Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tech Tips Tuesday

Animated Online Books

Another site for online books was brought to my attention this week. Story Time For Me currently has 30 books in its library and 1-2 books are being added each month. The stories are animated and narrated with options for students to read at their own pace as well. Most of the stories have a moral for children to learn - some more explicit than others. It would be wise for teachers to view the stories in advance to select those stories that portray the messages relevant to the needs of their students.

A word of warning - this site contains quite persistent advertising for personalized books that can be purchased. These may be a bit distracting and deter student attention to the text. Teachers should be mindful of this when using the site and monitor how this impacts on student learning.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Beloved Library

The Mummy Bit...

Being a big believer in reading to babies, I started to read to mine in the womb. Yes, a little bit extreme, I know, but it helped me to keep the habit going despite all the many challenges of starting out with a newborn. We also began visiting the library regularly to change books. I can't rave enough about how great the library system is and how fantastic to be able to enjoy such a vast array of books at no cost. We have been borrowing board books, picture books, CDs and parenting books and magazines.

Our library also has story time for under school aged children, and Giggle and Wiggle for the babies.

The Teacher Bit...

I never cease to be amazed by how much my students enjoy their visits to the school library. They get so absorbed in their search for books of interest and they love to share their finds with their friends. They love to be exposed to great reads and to seek out books by the same author.

Selecting Good Books

One way of selecting good books to read is the trial and error, quick flick method. We have found a few gems this way including Isabella's Garden by Glenda Millard and Rebecca Cool and You and Me by Giovanni Manna. We've also walked by the display table on the way to the door and picked out a couple this way too.

Another (perhaps more efficient) way is to draw from book lists of recommended books. I purchased Don't Leave Childhood Without... A guide to the best books for children and have been working my way through the books listed. I log onto my library's website from home and request items from the list. The library texts me when they arrive and then I just pop in to pick them up. (Much easier than trying to find the books by looking through the shelves myself!) I've used this book when teaching to find a novel my students might enjoy hearing read aloud. 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up is another resource that could be helpful for this.

Of course, it's also nice to see some of the newer books that are coming out, and to go with a few that are being noticed for awards. The Children's Book Council of Australia is a great source for these gems, although it may be more difficult to get your hands on a copy through the library system.

In wrapping up...

Don't forget the beloved library as a resource for encouraging children to develop a love of reading. It is free and convenient, offering a great range of material.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Not just another mummy blog

One concern I have with beginning to blog again is that I don't want this to become a Mummy blog. From time to time however, I may like to share some of the insights I have gained as a mum or thoughts I have on educating children from an early age. These posts will be tagged "early starts" and will have their own link on the side bar.

After much consideration, my husband and I have decided to avoid creating an online presence for our son - through photos etc, and instead allow him to decide how this will be done later in his life. We are both somewhat tech savvy and enjoy the latest gadgets, and plan to share these with him, but we also want to leave his options open so that he can forge his own online identity without any embarrassment relating to what his Mummy posted on her blog during his childhood.

So, you won't find any identifiable photos of him here. You'll just have to believe me when I say that he is a sweet looking boy who often gets comments for his unusual amount of hair and big blue eyes.

And this is not another Mummy blog!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Returning to the Blogosphere?

It has been too long since I last contributed to this blog. As I sit here typing, I am trying to spark up a bit of commitment to what I have started and deep down want to continue. I liken it to someone returning to work after having won a million dollars. Of course, if you won a million dollars you would want to take a break, get away for a while and enjoy what most people could only dream of, but in the end you might want to get back to doing some of the other things you are passionate about and that have given you something to work towards.

Having a child is something that I have always dreamed of and feel incredibly lucky to be experiencing. With the birth of my son, I have been enjoying the special time that we have together while I am on leave from work. I am now halfway through my leave, and I realise that I also need to begin thinking about and planning for my "what next?". On top of that, my little one now has more of a daily routine, so there are points throughout the day where I could jump on the computer and write a post, read and respond to emails and all those other things I've struggled to find time for.

And so, I hope that this is the start of something that will gain momentum again in the weeks and months to come. I look forward to sharing with you and catching up on what I've missed!