My ten-year-old son Kai and his friends don’t have crazes in the same way that we did as kids. We had crazes for everything, becoming obsessed by roller-skating, paper planes, conkers, skipping, marbles, hopscotch, spinning tops, catapults and tiddlywinks just to name a few. There was even a craze for knitting one year. There were also crazes for collecting things; cards, stamps, figurines from cereal boxes, beer mats, stickers. You name it and it was probably a craze at some time or other. Battled over, swapped and just as soon dropped, these were the lifeblood of our playtime. I guess that three weeks was the average length of a craze but during those three weeks you couldn’t imagine that it wasn’t going to last forever. Some crazes were seasonal, while others cropped up randomly. We were all over them like locusts while they lasted. During a craze we ate, slept and breathed nothing else. In some ways I guess I haven’t changed.
Teacher created materials
On November 17th at the ETJ Kansai Expo in Osaka Daniel Olsson, author of ELF Learning’s new TRW Reader series, will be sharing his experience of the writing process. Here he gives a brief sneak preview of his tricks and techniques — some of which may be surprising.
Everybody has a passion. It’s not inevitable, however, that everyone will get a chance to indulge in that passion or have the opportunity to apply the related skills to something practical. When I was asked to write a reader to accompany ELF Learning’s Think Read Write phonics-based reading and writing workbook, however, that’s exactly what happened. I would be using my writing skills directly alongside my teaching skills and the kids I saw in my classroom on a daily basis personified my inspiration and my end goal. Here, I’d like to share some of the key elements of my creative process that resulted in a book that, I believe, has the young, first-time reader at its heart.
When I was a little girl, my father used to travel abroad often as a buyer of chemical materials. One evening before his departure I told him that I would miss him while he was away. Then he said to me, “Mari, look up at the sky if you feel lonely at night. I will be looking at the same moon.” I never imagined that I would co-author a moon-themed story back then.
I had the honor to co-author the picture book, Lily and the Moon (ELF Learning), with a renowned picture book author, Patricia Daly Oe. Like many other projects, this collaborative work turned out to be a nonlinear process which involves a lot of discussion, both casual and focused, and numerous decisions to be made during the process. In this short article, I will share the journey I took with my amazing coworkers for this project.
Stories from the Garden
In February, Malu wrote “Where do your stories come to life?” for Teaching Village. She shared her first story from her garden in May (The Little Girl and the Magic Words). I’m thrilled to share another original story from Malu’s garden. Barb
Among the many treasured trees in the little girl’s garden, the mulberry was her favorite. She loved climbing the tallest trees from which she had a view over the whole garden, and spending hours eating mulberries, talking to the tree, flowers, birds, bees, ants and all the varied insects she could see.
What a joy it was to come back, with her lips all red from the berries, contrasting with her pale skin and golden hair, and tell her dad she was full of blood, make up horror stories just to get kisses and hugs, and laugh together!
In February, Malu wrote “Where do your stories come to life?” for Teaching Village. I’m thrilled that she has followed it up with an original story. Barb
There was once a girl who lived in a world where all words ran free. They just existed everywhere, not written or imprisoned on paper, and people were very happy because every time they wanted to use them, they could see and understand their real meaning and there was not such thing as misunderstandings. The girl especially was always radiant, because when she thought about something nice to say, the words came tumbling out joyfully showing their meanings in the air; when she thought about a poem in her mind, everyone could see the words shining through the midday sun; and when she wanted to express all the love in her heart, they danced around the trees and flowers. The little girl was a transparent crystal reflecting her joyous soul to the world.
One day, the girl decided she wanted people from other worlds to be happy too, and listen to the beautiful things the people in her world could think and express with the words that ran free, but how could they travel so far and reach other people without being scrambled in the air? How could she know if people would see the beauty of her thoughts the words so gracefully expressed? That was when she had an idea: what if she glued the words carefully, one by one on the fallen leaves of trees so that her beautiful thoughts, poems and stories could be taken away and people from other worlds could read them too? The trees agreed and the words too.
“Daddy, play it again!” my four-year-old daughter said.
“The same song? Again?” (We’d already listened to it nine times in a row.)
Later that night, we would read the same storybook three times straight.
Young children want us to repeat songs and stories. They like to point at things, like pumpkins, and tell us, “I know what that is. It’s a pumpkin,” when they know that we know that they know what it is.
10 Great Games that you can do with your Paper Cups, Paper Plates, Toilet Paper Rolls, Clothespins, and Bottle Caps
The best way to develop speaking skills in very young learners is to get the children to talk, but to do that very young learners need exciting experiences so they will have something to talk about. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to create these experiences. The materials for these games are all free or very inexpensive. (more…)
About 25 years ago, my co-author Ritsuko Nakata taught me how to make cubes out of milk cartons, and I’ve been using them in class ever since. I love recycling things and coming up with new ways to use them in lessons. I know that a lot of you do, too, so I’m beginning a new category for Teaching Village so that you can share your own ideas for creating and using inexpensive or free teaching materials. Recycling always makes good sense for the environment, and in tough economic times it also makes sense for our classrooms. (more…)