Fun with Learning Blog

Frog Activity – Using Comics for Information Reports

Life Cycle of FrogIn conjunction with my article at The Book Chook, Using Comics for Information Reports, I’ve created a simple 6 panel report on the life style of the white-lipped green tree frog. To do this, I added images I have permission to use to a template in Comic Life, then added captions to one panel, leaving the rest blank for children to write in themselves.

If you are a parent, teacher or librarian who would like to use this activity with primary-aged children, you can download the free PDF by clicking here.

Storytime at the Library – Session 11

Storytime at the Library 11Read about Storytime at the Library Session 1, Session 2, Session 3, Session 4, Session 5,  Session 6,  Session 7,  Session 8,  Session 9, and Session 10.

Preparation for Storytime Session 11


What’s in the story bag? Goose puppet. Our story is about a baby goose. The special name for a baby goose is a gosling. Find letter G on the story mat. What sound(s) does G make?

Share: Big Book, Baby Goz (a lift the flap book) by Steve Wetherill. The kids LOVE lift the flap books, and love to each take a turn to lift the flap. Discuss: what’s your favourite baby animal? If you were a baby animal, which one would you be? Do the children know any other special words for baby animals?

Share: Piglet and Papa by Margaret Wild and Stephen Michael King.

Revisit: I’m a Dirty Dinosaur, with more performance. Try some more chorus with mums establishing a beat behind. Play with some of the words to create a chant of our own.

Evaluation: It was one little girl’s birthday so we sang the birthday song. She brought some of her toys to show the others and it was VERY hard for them to concentrate on the stories when they were hyper-aware of the toys. I accepted it today, but think I need to draw a line between story time and toy time next week. I’m a Dirty Dinosaur was great to repeat as it gave them an outlet for some of their pent up energy. Piglet and Papa was very cute but no competition for toys. Re-visit both it and Baby Goz at a later time.

Storytime at the Library – Session 10

Storytime at the Library 10Read about Storytime at the Library Session 1, Session 2, Session 3, Session 4, Session 5,  Session 6,  Session 7,  Session 8 and Session 9.

Preparation for Storytime Session 10

Equipment: storybag, red bus, The Wheels on the Bus, I’m a Dirty Dinosaur by Janeen Brian and Ann James. Check out my review and some activities at The Book Chook that  you can do with I’m a Dirty Dinosaur. 

What’s in the story bag? Let’s guess before we feel – is it something light or heavy? Feel/heft and discuss. What could it be? A red bus. Bus starts with the sound, B. Can we see the letter B? Do we know any names or words that start with that sound?

Share: Big Book, The Wheels on the Bus. Act it out and discuss.

Remind kids about the dinosaur book we had last week. Look at all the different dinosaur pictures. D words. Finding D on the story mat.

Share: I’m a Dirty Dinosaur. Look at the way the artist drew the dirty dinosaur, and compare with earlier dinosaur pictures. Second time through, have kids join in. Try saying some phrases and putting movements with them. Once more through for fun, and the sheer joy of the words!

Who’s going to borrow books? What book did you read last week?

Evaluation: Another great storytime! The children are beginning to offer more describing words for what’s inside the story bag, and it’s become a nice introduction to the shared books. I’m a Dirty Dinosaur is a huge hit!

Storytime at the Library – Session 9

Storytime at the Library Session 9Read about Storytime at the Library Session 1, Session 2, Session 3, Session 4, Session 5,  Session 6,  Session 7, and Session 8.

Preparation for Session 9

Equipment: Story bag, instruments, Baby Beats, My Dinosaur Dad

What’s in the storybag? Several noise makers! We predict and explore their sounds.

Re-introduce Baby Beats. Share the story. Kids accompany with their “pretend” instruments. Put the rhythm into their hands, add their feet, add their heads. Make a conga line. Open hand means play; closed hand means stop playing.

Introduce My Dinosaur Dad. Predict from the cover and find the title. Does anyone know the letter D? Share the story. Read again and find the describing words. Stand up and act like a dinosaur if your dad is like the dinosaur dad.

Five Cheeky Monkeys requested so we did it again!

Who’s going to borrow books? What book did you read last week that you liked?

Evaluation: We are having such fun with Storytime! When I asked “What sound does dinosaur start with?”, one of the girls said, “Oh, I know, dinosaur starts with Raaah!” I spend a lot of time disciplining myself to act like a grown-up! The kids (who are 4 and under) particularly respond to books with strong rhythm, rhyme and play features like flaps and holes.

Storytime at the Library – Session 8

Storytime at the Library, Session 8Read about Storytime at the Library Session 1, Session 2, Session 3, Session 4, Session 5,  Session 6, and Session 7.

Preparation for Session 8

Equipment: Story bag, dog puppet, bear puppet, bells, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury, Who’s Making that Noise? (revisited) felt board kit for Five Cheeky Monkeys

What’s in the bag? Something that makes a noise: Bells. Can we remember a story about noise-making?

Revise Who’s making that noise? and find mouse and duck, plus try to remember what’s behind the flap.

Introduce We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. Predict from the cover and find the title. Does anyone know the beginning letter, W and what sound it makes? Share the story. Re-read, with kids joining the actions and noises.

Revisit Five Cheeky Monkeys and act it out.

Evaluation: The kids loved knowing what was behind the flap, rather than predicting. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt took a while to read, but they enjoyed it and I think will enjoy it more at a second or even third try. Five Cheeky Monkeys is adored by all! After last week and the distractions, it was great to see the kids had no focus problems at all, and there was lots of participation.

Storytime at the Library – Session 7

StorytimeattheLibrary7Read about Storytime at the Library Session 1, Session 2, Session 3, Session 4, Session 5, and Session 6.

Preparation for Session 7

Equipment: wombat toy, monkey puppet, Five Cheeky Monkeys felt board kit, name tag, story bag, One Woolly Wombat, Baby Beats

One Woolly Wombat counting book 1. Predict what the pics might be about before we read it. 2. Counting games.

Baby Beats : Predict from the cover. Look at title. B. Share the story. Do the actions and try our own beats.

Games: I play a rhythm, kids repeat with claps. Beat. Beat-beat. Beat-beat-beat. 4 beats. Change: kids jump to the rhythm played. Kids clap when my hands are open, stop clapping when hands are shut. Buzz when hands are open, stop when hands are shut. Try buzz and clap at same time, same rules?

Rhyme: Five Cheeky Monkeys. 1. Encourage kids to tell the rhyme with their hands and help me say it. 2. Re-tell the rhyme with the felt board. One at a time, kids place and remove monkeys. Act out the rhyme.

Evaluation: Only four kids today and the children showed they wanted to play. One little boy had some challenging behaviours, and that distracted the others. One Woolly Wombat was slower than they wanted, so I hurried it through and moved to an action story, Baby Beats. Cheeky Monkeys went down well. I scrapped the rhythm game and will likely play it when we re-visit Baby Beats – hopefully with a bigger and not as distractible group.

Kookaburra Activity for Children’s Picture Book, Jeremy

KookaburraActivityforJeremy Here’s the image of a four-panel comic-style story I made as a model activity for the 2014 short-listed children’s picture book, Jeremy by Chris Faille and Danny Snell. Jeremy is a great non-fiction story to use with kids any time, but especially during Children’s Book Week 2014. To extend the literature experience, children can use Comic Life or similar software to make a digital story or an information report about kookaburras. Read more ideas in my article at The Book Chook, Children’s Book Review and Activities, Jeremy.

If you’re a teacher, parent or librarian who’d like to use this model PDF for educational purposes, you can download it on my Free PDFs and Resources page.

Pun Activity for Kids

The Power of Being PunnyHere’s an activity I made for kids to demonstrate one way of depicting a pun (comic format), as well as blank templates for children to collect and display their own puns.

This activity goes with my article at The Book Chook, The Power of Being Punny.

If you’re a librarian, teacher or parent who’d like to use this activity for educational purposes, you can download it on my Free PDFs and Resources page.

Free PDF Bookmarks for Kids – Connect to Reading!

Connect to Reading bookmarksIf you’re working in an Australian school, or someone who values reading with kids, you’re probably preparing for Children’s Book Week 2014. You may already have seen a huge list of ideas for celebrating over at The Book Chook within an article called Activities for Children’s Book Week 2014. But then I found more ideas! So today at The Book Chook, you’ll find Last Minute Ideas for Children’s Book Week.

In conjunction with that post, below is a free PDF for you to download of 15cm x 5cm bookmarks kids can create. I would suggest thin card as the best to print onto. With the first two, children can simply cut and paste together. In the third, they can design their own quote and cute creature to remind them about Connect to Reading. If you’d like to promote The Book Chook, perhaps to encourage others to visit it, I’ve added a fourth bookmark you can use. Kids can mix and match, pasting two together to form a bookmark that might help them remember how to make connections to what they read. Or you might decide to have them use one printed side, and have them decorate the other with book characters they like.

(Click to go to PDF download page, and scroll down.)

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