Tag Archives: stories

Aboriginal/Indigenous stories for children

23 Oct

I thought I would put together a list of some wonderful Aboriginal/Indigenous stories. I love these books!


big rain coming 2











Some teaching resource links























http://www.leonienorrington.com/bushholiday (Author’s website)















I have this book on another post! Just check out the illustrations!









Irene 2-3


Aboriginal activities with Kindergarten children

17 Sep

Finally I can get to do a post!! I have been so busy at school and I have been wanting to share what our Kindergarten class have been discussing. We started with the Olympics and this led on to an interest in Australia. Questions were asked, “How did the world get so big”, “Why are there so many animals”. My favourite question was, “What is the last number in the world!”. I guess when you ask children what they know and what they want to know as far as they are concerned it encompasses everything!!!

We had a big discussion on the mat about Aboriginal people and how they lived. I wanted to ensure that I covered this unit as sensitively as possible and show respect to Indigenous people and their culture. I asked the children if they wanted to paint a picture and there were no shops, no paint and no paper what would they do! They thought for a while and then one child said,” Well , paper comes from trees so I guess you could use the bark!”. Another child was holding her hand up and saying to herself, “if you didn’t have a brush you could use a stick….or” She looked at her hand and said’ ” You could use your finger!” It was good to sit and watch them work it out for themselves! I had picked up some bark from different places, so with paint and their finger and some inspirational prints for reference, the children created some delightful pieces.

1. Bark painting

2. We also read Tom Tom by Dee Huxley, a story of a little Aboriginal boy who lives in Lemonade Springs. He goes to Preschool and lives a partly traditional life. The children have been intrigued by his life style compared to their lives and routines

I painted a large piece of cardboard and the children added the features from the story. I went to REmida which is a  recycling centre and the red and yellow pieces were plastic pieces collected from a factory. The blue pieces were from a similar process.

2. I had some stones I had gathered along the way in life, as you do if you are a teacher! We talked about early painting, drawing and symbols. The children painted these river stones. I love the way they are all so different

3. I like using different mediums for children to explore with. We used black paper and pastels. I found a picture of Aboriginal symbols and we talked about the different symbols and how the symbols told a story.

4. Our very own cave!!! I purchased some earth coloured poplin and set about making a space for us to talk, read and share stories. My son had found some rather large stones and I felt inspired to make them into a campfire. I found some shiny orange organza material and voila……our fire!

I am going to put a photo here today!!!

5. This is a Mia Mia that the children helped make.  They decorated the floor (large cardboard) with symbols and they made the ‘fire’ with an old square plastic bucket, covered in poplin.

I shall keep adding more photos as we go………………..

6. On a previous post I showed some examples of styrofoam painting and fortunately  I remembered it when I was planing. We looked at traditional aboriginal symbols and here are the results!

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!

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!!!

Styrofoam painting with kindy children

2 Feb

Tomorrow I am going to post an activity I did with some Kindergarten children with some stunning results! I had been introduced to this printing process at Uni and I know it is not a new technique but I thought I would try it with this age group. Lots of my fellow student colleagues  thought the process would be to difficult for this age group, but WOW not so!!!! So I will be back soon with photos and info!

So here I am again ready to go. In uni I did an Art unit and one of the activities involved printing with Styrofoam. It is not a new technique but this was the first time I had been able to try it for myself. As I was making my own print I started thinking about how you could explain the technique to Kindergarten children.  I just found this wonderful tutorial from the artful parent http://artfulparent.typepad.com/artfulparent/2009/12/styrofoam-printing-more-christmas-cards.html it is exactly the process we used! The artful parent suggested this site for the brayer http://www.dickblick.com/products/speedball-deluxe-hard-rubber-brayers/

1. I started with my faithful story bags. I decided to go with an African theme, so an   African themed bag was needed! I found this photo of the Watoto children’s choir on this site http://www.boltonschool.org/senior-boys/news/watoto-children’s-choir-visits-bolton/.  As I go through this post,  I am determined to link to the sites  I have taken illustrations and photos from. I am so aware of the need to show honour with other peoples resources and material. The choir came to our church and they were truly amazing. I felt so humbled by their stories and determined to attempt to not complain when small things happen in my life!

I will be back………….

2. I showed the children some examples of printing and we talked about the lines, colours, shapes, form and texture

3. We looked at the equipment and materials we would be using. I demonstrated the use of the roller sponge or bayer. I spent quite a lot of time talking to the children about the pressure that needed to be applied to create their image on the foam. I did an example where the image was lightly drawn and also one were I pressed so hard I made a hole! They liked that and lots of laughing ensued!
4. We talked about the sequence of the activity, I provided planning sheets to help them move through the activity.

5.The children could not wait to get started. They were so enthusiastic! I set up a table for the planning stage, a table for applying the image on to the foam and a table for the painting.
Here is one example of the finished product. I am hoping to contact the school and request more photos to show you. It turned out to be a great idea as part of my prac requirement was to participate in the community of the school. I was able to enter the students work in an exhibition held by the school. The children were so pleased and excited.

6. I added some resources to my bag to extend the theme of Africa. Here are some of the resources, of course, my many fair trade puppets get a look in!

Ikea is always handy!

I found these shadow puppets here http://www.kideas.com/show/40

I printed these sewing cards to add some fine motor activities. I found them here http://chezbeeperbebe.blogspot.com.au/2009/06/project-downloads-archive.html

I thought these looked great!

I enlarged the print and laminated it so that I could write messages on it and then wipe them off and write new ones. There is a set of 5 or 6 here http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/african_animal_stationery.html
The following print is one of many more and they are truly astonishing. When I showed the children these prints they could not believe what they were seeing. Much discussion arose as we looked at them more closely! You will see what I mean!

Of course, my art come story bag would not be complete if I did not include some books! An activity book by Usborne books and three great stories. A fellow teacher suggested that I could definitely enhance my bags by including specific literacy outcomes and she is so right! Her suggestions are as follows:
I would do a spelling type activity, I would want a comprehension type of activity. Maybe a word matching or sound onset activity. Maybe photocopy a page and look for sentences, count the word, find the words with a letter sound for kindy and a few sounds for pre primary. !! I have found if you look up reading notes for books, there are many more activities, questioning techniques and ideas that complement the book and add to teachers repertoire!