Chinese New Year – Year of the Dog

Students in Stage 1 and Early Stage 1 will be celebrating Chinese New Year as part of our Celebrations unit in literacy. This year, it will be the Year of the Dog. We will be reading the picture books, New year surprise! by Christopher Cheng & Di Wu and Made in China by Deborah Nash.

Here are some Youtube resources:


Year of the Dog – Wallace & Gromit

Addressing English outcomes in library lessons

Today, I want to explore with my teacher colleagues the upcoming National Simultaneous Storytime picture book for 2018, Hickory dickory dash by Tony Wilson & Laura Wood, and how it fits into our existing K-2 literacy cycle, and how it can address English outcomes for Stage 2 and Stage 3 students (see Objective C).

English K-10 syllabus outcome (From NSW Education Standards Authority, NESA):


English Objective C
English Objective C

We will also briefly discuss:

* aspects of Guided Inquiry activities for Stage 2 and Stage 3, team-taught, library lessons this year (Note: units use the KLA’s own syllabus outcomes plus related English outcomes)

* revisit the concept of pre-, mid- and post- surveys for students (from the SLIM toolkit) to collect both qualitative and quantitative data (action research)

* some possible strategies for improving student attitudes and successes with longer form fiction, such as novels (see Objective D).

English K-10 syllabus outcome (From NSW Education Standards Authority, NESA):


English Objective D
English Objective D

OASIS searching:



Searching the library catalogue in Oliver


Students searching with the Orbit interface in Oliver

Fables and frogs

Early Stage 1 and Stage 1 students are learning about Spring, the life cycle of the frog and the fable, “The exploding frog” (aka “The frog and the ox”).


The life cycle of a frog


Life cycle of a frog


Panama frogs serenade females – The trials of life – BBC


The mystery of the red-eyed tree frog

Here are the links we have used in previous years:
ianmclean.edublogs.org/2011/10/18/frogs-frogs-frogs-life-cycles-fables/.

Sainsbury’s Christmas ads

UK department store Sainsbury’s features Judith Kerr’s famous book character, Mog the cat, in an advertisement for the Christmas season. These ads are also excellent examples of persuasive visual texts.


Sainsbury’s official Christmas advert 2015 – Mog’s Christmas calamity


Sainsbury’s official Christmas 2014 ad – 1914

And the current ad is:


Sainsbury’s official Christmas advert 2016 – The greatest gift

Revisiting the ugly duckling

The last time The ugly duckling came along in our K-2 literacy cycle, I made use of some personal photos taken of a Hans Christian Andersen memorial statue at Sydney’s Observatory Hill.


The ugly duckling – Silly symphony Walt Disney 1939


Our Khaki Campbell ducks~


Khaki Campbell… ducks a must see!!!

Make way for ducklings, the famous picture book by Robert McCloskey, and based on a real life event, is also immortalized in statue form at Boston Common, USA. These statues get dressed thematically at various times of the year.

The intelligence of crows

Students in Early Stage 1 and Stage 1 have been studying the Aboriginal Dreaming Story of “How the birds got their colours”. This week, they are investigating birds. Our playground is currently well-populated with large crows (or ravens?) and the students have been enjoying (or being blamed for) their hilarious antics: tossing scraps out of the bins, stealing shiny rocks from a memorial garden, and frog-marching pigeons out of the playground.

I found some fascinating Youtube videos that demonstrate the intelligence of crows, as they complete an exercise involving a three-step plan, and then an eight-step plan.


Crow intelligence – multi-step tool action test


Are crows the ultimate problem solvers? – Inside the animal mind – BBC


Smart crow uses cars to crack nuts in Akita, Japan near Senshu Park

Remember Aesop’s fable of “The crow and the pitcher”?

Causal understanding of water displacement by a crow

Investigating the Rainbow Serpent

Early Stage 1 and Stage 1 students are learning about Aboriginal Dreaming stories.


The Rainbow Serpent


The Rainbow Serpent (by Dick Roughsey)


Batik painting, inspired by Dick Roughsey’s Dreamtime picture book, The Rainbow Serpent


Rainbow Lorikeets wild and free in their native Australia