05/08/2018

Book Week 2018 – Find Your Treasure!

Our school library display cases are ready for Book Week 2018 – Find Your Treasure! The first case features children’s literature maps from the books in the suitcase. The picture book A child of books by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston is opened on the page “and upon my imagination I float.” Handmade mini treasure books, CBCA Find Your Treasure bookmarks and badge are also presented.

Find Your Treasure – display featuring story maps.

The following display is based on the theme of treasure you find in books. Year 1 and 2 students responded with superb ideas reflecting on the theme including – reading is special, a treasure in a book is a character you meet, books are so good you want to keep reading, find your special book. The display features Dog Loves Books by Louise Yates; Otto the Book Bear by Katie Cleminson, Lucy’s Book by Natalie Jane Prior and illustrated by Cheryl Orsini; and The Everywhere Bear by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Rebecca Cobb. There are also handmade mini treasure books, and sections of the Find Your Treasure Book Week 2018 poster designed by Anna Walker.

Find Your Treasure – display featuring stories, imagination & reading.

24/06/2018

It sure was some launch!

CBCA NSW Branch Inc Eastern Suburbs Sub-branch logo designed by Cate James

On Wednesday evening last week, the newly formed CBCA NSW Branch Inc Eastern Suburbs Sub-branch was launched! It was an inspiring event attended by almost 80 guests – a mix of children’s book authors and illustrators, publishing industry professionals, teachers, librarians and parents. The evening not only raised the profile of children’s books it also brought together a community passionate about a good story and admirers of the artistic talent of children’s book illustrators.

Gail Erskine the President of the Children’s Book Council of Australia NSW Branch Inc and Morag Tunks the President of the Eastern Suburbs Sub-branch welcomed guests and provided history of the Children’s Book Council of Australia, its growth and strength in connecting children with quality Australian literature since 1945. Continue reading

17/06/2018

Book Week Lessons & Ideas 2018

Book Week suitcase!

Each year The Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) promotes and celebrates children’s books with the major event of Children’s Book Week during August. The 2018 Book Week theme is Find Your Treasure.

The six CBCA short list book categories offer schools a wealth of opportunities to engage with reading, respond to, and celebrate literature. Exploring the short list books aligns with the Australian Curriculum and provides important opportunities to build students’ literacy skills by incorporating rich, objectively selected, and aesthetically valuable texts.

This Post provides a landing page for a variety of ideas to connect with Book Week this year. A SCIS Connections article I wrote in 2017 Read, respond, celebrate: engaging with the CBCA short list provides some background to the ideas presented below.

Exploring the Short List

Create a book character bunting display

Year K – Read and explore the Early Childhood short list, focus on the main character. Create your book character bunting – students select one book and draw the main character, as an extension write the characters name and book title. Using ribbon arrange and tape the students work – hang for all to enjoy!

Step Inside the Character

Year 1 – Imagine if you could step inside the character in a picture book. Explore the Early Childhood short list using the Visible Thinking Routine – Step Inside the Character. Visit a previous Post for more information.

Exploring story elements

Year 2 – What makes a great picture book? Explore story elements of the short list Early Childhood books to design and create a diorama. Visit a previous Post for work samples, a lesson sequence and templates.

Colour – Symbol – Image

Year 3 – Explore the short list Picture Books to discover what ideas and connections can be identified in picture books. Visit a previous Post for work samples, a lesson sequence and templates.

Visual literacy 

Year 4 – Explore and examine the short list Picture Books to discover and identify visual literacy vocabulary and techniques used by the illustrator. Visit a previous Post Visual Literacy – Some Examples to access the guide and background. Additional information can be found via a Guest Post I wrote in 217 for Softlink.

Celebrating the theme

Library displays

Create a display in the library that promotes the Book Week theme.

Student vote

Create a voting chart for younger students, provide each student with a star to place next to their favourite book. For older students create a Google Form or digital voting chart.

Promotional video

Use the Book Week theme to make a short promotional video that can be used in the school assembly.

Competitions and lunchtime activities

QR Code Treasure Hunt

Back by popular demand, the QR Code Short List Treasure Hunt is sure to engage students. The QR Code Treasure Hunt has a question for each of the CBCA Short List books in the Early Childhood, Picture Book and Younger Readers categories. Full details 2018 QR Code Short List Treasure Hunt.

Missing Book Character poster

Imagine if a book character went missing! Write a Missing Poster so they can be found. Full details including instructions and templates click here.

Postcard from a book

Imagine if you stepped inside a book! Who would you meet, where would you go, and what would you do? Write and draw about your book visit using the Postcard template. Full details of this activity click here.

Design a Book Trailer

Create a book trailer for a book or the Book Week theme Find Your Treasure. Organise a production team, make a plan, get filming! Keep your trailer between 1-2 minutes long that way it is short and sweet! Visit Tristan Bancks webpage How to make a book trailer for a wealth of information and to keep you on the right track.

14/11/2017

Visual literacy – some examples

Recently, I wrote about plans to explore visual literacy with Year 5 using the CBCA Short List Picture Books. With the lessons now complete, this post provides an update on progress and shares some student work examples. The CBCA short list picture books provided a wonderful opportunity to connect with a range of quality literature. The books contained insightful social and emotional context and differing styles of illustrations, they proved to be exemplary for exploring visual literacy.

Out text by Angela May George, illustrated by Owen Swan

As outlined previously, visual literacy or visual grammar provides terminology to help understand and describe features of an image that create visual meaning. We learn who or what is in the picture, the activities involved, interactions between characters, emotions, and how the image catches our attention. Examining images in picture books also helps to add meaning and build depth to the story.

As stated in the NSW Education Standards Authority English K-10 Glossary visual language:

“…contributes to the meaning of an image or the visual components of a multimodal text and are selected from a range of visual features like placement, salience, framing, representation of action or reaction, shot size, social distance and camera angle. Visual language can also include elements such as symbol, colour, scene and frame composition, setting and landscape, lighting and the use of editing.”

Out text by Angela May George, illustrated by Owen Swan

Once we had completed reading and exploring each book, students worked with a partner and selected one of the books and one image to focus on and annotate. Students referred to the visual literacy guide which provided examples of terminology and direction on how to organise their summaries.

Overall we were highly impressed with the level of student engagement and commitment to learning. Some students selected to take a photo of the image and add annotations using Word inserting callouts, while others were provided with a colour photocopy of the image to annotate by hand. Once complete the students uploaded their work onto the school LMS allowing for sharing and feedback.

One Photo text by Ross Watkins, illustrated by Liz Anelli

Pantaleo (2016), in an observation of teaching and learning visual literacy lessons with primary aged students, suggests focusing on one visual literacy element at a time and having students write a personal response of their learning after reading a picture book. Callow (2016), highlights the many opportunities of the Australian Curriculum to read and engage with books to explore visual literacy. He encourages us to create opportunities for students to investigate picture books to locate visual literacy elements and to allow students to create their own images using visual literacy learning.

Using the CBCA short list picture books allowed for an outstanding series of learning experiences. Following a few simple steps to introduce visual literacy and providing for students to explore and respond with examples can be adapted to a wide range of purposefully selected picture books.

The visual literacy guide was made available to students via the school library homepage. Full access to the guide is available here: Tips for Viewing Images in Picture Books

Home in the Rain by Bob Graham

References

Callow, J. (2016). Viewing and doing visual literacy using picture books. Practical Literacy, 21(1), p.9-12. Retrieved from https://www.alea.edu.au/resources/practical-literacy-the-early-and-primary-years-pl-2

Forrest, S. (2017).  How does it make me feel? Using visual grammar to interact with picture books. Literacy Learning in the Middle Years, 25(1), p.41-52. Retrieved from https://www.alea.edu.au/resources/literacy-learning-the-middle-years-ll

NSW Education Standards Authority. (2017). Glossary. Retrieved from http://syllabus.nesa.nsw.edu.au/english/english-k10/stage-statements/

Pantaleo, S. (2016). Primary students’ understanding and appreciation of the artwork in picturebooks. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy. 16(2), p.228-225. DOI: 10.1177/1468798415569816

12/07/2017

Visual Literacy using the CBCA Short list Picture Books

The CBCA Short List Picture Books provide many opportunities to explore and engage with quality literature. This term Year 5 will explore the short list books in relation to visual literacy or visual grammar.

Visual literacy helps us understand and describe the features of a picture that create visual meaning. We learn who or what is in the picture, the activities involved, interactions between characters, emotions, and how the image catches our attention. We can learn to discover by looking deeper and thinking about what we see.

As advised by Callow, 2016 “Talking about the various features of picture books before, during and after reading allows us to teach children about their various features.” Using the CBCA Short List Picture Books offers a perfect way to introduce or extend on visual literacy. Exploring the themes and issues and applying visual grammar elements allows students to deepen their engagement with the books. Furthermore, providing instruction and direction to recognise, discuss and label visual techniques will ensure students enhance their visual literacy skills (Forrest, 2017).

What is planned?

  • Introduce one of the CBCA Short List books and highlight visual grammar elements
  • Provide students with the Visual Literacy Guide
  • Group students into small groups and allocate one of the picture books. Working with a partner create a sub-group where each sub-group selects one page (image) to focus on
  • Take a photo of the image and using Word or a simple photo writing App such as Phonto annotate onto the image
  • Post work to class Blog and share findings

Below is an example applying visual grammar following the guidelines that I created for student use. Goanna by Jenny Wagner is one of the first picture books I purchased in my early teaching days, I found it on my bookshelf and so loved reading it again.

Continue reading

03/07/2017

Postcard from your reading journey

The Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book Week 2017 theme Escape to Everywhere opens many opportunities to connect with literature and have fun. In addition to the Missing Book Character Poster activity planned for students in P-2 we are planning a writing reflection activity for Grades 3-4. The task encourages students to engage with a book they have enjoyed reading and write a Postcard imagining they are in the story. This activity aims to get the student inside the book, experience an event with the character and reflect on where else they could go within the story.

Steps to promote this activity:

Choose a book you have really enjoyed reading – it could be a picture book or chapter book.

Make a list of ideas, the questions below will help get you started – remember a postcard aims to capture where you are, what you are doing.

  • Who is the character(s) you are with?
  • Where are you? What you can see.
  • What activities are you doing?
  • Where might you be going?
  • Address you postcard to your class and remember to write your name and class
  • Draw a stamp for your postcard
  • Draw a picture that is connected to the book
  • Write the book title and author on your drawing so we all know what great book we can read next

I am planning on introducing this as a competition for students in Grades 3-4 to be done at lunch in the library, one entry per student to be entered. If you decide to run this at your school I would love to hear how it goes.

The guide and a postcard template is available for download.

24/06/2017

Missing Book Characters

I am looking forward to Term 3 to share and explore the Children’s Book Week Short list books and exploring the theme Escape to Everywhere. A few weeks ago I wrote about a rabbit visiting the school library and a missing rabbit poster I spotted which inspired an idea! This idea has now come to a reality and we will be promoting a Missing Book Character poster competition for students in P-2.

Steps to promote this activity:

  • Promote Children’s Book Week – Escape to Everywhere to the school community
  • Introduce the Missing Book Character Poster to students in the selected grade(s)
  • Instruct students to select a book they have read and enjoyed
  • Follow the writing format Heading – Missing; Name of character; Last seen – choose a place in the book the character visits – a setting, Likes – think about what the character likes; If found – child’s name and class
  • Provide copies of the template – available for download below

I am planning on introducing this as a competition for students in P-2 to be done at lunch in the library, one entry per student to be entered. If you decide to run this at your school I would love to hear how it goes.

19/04/2017

Ignite wide reading with diverse resources at your school library

School libraries have a vital role in the provision and promotion of quality and diverse reading materials that inform, value and ignite reading. Promoting “a reading culture through the active promotion of literature” (Australian School Library Association, 2004) is one of the ASLA teacher librarian standards. Promotion and access to varied reading materials “helps students to engage imaginatively and critically with literature to expand the scope of their experience” (Australian Curriculum English 8.3). Encouraging wide reading and access to a variety of reading materials increases students interests and motivation to read (Miller, 2012). “Numerous research studies prove that wide reading improves children’s comprehension, background knowledge, vocabulary, fluency, and writing” (Krashen, 2004 as cited in Miller, 2012). Furthermore, literacy development and achievement is benefited by recreational reading and reading for enjoyment (Merga, 2016).

The following resources have made a difference to the diversity of reading resources available to children at my school library adding to the existing range of imaginative and informative books. The resources that follow also link to the Australian Curriculum in that they provide access to imaginative, informative and persuasive texts in different formats and for different age levels.

Crinkling News: Australian Newspaper for Young Australian’s 

The Crinkling News newspaper has been very popular at my school library, it is a subscription based tabloid format newspaper published weekly for children aged between 7-14.  The Crinkling News website offers some additional features – videos, opinion polls, and comments. Readings.com.au spoke with the editor Saffron Howdon about the importance of media literacy for children.

Story Box Library: Australian Stories read by storytellers

Story Box Library is an online subscription based resource that contains a collection of Australian literature read engagingly by storytellers. Story Box Library promotes the resource as a “reading room” where books are communicated through film providing “…a vibrant, interactive experience via a diverse range of everyday Australian storytellers”(storyboxlibrary.com.au). The resource also provides theme details and valuable classroom notes for the stories.

DK findout! Visual and engaging information, images and videos

DK findout! is a free website that is visually stimulating and contains appealing content for classroom teaching and learning. Information is concise, the page layout is well organised and the reader is able to click to reveal summaries or listen to a sound recording. This resource is very attractive and provides wonderful opportunities for learning and general interest exploring. I suggest taking a look at the Volcanoes page as it provides an excellent example of the high standard of information and design. Continue reading

25/01/2017

Story Elements – Read, Think, Collaborate, Create

Diorama based on the book Perfect by Danny Parker

This post showcases the amazing dioramas Year 2 created for the CBCA Shortlist Early Childhood Books.

In summary, after reading each of the shortlist books small groups worked on specific questions related to elements of the story:

  • Who is the main character? Are they human, an animal or an imagined character?
  • Are there supporting characters? Are they human, an animal or imagined characters?
  • Where is the story set? Is the setting realistic, magical, set in the past, present time or future?
  • Identify a message or a lesson from the story.
  • Identify a symbol (object, action, or expression) in the story.
  • The story made a connection with me, it made me think about…

Once we had finalised the reading and summarising lessons students were placed in small groups and provided with a shortlisted book to focus on. The first task was to answer questions about the book and then allocate a job for each student before they could start with the design and construction of the dioramas each group had a conference to ensure all were on task and had appropriate roles. A diorama guide planning sheet was used to help plan work. To make life easier (I had four Year 2 classes complete this activity, 24 dioramas in total) I purchased diorama boxes from Clever Patch. Crepe and tissue paper, cellophane, pipe cleaners, glue are required, as are pencils and textas, watercolour paints – whatever you have in supply will work, a glue gun was very handy (teacher use only).

Below are work in progress samples and completed dioramas.

Additional information can be found in the lesson sequence. The response and planning sheets will help guide students through the stories and plan their dioramas.

13/01/2017

Read, Step Inside, Create

Step Inside ‘Flight’ by Nadia Wheatley

In this post I would like to share how Year 4 explored the Children’s Book Council of Australia shortlist Picture books. Each book was read and responded to using the Step Inside Visible Thinking Routine, for our purpose we stepped inside the main character. The Step Inside routine focuses on ‘getting inside viewpoints’ using three core questions to guide students:

  1. What can the person or thing perceive?
  2. What might the person or thing know about or believe?
  3. What might the person or thing care about?

Source: Visible Thinking Step Inside: Perceive, Know about, Care about

Sharing each picture with the class promoted Children’s Book Week and provided the students with the opportunity to compare and review a superb selection of sophisticated picture books. As some of the books were available though Story Box Library it was wonderful to have the story read to us and view the illustrations on the IWB.

By repetitively using the routine for the six picture books it became evident that students were able to provide deeper responses. Once we had reviewed each book students selected one of the books to respond to in more depth using illustration, written response and technology. Continue reading