keep you posted!

Children’s authors!

23 Jun

I recently purchased two hilarious books to read to children. I discovered them on my prac from Uni last year. They were written in 1991 and they are hysterical! I am always so impressed when authors illustrate their own books! Such talent!

 1.Beware of Girls by Tony Blundell This  is a hilarious book about a wolf that decides he is so hungry he is going to  go straight to a little girl’s cottage  and tell her he is her grandmother! The little girl happens to be extremely clever and sends the wolf off to fulfill different tasks in order for her to believe he  truly is  her grandmother. Her dog thinks she is unaware that he is a wolf and there are hilarious little asides from the dog as he tries desperately to warn her of the danger she is in! The tasks are cleverly crafted ideas that weave a web to the final punch line! I have read the story to Kindergarten children and they love the way the wolf is sent off and keeps returning in a worsened state each time! I then read the story to a group of Year 3 students and they loved all the hilarious planning on the part of the girl. Some of the children started to twig as they thought about the girl’s plan. They started nodding their heads and saying, “Oh, I know what she is doing!”.

As the wolf tires he starts to become very muddled. The girl tells him ‘if he really is her grandmother he would be wearing bright red heeled shoes,bringing a bag of sticky toffee and making a great big chocolate cake!’ The wolf returns very distressed and says, “Hello, little girl, I am your grandma in her big sticky dress and her bright-red hat and her pretty chocolate shoes, with a bag of feathery toffees and a great big high-heeled cake for you tea!!!!!!!!!!”

I had a class of Year one’s and they decided to draw their favourite part of the story. Most of the children drew pictures of the last scene!!!

(The Book Depository $9)

Image from http://www.thebookpeople.co.uk/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/qs_home_tbp?storeId=10001&catalogId=10051&langId=100

I thought I would add the student’s wonderful art to this blog!

(The Book Depository $10)

2. Beware of Boys is equally funny with the Wolf being outsmarted again by a clever and witty boy! The boy is actually captured by the Wolf but he uses hilarious delay tactics to avoid being eaten! The children beg me to read these two stories as they truly are ingenious.  I have found I can read them to children up to Year 4 as there are so many nuances through the story and the older the child the more they see the web the boy and girl weave around the gullible wolf! The boy thinks of different recipes for the Wolf to make Boy Pie, Boy Cake and Boy soup! The ingredients are difficult to find and yet again the Wolf is sent off to bring the ingredients back for this famous recipe, with disastrous results for the Wolf!  Recipe for Boy Pie: One boy, not too skinny, One large dish, Three foothills of plain flour, One moo-cow of milk, One large lump of lard, Six sacks of cement……!

3. I definitely must buy this soon as the other two are a riot!

(The Book Depository $7)

4. The Pig’s Knickers  by Johnathon Emmett and Vanessa Cabban. What a hilarious story! I was relieving for a teacher librarian and I had a Kindergarten group come  for a story on the mat. One of the children asked me to read the book, so I did! The story is of a pig who feels he is anything but special and a tad boring, the wind blows through and  a pair of polka dotted knickers lands on his head. The pig decides he loves them so much he wears them around the barnyard. The pig seeks approval from the barnyard animals and hopes that by wearing the knickers and performing tricks the animals will view him in a more interesting light. A calamity befalls the knickers and Pig is left with the feeling he is his old boring self yet again! The animals go to great pains to assure him he is special. The last page is a big surprise !  The boys covered their mouths and said, “Oooh Ahh!” You will have to read it yourself!!

Image from http://www.walker.co.uk

I am off to my bookshelf to hunt out some more funny authors and stories!

(The Book Depository ($9)

5. The Princess and the Packet of Frozen Peas by Tony Wilson and Sue deGennaro

The Book Depository ($16)

Another funny tale, well, a fractured fairy tale! Boys love this book as the story is definitely written from their point of view! The Prince so wants to fall in love and get married but he is an outdoorsy kind of guy and he is hoping to find a Princess who loves camping and the outdoors! But as the trail of prospective young girls fail to meet his alternative desires, he begins to wonder if there is anyone special for him! But one evening…….

The illustrations are clever child like drawings and I have found children warm to them.  The girls struggle a little with the text, especially if they are a little precious themselves! I have noticed that the story line is quite an eye opener for girls and gives them lots to think about!!

6.  Diary of a Worm, Diary of a Fly and Diary of a Spider by Doreen Cronin and Harry Bliss

June 5 Today we made macaroni necklaces in art class. I brought mine home and we ate it for dinner!

Diary of a Fly

June 10 Things they should teach you in flight class: always have a flight plan!

Diary of a Spider

April 1 Went to the park with my sister today. We tried the seesaw. It didn’t work!

Outstanding stories with the most amazing illustrations! I worked with a Year 2 class who wrote their own little diaries of their pet class worms! The diary style writing is hilarious and each book refers to the the other characters in the story! The humor is delightful from the perspective of the worm, the fly and the spider!

(The Book Depository $15 approx)

Have fun!

Peter Rabbit activities

15 May

I am back again. I thought I would share with you a slightly unusual activity I came up with! I love all things to do with Beatrix Potter! I have visited her house in Hill Top several times and love her heart for children’s literature. I love the fact that she designed her books to be small so that they would fit into children’s hands. I have collected all her stories, (the books with the cream covers and paper inlays).

I came up with this idea from a teacher friend from years ago and also a Uni lecturer. They both believed that children love adults dressing up and taking on a character.  They  felt the potential for learning was increased! I wanted to share with the children how illustrators and story tellers come to write their stories and what inspires them! So………….I went to some Op shops and decided  I might dress up as one of Beatrix Potter’s  governess’s children. As Beatrix spent time with these children and they were the catalyst for her  writing,  I tried to be as authentic as possible! So as I was saying I went off to the Op shops and with the help of my amazingly understanding husband who in the end found everything I was ready to go!

Here is my outfit!

I had the boots, hat and gloves already as you do! So what I needed now was Peter Rabbit! I decided to do this activity with the encouragement of my amazing mentor teacher (in  a kindergarten class) while I was on Prac from Uni! If I could have I would have definitely looked around for a real live rabbit! But I was on Prac and it was easier to search for a toy rabbit! I didn’t want just any toy it had to be as realistic as possible!

Here he is!

I am off to take more photos and I should really fold some washing!

I’m back ! The teacher told the children that there was a visitor coming and I walked into the classroom in my finery! I put on my best english accent and sat down in a comfy chair. The children looked and looked and they said,” She looks like Morah Sue???” It was quite funny!

I sat down and we talked about Beatrix Potter and the way she wrote and  illustrated her books. I had asked my artistic son to draw a light sketch of Peter Rabbit and as I talked I pretended to draw and then apply the paint (while looking at Peter Rabbit and noting his features). I showed them the kind of paint she would have used to colour her drawings.

We also looked at her early drawings and paintings.

I am off again!

I am back again! We looked at this wonderful book that I have had for ages. It is called Beatrix Potter a  journal. I love it as it has reproduction articles such as her letters, art exhibition events and lift ups. You can take the letter out of the book and read it to the children. It feels so authentic! The book is available at http://www.fishpond.com.au/ for $24.00. This price is incredible as I think I paid $50 in a store!

I had purchased a set of CD’s from  a school. Many schools have companies that leave sets of books available for purchase. These books and items are considerably cheaper than regular stores.  I have looked at Fishpond and Book depository this item is currently unavailable but I have seen many ‘pop up’ shops with them.  I paid $30 for the set and they are audio stories with well known british actors lending their rich voices to the text. These I played at rest time to immerse children in the beauty and wonder of the stories.

There is also a DVD with 5 classic tales which I picked up for $5 in a book store.

When I was in England I found this amazing  cook book. It has wonderful recipes with Beatrix Potter’s illustrations to accompany the dish! I have made the fisherman’s pie, the honey cake and the apple butter pudding and they are all delicious.  There is a company called ‘ Book Found’  ( https://www.bookfound.com/) and they will search far and wide to find a book! So if you were desperate to have the book I know they will be able to find it, but it will be at a price! (I have sent out a search so I will let you know!).

For the activity time,  I showed the children different painting techniques Beatrix Potter would have used and they had a lovely time experimenting with water colours and fine brushes.

The official website of Peter Rabbit has been updated http://www.peterrabbit.com/au/.  It has always been the most beautiful, creative and engaging place for parents, teachers and children. Now it has units of study for teachers, which is such a bonus! The units have been designed to fit the Early Years curriculum in the UK.  I can’t wait to go through  all the material, adapt it to life in Australia and share it with children!

I could babble on for ages but I will stop! The website truly is a treat for teachers, parents and children! Till next time


P.S. Book found just found the cookery book! It will cost  $67.50 this includes delivery from overseas!

Alphabet activities

8 Apr

As I have been going around to different schools relief teaching, I have come across some innovative and clever ideas, strategies and resources. I thought I would share some of the ideas I have seen. My favourite would have to be an alphabet activity journal. The class was a prep class and each student had their own journal. They were working their way through the alphabet and keeping a record of their writing and activities. I have adapted the idea with a few of my own resources.

1. Start with an A3 visual diary available in Office works and other education and stationary stores.

2. I found this website and I love it! If you go to the page  there are alphabet books for every letter! So I was thinking you could have a page for every letter and the children could paste in an alphabet book in each section with their writing. I browsed this website for hours as the resources are excellent!

3. I have found that charity shops have some great children’s books which are relatively cheap and in quite good condition. I often purchase the books that are really well worn and loved as you can remove the pages, laminate them  and give them new life! I found an alphabet book in a charity shop recently by DK publishing. I took out the worn pages, laminated them and now they are ready to display in a classroom. As I was looking at the photos for each letter, I started thinking about all the activities you could make and add to the journal.  I have to say I am a bit over a for apple and b for ball!!!

4. This is how the diary would look!

(a) A for avocado ,make avocado dip and eat it of course!

(b) Depending on the age of the children you could do some modeled or shared writing of the recipe, the children could write and draw pictures of the sequence of the recipe and add this to their journal

(c) Avocado Baby by John Burningham is a great read! The children could write a story about a clever baby with pictures or have an adult scribe it for them.

(d) Literacy aprons are great, you could have objects that start with the letter ‘a’ and the children could guess the objects from clues from you and draw them in their journal

(e) Ants are great for the letter A. The children could start an ant farm and draw the ants habitat and record their movements.

(f) Apple printing looks very effective! The finished paintings could be included in the journal.

(g) Recycling plastic bottles into apples is a great way to save the environment and have a wonderful toy for the home corner!
( I know I inserted a photo from my previous post!) The children could draw a picture of the apple they made.
(h) I had this idea to make a mini apron with felt. I decided to thread a large needle with wrapping paper ribbon and it worked well. I think pre primary age children could manage it. The sewing is only on the pocket. The buttons can be glued on with pva glue as well as the straps for the apron. The pocket can hold a story children have illustrated in this case the story of Jack and the beanstalk.I used an A4 piece of paper for the apron and cut a curve along the top for the arms. I know what you are saying, “what about boys!” I think black felt with a white pocket would look good and thanks to Master Chef cooking has promoted boy’s in the kitchen! Now it is cool to wear an apron! The boys could draw pictures from the story, ‘The Giant Jam Sandwich by John Vernon’. The apron would probably fit a doll!

5. Letter B would go something like this!

(a) B for book

(b) I would encourage the children to make their own book  and add it to their journal

(c) Baby Brains by Simon James is such a great book to read to them, then they could draw their favourite scene from the story!

(d) Paper bead making is fascinating and a great way to recycle all kinds of paper. I would photograph the children with their designs and add to their journal
(d) Some bread making would be good with the children writing the sequence of the recipe and eating the bread at the end!

(e) Some simple paper boat making with a boat race in a paddling pool would be fun! The children could make one for the journal and one for sailing in the pool!
I will be back with some other ideas!

Literacy aprons

16 Mar

I thought I would do a blog about literacy aprons! Now a big note…. A sewer I am not! My mother was a wonderful seamstress and many a time I would have a new dress for church and, if we were running late, she would sew me into it.When we returned home I would wriggle out from the dress and she would finish sewing the dress … BECAUSE I HAD TO WEAR IT THAT DAY!!!! So I am hoping that the neat camera I borrowed from my son, to take the photos for this blog, hides my sewing issues!
I have to say I love the idea of literacy aprons, which have been around for a while. I believe it is a great tool you can use to enhance children’s language learning. I used them on my practicums at schools while I was a student. They were very well received by the children, parents and other staff (especially my colleague who was assessing me!!!)
When I was in University we found a kind lady who made around 80 aprons for the students and we happily purchased them and used them in a variety of ways. I thought I would add a website with some clever apron designs and I can truly say I did not design any part of them and give all praise to people who can sew!!! This website has a variety of different aprons http://tipnut.com/56-free-apron-patterns-you-can-make/
Here is the literacy apron that we purchased from our kind friend at University…

I decided to use this one for promoting children’s understanding of various letters we were covering in the classroom. The class I was in was a Kindergarten class and we were looking at the letters s.a.p.i.n. I put a large and small foam letter ‘s’ in the pocket at the top and then filled each pocket with some interesting objects that all started with the letter ‘s’.

I would show the children the letter in the top pocket and we would say the name of the letter and the sound the letter made. We would use our magic finger to write the letter in the air. Then I would ask the children to guess the items in my pockets. I would give them clues of course! Then we would play Charlie over the ocean. The children loved the activity and asked to do it over and over!
I usually buy small swatches of material from Spotlight as they are often the perfect size for an apron. The pockets on this apron came from a pillowcase I found in a store in Birkenhead Point in Sydney. I added some African puppets for finger plays or stories.

This apron is a ‘work in progress’. I made the pocket house to keep the finger puppets in and I use the top pocket for the main character. I have written a rather lame story to go with the puppets! I won’t include the story! It is great when you make up stories children really don’t mind and they are ever so forgiving!

I was looking at the aprons and I was thinking it might be a good idea to make a few children’s sized aprons.

I sometimes have put a small book with puppets in the pocket for children to retell stories.
Just recently I decided to cut and laminate pictures of children from catalogues (thus helping save the environment just a little!) The photos give children the opportunity to create stories for themselves!

I will be back with some more aprons and ideas………….
So I am back!
Here is another apron I made for children to use. I thought I would use a bag to put it in, with a book and finger puppets.

I am off to try and find the pattern for the pocket house to add to this blog! Trust me I had a lot of help from my sewing teacher in the making of this project!!!
Have fun!!!