Take Away Teaching Ideas #8

Numerical Street

Book by Antonia Pesenti and Hilary Bell

‘Starting with 1, begin in the park: Count up the street and get home before dark.’ From the creators of the bestselling Alphabetical Sydney comes a counting book set in a bright and quirky streetscape where there’s always something new to find.

I am so incredibly grateful to have collaborated with Joel Brian and Carly White @misswhitesclassroom

Thank you for your time and enthusiasm!


This book provides the perfect opportunity for readers to:

  • Examine the pictures to make predictions
  • Make connections to their own experiences
  • Make connections to other texts that involve shopping – “Don’t’ Forget the Bacon” by Pat Hutchins
  • Investigate the use of the hyphen
  • Define and add the mathematical terms to the classroom word wall
  • Sort words from the book according to the number of syllables
  • Explore rhyming words
  • Read the signs in the book and then search for signs in the community
  • Explore compound words


This book inspires writers to:

  • Write their own mathematical story
  • Write a description of one the stores
  • Point around the pictures and talk about the writing ideas from the book
  • Recount a personal experience
  • Innovate the story
  • Discuss the illustration style and  transfer to their own text
  • Investigate the binding of the book (numbers presented in the spine)


This is a great book for mathematicians to:

  • Search for numbers throughout the book
  • Count the mathematical terms
  • Subitise the fish and sea life in the tropical fish tanks
  • Explore ordinal numbers
  • Create number lines
  • Investigate simple fractions
  • Collect keys or other objects to classify by size
  • Identify, count, and sketch shapes in the book
  • Create patterns as presented in the Upholstery Store
  • Search for money amounts in the book and write facts for the money amounts

So many teaching ideas

  • Plan, create and use a classroom shop
  • Photograph and sketch the numbers on the letter boxes in your street and investigate the number of the numbers
  • Make a number line and order the places in the story
  • Create a diorama of a store to model a collection
  • Visit the local shop to purchase and prepare a snack
  • Invite people to your classroom that work in the different stores
  • Make a soundscape to match the scenes
  • Create signs for your classroom

Check out my new product in my store!!

It is all about dominoes:

8 open ended, hands on tasks

material lists and instructions

7 instructional videos

strategies to differentiate

Enjoy and take care,


Andrea Hillbrick

into the forest

Take Away Teaching Ideas#7

Into the Forest

into the forest

By Anthony Browne

I have had the pleasure of collaborating with Jemima at her school and I am most appreciative of her willingness to share her teaching ideas.  Jemima introduced me to this engaging story, another book for my bookshelf.

I love Jemima’s posts



This story provides the perfect opportunity to …

  • Make a prediction using the blurb at the back of the book.

into the forest

  • Label the nouns in an illustration and then ‘crack open the nouns’ by using an adjective.
  • What does poorly mean? Share your understanding.
  • Make connections with other texts, by finding out which stories the special guest characters appeared in originally
  • Ask questions, students can generate questions about the book before, during and after reading
  • Practise pausing at commas
  • Read the pictures, by searching in the background for interesting items, like beanstalks and bears
  • Analyse decisions made by the illustrator, including why some parts of the pictures are grey and some are coloured
  • Infer the character’s feelings by writing think bubbles for some illustrations
  • Compare texts by finding other books that use known characters in different ways (e.g. Stories about fairy tales told from a different characters’ point of view)
  • Retell the story by creating a story map to show the boy’s journey from his home through the forest to Grandma’s.


I have used this as a mentor text for …

  • Creating a simple opener to a story, by using the first sentence as a mentor sentence
  • Building mystery by looking at the start of the story (both pictures and text) to analyse how the characters feels about Dad not being around
  • Exploring punctuation. There is a wide range of punctuation in this text, can you make a tally?
  • Labelling because the boy creates notes and puts them around the house, like labels
  • Modelling dialogue between two characters
  • Innovating on a text and having known characters make special appearances, e.g. Goldilocks appears in a story


This is a great book is ideal to explore …

  • Shapes – go on a 2D and 3D shape hunt on each page
  • Fractions and measurement in a fruit cake recipe
  • The height of living things. Investigate the different heights of tress. Show your findings by representing the height of trees using wool or streamers.
  • Investigate the distance to travel to someone special in your family. Is it metres or kilometres?

Beyond the Text:

  • Create artworks that have some black and white parts, and some coloured parts to add emphasis to parts of the picture
  • Create a diorama setting for a character to walk through
  • Explore perspective in drawings, particularly on the page when the boy hugs his grandma
  • Bake some treats to share with others in your community
  • Select one illustration from the text and role play what happened before and after the illustration
  • Shadows were evident in the illustrations. Go outside and explore shadows. Take photographs or draw images.
  • Make signs to display as Anthony did in this book.

Would you like some more teaching ideas? The resource A-Z of reading ideas will be helpful!

Enjoy and take care,


Andrea Hillbrick

pig the tourist

Take Away Teaching Ideas #6

Pig the Tourist

By Aaron Blabey

View the book trailer Here

Enjoy the read aloud  Here 

This week I had to pleasure to collaborate with the Educators at Yarraville SDS!

Thanks to everyone for professionalism and engagement in the Professional Learning sessions.

We considered all the literacy learning opportunities for this text.

In preparation for our session together I implemented a ‘Book Walk’.  

This enables me to consider all learning opportunities to use the text as a

springboard to engage the learners in my classroom.

Watch the video to find out how!

These are teaching ideas I generated following my ‘Book Walk’:

  • Hook the students into the text by:
  • Open up a suitcase to find the book
  • Pig the Pug toy
  • Listening to the sound of a dog barking
  • Photo of yourself or colleague with their dog.
  • Investigate the rhyming words – away, say, day, play, stay
  • Creating a simple icy pole stick puppet of Pig The Pug to read along the text with you!
  • Have fun reading the text GO AWAY! and videoing the students.
  • Lean on the pictures by investigating the objects that appear in the illustrations.
  • Activate prior knowledge and predict Pig the Pugs behaviour.
  • Make connections to other Pig the Pug adventures.

  • Search for the piranhas in the illustrations and make connections to the piranhas in a different text.

Innovation of the Story:

Story innovation takes a text and allows the students to change characters, setting, and story elements to make a personalised version of the story.

Some suggestions are:

  • The character could become the student, teacher, another animal or their pet.
  • Food trolley – What could Pig be travelling in?
  • Egypt – What is another location? Where could Pig the Pug be at our school? Where could Pig the Pug be in the community?
  • Swimwear – What could Pig the Pug be wearing?
  • Piranhas – What else could bite Pig’s bottom?

What learning experience would engage your students?

I adore reading texts about dogs! A favourite of mine is Ted by Leila Rudge. I have teaching ideas based on this text available.

Enjoy and take care,


Andrea Hillbrick

Take Away Teaching Ideas #5

Mix It Up

Mix it up!

By Hervé Tullet

A BIG shout out to Michael and Sarah Chapple for contributing ideas to this Take Away.

I appreciate your generosity!

You can view the Mix It Up text here


This story provides the perfect opportunity to read aloud and respond to punctuation.


I have used this as a mentor text for writing instructions to engage the audience. It provides many examples of the use of question marks.


This is a great book is ideal to explore colour, shape, and pattern.

Physical Education:

This is a great opportunity for students to use movement in different ways: drawing, tracing, stepping, jumping, and leaping as well as quick decision making.

Check out the teaching ideas we have planned for you!

  • Go on a Word Treasure Hunt! Find how many times the word – they or little – appeared in the book?
  • Make a list of two letter words that you know.
  • Have a book look for words with the letter x as in mix.
  • Select two of your favourite pages and practise reading fluently.
  • How do you read a sentence with a question mark? Quotation marks? Full stop?
  • Mix it Up! explores actions such as smudge, rub and shake. Create a foldable book to show actions you do in a day.

mix it up!

  • I wonder how many spots are in this book. Make a tally chart or pictograph and record how many different coloured dots there are on a page.
  • Collect objects or take photographs of things you have at home that are the same as the colours in this book.
  • Collect ten things and sort by colour.
  • Using the different colours in this book, how many patterns can you create?
  • What wonderings do you have about colours? Record your wonderings on a T chart. See if you can answer your wonderings.

wonderings and answers

  • Have a go at mixing some of the colours yourself. You could put spots on a page just like in the story or mix colours on a large piece of paper.
  • Introduce the colour wheel to the students.
  • Investigate recipes. What do you need to mix up in the recipe?
  • What questions would you ask Hervé Tullet about this book?
  • Play the game “Mirror Me!” Students are to draw coloured circles on the ground facing each other. Trace around their feet in the middle. One person is the colour master and jumps to a coloured circle. Their partner has 2 seconds to match the same colour on their board otherwise their opponent wins a point. First to 10 points is the winner. Swap roles. They can include maths by keeping a tally chart of their wins.


  • A different version of the game above except it is played with your hands. Students use coloured paper and their hands. One person is the colour master and creates a 3-4 colour pattern while their partner copies the same pattern to stay in the game. For example: Colour Master – red, green, pink.

@learning through movement

  • Get the kids moving through designing their own movement course. All you need is chalk, a sidewalk and lots of creativity.

  • Have the students assign the colours in the book with a movement challenge. Every time the colour appears, they must do the action 10 times.

I enjoy following Michael on Instagram and I learn heaps!



If you like to use picture story books to plan mathematical experiences, I have an online resource that lists 40+ picture story book titles with author and the Mathematics learning focuses for each title.

No products found which match your selection.

Enjoy and take care,


Andrea Hillbrick

lest we forget

Take Away Teaching Ideas #4

Lest We Forget

By Kerry Brown

lest we forget

A young boy visits his granddad and thinks about the important days in his life: his first day of school, playing soccer with his team, the day his baby sister was born. Yet through the illustrations the reader sees a parallel story of the grandfather’s experiences at war: wearing his brand-new soldier’s uniform, with his fellow diggers in the field, looking at a photo of the baby he’s never met.

I am grateful to have collaborated with Joel Brian

and Carly White @misswhitesclassroom 

You can view the story at  here


This book links to the comprehension strategies of inferring, comparing and contrasting.


A mentor text for a narrative that includes flashbacks and the use of illustrations to convey meaning.


This is a great book is a great springboard to explore the use of calendars.

The three of us have collaborated to plan these teaching ideas for you!

  • Before reading the text brainstorm what Lest We Forget
  • What can we learn from the front cover?
  • What does ANZAC stand for?
  • Create a Venn diagram by drawing two overlapping circle or pasting two paper plates. Compare the ‘then’ and ‘now’ pictures. What is the same? What is different?
  • Why did the author Kerry present the book in this way?
  • Select five words that relate to the text to make a word collage. You may use words and letters from catalogues, newspapers or magazines.
  • How do we find out about the grandfather’s past? Look closely at the illustrations and list what you see. Why was there no text with these pictures?
  • Can you make a connection to another text? What text is it?
  • Make a calendar and record dates that are important to you and your family. Each month could have a special picture to match either a: season, moment, or special event.
  • Provide the students with a month of the calendar cut up as a jigsaw to solve.
  • Make a patty pan poppy. you can find the instructions at


  • Create an artwork using images to show your understanding for celebration and commemoration.
  • Make ANZAC biscuits following recipe students can write their own instructional text.
  • Visit Art for kids Hub and follow instructions on how to draw poppies.


  • Begin to create your own memory capsule. What will you use? What will be your first memory to be stored?

Another great, engaging book to use with your students is ‘ANZAC Day Parade’ –

check it out on my online resource section  here

ANZAC day parade             ANZAC Day Parade

Enjoy and take care,

Andrea Hillbrick

who sank the boat

Take Away Teaching Ideas #3

Who Sank the Boat?

By Pamela Allen

who sank the boat

Five animal friends decide to go for a row in the bay. Do you know who sank the boat?


A BIG thank you to Joel Brian and Carly White @misswhitesclassroom

 for contributing ideas to this Take Away!

You can view the story here



This book links to the comprehension strategies of predicting and visualising. 


This book lends itself to generating and collecting ideas for developing a setting. It also provides multiple examples of questions and the use of question marks.


This is a great book to explore mass, capacity and ordinal numbers.

The three of us have collaborated to plan these teaching ideas for you!

  • Read the blurb (inside cover) and draw a picture of what you will see in the story.
  • What is the missing part? Look at the first and last picture in the book. Make a prediction about what will happen in the middle of the story.
  • Follow the instructions to make an origami boat.
  • Using a lotus diagram select eight nouns from the first page to brainstorm adjectives and verbs.

lotus diagram

  • This can then be used to create a setting for a new story.
  • Design/build a boat using recycled items. Test the boat by placing marbles or small rocks in it until in sinks. Count the total number of marbles in efficient ways such as grouping them into groups of tens. Reflect on your design and try again. Compare your trials.
  • Heft objects to compare and order from heaviest to lightest. Sketch and label.
  • Draw the characters from the story and label them according to the order they entered the boat – 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th
  • If you changed the characters in the story – who would they be? Why?
  • Let’s go on a letter hunt! How many words can you find in the story that have double letters?
  • The sheep was knitting in the story. Can you finger knit? Research and find out how to make yourself something to wear.
  • The water line in the boat changes as the animals get into the boat. Using a water tray and a range of objects experiment with the water line. Draw your findings.
  • Retell the story using toy animals or puppets.
  • The characters had to balance. Go for a walk where you need to balance. Write about your experience.
  • What would the sound effects of the story be? Make a sound scape of the story.
  • Make a mask to act out the story from one of the characters point of view.

If you would like more ideas for Pamela Allen’s stories visit my online resources at:


Enjoy and take care,

Take Away Teaching Ideas #2

My Dad STILL thinks he’s funny

By Katrina Germein

Illustrations by Tom Jellett

This series of books are fun to read and make you laugh!

Story Box Library features the book – My Dad STILL thinks he’s funny!


A BIG shout out to Courtney Trigg for contributing ideas to this Take Away!


This story provides the perfect opportunity to read aloud and respond to punctuation.


I have used this as a mentor text for collecting and generating ideas, text matching pictures to support comprehension and punctuation.


This is a great book to collect and represent data about the favourite joke in the story.

Courtney and I have collaborated to plan these teaching ideas for you!

  • Use a photograph or a drawing of your Dad/special person and list all the things you love doing with them! How many can you come up with?
  • Select your favourite jokes from the book to perform to an audience.
  • Create props to support your performance.
  • Make a video of your performance.
  • 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?
  • Research different kinds of jokes, riddles, puns, pranks, limericks, etc.
  • Investigate and read joke books.
  • Make and publish your own joke book.
  • Investigate the compound words in the story. How many did you find?
  • Katrina uses puns in her story. Can you provide an example from the story and an explanation? How would define the term ‘pun’ to support other writers?
  • Find out more about Katrina by reading the interview here
  • Create a Y chart to describe one of the jokes/illustrations in the story.
  • Tom has created an illustration to build understanding of the jokes. This is one example. What page is your favourite? Why?

  • Find out more about Tom by reading the interview here
  • How would you describe Tom’s style of illustrations? Try this technique.
  • Create a 3D scene for one of the jokes.
  • Publish a joke to support the reader’s understanding.
  • In the story the boy receives a special card from his Gran. Create a card for someone special to you!
  • Write a text to persuade your audience that Dad jokes are essential!
  • Compare two stories written by Katrina. What is the same in these stories and what is different?

Enjoy and take care,

Take Away Teaching Ideas #1

Clive Eats Alligators

By Alison Lester

This is a story of seven characters and all the things that make them unique!

It is such a thrill to listen to Alison read her book that she wrote 35 years ago! 

Follow the link and you will find the read aloud here:


This book links strongly to the comprehension strategies of making connections and summarising.


I have used this as a mentor text for generating and collecting ideas, conventions and publishing.


This is a great book to explore different events and connections to the times of the day.

Alison’s read aloud has inspired the following teaching ideas that I would like to share with you!

o Draw images or write a description of your favourite character. (My favourite character is Frank!) Share your clues and see if your buddy can guess your favourite character.

o Create a T chart to compare two characters.

Ernie                                                                                                     Rosie

 Eats porridge for breakfast                                                             Likes bacon and eggs

o Create a word splash to represent a character in the book or an event such as breakfast, getting dressed or shopping. Use colour, size and shape to represent the meaning of the words.

o Match or label times of the day that would be reasonable for the events. What time would breakfast be?

o Create a mobile using words and images to recall one character in the story.

o Collect objects or images that appear in the story and sort by character.

o Play ‘character heads’ using the characters from the text.

o Go on a word treasure hunt! How many times the word – has- appeared in the book?

o Design, make and wear a tail like Tessa.

o On the front cover of the book Alison used a background of alligators to provide clues about Clive. Can you create a page about yourself? what would your background be?

o Photograph events in your day to create a book.

o Nicky likes to build. What can you build? What materials did you use? Sketch and label your building.

o Create a foldable book to describe a character or yourself!

o Select three characters and record the key ideas about each character on a grid.

o Cut up the grid and recall the story by classifying the terms according to the characters.

o Frank likes to play chess with his dog Rodger. What games do you like to play? Can you write instructions, make a video or draw a diagram to explain how to play your favourite game?

Enjoy and take care,


Words are Everywhere

I am committed to exploring and creating different teaching strategies to engage the students in my schools to build vivid, vital and valuable vocabularies! I am so fortunate to work alongside teachers across Australia who share this commitment!

Some background…

Students need many opportunities for developing a rich vocabulary through listening, speaking, reading, and writing in an integrated manner. Vocabulary instruction should be an integral component in a daily literacy block. Integrating vocabulary instruction provides students with numerous opportunities to manipulate and learn new vocabulary words. Incorporating vocabulary instruction throughout the content areas will encourage students to make connections to new and already known information, discuss meanings of new words, and demonstrate and appropriately apply the new words, providing multiple re-exposures to the words. Encouraging students to think strategically when learning new words is essential.

Creating Strategic Readers

Right now at one of my schools in Ballarat, Canadian Lead P.S., we are working together to explore the best practice in our literacy classrooms P-6.

I am keen to share a teaching strategy that I recently shared with my colleagues at this school.

Let’s get started!

  1. To build upon the students’ vocabularies in your classroom cut out words from newspapers to achieve their learning goals.


  1. Consider the range of words you have selected before mounting the words on coloured card and laminating.

Are there words with…?

  • More than one syllable
  • Single sound letter beginnings/endings
  • Blended sound letter beginnings/endings
  • Smaller words inside the larger words
  • Double letters
  • 2, 3 or 4 vowels
  • Prefixes
  • Suffixes

In your collection are there…?

  • Nouns
  • Proper nouns
  • Verbs
  • Adjectives
  • Common words
  • Student interest words
  1. Let the fun begin! Begin your literacy lesson by exploring these words. Ask each student to select a word that they can read well.
  1. Consider the learning goals in your classroom and work with these words in a variety of ways.

Here are some teaching ideas to consider:

  • Count the number of letters in the words
  • Does your word have more, less or the same number of lessons as your name?
  • Lucky dip a letter and find a word that begins and ends with the letter
  • Count the vowels in your word
  • Identify and share the beginning or ending letter name and sound
  • Sort the words by the number of syllables
  • Find a word that begins with the same letter as your name
  • Select a word and identify the opposite
  • Sort words into nouns and proper nouns
  • Create a sizzling start for your writing using your word
  • Find the word in your just right books
  • What connections can you make with this word?

What is a highly effective teaching idea for your students?

Check out my online shop to explore more teaching strategies to build vocabulary in your classroom.

Have fun with the word wizards in your classroom,


Math Games 2

Instructional Maths Games- Engaging Mathematicians

As teachers, we are continuously reflecting on the quality of the learning experiences we plan and implement with our students.

Using instructional games to teach mathematics is a very viable and successful way to engage students to explore and understand rich mathematical concepts and to extend their mathematical reasoning.

Some background…

Math Game

In this text, The Maths Game, George Booker shares four insights into using instructional games to foster mathematics learning. I have matched each insight with a question that I use to reflect upon my own practice.

  • Games integrated into the mathematics curriculum, using consistent language, materials and symbols.

What are the underlying mathematical ideas of the game and the ways of thinking that the students are required to use?

  • Participation is active not passive.

Do all students have the opportunity to interact with the other players at each move?

  • Discussion is needed, both during and after the game, to make concepts, processes and thinking explicit.

What strategy will I implement to allow for rich discussion to make explicit the underlying mathematical ideas of the game and the ways of thinking that the students are required to use?

  • Teacher intervention is crucial in guiding discussion and helping students adopt new concepts, processes and ways of thinking as their own.

What is the instructional purpose of the game? Is the game I selected answer focussed rather than reasoning driven?

What key questions do you use to select quality mathematics games?

This week I had the pleasure to work alongside my colleagues at Nelson Park School to explore the George Booker’s insights in relation to using instructional games to teach mathematics P-12.

In the sessions we interacted with all the materials presented to play, reshape and evaluate instructional games.

Math Games 2

The game below is a classic. So let’s get started!

Shake and Make:

1) The students collect ten double sided/two coloured counters and place them in a cup.

A great alternative to the counters is lima beans that have been spray painted on one side only.

2)  The students shake and spill the counters. What combination of ten have you made?


If the students are playing in pairs, one player shakes and spills. The other player talks about the combination.

3. The students continue to take turns to shake and make!

Let’s reshape the game!

  • Change the number of counters in the cup.
  • Tens frames can be used to support students.
  • Provide a word splash of key mathematical language to support the students to share their understandings and reasoning.
  • Explore different ways for the students to present their mathematical thinking…photograph the combinations, reflection tool or make a tally.

The effective planning and teaching of math games requires some tools and resources that are available from my online store.

Have fun engaging the mathematicians in your classroom!