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Take Away Teaching Ideas #25

Giraffe Problems

By Jory John

RECONNECT is a word that I have used a lot this year! By implementing my webinars, I have been able to reconnect and collaborate with so many colleagues. It has been an opportunity to share my current thinking and insights with educators in Australia and beyond!

The author of this edition is one person I was so excited to reconnect with. Deb David is a passionate educator who loves all things about learning. She works as a part of an amazing team at St Albans’ Primary School. Meeting up with Deb again has been a bonus!

Thanks, Deb, for introducing me to another new book and creating these ideas for us all.



Edward the giraffe can’t understand why his neck is as long and bendy and, well, ridiculous as it is. No other animal has a neck this absurd. He’s tried disguising it, dressing it up, strategically hiding it behind bushes–honestly, anything you can think of, he’s tried. Just when Edward has exhausted his neck-hiding options and is about to throw in the towel, a turtle swoops in (well, ambles in, very slowly) and helps him understand that his neck has a purpose, and looks excellent in a bow tie.

 

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/563426/giraffe-problems-by-jory-john-illustrated-by-lane-smith/

 

 

You can view the story below:

 

Watch Michele Obama reads it aloud:

 

 

Our readers can:

 

Predict: Before reading make a prediction of what this book could be about. What could a giraffe problem be? Justify your prediction using your prior knowledge and clues from the book. After reading, revisit your predictions.

Compare and contrast: Use a Venn diagram to show the similarities and differences between Edward and Cyrus. You can easily make a Venn diagram by overlapping two paper plates.

Make Connections: Make a connection to yourself from the book. When has a friend helped to cheer you up or when did you cheer a friend up? How did it make you feel?

Investigate words: glorious, accomplished, delectable… create a word splash of interesting words used in the book. Write the words on cards and sort them. Set the challenge to try and use one new word every day when talking to their classmates. Add the words to your classroom interactive word wall.

Explore the author’s purpose: An author always writes with a purpose. What do you think Jory John’s purpose is? Is there a lesson we can learn from Edward and Cyrus?

Infer: We are never told where this story is taking place. Where do you think it is? Justify for answers using clues from the text.

Search for synonyms: gander, stare, glimpse and gaze are words Jory John uses instead of the word “look.” What other words could we use instead of look? What is the difference between glimpse and gaze, or gaze and stare? Why would the author choose those words over look? Write the words on cards and order them from glimpse to stare discussing the subtle differences/shades of meaning between the words.

Make a text to text connection: Read Jory John’s Penguin Problems. How are the two books the same? How are they different?

 

 

Research: What do you know about the animals in this book? What would you like to know? Let’s use websites and books to discover some facts!

Engage writers by:

Text innovation: Draw your own giraffe neck (use page two as inspiration). How would you describe your neck? It’s too wiggly, too bendy, too curly, too straight, too zany.

Factual writing: Write a description about the appearance of a giraffe. What interesting words would you use to describe its neck, its patterns, the way it moves?

Text Innovation: Edward’s problem is his neck is too long, Cyrus’ neck is too short. What type of problems would other animals have? Think, pair, share to generate ideas and students create their own narrative.

Personal Writing: Edward’s mother said he should be proud of his neck. What does it mean to be proud? What are you proud of?

Persuasive Writing: Would you rather have a long neck or a short neck? If you had a long neck for the day what would you do? How would you persuade others to have a long or short neck?

Exploring word choice: Cyrus describes a banana as ‘delectable.’ Using the 5 senses, what other words can we use to describe a banana. Don’t forget to use the book to see other words Cyrus uses.

Small moments: Revisit Cyrus telling Edwards about his week long, banana dilemma. Have you experienced a time you had to wait or a time when they had to persist with a problem?

Procedural writing: At the end of the story Cyrus and Edward wear a bow tie. Write instructions to their friend the zebra on how to tie a bow tie.

 

This book is a great springboard to launch into mathematics investigations:

Measurement: How long is Edward’s neck? What can we use to measure it? Provide students a picture of Edwards neck and record how long it is using a range of informal/formal units. Don’t forget to estimate before you measure! Extra challenge: compare it to your neck. What is the difference in length?

Using a tie, identify, measure and record the length of objects. What did you find out? How will you share your thinking?

Patterns: Edwards tries to dress up his long neck. Design a patterned scarf, tie or bow tie for Edward’s long neck. As a class, create a tally of the different patterns used – stripes, shapes, colours. Don’t forget to make a bow tie for Cyrus too!

Cyrus the turtle has an attractive shell. What shapes can you see? What patterns can you make using the shapes? How will you share the patterns and your thinking?

Positional language: Edwards wants to hide his neck. Where could he hide? Behind a tree, in a ditch… The mathematicians create their own Edward and hide it in different parts of the classroom. Photograph to make a class book. The mathematicians write about Edward’s location.

Classifying: List all the animals that appear in the book. How could we classify them? How can you represent this data? As a tally, graph, table?

Problem Solving: There are 12 animals featured in the book. How many legs might there be all together? Show your thinking in pictures, numbers, and words.

Time: Edward wants to ‘hide until the sun sets.’ When does the sun set? How long does Edward want to hide for? What other phrases can we use to describe the length of time?

Ordering: Research the heights of different animals. Order them from shortest to tallest. Discuss all the vocabulary we can use to describe height. This could be a good opportunity to discuss why we say the giraffe has a long neck instead of a tall neck.

Number: Edward has a bundle of scarves. Collect a bundle of materials. How many is in your bundle? How will you share your total and your thinking?

 

Enjoy and stay connected,

Andrea

Andrea Hillbrick

Take Away Teaching Ideas #22

Mallee Sky

Jodi Toering

Do you know I have had the privilege of working alongside an award-winning author?

Let me introduce you to Jodi. I am fortunate to have collaborated with Jodi on several projects at Forest St PS – Teaching Writers, Writer’s Notebook, and Inquiry Learning.

This is a treat as Jodi has created this edition of teaching ideas about her own book. Thank you, Jodi, for the brilliant collection of ideas. I cannot wait to use your book again with one of these ideas!

 

Check out Jodi’s website at :

https://www.joditoeringauthor.com/

 

TEACHING READERS

Mallee Sky lends itself to all facets of comprehension.

Predict Look at the front cover, read the blurb on the back to gather clues and use any prior knowledge you may have to predict some events that might happen in this story.

Visualise Listen to a few pages of Mallee Sky without looking at the pictures.  What did you see in your mind?  List and describe.

Connect Text to Self: Have you ever been to the Mallee, to the country or to a farm before?  What did you notice, what happened, or what did you discover?

Text to Text: Does this book remind you of another book you have read?  How and why?  Explain the connections you have made.

Text to World: What does this book remind you of in the real world?  What connections can you make to things you have read about, seen on the news or learned about in TV programs?

Infer Feelings:  Look at the illustrations of each character as the story progresses, e.g: Dad on the verandah surveying his crops, the students at school when they hear the rain and then when they get to dance in it.  Can you infer how each character is feeling in those moments?  What clues from the pictures and words did you use to make these inferences?

Infer Consequences: This book highlights the devastation drought can have on communities.  Why is farming essential?  Why does it matter if the crops grow or not?  Infer what might happen for the broader community if crops don’t grow.

Infer Cause and Effect:  What happens to the land when it doesn’t rain?  What happens to the land when it does?  Use the book to confirm or disconfirm your inferences.  Prove it!

Summarise After reading, summarise the key events that happened in the story in your own words.

Synthesise What did you know about farm life or drought before reading Mallee Sky?  What do you know now?

Question After reading this story, what are you wondering now?

Analyse Notice the descriptive words and language used throughout the text.  List some of the descriptive words and phrases.  How do they make you feel?  Why do you think I used those words in my book?

Critique Did you like Mallee Sky? (Of course you did!!!)  Explain why, or why not.

Write a book review of Mallee Sky.  Use a five star rating, and explain your rating in your review.

 


TEACHING WRITERS

Mallee Sky is a great children’s picture book to use as a mentor text to study several aspects of the craft of writing.

Figurative Language Imagery:  Authors use words to paint a picture in the readers’ mind.  Look at examples from Mallee Sky, e.g.: As days pass, blue gives way to welcome grey while paddocks turn to carpets of green beneath the leaden sky. Practise using descriptive words and phrases to bring your setting to life.  Make sure you provide enough detail that your reader can visualise your setting in their mind.

Metaphor – Authors use words or phrases to describe something that isn’t literally true, e.g.: “When the sun goes down, the red heat of the day bleeds into the sky and sets it on fire.”  The sky isn’t literally bleeding or on fire – but the colours of the sunset remind the reader of these things.  Find the metaphors in Mallee Sky and practise writing your own.

Alliteration Authors love to use alliteration; that is, starting several words in a sentence with the same letter. Find examples of alliteration in Mallee Sky, e.g.: The scrub sighs, still and thirsty.  Now pick a person, object or place and practise writing your own sentences about it, using alliteration.

Similes:  Similes compare two things.  Choose objects from Mallee Sky and write similes for them, e.g.: The silos are as tall as a giant.  The sun is as hot as fire.  The sky is as blue as the ocean.

Personification Sometimes, authors give an object or thing human characteristics or actions.  Mallee Sky is full of personification, e.g.: The wind is too hot and tired to raise more than a whisper through the eucalypts. Find an object around the room and write sentences, giving it human characteristics or actions.

Show Dont Tell! Instead of writing direct statements about a character, place or event, show the reader with actions, feelings or descriptions.  In Mallee Sky, we know that it is hot and dry, but I don’t state this, directly, I show it with my descriptions, instead.  Try writing sentences to show your reader the following:  It is hot.  It is cold.  He was scared.  She was tired.  But there’s one catch:  You’re not allowed to write hot, cold, scared or tired!  Show by describing actions, feelings, thoughts and descriptive words or phrases.

Language Use and Word Choice: Emotions Authors use words and phrases to make the reader feel something.  Find words and phrases in Mallee Sky that elicit powerful emotions.  Choose an emotion, e.g.: angry, sad, excited and surprised.  Write sentences to show how your character is feeling.  But, one rule:  You are not allowed to use the words “angry, sad, excited or surprised”. Instead, use descriptive words or phrases and show these emotions in your character’s actions, thoughts and words.

Sensory Images Mallee Sky taps into our senses.  Find the pictures and words that help you to visualise, see, feel, hear or smell the landscape.  Write your own sensory poem about your favourite place, tapping into the senses.

Sizzling Starts: Read the first page of Mallee Sky.  Practise writing your own sizzling starts to draw the reader in.  Start with a sound, some action, some dialogue, or describe your setting using show don’t tell.  Just don’t start with “One day!”

Compare and Contrast: Write how the harsh landscape of the Mallee compares with the place you live, or another place you have been.

Convince Me:  Mallee Sky features the seasons of the year.  Imagine the seasons have an argument one day about which season is the best and why.  Don’t forget to add lots of details about each season’s reasons!

Themes:  Research the themes of drought or climate change.  Write an information report on your findings.

Place:  Authors write about places they know and love. I love the Mallee, as it is my home. That’s why I decided to write a book about it. Write about your favourite place. Why do you love it?  List all the reasons with lots of description and detail.

 


TEACHING MATHEMATICIANS

Mallee Sky has wonderful links to Mathematics, especially in terms of temperature, location, mapping, distance, size, colour, counting, the list goes on!

Size:  Find three objects in the book.  Draw each object.  Compare the size of each object.  Which is the biggest?  Which is the smallest?  Which would weigh more?  Explain your thinking.  Label each object with a size word to describe it.

Sort and Classify:  Choose six objects from Mallee Sky, e.g.: dog, boy, dam, galah, tree, Dad.  Draw each object.  Now cut them out and sort them into your own categories.  Why have you sorted them this way?  Is there another way you could sort them?

Colour:  Go on a colour hunt in Mallee Sky. Count the colours.  List the colours.  Sort into bright colours, light colours, dark colours.  Create a picture of your own landscape using colours.

Shape:  Find objects in Mallee Sky that feature different shapes, eg: the silos, cars, utes, houses, bath, etc.  Draw the shapes.  Label the shapes.  How many sides do each shape have?  How many corners?

Make your own picture using shapes.

Build one of the objects from Mallee Sky out of Lego.  Count the number of bricks you needed to make each object. Measure it.

Counting:  Go on a house hunt.  Count the number of houses in the book.

Count the number of silos in the book.

Count the numbers of vehicles.

Count the number of birds and animals.

Count the number of mailboxes.  What number is on your mailbox?  How many different numbers can you make with the numerals on your mailbox?  What is the highest number?  What is the lowest number?  Order the different numbers you have made.

Graphing:  Make a pictograph showing how many birds, cars, houses, mailboxes.

Temperature:  The Mallee is a hot place. Sometimes, it gets up to 49 degrees in the summer, and Minus 5 in the winter!

Research temperatures in the Mallee.  Compare the temperature in the Mallee today, with the temperature of your town.  Find the difference.

Pick a place.  Research the daily temperature using a weather app or website.

Graph the temperature over a week including the highs and the lows.  Interpret your graph.  What was the highest temperature? What was the lowest temperature?  What was the average temperature?

Location / Distance:  Find where the Mallee is on a map.  How far away is it from your town?

Look at a map.  Find your town, and now find the town Beulah.  List all the different towns between.  Write a set of directions to get there.

Time:  If it takes one hour to drive 100 kilometres, how long would it take you to drive to the Mallee?

If it takes 2 hours to walk 10 kilometres, how long would it take you to walk to the Mallee?!

Measurement:  The Mallee is a dry place.  Research the rainfall in the Mallee over the last week.  Find out monthly average rainfall.  Find out the yearly average rainfall.  Compare the rainfall of the Mallee to the rainfall in your own town.  Find the difference.

 


Professional Learning Update: 

Writer’s Notebook Tools and strategies to motivate writers to generate and collect ideas:

 

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https://andreahillbrick.com.au/product/writers-notebook-webinar-with-andrea-hillbrick-monday-12th-october/

https://andreahillbrick.com.au/product/writers-notebook-webinar-with-andrea-hillbrick-thursday-22nd-october/

 

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https://andreahillbrick.com.au/product/writers-notebook-webinar-with-andrea-hillbrick-tuesday-13th-october/

 

 

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https://andreahillbrick.com.au/product/writers-notebook-webinar-with-andrea-hillbrick-thursday-15th-october/

 

Thank you to Tracy and Naomi for the stunning photo of the silos.

Enjoy and take care,

Andrea

Andrea Hillbrick

Take Away Teaching Ideas #20

The Wonderful Wisdom of Ants

By Philip Bunting

View the story 

 

Visit Phillip’s website: https://philipbunting.com/

 

The people I meet and collaborate with is a major bonus of my work. In this edition I have had the pleasure of collaborating with a friend from WA! We were lucky to meet at AISWA professional learning opportunities in Perth.

Sarah Lilley is passionate about all aspects related to learning and is always willing to share how she transfers new learning into her classroom.

I truly thank Sarah for collaborating with me to create these teaching ideas for you! 

 

Reading:

This book links to predicting, summarising, and making connections.

  • Predicting: Why do you think Phillip drew an ant inside the front and back cover? The labels on the ants are different why? Confirm or reject your prediction after reading the book.
  • Making connections: What objects do you use on pages 1 and 2? Where do you find them? How do you use them?
  • Predicting: Before you read pages 3 and 4: There are lots of ants on Earth. How many do you think there are?
  • Predicting: Before you read pages 7 and 8: What do you love to do? What do you not like to do? What do you think ants love to do?
  • Making connections: Pages 21 and 22: Connecting knowledge about using the recycling bins around the school with how ants naturally recycle. The idea of using a compost bin to help feed a worm farm and create better soil is also utilised by ants.
  • Summarising: Pages 22 – 26: Philip summarises the amazing feats of ants by using key words to explain the most important aspects of ant life: Love your family; Waste nothing; Always do you best for others around you.
  • Summarising: Create a matching game of terms, pictures and definitions.
  • Summarising: Create a table of what ants love and do not love. Create a table of information about yourself!
  • Making connections: Investigate another book created by Philip. Were you able to make text to text connections?

Writing:

This book lends itself to writing to inform and vocabulary.

  • Vocabulary: What would you write in the caption on page 1?
  • Factual writing: Pages 13 and 14 explore the jobs that occur in an ant colony. It highlights the use of keywords (rather than sentences) to display facts. This would link in well with HASS concepts about community members and the jobs they do. An interview with Mum and Dad, or a member of the school community, could be the final outcomes.
  • Vocabulary: Pages 17 and 18: What is odorous? aromatic? pheromones? These challenging words lend themselves to using scents in playdough on the Sensory Table. Focus on how smells evoke memories i.e. What does this citrus smell remind you of? (making lemon slice with my Nanna).
  • Vocabulary: Pages 19 and 20: The words that have a lot of syllables/claps. Omnivorous, carnivorous, herbivorous. What animals are herbivorous?
  • Vocabulary: What words would you add to your classroom word wall with your students? How would you support them to use these words as writers?
  • Factual Writing: Write your own pledge/action plan in response to the message on the last page of the book.
  • Factual Writing: Create an image of ants by using your fingerprints. What ideas have you collected for your writing? What can you now write about?
  • Factual Writing: Observe an ant farm and jot down your observations to include in a factual piece of writing.

 

Mathematics:

This is a great book to explore number, time, direction, mass, shape, and size.

  • Shape: What shapes can you see on the front cover of the book?
  • Number: What is the number on pages 3, 4 and 5?  How many zeros are in this number? What is the biggest number you have counted to?
  • Mass: On page 6 there is a picture that shows the weight of ants and humans. Heft a range of objects to find two objects of the same mass. Draw and label your objects. Weigh the objects using balance or kitchen scales.
  • Size: List words to describe the size of ants.
  • Direction: Pages 11 and 12, which explains how colonies are like villages is a great inspiration for teaching direction. It shows ants walking left and right and could be used for exploring positional language. Even though it is not a ‘birds eye view’, this page would also prompt the creation of a map of a village the students are familiar with; the classroom, ECC or school.
  • Time: Ants have powernaps. The sign says, ‘back in a minute’. What can you do in a minute? How will you record your findings?
  • Shape: The reduce – reuse – recycle symbol is three arrows. Where else do you see this symbol? How will you collect this data? How will you present your data?
  • Number: Ants have six legs. Can you find collections of 6 inside or outside? Photograph or draw your collections.
  • Number: Ants have six legs. Investigate the number of legs of other living things. How will you present your data?

 

A bonus social domain: Working as part of a team:

  • Pages 15 and 16 explain how ants work as a team. This video demonstrates how amazing ants can be when they have to traverse a gap.

 

This is such an engaging text – we thoroughly enjoyed planning these teaching ideas for you!

When you implement one of these ideas tag me in on your post! Sarah and I would love to see these ideas come alive! 😊

 

 

Enjoy and take care,

Andrea

Andrea Hillbrick

 

Take Away Teaching Ideas #19

The Pear in the Pear Tree.

By Pamela Allen

When John and Jane went out walking what did they see? They saw a pear in the pear tree. This humorous rhyming story tells of their attempts to reach the pear.

 

View the story:

 

 

I am sure you will agree with me that Jazz has prepared so many opportunities to explore this story across the curriculum! Jasmine O’Brien is the Learning Specialist at Portarlington Primary School, Victoria. You can tell by this edition that Jazz is passioniate about linking literature across all areas of the curriculum. We both share a passion for mathematics. I am grateful that I have the opportunity to collaborate with Jazz on a whole school mathematics initiative at her school.

On behalf of us all – thanks Jazz for sharing your highly practical and engaging teaching ideas.

 

Literacy:

Reading:

  • Punctuation (exclamation, ellipses, question marks, talking marks, full stops, hyphen)
  • Rhyming words (letter patterns and phonics)
  • Problem and solution
  • Fluency (using pictures to support reading)

Writing:

Narrative writing-

  • Onomatopoeia
  • Dialogue
  • Author study- Writer’s crafts

Mathematics:

Measurement:

  • Weight (hefting, balancing, mass)
  • Distance
  • Height
  • Informal and formal measurement

Problem solving:

  • Estimate, test, prove

Social and Personal Capabilities:

  • Team work
  • Persistence
  • Sharing

 

Teaching ideas:

In Pamela Allen’s story The Pear in the Pear Tree she cleverly uses a combination of simple sentences, questions, dialogue, punctuation, rhyming and onomatopoeia to engage her audience. This story explores desire, teamwork, problem solving, weight and luck. It is a fantastic story to unpack with students as it prompts lots of rich learning.

  1. Students to explore words for sounds. Students to play a ‘sound (onomatopoeia) heads up’. Students to hold up pictures of objects, things etc… (drum, wind, cow) above their head and their partner must make the sound for that item. The person must guess the object, thing or item. They have 30 seconds each. Most sounds correct gets to select first the card they wish to publish and make a class display for. Students to record all their sounds at the end of each round.

  2. Teacher to model how to categorise/sort rhyming words. Have students explore rhyming words in the story. Why did the author use rhyming words? What do they notice about some words when they rhyme? (the same letter patterns, blends that make a particular sound i.e. shout, out). What letter blends are different but have the same sound? (scare, air) Can you think of other words that rhyme but have different spelling patterns? Students to make a ladder of letter patterns to show as many words that rhyme as they can.

  3. Introducing problem and solutions. Write a summary using the prompts the problem was… The way the author solved the problem was…

  4. Students to write a sizzling start using onomatopoeia.

  5. Exploring secretarial skills in writing. Read Pamela Allen’s story and identify the many different types of punctuation. What does each one mean? Depending on level of learning make between 2 to 6 punctuation boxes (see below). Teacher to have students sit in a fishbowl. Give students prewritten sentences and have them sort each sentence into its correct punctuation box. Each student should explain why they chose the box i.e. this is a question because it begins with the word ‘how’ so it must end with a question mark etc… Students to then independently write sentences using their knowledge of the punctuation explored.


  6. Measurement (building mathematical vocab, connections and understanding through estimation and investigation)- Students to explore weight using informal measurement. Students to collect items from around the class. Students to draw a table with 5 columns (items, estimated heaviest, hefting heaviest, scales heaviest). See below. First lesson students to estimate and use hefting to find weight of items. Second lesson students to test their hefting with balance scales and give a reason as to why they think an item is heavier (it is longer than the other item). Another column can be added for formal measurement using scales as needed.

    Items Estimated heaviest Hefty Heaviest Balance Scales

    Heaviest

    what is the reason?

     

    Pencil and cup Pencil Cup Pencil  

     

     

  7. Have students use various items (coat hanger, string, cups, ruler, cylinder etc…) provided by the teacher to create their own balance scales. Estimate, investigate, record, explain and prove the weights of items.


  8. Measurement- weight. Students to create their own catapult. They must collect 4 items to catapult. Students to estimate which one will travel further. Students to use a 1 metre piece of wool or string taped to the floor with a drawing of a pond at the end. Can my item make it to the pond? Students to write down a yes or no for each item and a reason why they think it will or will not make it to the pond. Students to test each item.

  9. Measurement- Using the catapult from the previous lesson students to measure distance. Students to choose 4 items to catapult. Students to decide how they will measure the distance (Unifix blocks, string with pegs, counters, measuring tape). Students to estimate which item will travel the longest distance and which will travel the shortest distance. Students to test, record and discuss.

  10. Problem solving- How would you reach the pear? Put a pear in the classroom out of the reach of the students. Ask students to estimate the height of the pear (is it a student and a half high, or 4 chairs etc…) Teacher to then use a piece of string to show the actual height of the pear. Students to be given the string to compare their measurements. Students to plan how they would get the pear in a realistic and safe way. Students to write a script with a team/partner and create a puppet play to show how their characters would get the pear.

In my Literacy Shop there are some teaching ideas for Pamela Allen’s books – check them out 😊

 

Enjoy and take care,

Andrea

Andrea Hillbrick

 

 

Take Away Teaching Ideas #25

Giraffe Problems

By Jory John

RECONNECT is a word that I have used a lot this year! By implementing my webinars, I have been able to reconnect and collaborate with so many colleagues. It has been an opportunity to share my current thinking and insights with educators in Australia and beyond!

The author of this edition is one person I was so excited to reconnect with. Deb David is a passionate educator who loves all things about learning. She works as a part of an amazing team at St Albans’ Primary School. Meeting up with Deb again has been a bonus!

Thanks, Deb, for introducing me to another new book and creating these ideas for us all.



Edward the giraffe can’t understand why his neck is as long and bendy and, well, ridiculous as it is. No other animal has a neck this absurd. He’s tried disguising it, dressing it up, strategically hiding it behind bushes–honestly, anything you can think of, he’s tried. Just when Edward has exhausted his neck-hiding options and is about to throw in the towel, a turtle swoops in (well, ambles in, very slowly) and helps him understand that his neck has a purpose, and looks excellent in a bow tie.

 

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/563426/giraffe-problems-by-jory-john-illustrated-by-lane-smith/

 

 

You can view the story below:

 

Watch Michele Obama reads it aloud:

 

 

Our readers can:

 

Predict: Before reading make a prediction of what this book could be about. What could a giraffe problem be? Justify your prediction using your prior knowledge and clues from the book. After reading, revisit your predictions.

Compare and contrast: Use a Venn diagram to show the similarities and differences between Edward and Cyrus. You can easily make a Venn diagram by overlapping two paper plates.

Make Connections: Make a connection to yourself from the book. When has a friend helped to cheer you up or when did you cheer a friend up? How did it make you feel?

Investigate words: glorious, accomplished, delectable… create a word splash of interesting words used in the book. Write the words on cards and sort them. Set the challenge to try and use one new word every day when talking to their classmates. Add the words to your classroom interactive word wall.

Explore the author’s purpose: An author always writes with a purpose. What do you think Jory John’s purpose is? Is there a lesson we can learn from Edward and Cyrus?

Infer: We are never told where this story is taking place. Where do you think it is? Justify for answers using clues from the text.

Search for synonyms: gander, stare, glimpse and gaze are words Jory John uses instead of the word “look.” What other words could we use instead of look? What is the difference between glimpse and gaze, or gaze and stare? Why would the author choose those words over look? Write the words on cards and order them from glimpse to stare discussing the subtle differences/shades of meaning between the words.

Make a text to text connection: Read Jory John’s Penguin Problems. How are the two books the same? How are they different?

 

 

Research: What do you know about the animals in this book? What would you like to know? Let’s use websites and books to discover some facts!

Engage writers by:

Text innovation: Draw your own giraffe neck (use page two as inspiration). How would you describe your neck? It’s too wiggly, too bendy, too curly, too straight, too zany.

Factual writing: Write a description about the appearance of a giraffe. What interesting words would you use to describe its neck, its patterns, the way it moves?

Text Innovation: Edward’s problem is his neck is too long, Cyrus’ neck is too short. What type of problems would other animals have? Think, pair, share to generate ideas and students create their own narrative.

Personal Writing: Edward’s mother said he should be proud of his neck. What does it mean to be proud? What are you proud of?

Persuasive Writing: Would you rather have a long neck or a short neck? If you had a long neck for the day what would you do? How would you persuade others to have a long or short neck?

Exploring word choice: Cyrus describes a banana as ‘delectable.’ Using the 5 senses, what other words can we use to describe a banana. Don’t forget to use the book to see other words Cyrus uses.

Small moments: Revisit Cyrus telling Edwards about his week long, banana dilemma. Have you experienced a time you had to wait or a time when they had to persist with a problem?

Procedural writing: At the end of the story Cyrus and Edward wear a bow tie. Write instructions to their friend the zebra on how to tie a bow tie.

 

This book is a great springboard to launch into mathematics investigations:

Measurement: How long is Edward’s neck? What can we use to measure it? Provide students a picture of Edwards neck and record how long it is using a range of informal/formal units. Don’t forget to estimate before you measure! Extra challenge: compare it to your neck. What is the difference in length?

Using a tie, identify, measure and record the length of objects. What did you find out? How will you share your thinking?

Patterns: Edwards tries to dress up his long neck. Design a patterned scarf, tie or bow tie for Edward’s long neck. As a class, create a tally of the different patterns used – stripes, shapes, colours. Don’t forget to make a bow tie for Cyrus too!

Cyrus the turtle has an attractive shell. What shapes can you see? What patterns can you make using the shapes? How will you share the patterns and your thinking?

Positional language: Edwards wants to hide his neck. Where could he hide? Behind a tree, in a ditch… The mathematicians create their own Edward and hide it in different parts of the classroom. Photograph to make a class book. The mathematicians write about Edward’s location.

Classifying: List all the animals that appear in the book. How could we classify them? How can you represent this data? As a tally, graph, table?

Problem Solving: There are 12 animals featured in the book. How many legs might there be all together? Show your thinking in pictures, numbers, and words.

Time: Edward wants to ‘hide until the sun sets.’ When does the sun set? How long does Edward want to hide for? What other phrases can we use to describe the length of time?

Ordering: Research the heights of different animals. Order them from shortest to tallest. Discuss all the vocabulary we can use to describe height. This could be a good opportunity to discuss why we say the giraffe has a long neck instead of a tall neck.

Number: Edward has a bundle of scarves. Collect a bundle of materials. How many is in your bundle? How will you share your total and your thinking?

 

Enjoy and stay connected,

Andrea

Andrea Hillbrick

Take Away Teaching Ideas #22

Mallee Sky

Jodi Toering

Do you know I have had the privilege of working alongside an award-winning author?

Let me introduce you to Jodi. I am fortunate to have collaborated with Jodi on several projects at Forest St PS – Teaching Writers, Writer’s Notebook, and Inquiry Learning.

This is a treat as Jodi has created this edition of teaching ideas about her own book. Thank you, Jodi, for the brilliant collection of ideas. I cannot wait to use your book again with one of these ideas!

 

Check out Jodi’s website at :

https://www.joditoeringauthor.com/

 

TEACHING READERS

Mallee Sky lends itself to all facets of comprehension.

Predict Look at the front cover, read the blurb on the back to gather clues and use any prior knowledge you may have to predict some events that might happen in this story.

Visualise Listen to a few pages of Mallee Sky without looking at the pictures.  What did you see in your mind?  List and describe.

Connect Text to Self: Have you ever been to the Mallee, to the country or to a farm before?  What did you notice, what happened, or what did you discover?

Text to Text: Does this book remind you of another book you have read?  How and why?  Explain the connections you have made.

Text to World: What does this book remind you of in the real world?  What connections can you make to things you have read about, seen on the news or learned about in TV programs?

Infer Feelings:  Look at the illustrations of each character as the story progresses, e.g: Dad on the verandah surveying his crops, the students at school when they hear the rain and then when they get to dance in it.  Can you infer how each character is feeling in those moments?  What clues from the pictures and words did you use to make these inferences?

Infer Consequences: This book highlights the devastation drought can have on communities.  Why is farming essential?  Why does it matter if the crops grow or not?  Infer what might happen for the broader community if crops don’t grow.

Infer Cause and Effect:  What happens to the land when it doesn’t rain?  What happens to the land when it does?  Use the book to confirm or disconfirm your inferences.  Prove it!

Summarise After reading, summarise the key events that happened in the story in your own words.

Synthesise What did you know about farm life or drought before reading Mallee Sky?  What do you know now?

Question After reading this story, what are you wondering now?

Analyse Notice the descriptive words and language used throughout the text.  List some of the descriptive words and phrases.  How do they make you feel?  Why do you think I used those words in my book?

Critique Did you like Mallee Sky? (Of course you did!!!)  Explain why, or why not.

Write a book review of Mallee Sky.  Use a five star rating, and explain your rating in your review.

 


TEACHING WRITERS

Mallee Sky is a great children’s picture book to use as a mentor text to study several aspects of the craft of writing.

Figurative Language Imagery:  Authors use words to paint a picture in the readers’ mind.  Look at examples from Mallee Sky, e.g.: As days pass, blue gives way to welcome grey while paddocks turn to carpets of green beneath the leaden sky. Practise using descriptive words and phrases to bring your setting to life.  Make sure you provide enough detail that your reader can visualise your setting in their mind.

Metaphor – Authors use words or phrases to describe something that isn’t literally true, e.g.: “When the sun goes down, the red heat of the day bleeds into the sky and sets it on fire.”  The sky isn’t literally bleeding or on fire – but the colours of the sunset remind the reader of these things.  Find the metaphors in Mallee Sky and practise writing your own.

Alliteration Authors love to use alliteration; that is, starting several words in a sentence with the same letter. Find examples of alliteration in Mallee Sky, e.g.: The scrub sighs, still and thirsty.  Now pick a person, object or place and practise writing your own sentences about it, using alliteration.

Similes:  Similes compare two things.  Choose objects from Mallee Sky and write similes for them, e.g.: The silos are as tall as a giant.  The sun is as hot as fire.  The sky is as blue as the ocean.

Personification Sometimes, authors give an object or thing human characteristics or actions.  Mallee Sky is full of personification, e.g.: The wind is too hot and tired to raise more than a whisper through the eucalypts. Find an object around the room and write sentences, giving it human characteristics or actions.

Show Dont Tell! Instead of writing direct statements about a character, place or event, show the reader with actions, feelings or descriptions.  In Mallee Sky, we know that it is hot and dry, but I don’t state this, directly, I show it with my descriptions, instead.  Try writing sentences to show your reader the following:  It is hot.  It is cold.  He was scared.  She was tired.  But there’s one catch:  You’re not allowed to write hot, cold, scared or tired!  Show by describing actions, feelings, thoughts and descriptive words or phrases.

Language Use and Word Choice: Emotions Authors use words and phrases to make the reader feel something.  Find words and phrases in Mallee Sky that elicit powerful emotions.  Choose an emotion, e.g.: angry, sad, excited and surprised.  Write sentences to show how your character is feeling.  But, one rule:  You are not allowed to use the words “angry, sad, excited or surprised”. Instead, use descriptive words or phrases and show these emotions in your character’s actions, thoughts and words.

Sensory Images Mallee Sky taps into our senses.  Find the pictures and words that help you to visualise, see, feel, hear or smell the landscape.  Write your own sensory poem about your favourite place, tapping into the senses.

Sizzling Starts: Read the first page of Mallee Sky.  Practise writing your own sizzling starts to draw the reader in.  Start with a sound, some action, some dialogue, or describe your setting using show don’t tell.  Just don’t start with “One day!”

Compare and Contrast: Write how the harsh landscape of the Mallee compares with the place you live, or another place you have been.

Convince Me:  Mallee Sky features the seasons of the year.  Imagine the seasons have an argument one day about which season is the best and why.  Don’t forget to add lots of details about each season’s reasons!

Themes:  Research the themes of drought or climate change.  Write an information report on your findings.

Place:  Authors write about places they know and love. I love the Mallee, as it is my home. That’s why I decided to write a book about it. Write about your favourite place. Why do you love it?  List all the reasons with lots of description and detail.

 


TEACHING MATHEMATICIANS

Mallee Sky has wonderful links to Mathematics, especially in terms of temperature, location, mapping, distance, size, colour, counting, the list goes on!

Size:  Find three objects in the book.  Draw each object.  Compare the size of each object.  Which is the biggest?  Which is the smallest?  Which would weigh more?  Explain your thinking.  Label each object with a size word to describe it.

Sort and Classify:  Choose six objects from Mallee Sky, e.g.: dog, boy, dam, galah, tree, Dad.  Draw each object.  Now cut them out and sort them into your own categories.  Why have you sorted them this way?  Is there another way you could sort them?

Colour:  Go on a colour hunt in Mallee Sky. Count the colours.  List the colours.  Sort into bright colours, light colours, dark colours.  Create a picture of your own landscape using colours.

Shape:  Find objects in Mallee Sky that feature different shapes, eg: the silos, cars, utes, houses, bath, etc.  Draw the shapes.  Label the shapes.  How many sides do each shape have?  How many corners?

Make your own picture using shapes.

Build one of the objects from Mallee Sky out of Lego.  Count the number of bricks you needed to make each object. Measure it.

Counting:  Go on a house hunt.  Count the number of houses in the book.

Count the number of silos in the book.

Count the numbers of vehicles.

Count the number of birds and animals.

Count the number of mailboxes.  What number is on your mailbox?  How many different numbers can you make with the numerals on your mailbox?  What is the highest number?  What is the lowest number?  Order the different numbers you have made.

Graphing:  Make a pictograph showing how many birds, cars, houses, mailboxes.

Temperature:  The Mallee is a hot place. Sometimes, it gets up to 49 degrees in the summer, and Minus 5 in the winter!

Research temperatures in the Mallee.  Compare the temperature in the Mallee today, with the temperature of your town.  Find the difference.

Pick a place.  Research the daily temperature using a weather app or website.

Graph the temperature over a week including the highs and the lows.  Interpret your graph.  What was the highest temperature? What was the lowest temperature?  What was the average temperature?

Location / Distance:  Find where the Mallee is on a map.  How far away is it from your town?

Look at a map.  Find your town, and now find the town Beulah.  List all the different towns between.  Write a set of directions to get there.

Time:  If it takes one hour to drive 100 kilometres, how long would it take you to drive to the Mallee?

If it takes 2 hours to walk 10 kilometres, how long would it take you to walk to the Mallee?!

Measurement:  The Mallee is a dry place.  Research the rainfall in the Mallee over the last week.  Find out monthly average rainfall.  Find out the yearly average rainfall.  Compare the rainfall of the Mallee to the rainfall in your own town.  Find the difference.

 


Professional Learning Update: 

Writer’s Notebook Tools and strategies to motivate writers to generate and collect ideas:

 

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https://andreahillbrick.com.au/product/writers-notebook-webinar-with-andrea-hillbrick-thursday-22nd-october/

 

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https://andreahillbrick.com.au/product/writers-notebook-webinar-with-andrea-hillbrick-tuesday-13th-october/

 

 

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https://andreahillbrick.com.au/product/writers-notebook-webinar-with-andrea-hillbrick-thursday-15th-october/

 

Thank you to Tracy and Naomi for the stunning photo of the silos.

Enjoy and take care,

Andrea

Andrea Hillbrick

Take Away Teaching Ideas #20

The Wonderful Wisdom of Ants

By Philip Bunting

View the story 

 

Visit Phillip’s website: https://philipbunting.com/

 

The people I meet and collaborate with is a major bonus of my work. In this edition I have had the pleasure of collaborating with a friend from WA! We were lucky to meet at AISWA professional learning opportunities in Perth.

Sarah Lilley is passionate about all aspects related to learning and is always willing to share how she transfers new learning into her classroom.

I truly thank Sarah for collaborating with me to create these teaching ideas for you! 

 

Reading:

This book links to predicting, summarising, and making connections.

  • Predicting: Why do you think Phillip drew an ant inside the front and back cover? The labels on the ants are different why? Confirm or reject your prediction after reading the book.
  • Making connections: What objects do you use on pages 1 and 2? Where do you find them? How do you use them?
  • Predicting: Before you read pages 3 and 4: There are lots of ants on Earth. How many do you think there are?
  • Predicting: Before you read pages 7 and 8: What do you love to do? What do you not like to do? What do you think ants love to do?
  • Making connections: Pages 21 and 22: Connecting knowledge about using the recycling bins around the school with how ants naturally recycle. The idea of using a compost bin to help feed a worm farm and create better soil is also utilised by ants.
  • Summarising: Pages 22 – 26: Philip summarises the amazing feats of ants by using key words to explain the most important aspects of ant life: Love your family; Waste nothing; Always do you best for others around you.
  • Summarising: Create a matching game of terms, pictures and definitions.
  • Summarising: Create a table of what ants love and do not love. Create a table of information about yourself!
  • Making connections: Investigate another book created by Philip. Were you able to make text to text connections?

Writing:

This book lends itself to writing to inform and vocabulary.

  • Vocabulary: What would you write in the caption on page 1?
  • Factual writing: Pages 13 and 14 explore the jobs that occur in an ant colony. It highlights the use of keywords (rather than sentences) to display facts. This would link in well with HASS concepts about community members and the jobs they do. An interview with Mum and Dad, or a member of the school community, could be the final outcomes.
  • Vocabulary: Pages 17 and 18: What is odorous? aromatic? pheromones? These challenging words lend themselves to using scents in playdough on the Sensory Table. Focus on how smells evoke memories i.e. What does this citrus smell remind you of? (making lemon slice with my Nanna).
  • Vocabulary: Pages 19 and 20: The words that have a lot of syllables/claps. Omnivorous, carnivorous, herbivorous. What animals are herbivorous?
  • Vocabulary: What words would you add to your classroom word wall with your students? How would you support them to use these words as writers?
  • Factual Writing: Write your own pledge/action plan in response to the message on the last page of the book.
  • Factual Writing: Create an image of ants by using your fingerprints. What ideas have you collected for your writing? What can you now write about?
  • Factual Writing: Observe an ant farm and jot down your observations to include in a factual piece of writing.

 

Mathematics:

This is a great book to explore number, time, direction, mass, shape, and size.

  • Shape: What shapes can you see on the front cover of the book?
  • Number: What is the number on pages 3, 4 and 5?  How many zeros are in this number? What is the biggest number you have counted to?
  • Mass: On page 6 there is a picture that shows the weight of ants and humans. Heft a range of objects to find two objects of the same mass. Draw and label your objects. Weigh the objects using balance or kitchen scales.
  • Size: List words to describe the size of ants.
  • Direction: Pages 11 and 12, which explains how colonies are like villages is a great inspiration for teaching direction. It shows ants walking left and right and could be used for exploring positional language. Even though it is not a ‘birds eye view’, this page would also prompt the creation of a map of a village the students are familiar with; the classroom, ECC or school.
  • Time: Ants have powernaps. The sign says, ‘back in a minute’. What can you do in a minute? How will you record your findings?
  • Shape: The reduce – reuse – recycle symbol is three arrows. Where else do you see this symbol? How will you collect this data? How will you present your data?
  • Number: Ants have six legs. Can you find collections of 6 inside or outside? Photograph or draw your collections.
  • Number: Ants have six legs. Investigate the number of legs of other living things. How will you present your data?

 

A bonus social domain: Working as part of a team:

  • Pages 15 and 16 explain how ants work as a team. This video demonstrates how amazing ants can be when they have to traverse a gap.

 

This is such an engaging text – we thoroughly enjoyed planning these teaching ideas for you!

When you implement one of these ideas tag me in on your post! Sarah and I would love to see these ideas come alive! 😊

 

 

Enjoy and take care,

Andrea

Andrea Hillbrick

 

Take Away Teaching Ideas #19

The Pear in the Pear Tree.

By Pamela Allen

When John and Jane went out walking what did they see? They saw a pear in the pear tree. This humorous rhyming story tells of their attempts to reach the pear.

 

View the story:

 

 

I am sure you will agree with me that Jazz has prepared so many opportunities to explore this story across the curriculum! Jasmine O’Brien is the Learning Specialist at Portarlington Primary School, Victoria. You can tell by this edition that Jazz is passioniate about linking literature across all areas of the curriculum. We both share a passion for mathematics. I am grateful that I have the opportunity to collaborate with Jazz on a whole school mathematics initiative at her school.

On behalf of us all – thanks Jazz for sharing your highly practical and engaging teaching ideas.

 

Literacy:

Reading:

  • Punctuation (exclamation, ellipses, question marks, talking marks, full stops, hyphen)
  • Rhyming words (letter patterns and phonics)
  • Problem and solution
  • Fluency (using pictures to support reading)

Writing:

Narrative writing-

  • Onomatopoeia
  • Dialogue
  • Author study- Writer’s crafts

Mathematics:

Measurement:

  • Weight (hefting, balancing, mass)
  • Distance
  • Height
  • Informal and formal measurement

Problem solving:

  • Estimate, test, prove

Social and Personal Capabilities:

  • Team work
  • Persistence
  • Sharing

 

Teaching ideas:

In Pamela Allen’s story The Pear in the Pear Tree she cleverly uses a combination of simple sentences, questions, dialogue, punctuation, rhyming and onomatopoeia to engage her audience. This story explores desire, teamwork, problem solving, weight and luck. It is a fantastic story to unpack with students as it prompts lots of rich learning.

  1. Students to explore words for sounds. Students to play a ‘sound (onomatopoeia) heads up’. Students to hold up pictures of objects, things etc… (drum, wind, cow) above their head and their partner must make the sound for that item. The person must guess the object, thing or item. They have 30 seconds each. Most sounds correct gets to select first the card they wish to publish and make a class display for. Students to record all their sounds at the end of each round.

  2. Teacher to model how to categorise/sort rhyming words. Have students explore rhyming words in the story. Why did the author use rhyming words? What do they notice about some words when they rhyme? (the same letter patterns, blends that make a particular sound i.e. shout, out). What letter blends are different but have the same sound? (scare, air) Can you think of other words that rhyme but have different spelling patterns? Students to make a ladder of letter patterns to show as many words that rhyme as they can.

  3. Introducing problem and solutions. Write a summary using the prompts the problem was… The way the author solved the problem was…

  4. Students to write a sizzling start using onomatopoeia.

  5. Exploring secretarial skills in writing. Read Pamela Allen’s story and identify the many different types of punctuation. What does each one mean? Depending on level of learning make between 2 to 6 punctuation boxes (see below). Teacher to have students sit in a fishbowl. Give students prewritten sentences and have them sort each sentence into its correct punctuation box. Each student should explain why they chose the box i.e. this is a question because it begins with the word ‘how’ so it must end with a question mark etc… Students to then independently write sentences using their knowledge of the punctuation explored.


  6. Measurement (building mathematical vocab, connections and understanding through estimation and investigation)- Students to explore weight using informal measurement. Students to collect items from around the class. Students to draw a table with 5 columns (items, estimated heaviest, hefting heaviest, scales heaviest). See below. First lesson students to estimate and use hefting to find weight of items. Second lesson students to test their hefting with balance scales and give a reason as to why they think an item is heavier (it is longer than the other item). Another column can be added for formal measurement using scales as needed.

    Items Estimated heaviest Hefty Heaviest Balance Scales

    Heaviest

    what is the reason?

     

    Pencil and cup Pencil Cup Pencil  

     

     

  7. Have students use various items (coat hanger, string, cups, ruler, cylinder etc…) provided by the teacher to create their own balance scales. Estimate, investigate, record, explain and prove the weights of items.


  8. Measurement- weight. Students to create their own catapult. They must collect 4 items to catapult. Students to estimate which one will travel further. Students to use a 1 metre piece of wool or string taped to the floor with a drawing of a pond at the end. Can my item make it to the pond? Students to write down a yes or no for each item and a reason why they think it will or will not make it to the pond. Students to test each item.

  9. Measurement- Using the catapult from the previous lesson students to measure distance. Students to choose 4 items to catapult. Students to decide how they will measure the distance (Unifix blocks, string with pegs, counters, measuring tape). Students to estimate which item will travel the longest distance and which will travel the shortest distance. Students to test, record and discuss.

  10. Problem solving- How would you reach the pear? Put a pear in the classroom out of the reach of the students. Ask students to estimate the height of the pear (is it a student and a half high, or 4 chairs etc…) Teacher to then use a piece of string to show the actual height of the pear. Students to be given the string to compare their measurements. Students to plan how they would get the pear in a realistic and safe way. Students to write a script with a team/partner and create a puppet play to show how their characters would get the pear.

In my Literacy Shop there are some teaching ideas for Pamela Allen’s books – check them out 😊

 

Enjoy and take care,

Andrea

Andrea Hillbrick

 

 

Counting on Frank

Take Away Teaching Ideas #16

Counting on Frank

By Rod Clement

You can view the story below

I have had the absolute pleasure of collaborating with Bron Chalmers and Gerard Brick for several years now. They are both highly effective Learning Specialists at Forest St PS, with a passion for all things about learning and teaching.  I am most appreciative of their willingness to create this edition for you!

I am sure you will agree with me that their teaching ideas are AWESOME!



Teaching Readers and Writers:

  • Prior knowledge/connections- Frank really likes counting and thinking! Discuss and record the things that students in the class like to do.
  • Investigate humour- What are the funny elements of this story?
  • Choose a fact to investigate/complete an information report on- Whales, dogs, television, gum trees, Mosquitos
  • Frank is very curious and likes to know facts. Collect a list of your own wonders and record them in a wonder journal!
  • Write a list – What does Frank count/measure? Make a list of what you could count/measure in your classroom? What about in the whole world?
  • Peas: Do you enjoy them? Why/why not?
  • Write a letter from a disgruntled pea. Use ‘The Day the Crayons Quit’ as a mentor text
  • What is your favourite vegetable and why?
  • Create a list of likes and dislikes of the class and individual- Record these in your Writer’s Notebook.
  • Could you invent a vegetable that is healthy but also tastes better than anything you have eaten before? What would you call it? Draw a picture.
  • Frank wins a trip to Hawaii- Where would you like to win a trip to? Why?
  • Frank really likes to use his brain for working out and numbers. What do you like to use your brain for? What are your ‘smarts’? ‘Brainstorm’ these things in a brain black line master
  • Read the story ‘Just another Ordinary Day’ also by Rod Clement. Link below>
  • What text to text connections can you make?
  • Compare and contrast (perhaps using a Venn diagram) Frank and Amanda. Which character do you think you are more like? Why?

Teaching Mathematicians:

  • Set up an estimation competition in your class with a jar of jelly beans or each student sets up their own estimation jar with blocks or other items for students to estimate
  • Calculate how many cans of dog food are needed for Frank each year. Students to justify their answer and research how much this would cost per year / month / week.
  • Investigate the phrase ‘times as big’ by creating a model that is three times as long or three times as big.
  • Estimate how many peas in a pea packet. Calculate and model organising in tens and then ten, tens for hundreds.
  • Relate the growing of the gum tree to growing a bean in class. Measure the bean stalk each week using uniform informal units for lower primary or a ruler for middle / upper primary. Graph the height each week using a line graph for upper primary or compare the heights of students’ plants in lower primary.
  • Estimate, calculate and then justify how many students would fit inside your classroom.

Use thought provoking questions such as:

Do students stand or are they laying down?

Are we using just the floor area or filling all space?

Can we fit more in if we are all breathing out?

Students need to be able to justify their answer and use problem solving strategies such as solve a simpler problem (calculate how many students fit in a metre squared then apply this) as well as using personal and social skills to work with other students.

Link this to examples in the Guinness World Records where people have tried to fit a certain number of people in a car.

  • Using some long rolls of paper, estimate and test how long of a line a marker could make before running out. Debate with the class the colour that might be used to complete this!

Do your mathematicians love using dominoes? Check out this resource for more teaching ideas…

Enjoy and take care,

Andrea

Andrea Hillbrick

Take Away Teaching Ideas #15

Some Dads…

By Nick Bland



You can view the story below:


Check out the author’s profile to share with your students here



Reading:

This book links to reading with fluency, predicting, inferring, and making connections.

Writing:

This book lends itself to exploring character descriptions, patterns in writing, use of punctuation and rhyme to engage your audience.

Mathematics:

This is a great book to explore data collection, shape, size and time.

This is such an engaging text – I thoroughly enjoyed planning these teaching ideas for you!

  • During the first read of the text do not show the illustrations. Ask the students to predict the animal in the illustration. The students can confirm or reject their predictions and share their reasoning.
  • Let’s go on a letter hunt! How many words can you find in the story that have two vowels?
  • Collect the rhyming words from the story and write them on individual cards. Lucky dip a word and recall the rhyming word that matches it from the story.
  • Investigate the letter patterns of the rhyming words.
  • Look closely at the pictures to look for clues that match the description of the Dad. I spotted a shuttlecock on the sporty Dad page.
  • Select a favourite page to label the evidence in the illustrations that match the words/description in the story.
  • Create a mobile of rhyming words as a reference for your writing.
  • Collect 5 -10 objects and explore a rhyming word for each object. How will you share your ideas?
  • Why did Nick Bland adjust the font with some words? How does that change your reading?
  • Practise reading the story by responding to the ellipses. Film your reading so it can be viewed.
  • Retell the story using toy animals or puppets.
  • Which character describes you the most? Sporty, in a hurry, …
  • Who do you know that matches the descriptions of the characters?
  • Why do you think Nick drew animals to represent the characters? Do the animals match the characters descriptions?
  • What would the sound effects of the story be? Select a page and make a sound scape of the story. In pairs, play the game – ‘Guess Who’ using the descriptions of the characters from the story.
  • Play charades for your audience to guess the character.
  • Innovate the story by changing the topic of Dads to Mums, brothers, sisters, or grandparents.
  • Use the pattern of the story to create your own story.
  • Can you include the use of ellipses in your writing? What is the purpose? How do you want your audience to respond?
  • Create a survey to find out the page most people enjoyed reading. How will you show your findings?
  • What shapes are the life buoys in the pool? Can you find other objects of the same shape?
  • Can you complete a simple task (putting your shoes on) in a hurry and time yourself? What is your record?
  • Can you make a map to show someone how to walk from your home to the park, school, or shop?
  • Create a survey to find out the most popular sports viewed. How will you show your findings?
  • The sporty Dad is wearing a striped headband. Can you create a headband to wear that displays a pattern?
  • Blow up a balloon and measure its size. How many breaths did it take to inflate your balloon?
  • Investigate the patterns of peacock feathers. Use materials to represent patterns.
  • Explore the dimensions of the animals in the story. Use paper streamers to make a model of the length of one of the animals.

If you get a chance to implement one of these ideas tag me in on your post! I would love to see these ideas come alive!

😊



I have had fun pinning some craft ideas for you too!

https://www.pinterest.com.au/AndreaHillbrick/fathers-day-craft/


Do you enjoy exploring a story across the curriculum with your students? Creating that sense of WOW about a story!

This teaching resource for the story ‘Stuck’ by Oliver Jeffers is designed for teachers who love to explore books in ‘hands on’ and engaging ways!

The resource includes:

  • Hooks to engage
  • Fun tasks to investigate letters and words
  • Opportunities to build comprehension strategies
  • Strategies to motivate writers
  • Learning experiences with strong connections to mathematics
  • Springboards for investigations


Enjoy and take care,

Andrea

Andrea Hillbrick

Take Away Teaching Ideas #14

 

Monkey Puzzle

By Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

The story revolves around a child-like monkey who has lost his mother in the deep, thick, hot jungle. The monkey is then assisted to find his mother by a butterfly, who tries to think of whereabouts in the jungle she might be.

 

You can view the story HERE

 

Let me introduce you to my friend Sheila Griffin!

I have the pleasure to work alongside Sheila in W.A. She is a mathematics consultant with A.I.S.W.A.

Sheila is absolutely passionate about mathematics and most importantly she is generous in sharing her ideas and insights! You can connect with Sheila on Twitter HERE

 

View this video to get to know Sheila 

 

 

A HUGE thank you to Sheila for creating purposeful and engaging mathematics teaching ideas to this superb book!

 

  • Counting and Early Subtraction

“Five Little Monkeys jumping on the bed”

View and sing the nursery rhyme.

 

 

  • Estimation

Monkey said his mum’s “tail coils round trees.” Without using any measuring materials can you draw a coil approximately one metre long. How could you check your estimation?

  • Geometry – Symmetry

Find a picture of a butterfly and fold it in half. Can you draw the other half?

 

Source: https://undergroundmathematics.org/thinking-about-geometry/symmetry

 

  • Problem Solving and Reasoning

Monkey peers through the jungle. He can see 24 legs. Which animals can he see? How many different solutions are there?

  • Collecting data and graphing

Go through the book and tally how many times you see each jungle animal who tries to help monkey and graph your results.

  • Number Lines (Place Value and Ordering)

From the tally write the total number for each animal on post it notes. Order the numbers on an open /empty number line. How many are odd? How many are even? Can you write one more, one less, ten more, ten less for each number?

  • Length

Draw monkey, his mum and dad and order them from big, bigger and biggest.

Draw 5 jungle trees and order them by height.

  • Place Value

Monkey found a four-digit puzzle. Can you help him solve it?

 

The digit in the ones place is the number of legs on a spider.

The number of legs on a parrot is the number for the thousands place.

In the hundreds place is the number of legs on three parrots.

The tens digit is the number of legs on a frog minus one.

 

Using the number of legs on the animals from the story, can you make another four-digit puzzle for monkey?

  • Number Facts

Using the left-hand side and right-hand side of butterfly wings.  Place a number between 0 and 10 on the left-hand side. On the right-hand side write the number which makes the number fact to ten. How many of these butterflies can you make?

  • Repeated Addition / Early Multiplication

How many animal eyes are in the story? What number sentences could you write to help you find the total?

 

Enjoy and take care,

Andrea

Andrea Hillbrick

 

Take Away Teaching Ideas #13

Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy

By Lynley Dodd

First published in 1983, this is the first in a series of books about the adventures of a scruffy dog ‘Hairy Maclary’. Rhyming, catchy and comical with brilliant characters and plots.

And just so you know a ‘dairy’ in New Zealand is a corner shop.



You can view the story HERE  

Check out Hairy Maclary’ s website HERE 



My inspiration to create these teaching ideas came from a memory on my phone! Last year I visited the Lynley Dodd exhibition – which was brilliant!

   

Reading:

This book links to reading rhyme with fluency, exploring repetition, and retelling.

Writing:

This book lends itself to exploring characters and a plot.

I have created a comprehensive online resource which supports writers to collect and generate ideas. The writers borrow a familiar character to generate problems and solutions to develop their own story. I borrowed Hairy Maclary and Scarface Claw to model this strategy lesson!

The resource includes:

  • An overview of the strategy – Love that Character.

  • The Strategy Lesson includes a detailed plan, photographs, videos and classroom resources to download.

  • The instructional video of modelled writing can be viewed by students at home or school. This lesson is ready to be implemented tomorrow!

  • Differentiation is a key feature of the resource – a range of learning focuses and texts are provided to support writers F-6.                       

                                                                                                                   

Mathematics:

This is a great book to explore number recognition, ordinal numbers, and words to describe position!

I thoroughly enjoyed planning these teaching ideas for you!

  • Let’s go on a letter hunt! How many words can you find in the story that have two vowels?
  • Collect the rhyming words from the story and write on individual cards. Lucky dip a word and recall the rhyming word from the story.
  • Investigate the letter patterns of the rhyming words.
  • Create a mobile of rhyming words as a reference for your writing.
  • Investigate if all Lynley’s books rhyme. What did you find?
  • Practise reading a section of the story to be videoed and viewed.
  • Research the breeds of the dogs in the story.
  • Retell the story using toy animals or puppets.
  • What would the sound effects of the story be? Make a sound scape of the story.
  • Create a setting for a new Hairy Maclary adventure. What is going to be the plot? Is SCARFACE CLAW in your story?
  • If you changed the characters in the story – who would they be? Why?
  • Innovate the story by including your own pet.
  • If the story did not rhyme how would you describe the characters. Hercules Morse as big as an…
  • In pairs, play the game – Guess Who using the characters from the story.
  • Add to the description of your favourite character. How could you describe Schnitzel von Krumm with a very low tum?
  • Why did Lynley write SCARFACE CLAW all in capital letters? Can you apply this to your own writing?
  • Plot the story on a story map.
  • How would you describe SCARFACE CLAW? How do you know?
  • Draw the characters from the story and label them according to the order they entered– 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th
  • Search for the numbers in the story. Make the numbers using the materials to show their value. What is something the same about the numbers? What can you use to calculate the total of all the numbers?
  • What is the number on your letter box? Share everything you know about that number.
  • Visit the playground at school and take photographs to show your understanding of the words -down, past, end, straight, out.
  • Draw a map to show the Hairy Maclary route. Label the map to show your understanding of the words -down, past, end, straight, out.
  • Create a 3D model of your map and use character puppets to retell the story.

Do you enjoy Lynley’s stories and exploring a story across the curriculum with your students? Creating that sense of WOW about a story!

This teaching resource for the story ‘The Smallest Turtle’ is designed for teachers who love to explore books in ‘hands on’ and engaging ways!

The resource includes:

  • Hooks to engage

  • Fun tasks to investigate letters and words

  • Opportunities to build comprehension strategies

  • Strategies to motivate writers

  • Learning experiences with strong connections to mathematics

  • Springboards for investigations

Enjoy and take care,

Andrea

Andrea Hillbrick

Take Away Teaching Ideas #12

Ten Minutes Tops!

ten minutes tops

By Andrea Hillbrick and Kristin Humphreys

One of the many advantages of my profession is the people I meet! Ten Minutes Tops is a collaboration with my dear friend Kristin who lives in Perth. The thinking and planning of this resource began over a coffee and a hot chocolate in a café at Floreat, WA.

 It grew into a highly practical resource exploring twenty reflection tools!

For this edition I am exploring the reflection tool, ‘Rainbow Beads’ created by Kristin. I am sharing how I have reshaped the tool to be utilised across the curriculum.

Watch the video to find out about Rainbow Beads!

Typically, a string is used for a class collaboration and a pipe cleaner for individual students.

As mathematicians we can:

  • Record effective strategies on each tag. Then each mathematician that utilised the strategy can add a bead to the string. At a glance we can see the effective strategies that were used most!
  • Create a personal tool using a pipe cleaner. After playing a game, record the score on a tag and thread on a colour coded bead. E.g. green bead < 50, orange bead = 50, and a yellow bead > 50. Keep adding after each game. What is the pattern?
  • Record the numbers explored during a lesson on tags. Represent the numbers by colour coded beads. What is the total of all the tags?
    • Green – hundreds
    • Yellow – tens
    • Orange – ones

As readers we can:

  • Record key events from a story and use the colour beads to represent how we feel about the events.
  • Vote as a class on our favourite characters. The characters from familiar books can be drawn on the tags. Each student has three beads to nominate their ‘top three’ characters. This looks awesome on display!
  • Build onto the rainbow beads after we listen to each chapter of the book. Write a short summary onto a tag. Ask students to share their insights from the chapter and thread a bead.

As writers we can:

  • Borrow rich vocabulary from our favourite authors. Record the words on tags and use the colour coded beads to represent if the words are nouns, verbs, or adjectives.
  • Explore mentor texts to borrow settings.

  • Continually add to a pipe cleaner by recording the settings for future writing. This would be a tool that would be referred to overtime. Select the colour bead that represents the setting.

As historians we can:

  • Research significant events in history. Record the events on the tags and order the tags by the year. Beads can be selected to represent the events.
  • Represent our facts and opinions by recording our ideas onto tags and using coloured coded beads.
    • Purple for facts
    • Orange for opinions

As scientists we can:

  • Record the steps of an experiment and rate each step. The number of beads would display the level of difficulty of each step.
  • List scientific terminology on individual tags to display on a rainbow bead string. Revisit and define the terms regularly.

If you wish to have nineteen more reflection tools, then ‘Ten Minutes Tops’ resource is for you!

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Enjoy and take care,

Andrea

Andrea Hillbrick

Take Away Teaching Ideas #11

I See a Kookaburra!

By Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

 

Learn how these animals and many others grow and thrive in very different environments.

 

A big shout out to my colleagues at Winchelsea Primary School, Victoria.

This term we have been collaborating to plan and implement a Steve Jenkins Author Study. Steve writes and illustrates the most amazing, informative, and engaging non-fiction texts that are so rich you can plan learning experiences across the curriculum.

 

A HUGE thanks to Simone Wallace for providing the teaching ideas for this edition.

 

View the book HERE

 

Implement hooks to engage:

  • Sketch a habitat you know about around you (e.g. Barwon River)
  • Camouflage – show a page of habitat and see if the kids can find the animals who are hiding (there is an ant hidden on each page).
  • View and listen to a kookaburra laugh HERE

Investigate letters and words by:

  • Finding the verbs in one of the habitats (sipping, leaving, bounding, creeping, sniffing)
  • Acting out the verbs – using a double page (g. in the desert, I see…a long-nosed bat sipping nectar from a flower) – take a video of you acting out this verb.
  • Finding other words for the verbs – synonyms – (‘g. a secretary bird, who kills snakes by stomping on them with its feet…) – what other words can we use for ‘stomping’?
  • Exploring -Why did Steve use a cassowary with a “helmet” with apostrophes? What does this make us think as a reader?

Deepen comprehension strategies by:

  • Predicting: Show an image of the habitat and get students to predict who might live there?
  • Activating Prior Knowledge: Predict the animals you might see in each habitat – desert, tide pool (rock pool), jungle, savanna, forest, pond – what do we already know?
  • Gathering Up the Facts: As the students read, view or listen to the text they stop and record facts. They can write down and add to a paper bag or record themselves saying the facts. The students can revisit their paper bag of facts to inform their factual writing.
  • Questioning: Use ‘Question Key’. Provide the students with an answer and they formulate questions.

          The answer is pond.  The question could be – Where does the snapping turtle bury itself?

 

Motivate writers by:

  • Writing like an expert – Steve uses precise language to inform. Make a list words as you plan your writing.
  • Mining Your Own Environment What kind of habitat is near you? Identify an animal to research and inform your audience.
  • Researching the technique of collage. Robin Page uses this technique to create the illustrations. Can you use this technique to publish your own writing?

 

Engage mathematicians by:

  • Looking at the jungle habitat. Count legs/arms (that have them) on the animals and create a table to show the difference between animals. E.g. A spider monkey has 4 legs and a harpy eagle has 2 legs
  • Adding the eyes (that you can see) together in each of the habits. Which habitat has the most eyes? How can you present your findings?
  • Choosing two animals and create a model to show the difference in size.
  • Selecting a habitat and survey your friends about their favourite animal from that habitat.

Explore beyond the book by:

  • Finding out more! Pick an animal from the text and research a little more about them. What did you find out? There is also lots of information at the back of the text for each animal.
  • Exploring a habitat near you Choose a habitat near you (Barwon River, Bushland, beach) and draw/sketch what it might look like. Could you even be inspired by the illustrator (Robin) and use different materials to make this?
  • Viewing images and videos of different habitats. Create a habitat 3D
  • Investigating the globe to find the locations in the book.

 

Interested in exploring another Steve Jenkins book with your students?

I have created a teaching resource that includes:

  • Two videos to support your planning

  • 30+ teaching ideas

  • Links to online resources

  • Many photos as examples for you and your students!

 

 

 

Enjoy and take care,

Andrea

Andrea Hillbrick