Saturday, 23 November 2013

Christmas Down Under Blog Hop

Welcome to the Christmas Down Under blog hop :)

The "Christmas Down Under" blog hop starts here and you have reached Stop Number 2.   Click on the image above if you missed Stop Number 1.

There are eight stops along the way where you can pick up freebies to help celebrate Christmas in Australia.

My freebie for you is based on an Australian Christmas picture book, "Santa's Aussie Holiday" by Maria Farrer and Anna Walker (Scholastic, 2007).  It includes reading response activities to go with the picture book:
  • Rhyming words Snap, Fish or Concentration
  • An Australian mapping activity to map the adventures of Santa on his Aussie Holiday
  • 4H Reading Strategy Questions - Here, Hidden, Head or Heart related to the book.
The resource includes prompts for the 4H reading strategy - Here, Hidden, Head and Heart - is the answer literal, right here in the text? Is the answer hidden, do I need to think and search? Is the answer my own opinion or based on my past experience; so is it in my head, or is the answer how I feel, therefore in my heart? This is an innovation on three level guides and Question, Answer, Relationships (QAR), by Taffy Raphael.

You can read a review of "Santa's Aussie Holiday" by clicking on the cover of the book below and then selecting "Quick Look".'s%20aussie%20holiday
Grab  my freebie by clicking on the image below:
Please take a minute to provide feedback in my TPT store -
I would really appreciate it!

This blog hop will run until Christmas Day, so please let your friends know about it.  The next stop along the way is Rhonda Baldacchino's blog where you can pick up your next freebie.  Click on the image below to go to the next stop.
Please follow each of the participants in the blog hop as you visit their TPT stores, to thank them for their generosity in providing these freebies for you.

Merry Christmas everyone. Thank you for your support this year. 

With the warmest regards for the festive season,

Thursday, 21 November 2013

The Gift of Reading blog hop

Welcome to Ripper Resources. You have arrived at   

At each blog stop, you will be gathering Reading gifts and freebies.  In each post you will find a picture of a snowman with a letter on it. Collect all of the letter to solve the mystery quote to enter the giveaway. Record all of the letters on your recording sheet and follow each blog along the way so that you can enter the amazing giveaway at the end!

The hop is set up as a loop, so you may start anywhere along the hop, but if you would like to start at the beginning you may go to A Day In The Life of A Title I Teacher's blog.  This is also where you will go after you finish the hop to enter the giveaway!!

I am passionate about the teaching of reading, particularly rigorous reading pedagogies for higher order thinking.  The resource I have created for you as a freebie is based on a newly published picture book, "Blossom Possum and the Christmas Quacker" by Gina Newton and Christina Booth (Scholastic, 2013).  Being Australian, the focus is on an Aussie Christmas.

The resource includes prompts for the 4H reading strategy - Here, Hidden, Head and Heart - is the answer literal, right here in the text?  Is the answer hidden, do I need to think and search?  Is the answer my own opinion or based on my past experience; so is it in my head or is the answer how I feel, therefore in my heart?  This is an innovation on three level guides and Question, Answer, Relationships (QAR), by Taffy Raphael.

The freebie also includes a problem-many solutions story map, Australian idioms and slang matching cards and rhyming words matching cards.

This resource would be useful for anyone studying a unit on "Christmas Around the World" or wanting to get to know a little more about the Australian culture.  I hope you do enjoy it with your students.  You can download this freebie by clicking on the image of the product below.  You can read a review of the picture book by clicking on the cover of the book below.
Click on the image above to grab your freebie.
Please take the time to provide feedback in my TPT store. 
I would really appreciate it.

My secret letter is...
Thank you for stopping by my blog today! I hope that you enjoyed your gift and learned something new. If you would like to be the first to know about new post, giveaways, and blog hops follow me on Bloglovin' by clicking the image below.

Don't stop now! Hop on over to "Reading.Writing. Thinking. Sharing" by MsJordanReads to pick up another amazing reading gift! Happy Holidays! 
If you get lost along the way download the Hop Map here to easily pick back up where you left off or you can find the next stop on the hop list below...
Merry Christmas everyone and thank you so much for your support this year... 


Friday, 15 November 2013

From "Rain Dance" to "Flood"

My previous post introduced the book, "Downpour".  You can read that post in my November blog post archive (right hand side of the blog - scroll down).

Our Summer storms are continuing in Queensland and there are two other picture books I am really enjoying.  The first is called, "Rain Dance" by Cathy Applegate and Dee Huxley (2000).  Set in the Australian outback, this is a beautiful picture book that brings to life the importance of rain to outback communities and the impact of drought.  You can almost smell and feel the rain as it hits the parched earth in the outback.  Dee Huxley's illustrations capture the terrain and colours of the outback so well.  The author's text provides a visual image to support the illustrations (e.g. "Beyond our desolate farm I can see the horizon where a few dark clouds cruelly taunt us with promises of rain".)  This would be a great mentor text for exploring descriptive and figurative language.

Teaching notes for teaching visual literacy using "Rain Dance" and other texts are available in the publication on the right.  A free download of the contents page that shows the picture books examined is available by clicking on that image and then the link to see sample pagesThere is a chapter in the book on the right on "In Flanders Fields" (by Norman Jorgenson and Brian Harrison-Lever) which is set in World War 1.
 A companion text for "Rain Dance" is an Australian indigenous picture book, "Big Rain Coming" by Katrina Germein and one of my favourite indigenous illustrators, Bronwyn Bancroft.  You can view a youtube reading of this title here or download teaching ideas here.  This story is set in Katherine in the Northern Territory of Australia when people were experiencing severe drought and the anticipation of rain. Other teaching notes are available here.  
 These Australian indigenous titles about the importance of rain and the anticipation of rain could be compared and contrasted to picture books from other cultures with a similar theme, for example, "Sing Down the Rain" (1977) which is a poem about the annual Tohono O'odham saguaro harvest and rain-making ceremony.  More information about this cultural ceremony can be read via the Southwest Cross-Cultural Wisdom Circle pageA choral reading script for this text is available here. 

It would be interesting to compare and contrast the animals mentioned in "Rain Dance" and also in "Sing Down the Rain" as the latter mentions ciquadas, however in Australia we have cicadas - I am wondering if they are the same thing?  Both texts also mention events and characters specific to the different cultures and contexts.

Another terrific picture book I have discovered recently is "The Rain Train" by Elena de Roo and Brian Lovelock (2010).  This is a fantastic picture book for exploring onomatopoeia.  You can almost hear and feel the rain as you read this picture book that tells the story of a train ride when the rain is pouring down.  You can almost feel the drizzle and chill through the illustrations.  Both the author and illustrator live in New Zealand.
Sometimes people live through droughts, wishing for rain and sometimes people experience too much rain and flooding.  In the past two years, people in South-East Queensland have experienced flash flooding and the devastation of flood waters. 

Two picture books that contrast representations of the experience of the Brisbane floods in January 2011 are Jackie French's "Flood" (illustrated by Bruce Whatley) and "Alex and the Watermelon Boat" by Chris McKimmie.  Both represent the events in different ways.  Figurative language could be explored using "Flood".  Caution needs to be taken, however, when sharing these picture books with students from the communities affected, as it may actually foster memories of loss and grief, so teacher judgement (as always) would need to be exercised.  Jackie French discusses "Flood" and how to handle some of these concerns here including students' positive reactions to the picture book ,which represents communities pulling together, survival and heroism.  The illustrations certainly bring back memories of the drench, the mud and the generosity of the thousands of volunteers (the "Mud Army").

From a critical literacy stance, I think it is far more powerful to compare and contrast how authors and illustrators represent the same event in different ways, through multiple texts, rather than just focusing on the study of representation of a single text.

Free teacher notes for "Flood" are available here through Scholastic or here through the Primary English Teaching Association Australia (which is an excellent organisation to be a member of if you aren't already - and no, they didn't pay me to say that!).   You can also view a youtube reading of "Flood" here.   

Free teaching notes for "Alex and the Watermelon Boat" are available here and teacher reviews are available here.
Please leave a comment if you know of any other texts that could be included in this text set, or if you have used any of the books mentioned in this blog post. weekend is another huge giveaway of freebies from my friends who participated in the Super Sleuths blog hop last month...mark this in your clip art has come and I am so excited about using next weekend...don't miss "The Gift of Reading Blog Hop."

Many thanks

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Poppies and downpours

I am revisiting this post so I can share it through the Storybook Sunday linky at Paula's Place.  

Summer is well underway in Queensland and with that afternoon and early evening storms.  Remembrance Day is honoured on 11 November (during Summer) in Australia and it is when we remember those who lost their lives in war to protect us. As such, my post today involves poppies, the symbol of Remembrance Day for our ANZACs and fallen soldiers and also rain, as we have so many storms during Summer, which is great to ease the heat.

By now, if you have been following me, you know I love text sets with companion texts that help students develop intertextuality through text-to-text connections, as the students in my research project told me these were harder connections to make than text-to-self connections.

My first text to feature is called "Downpour" by Emily Martin (2013).  I love the review of the picture book that you can find here on the Design of the Picture Book blog.  I just love poppies, but I also love the illustrations by Mara Shaughnessy in this picture book .  (28.11.13 - I am thrilled to say I just received an email from Mara as Emily had read my blog!!! I am so thrilled as my blog is only relatively new...check at Mara's blog here where she writes about "Downpour".  Hearing from Mara has totally made my day!).

This would be a great text for exploring visual literacy and the use of colour, with simple black and white drawings which feature red.  You can view the book trailer by clicking on the cover of the book below and scrolling down.  The book is written in a poetic style and could also be used to study the use of rhyme and prose.

A great companion text for critical visual literacy would be "Earl the Squirrel" by Don Freeman (2005).  Don Freeman is the well-known author of the much loved "Corduroy" series and similar styles of illustration are used in both "Downpour" and "Earl the Squirrel", so they could be compared and contrasted - the use of black outlines and the red colour through the pages to add emphasis - very exciting visual critical analysis work :) 

One of my favourite websites is Teaching Children Philosophy.  This website contains book modules with lesson ideas and philosophical prompts to encourage critical reflection, higher order thinking and philosophical inquiry using picture books.  Click on the image below to view the lesson ideas using "Earl the Squirrel" and some images from the book.

Another mentor text that could be used in a similar way to examine visual literacy and the use of black and white line drawings with the impact of red, is "Little Red Hood" by Marjolaine Leray (2011).  You can read reviews of the book and view one of the illustrations on the publisher's website.  I think the simplicity and impressionistic style of the illustrations add power to this simple innovation on the original story.  In this version, the wolf is still big and viscious looking, but actually quite dumb. Little Red questions his hygeine and uses her initiative to trick him. With very little written text, the power is in the illustrations, so it is a great mentor text for analysing visual literacy.  You can read a further review of this treasure at the 32 pages A Passion for Picture Books blog   

In contrast to the simple black and white pencil drawings with the red featuring promenance in making meaning in the text, "The Black Book of Colors" by Menena Cottin and Rosana Faria (2010) uses black as the feature colour, with black pages, white text and embossed black illustrations (with braille above the white text).  It features the braille alphabet on the end pages.  This is a really innovative approach to a picture book, because even though the text talks about what colours may taste and feel like, the whole picture book is printed on black paper.  The picture book was actually written to convey the experience of a person who can only see through the senses.  The text is translated into braille so the sighted reader can begin to experience what it might be like to read and "see" by touch.

Free teaching notes are available from Walker Books. 

These four picture books used together could frame up a really dynamic exploration of visual literacy and the way illustrations add meaning to text.

Click on the link at the top of the page to hop on over to Paula's blog to check out the other wonderful picture books that have been shared in her Storybook Sunday linky :)

Monday, 4 November 2013

Critical Literacy with "The Three Bears (Sort Of)" by Yvonne Morrison

This has to be one of my favourite new picture books and I thank Margaret for letting me know about it.  Click on the cover of the book to read a review.  This is an excellent picture book for critical literacy.  It also has a lovely twist in the ending, so would make a terrific mentor text for writing.

The narrator begins reading the story of "The Three Bears" and is constantly interrupted with questions that challenge the accuracy of the traditional tale.  I created a resource to support critical reflection on the text.  You can preview it by clicking on the image on the right.

 This title would work well as a companion text with "Interrupting Chicken" or "Again".

Other texts that could work in well with a critical approach to fairy tales, include "No Bears" and "Bad Boys".  Free teacher notes and activities are available from the publisher's website for "No Bears" - just click on the image below.   

 Both "The Three Bears (Sort Of)" and "No Bears" are new releases for 2013.  You can read a review of "No Bears" here.  It's a terrific picture book for exploring how illustrations add meaning to a text and intertextuality with the various fairytale characters  depicted in the illustrations throughout the story.  It would also be a useful text for teaching inferring - who really did save the princess?

"Bad Boys" is also a good text for exploring intertextuality and also for teaching idioms and alliteration.  I like to use text sets as it helps model how to make "text-to-text connections".

Have a terrific week everyone - and don't forget the blog hop this weekend. 

Click on the image below during 8-10 November to pick up some great freebies during the blog hop!