Teaching Ideas for Turkey Trouble this Thanksgiving

Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano is a classic Thanksgiving read aloud. The story will have your class giggling and thinking creatively about different disguises that would help the turkey avoid Farmer Jake’s dining room table this November!

Check out the activities and worksheets I use to extend on the themes of this story here.

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Great Books to Teach Procedure Writing

1. Wombat Stew by Marcia K. Vaughan

This classic Australian picture book is my absolute favourite when it comes to teaching procedure writing. The story follows a hungry dingo intent on cooking up a delicious wombat stew for tea. Lucky for the wombat, the other bush animals make a number of cooking suggestions designed to trick the dingo and help their friend escape.

The repetitive nature of Wombat Stew really engages children and they very quickly, start joining in with the catchy wombat stew rhyme. This makes sequencing and writing a recipe procedure a breeze. The kiddos love collecting the ingredients and writing their recipe.

2. How To Sneak Your Monster Into School by Christopher Francis

This book is so much fun. It follows a young boy as he humorously goes through the various steps that are needed to sneak a monster into school. Kiddos love brainstorming different ways to sneak their own imaginary monster into school.

3. ALL of the Adam Wallace ‘How To’ Books!

How to catch a mermaid… a dinosaur… a yeti… there are just so many great titles to choose from. These books also create fantastic opportunities for children to use STEM and demonstrate their creativity where they can design and make their own traps.

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Engaging And Fun Science Experiments for National Science Week

The annual National Science Week Australia 2022 will be held between the 13th and 21st of August. This is a wonderful opportunity for classrooms across Australia to celebrate all things science and technology!

Here are some quick, easy and fun experiments to try out this year!

Make Ice Cream

This is one of my favourite classroom experiments. I made this video to go with it, so it’s easy for the kiddos to follow along in the classroom and can also be linked with procedure writing.

Check out these differentiated procedure writing worksheets that go with the video:

Make Paper Airplanes

Paper airplanes are always a hit and there are just so many ways to incorporate STEM outcomes into these lessons.

Make Pine Cone Bird Feeders

I do this every year and my kiddos love this experiment. We try different construction techniques, hanging locations and ways to stick the bird seed to the pine cone.

Here is a simple procedure to get you started:

Grab all three of these great experiments in this bundle:

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5 Fun Phonics Activities for Early Readers

I love teaching phonics! Phonic knowledge is the foundation for reading and success in Literacy, that’s why it is so important to get it right. I have always used the Jolly Phonics program for explicit teaching, and then used a range of fun games and activities to reinforce and help the kiddos learn the sounds through many different exposures. Here are just some of the fun ways you can get your kindergarten students on the path to successful reading and writing…

1. Phonics Headbands

This year, I’ll be trying something new after explicitly teaching each sound – instead of using the regular old phonics coloring page, I’m going to get my kiddos to make a headband! I got the idea from my own children who just love a good headband/crown-making activity. The idea is that the kiddos learn the sound and then they wear the headband for the rest of the day… everyone they come across will ask what their headband is about and they will tell them all about the letter they learned, the sound it makes, and the words that start with that sound. As long as they’re wearing the headband they will be constantly exposed to it!

Check them out below and download your freebie!

2. Hands-On Learning With Play Dough

Kids love play dough and there are so many benefits to using it in the classroom. As well as reiterating letter and sound relationships… he acts of squishing, rolling, flattening, and more help children develop muscles used in their hands for fine motor movements useful in the future, such as holding a pencil or using scissors.

3. Phonics Games

Phonics games are a motivating way to practice vowel sounds, beginning sounds, blending, segmenting and digraphs. Children learn from each other and develop valuable social skills like communication and taking turns at the same time!

Check out these phonics games that my students have loved year on year:

4. Phonics Crafts

A fun craft activity is a great way to round off a day of learning a new sound. Think ‘crown’ for ‘c’…. ‘flower’ for ‘f’…. ‘bird’ for ‘b’ and so on.

5. Phonics Writing Activities

Teaching phonics, writing letters, and understanding their relationship go hand in hand. That’s why I always get my kiddos using the letters they have learned to read and write sentences from very early on in Kindergarten. As well as a range of mini whiteboard writing activities, I use a ‘sentence a day’ writing booklet so that the children can also practice using a pencil as well. Here is what I use:

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5 Back To School Books That Teach Kids About Emotions

That first day or week back at school can be an anxious time for our littlest learners… that’s why it’s so important for us as educators to let them know that it’s ok to have those feelings and then give them strategies to work through them. Young children often won’t be able to identify these big feelings. Lucky for us there are so many amazing picture books that we can use in the classroom to help kids learn how to identify their emotions and express them in healthy ways.

Here are my five favorites:

The Color Monster: A Story About Emotions by Anna Llenas

This picture book is a fantastic introduction to feelings. The Color Monster wakes up one day and his emotions are all over the place… He then meets a little girl who shows him what each feeling means through color. The Color Monster learns to sort and define his mixed-up emotions. As a result he gains peace and self-awareness.

Check out these activities to support using this book in the classroom.

Click here to buy these activities!

2. In My Heart by Jo Witek

In My Heart explores emotions – happiness, sadness, bravery, anger, shyness and more by describing how the body experiences the feeling physically. This is such a wonderful book to use to act out different emotions as part of a drama activity.

Check out these activities to support using this story in the classroom.

Ruby Finds A Worry by Tom Percival (Ruby’s Worry)

Ruby Finds a Worry is an excellent children’s book that deals with anxiety. Every time I read this story the kiddos open up about all of the things that worry them. It provides such wonderful opportunities to teach our little ones strategies that will help them with their worries – reinterating that worries are normal but can get out of hand if you don’t deal with them properly.

Australia and UK

Go Away Worry Monster by Brooke Graham

This one is great for students in kindergarten and those starting at a new school. Go Away, Worry Monster! gives children evidence-based strategies to help them cope with their worries, showing them how to make their own Worry Monsters leave during stressful periods of their lives, from starting or changing schools to a change in family dynamics.

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

A classic go-to book for the first day of school in many kindergarten classrooms – most children can relate to Chester and the worries he feels about separating from his mum. This beautiful story creates great opportunities to talk about feelings and ways to cope with any worries the children may experience in those first days of school

Check out these activities to support using this story in the classroom.

Click here to buy these activities!

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Activities for Iceberg by Claire Saxby

Iceberg written by Claire Saxby and illustrated by Jess Racklyeft may just be the triumph of 2022 picture books. A must-have, keep forever type book for your classroom library…

Books+Publishing says: ‘Richly informative and brimming with detailed facts presented in lyrical, sophisticated, evocative language … Text and image balance each other perfectly in their delicate yet powerful tone. An expert merging of knowledge with grace.’ 

This stunning book offers a raft of quality text teaching opportunities.

Teaching ideas:

  • Word choice! This book is filled with rich descriptive vocabulary. Explore synonyms for less common words.
  • Use the five +1 senses writing technique to write about what it would be like in Antarctica during the year.
  • Explore the changing seasons and the variety of wild life that live and visit throughout the year.
  • Have student’s research Antarctica and write an information report.
  • Build an Iceberg and it’s environment diorama.

Check out these activities to support using Iceberg in the classroom.

Try it Out

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Activities for Just One Bee by Margrete Lamond & Anthony Bertini

Just One Bee written by Margrete Lamond & Anthony Bertini and illustrated by Christopher Nielsen is a standout for this year’s CBCA Shortlist Picture Book. Not only are the illustrations exceptional but the story offers young audiences an opportunity to make real world connections to their role in climate change and how working together in small ways can make a big difference.

The Blurb: JUST ONE BEE is a story of hope, determination, and never giving up: the story of One-bee and her dream to revert desolate wastes back to fields of flowers.

Teaching ideas:

  • Look at the impact that the bees have on the environment and the implications for the human food supply if bees were to become extinct.
  • Build a bee flower garden at your school. Encourage families to plant flowers in their gardens at home.
  • Look at the anatomy and lifecycle of the bee.
  • Compare the bee characters in the story.
  • Go for a Bee Wander around your school. Tally and graph the flowers and bees that students spot.
  • Use this book for senses writing… students imaging themselves in the desolate, barren landscape… and then compare that to the lush and blooming flower fields.

Try it Out

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Activities for Stellarphant by James Foley

Stellarphant is an absolute must for every classroom library. This wonderful picture book offers a multitude of teaching moments and opportunities for discussion. Perfect to explore opinion writing, persuasive writing, space travel, courage, determination, perseverance, discrimination, diversity, equality, equity and feminism with your students.

The blurb: Stella the elephant is fighting interstellar discrimination one pachyderm at a time! Stella wants to be an astronaut. There is only one problem: Stella is an elephant. Every time she applies to Space Command, they come up with a new reason she can’t join. But where there’s a will, there’s a way and Stella is determined to reach for the stars.

Teaching ideas:

  • Use the arguments in the book to formulate opinion writing or persuasive writing pieces. Newspaper articles, letters, posters… take your pick!
  • Have your students design and build their own rocket just like Stella did!
  • Discuss space and the qualities of an astronaut. Students write their own astronaut job applications.
  • Examine the role different animals and humans have taken in the exploration of space.

Try it Out: Click here to buy this resource.

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Teaching Ideas for Walk of the Whales by Nick Bland

The picture book Walk of the Whales is another exceptional delivery from Nick Bland.

The Blurb: When all of the whales in the ocean leave their home to walk around on land, people don’t quite know what to think. But soon shopkeepers go out of business, farms are flooded with water and salt, and people shout horrible, anti-whale words. That is, until, a smart little girl decides to ask the whales what everyone can do to help.

This book is a must for any classroom library as it seeks to explain how humanity and our lifestyle have impacted the natural environment in a way that young audiences can make connections.

Teaching ideas:

  • Explore the effects of whales in the ocean versus on land as a teaching concept: This involves examining the impact that whales have on their environment, both as marine animals and as ancestors of land mammals. It could include exploring the ecosystem roles that whales play in the ocean, their importance for regulating the food chain, and the ecological benefits of whale carcasses for other marine life. Comparing this to the impact of land-dwelling ancestors of whales could involve examining the effects of early mammal evolution on the land, and the role that early whales played in shaping the marine environment.
  • Evaluate the pros and cons of reintroducing whales to the ocean and construct a persuasive text using the OREO format: This involves researching and analyzing arguments for and against reintroducing whales to the ocean, and using the OREO format (Opinion, Reason, Example, Opinion) to construct a persuasive text arguing for or against the idea. Some arguments for reintroduction might include the restoration of ecosystems and biodiversity, the potential for scientific research, and the ethical responsibility to care for endangered species. Arguments against might include concerns about the impact on existing marine life, the cost and feasibility of reintroduction efforts, and the potential risks to human populations.
  • Design opinion posters on whether whales should remain on land or return to the ocean: This involves creating visual materials to communicate opinions about the issue of whale reintroduction. Students could create posters expressing their own viewpoints, or they could research and present arguments from different perspectives. This activity can be a fun and engaging way to encourage critical thinking and debate.
  • Devise and compose a newspaper article chronicling the day whales emerged from the ocean: This involves writing a fictional news story – the day when whales first walked out of the ocean and onto the land. This activity can be a creative way to explore the concept of evolution and the ways in which ancient animals might have interacted with their environment. Students could research the physical characteristics and behavior of early whales to create a plausible story, or they could take a more imaginative approach and create a fantastical tale.

Try it Out

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Activities for The Imagineer by Christopher Cheng

This wonderful picture book is an essential addition to any classroom library this year. The Imagineer is a beautiful story about an inquistive little girl whose imagination is sparked by the things around her.

When I read this book to my children they could not wait to start planning and creating their own inventions!

Teaching ideas:

  • Compare inventions from the past with modern inventions.
  • Discuss different inventions and how they were created to solve a problem. Ask students to identify a problem and let them come up with creative solutions.
  • Design, plan and write a description of their inventions.
  • Get students to construct a working model of their imaginings.

Try it Out

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