Hopefully be back in 2017

Sorry I've been absent from posting for the past month or so. At the moment I am in the middle of dealing with a rather serious family crisis and it is leaving me with no spare time to blog. I am hoping that 2017 will bring some relief and allow me to come back (as I have several books to review!) and continue with posting about resources and ideas for the classroom.

Have a safe and happy holiday time.

Now on Facebook

As I have written before I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with Facebook. Used correctly it can be beneficial but there are of course a few things to avoid. Having written that I was encouraged to start a Facebook page to incorporate my blog posts here with how they link better to my resources I sell over on TPT...I have given in...

The Last Kappa of Old Japan: Giveaway

Yesterday I posted about this wonderful new book by Sunny Seki to use in your classroom and now here is your opportunity to receive your own copy!

* I have 1 (one) copy to giveaway.
* Entries are open worldwide.
* The book will be sent direct to the winner upon receipt of address (must be within 5 days of competition completing).

The Last Kappa of Old Japan: Book Review

Norihei loves his beautiful home and surroundings. One day he rescues a mysterious creature called a kappa and soon learns just how important his new friend is...for everyone.

At The Beginning: Developing Vocabulary

A lot of my blog has so far focused on school age children because as a teacher they are the age I have spent most of my life working with...until I had kids myself. A couple of days ago a parent of a former student was talking to me about how disappointed she was with her daughter's speech development. As her daughter is the same age as my children she asked me what I was doing with them in order to work on the words they know...I thought I would share some of the strategies with everyone in case you are a first time parent, or worried about your own child.

Γειά! Greek Resources (including a freebie)

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Kinderellas-Magic-Pencils
Ah, today is the day I get to feature another special guest on this blog. For those of you that follow the blog will be aware, this month I am focusing on where to find teaching and other classroom resources in languages other than English.

As always click on the image of the resource to be taken directly to the store where you can login to get these resources.

Today's guest is Elena of Kinderella's Magic Pencils. Elena has a store that includes resources for use with younger children, from Kindy to grade 2, in the Greek language and even a couple in English! Her resources are very attractive and appealing which is necessary to kept younger learners engaged.

Body: Book Review


Title: Body
Author: DK Publishers
ISBN: 9781405359450

Classification: Non-fiction
Themes: body, vocabulary development

Bună ziua! Romanian Resources (including a freebie!)

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Angie-S
As the month of October progresses I have the good fortune to feature another special guest on this blog. For those of you that follow the blog will be aware, this month I am focusing on where to find teaching and other classroom resources in languages other than English.

As always click on the image of the resource to be taken directly to the store where you can login to get these resources.

Today's guest is Angie of the TPT store Angie S. Angie has a store that includes many resources for use with children who have Autism and other special needs...but today we're focusing on her language resources!

Bonjour! French Resources (including a freebie!)

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Mrs-Hartigs-Classroom
The month of October is going to have some special guests on this blog. I have had a lot of emails about where to find resources for different languages so I have asked a few fellow teacher-authors to come on over and share some.

Each teacher-author will feature one free and one paid resource that they have available. You can visit the resources by clicking on the resource thumbnail which will take you over to TPT.

My first guest is Mrs Hartig of Mrs Hartig's Classroom. She is a fellow Australian teacher-author who is from Western Australia. Mrs Hartig has kindly lent us some time to share with you about her French resources that she has available (but check out her store if you are also looking for resources in Italian, German, Spanish or Indonesian).

International Day of Peace 2016: Activities

Did you know that September 21 is the International Day of Peace? September 21 was declared this special day by the General Assembly of the UN. It is a day to promote and devote to working towards the ideals of peace in our world.

Learning English as a Second Language

This post has been prompted after I have read articles and comments from teachers regarding the best way to teach students learning English as a Second Language (ESL) also known as, English as Foreign Language (EFL) in some countries. For the purposes of this discussion I will be using the Australian term, ESL.

Firstly, I should state my background about this. I am hopeless at learning second languages. I have a fairly strong grip on English as my first language but while I did well learning Japanese when I was in primary school (grade 6 and 7) and into high school (grade 8) I did not retain much at all. I feel this is probably due to a couple of important factors.

Book Week Is Over For Another Year!

Oh dear, what a mad couple of months! Yes, I've tripped up and stumbled because I didn't get all the activity pages posted for Book Week 2016! Most are in draft form and just needing checking! I will continue to post the activities though as I get to them but I might take a break from Book Week.

My initial reaction to the winners was....Really? Seriously? And then I remembered back to my school days and yes, I used to think the same way back then. I can actually remember actively avoiding any book that had some sort of sticker on it declaring it had won an award well into my twenties as I considered most would be rubbish...oh course the odd one has been found to be good but anyway. Whether you agreed or disagreed with who won is up to you....now we have 12 months before we do it all again!

Hopefully now that family life is quietening down I will have more time on my hands to post.

PS: I have an exciting review I will be posting towards the end of the month - if you're a Japanese language teacher or if you are doing a unit on Japan this year then I highly recommend coming back to check it out.

Book Week 2016: Who I Think Should Win

After reading the books nominated in the Short List for Book Week 2016: Australia - Story Country here is my opinion on who I feel should be crowned the winner in each category! Please note that I have included some that I haven't posted my review of yet as I am working to finish the Teaching Ideas pages for as many books as I can before next week.

Currently I have no prediction for the Early Childhood category as I have only been able to get hold of two books so far. Fingers crossed I get the others early next week.

And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda: Book Review

Title: And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda
Author: Eric Bogle
ISBN: 9781743317051

Classification: Fiction based on real events
Themes: war, consequences

Flight: Book Review

Title: Flight
Author: Nadia Wheatley
ISBN: 9781922081483

Classification: Fiction
Themes: war, refugee, journey

One Step at a Time: Book Review

Title: One Step at a Time
Author: Jane Jolly
ISBN: 9780987380951

Classification: Fiction (with non-fiction inspiration)
Themes: war, consequences, friendship, disabilities

Paralympic Challenge 2016

I'm slipping in this post in between all the Book Week ones in the hope of inspiring some teachers to sign up for the Paralympic Challenge this year. I had almost forgotten that the program was offered as I hadn't seen anything advertised about it where I live - so sorry for the short notice!

Unfortunately as I am out of the classroom this year I don't have a class participating and my two kids are a little young for it (just wait until the next one!). As a specialist PE teacher back in 2012 I signed up all the classes I was teaching for the Challenge.

The Amazing True Story of How Babies are Made: Book Review

Title: The Amazing True Story of How Babies are Made
Author: Fiona Katauskas
ISBN: 9780733333880

Classification: Non-Fiction
Themes: puberty, sex, baby development

Piranhas Don't Eat Bananas: Teaching Ideas

Got a fussy eater in the house? This book is for you! Join Trevor as he tries to convince his fellow piranhas that vegetables and fruit are as good as meat.

The Flywheel: Book Review

Title: The Flywheel
Author: Erin Gough
ISBN: 9781742978178

Classification: Fiction
Themes: choice, friendships, sexuality/sexual identity

Suri's Wall: Teaching Ideas

A wall that hides what's on the other side because the children are too short...until one day Suri can see over the wall and must decide whether to tell the others...


Lennie the Legend: Book Review

Title: Lennie the Legend: Solo To Sydney By Pony
Author: Stephanie Owen Reeder
ISBN: 9780642278654

Classification: Fiction based on an historical event
Themes: history, determination, goals, Australia

Cloudwish: Book Review

Title: Cloudwish
Author: Fiona Wood
ISBN: 9781743533123

Classification: Fiction
Themes: love, magic/wishes

Piranhas Don't Eat Bananas: Book Review

Brian isn't like other piranhas. He isn't into meat and all that. What Brian loves is fruit and veg...but can he convince his friends of the tasty food they haven't tried?


A Single Stone: Book Review

The chosen few works in the tunnels collecting the mica but is are they chosen by chance or design? And what of the rest of the world?

Freedom Ride: Resources

Preparing to use this book in your classroom as an integrated studies unit? Need some resources and teaching ideas to get started? Read on..

Freedom Ride: Book Review

Robbie does as he's told. He doesn't argue...much...just goes with what is easiest. Then Robbie meets Barry who is full of new ideas and ways of looking at the world and the people in it. But what happens when Robbie's own family don't agree?

Inbetween Days: Book Review

Title: Inbetween Days
Author: Vikki Wakefield
ISBN: 9781922182364

Classification: Fiction
Themes: confusion, small town living

Suri's Wall: Book Review

A wall that hides what's on the other side because the children are too short...until one day Suri can see over the wall and must decide whether to tell the others...

Activities for Book Week are Coming!

A quick message to let you know that activities will begin appearing in the coming week for books nominated in the Short List for Book Week 2016 - Australia: Story Country. I have found this year it has been more difficult to track down the books but have managed to get hold of more of the older reader books this year so there will be activities for them too. I have almost finished collecting activities for:
* Suri's Wall
* Ride, Ricardo, Ride!
* Freedom Ride

And a few others I am currently working on. Keep an eye out - Book Week is next month!

Ride, Ricardo, Ride!: Book Review

Riding through the streets. A family happy and close. Then the Shadows come...will the bicycle ever be ridden again?

Newt's Emerald: Book Review

Title: Newt's Emerald
Author: Garth Nix
ISBN: 9781760112653

Classification: Fiction
Themes: magic, self-discovery

Ballad of a Teenage Queen: Song Review

Song: Ballad of a Teenage Queen
Artist: Johnny Cash
Year: 1958
Nationality: American

Classification:
Ballad
Theme: dreams, fame, love

Book Week 2016: Short List: Information Books

This is the short-list for the books nominated in the CBCA Book Week 2016: Australia - Story Country...As always I have broken the posts down into their categories to help you find what you need starting with the Eve Pownall Award for Information Books.

Book Week 2016: Short List: Picture Book of the Year

This is the short-list for the books nominated in the CBCA Book Week 2016: Australia - Story Country...As always I have broken the posts down into their categories to help you find what you need starting with the Picture Book of the Year books.

Book Week 2016: Short List: Younger Readers

This is the short-list for the books nominated in the CBCA Book Week 2016: Australia - Story Country...As always I have broken the posts down into their categories to help you find what you need starting with the Younger Readers books.

Book Week 2016: Short List: Older Readers

This is the short-list for the books nominated in the CBCA Book Week 2016: Australia - Story Country...As always I have broken the posts down into their categories to help you find what you need starting with the Older Readers books.

Book Week 2016: Short List for Early Childhood

Okay, so I am about a week late getting this one posted (sorry, been ill plus have kids cutting their final molars - has been a busy time!). This is the short-list for the books nominated in the CBCA Book Week 2016: Australia - Story Country...As always I have broken the posts down into their categories to help you find what you need starting with the Early Childhood books.

Garden of the Purple Dragon: Book Review

In the time of the Han Dynasty in ancient China, a young orphan struggles to fulfill her destiny.


Only Yesterday: Film Review

English Title: Only Yesterday
Japanese Title: Omohide poro poro
Company: Studio Ghibli
Country: Japan
Year: 1991
Australian Rating: PG

Classification: Fiction (anime)
Themes: life, love, past

A Hidden Danger of Being a Teacher

I've been absent from the Internet for several days on a self-imposed Internet-free zone - actually it was almost a completely computer-free zone as well. Sometimes I find it very necessary to step back and leave the world behind and focus on just my little house and its inhabitants instead. So that's what I did.

One of the reasons I wanted to have a break from the Internet is that it can suck you dry of time and energy that may be better spent doing something else...and I had other things to do. I have a lot of stuff. Yes, I know it because I see it everyday. Some of it is my personal stuff, my teaching stuff, my kids' stuff...but there is too much!! Tackling this problem however poses a problem because I really don't like to get rid of stuff...and being a teacher has made that worse!

Soundless: Book Review

In their silent world they communicate with hand signals...but when people in the community begin to lose their vision as well two will venture down the mountain to find a cure.

Keeping Clothes Clean When...


It's been a little while since I last posted as I have been busy tracking down some of the books on the Notables List for Book Week 2016 and I have been successful so I am currently reading through some of the older reader books.

But this post is actually about something else! Art smocks and aprons...Do they do the job in your classroom?

Hiragana: Character Confusion


One of the most difficult things I faced when learning Japanese in school was remembering all the Hiragana characters. We didn't start learning a second language until grade 6 which I strongly feel is far too late. For me all the characters looked a bit alike and even if I remembered what it looked like I couldn't necessarily remember what is sounded like.

After watching some students struggle last year with the same problem I wanted to come up with a way of having information about the characters but also how to write, spell, recognise...the character. I think in part the way I was taught - confronted by an entire table of Hiragana characters was just too much. Kids need focused attention on each character - not just to recognise and say but write and put it in words to see why they need to know it.

Book Week 2016: Picture Books (Long List)

CBCA announced this morning the Notables List 2016 (also known as the Long-List) for Book Week. I will detail the books in their nominated categories into separate posts to make it easy to find the relevant grade levels. This is a list of books, brief details, and summary.


Book Week 2016: Information Books

CBCA announced this morning the Notables List 2016 (also known as the Long-List) for Book Week. I will split books into their nominated sections into different posts to make it easy to find the relevant grade levels. This is a list of books, brief details and summary.

Please note: Most of these summaries are from the publisher websites as I am yet to read any of them myself and will need to start tracking a copy down. Stayed tuned for the book reviews to come over the next several months for a better look at the books.

Book Week 2016: Older Readers

CBCA announced this morning the Notables List 2016 (also known as the Long-List) for Book Week. I will split books into their nominated sections into different posts to make it easy to find the relevant grade levels. This is a list of books, brief details and summary.

Please note: Most of these summaries are from the publisher websites as I am yet to read any of them myself and will need to start tracking a copy down. Stayed tuned for the book reviews to come over the next several months for a better look at the books.

Book Week 2016: Younger Readers

CBCA announced this morning the Notables List 2016 (also known as the Long-List) for Book Week. I will split books into their nominated sections into different posts to make it easy to find the relevant grade levels. This is a list of books, brief details and summary.

Please note: Most of these summaries are from the publisher websites as I am yet to read any of them myself and will need to start tracking a copy down. Stayed tuned for the book reviews to come over the next several months for a better look at the books.

Book Week 2016: Notables List: Early Childhood

CBCA announced this morning the Notables List 2016 (also known as the Long-List) for Book Week. I will split books into their nominated sections into different posts to make it easy to find the relevant grade levels. This is a list of books, brief details and summary - stayed tuned for activities to follow!

Switch Off To Save: Heating

Many times we can forget that if we all make small changes these lead to big changes. In terms of helping planet Earth if each classroom in the world made small changes to their everyday classroom routine the planet could be helped greatly.

Here is the first simple change of behaviour you can make in your classroom to start helping save Earth - everyday, not just on Earth Day.

To The Garden!

It's one thing to what to have students outdoors and learning about the world around them in a garden setting. It's quite another thing to have everything organised to ensure things run smoothly.

With Earth Day just a couple of weeks away it might be time to reflect on how you could incorporate some garden/plant life activities into your classroom or homeschool program.

Here are a few thoughts about the garden types I've seen and worked with and how to organise a little garden tote bag with everything you need in it!


Saltwater: Song Review


Song: Saltwater
Artist: Julian Lennon
Year: 1991
Nationality: British

Classification:
Fiction
Theme: environment, future

Compost Stew: Book Review

Let's make a stew...a COMPOST STEW! What do we need?
That's why this book is one you should read!