Little Miss Teacher Blog

By Clara Fiorentini

Friday, 20 November 2020

Books about consent for children

 Image Credits: Blouin Artinfo

This is a topic I've received queries about over the past few days. We have a lot of progress to make in our little country when it comes to consent. As parents, educators and society there are many simple but significant efforts we can make to begin changing attitudes, norms and behaviours. For any notable change to come about, we have to start from the roots up - we need to include how we communicate with children about consent in our efforts towards making change happen. 

Like any subject, topic or theme, there is always some form of children's literature to support. This post contains some suggestions of useful texts for approaching the topic of consent with children - in a safe, direct, developmentally appropriate manner. 

On today, World Children's Day, I think it appropriate to pause and think about how we as a society can help the next generation in succeeding when it comes to consent? How can we help the next generations to come, avoid the pitfalls and murkiness of those before them? We only have to look to headlines of this past week to see that little has changed and urgent progress is required.



Conversations become difficult if we avoid them and let them become ignored. Ignoring the topic ensures it become the elephant in the room. The topic of consent is something that needs to be discussed and dealt with EARLY. When I say early, I mean early years, early childhood! Toddlers can be taught about consent appropriately. So can young children. Normalising conversations about bodies and appropriate touch and physical behaviours only means that it's an accessible topic throughout childhood. If we want to build environments of trust we need to let children know that conversation and questions are accessible, allowed and important. By ignoring these opportunities to educate children on consent from a young age, we're setting them up to fail, setting them up to be unprepared in dealing with issues surrounding consent, no matter how big or small they may be or seem.

A way to make discussions about consent normal is by bringing the topic into our book choices. There are some excellent texts out there and if you thinking of sourcing some, check out a read aloud version on YouTube first to see if it will suit.


My recommendations for children's books about consent:


1. For discussions around personal space, Harrison P. Spader Personal Space Invader is excellent. Suitable for the infants right up to the senior classes, it is a great text for drawing awareness to how we can be respectful and conscious of personal space.


Miles is the Boss of his Body by Samantha Kutetzman-Counter & Abbie Schiller is text which really cleverly deals with the frustrations of unwanted touch and how to communicate when hugs, squeezes, tickles and pinches are not what we want or appreciate. Again, another text that could be used right across the primary school.

Will Ladybug Hug? by Hilary Leung is aimed at babies and toddlers and is perfect for laying down foundational thoughts and understandings about hugs. The text is also perfectly useful for the preschool and infant classes too as the way in which the text is presented allows for lots of prediction, lots of talk and lots of discussion.


Hands Off, Harry by Rosemary Wells is a brilliant text for drawing awareness to how sometimes our physical actions can upset or annoy our classmates. Another great book for the infant classes to develop an awareness of respecting the physical and personal space of others.


C is for Consent by Eleanor Morrison is another text that was designed and aimed at children in early childhood however the language, the message and even the illustrations are perfectly applicable right across the primary school again. We want messages to be clear and direct so it's important we pick texts that are straightforward. Definitely one for your book armoury.

Personal Space Camp by Julia Cook is a cleverly crafted text all about comfort bubbles and personal space. Ideal for the middle and senior classes in primary school. 


Many of us make wonderful efforts to include rich children's literature right across all learning topics and themes. There's no reason why they can't help in developing children's awareness of consent too. Of course, books like these can't be for 'once off' read alouds, they need to be visible in our libraries, accessible and encouraged.

2020 has been the year of 'the new normal', let's make catering for comfortable conversations with children about consent part of that new normal too.










SHARE:

Monday, 16 November 2020

World Nursery Rhyme Week

 This week (16-20 November) is World Nursery Rhyme Week! 



If you have been following me for a while, you will know by now that I frequently laud the power of the humble Nursery Rhyme.

Sometimes they can fall into the 'routine' bracket or simply be relegated to being used as time fillers and transitions. Nursery Rhymes, however, need to be front and centre in our instruction in the early years as they are a critical support in developing so many crucial early literacy skills.

"Experts in literacy and child development have discovered that if children know eight nursery rhymes by heart by the time they are four years old, they're usually among the best readers by the time they are eight."

Mem Fox

Nursery Rhymes are also ideal learning themes and if you work with young children, themes are the way to go. The more learning we can connect into a particular theme, the more cross-over in learning and language use. Themes contextualise learning for children and a Nursery Rhyme can be a powerful thematic unit.


To celebrate World Nursery Rhyme week, I've made one of my Nursery Rhyme packs available for download. 32 pages brimming with play and early literacy activities all based around the Incy Wincy Spider.


Includes key vocabulary flashcards, suggestions for extending the learning, games, cutting activities, crafts, games, reading, poems and story suggestions.





Download and enjoy!

Using it with your class or ECE setting? Be sure to document and share online!



SHARE:

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Choosing Our Future: Public Forum


 

I am delighted to be participating in the Choosing Our Future Public Forum as part of Science Week 2020.

Join in with the conversations and have your say on a range of critical public debates.

I have been invited to take part in the forum on Enhancing Education for Children tomorrow between 1pm - 2.15pm. I'm sharing awareness about Childcare and Early Childhood Education and the critical role this sector plays in a functioning contemporary society. If you have an interest in early childhood education and care and the educative role of those who work in this sector, come along tomorrow and add your thoughts to the forum. Every response matters! Early Childhood Education & Care matters...tell us why you think so too and how we as a society can improve our priorities and understanding of childcare and early childhood settings.

The forum will remain open until Friday and you can continue the discussions until then. 

Click here learn more about the schedule of events.

SHARE:

Sunday, 1 November 2020

Handwriting - The Literacy Channel



Our latest video has just gone live on the Literacy Channel. This week we are talking about all things handwriting and sharing lots of tips, strategies and ideas for successful handwriting instruction.


Watch the video now.



Don't forget to  download your FREE copy of the content from the video details on YouTube and be sure to subscribe to our channel!




SHARE:

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Team Hope: Bunny's Shoebox Journey 2020

Team Hope have been fundraising and supporting disadvantaged children overseas since 2010. Each year, thousands of gift-filled shoeboxes, created by the people of Ireland are delivered to children across Africa and Eastern Europe especially for Christmas.




This year, as part of their fundraising efforts, they have published Bunny's Shoebox Journey, a children's book detailing the experience of creating a Christmas shoebox, sending it to Malawi and sharing kindness with others.  

The book itself was written by Rachel Brown and illustrated by Louise Dukes and has been published for preschool and infant classes and includes some useful conversation prompts and visuals to support further learning about the Christmas shoebox process. Bunny's Shoebox Journey also includes an insightful foreword from renowned Lecturer in Psychology and Education and Parenting Expert, Dr. Mary O'Kane.

The book itself costs €7 and all proceeds will go towards the wonderful work of Team Hope. Click here to purchase Bunny's Shoebox Journey.

Due to Covid19, Team Hope's Christmas Shoebox Appeal has moved online this year. For more details on how to donate and design your online gift box, click here.





SHARE:

Tuesday, 13 October 2020

12 Important Words



High frequency words - they take up a lot of our thinking time in early primary literacy instruction. Be it Dolch, Fry's, Tricky - there are many lists teachers choose to teach and this often brings a lot of discussion about where to start, which list to use and which words should take priority?


High frequency words make up about half of the total words we encounter in reading. There are many reasons why we need to help children recognise common words, but the main one being, to help them experience success in early reading experiences! (Not in fact to just jump from list to list of 'Tricky Words' as many still believe.)


So what might help?

Finding a starting point is important. Deciding what will support your students the most as they begin blending and decoding. I introduced Junior Infants to just twelve words first. One by one,  after Halloween usually, over a number of weeks, even months. These twelve were plenty to begin tackling their first exposures to reading books and conveniently we met them on a daily basis in our Big Book read alouds.

Why 12?

There is endless research on High Frequency Words and best approaches. In particular, the work of McNally and Murray* from the 1960s who studied common key words in written English. According to their studies,  there are 12 important, little words that account for around 25% of the total words in adult literature, children's books and reading schemes.


And here they are:



When the children are beginning to recognise and remember the first few letter names and sounds, they are giving you the signals that they are ready to begin reading conventionally. Then it's a good time to begin tackling the high-frequency words .... simultaneously with your phonics. The children need to see the connection between the letters and print, and it is crucially important that the high freq. words are included in this process. 

Download the 12 Important Words list in PDF poster format here.


Happy reading!





References:

Clark, M. (2016). Learning to be literate: Insights from research for policy and practice. Improving Schools 2017, Vol. 19(2) 129-140. DOI: 10.1177/136580216651518



SHARE:

Apple Phoneme Activities


It's always nice to bring the seasonal themes into your literacy activities. It continues that contextualisation of the learning for children. I love when a resource can be used in multiple ways to reinforce a concept, especially when it comes to letter sounds. 

My Apple Phoneme Pack can be used in several ways to practice letter names, letter sounds, blending and emergent spelling. It also acts as useful display on your Autumn literacy wall or even embedded in your socio-dramatic play - Autumn Farm anyone?

 

Display, chop, cut, play - download for free and use the pack your way!











SHARE:

Monday, 5 October 2020

REPEAT: The Literacy Channel: Phonological Awareness Webinar

 ****THIS WEBINAR IS NOW FULLY BOOKED AND NO LONGER ACCEPTING REGISTRATIONS!!!**


The Literacy Channel is going LIVE.... again! (Well, live on Zoom!)

Due to high demand we have decided to offer one last chance to attend our webinar on PHONOLOGICAL AWARENESS!


What is it about?

What exactly is phonological awareness? Why do we need it? What can we do as teachers to develop phonological awareness? We've got you covered!

60 minutes, packed to the brim with advice, support, resources and strategies to best develop phonological awareness in the infant classroom. All participants will receive a copy of the content covered including a guide of practical strategies and resources to tackle Phonological Awareness in the primary classroom.

Registration costs €10Places are strictly limited to 100 places so book now to avoid disappointment!

Click here to REGISTER now! 

**Registration is now closed!**


See you on the 15th!









Please note: On registration, a zoom link will be sent to each participant. These links are unique to each attendee and must not be shared or circulated to others. Circulating unique links may render your link obsolete and you will be unable to join the webinar on the night.




SHARE:

Thursday, 24 September 2020

The Heart of Teaching - Podcast Interview



Recently, I had the absolute pleasure of being interviewed by the wonderful Dr. Aoife Lynam of Hibernia College as part of series two of their teaching podcast, The Heart of Teaching.

We had a really lovely discussion about all things literacy and playful learning.

We talked about some of my favourite texts for teachers and children, my journey in education so far, and some of the motivations behind my interest in literacy development.

You can listen to the full interview and other previous episodes on The Heart of Teaching, here.




SHARE:

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

REPEAT WEBINAR: Preparing for Literacy


Webinar logo

Good news!

Due to popular demand, Myself and Sinéad Lambe are delighted to run a repeat of our Preparing for Literacy Webinar hosted by Tralee, Navan, Clare and Monaghan Education centres on Wednesday October 14 at 7pm.

We'll be exploring some of the critical skills that infants need time to develop before they are sufficiently ready to engage with formal reading and writing instruction. We're going to look at preparing the literacy learning environment, preparing for language development, preparing for reading, preparing for handwriting and preparing for literacy development through play - all in one hour!

We'll be sharing some really useful, practical and realistic strategies to help best prepare your infants for literacy learning.

Registration fee: 10

Click here to register now!


See you on the 14th!





SHARE:

Monday, 21 September 2020

Webinar alert! The Literacy Channel... LIVE!

****THIS WEBINAR IS NOW FULLY BOOKED AND NO LONGER ACCEPTING REGISTRATIONS!!!**


The Literacy Channel is going LIVE! (Well, live on Zoom!)

Join us for the first in our webinar series on Thursday October 1st at 7pm - from the comfort of your home!

We're dedicating the first webinar to PHONOLOGICAL AWARENESS!



What exactly is phonological awareness? Why do we need it? What can we do as teachers to develop phonological awareness? We've got you covered!

60 minutes, packed to the brim with advice, support, resources and strategies to best develop phonological awareness in the infant classroom.

Registration costs €10Places are strictly limited to 100 places so book now to avoid disappointment!

Click here to REGISTER now! 

**Registration is now closed!**

See you on the 1st!









Please note: On registration, a zoom link will be sent to each participant. These links are unique to each attendee and must not be shared or circulated to others. Circulating unique links may render your link obsolete and you will be unable to join the webinar on the night.




SHARE:

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Vocabulary Instruction - The Literacy Channel


 

Our latest video has just gone live on The Literacy Channel.

This week we're talking all things VOCABULARY and we have shared 10 Teaching Tips to help enhance vocabulary instruction at all class levels!





Share, circulate and enjoy. You can download the full PDF of the content too from the video description.

Don't forget to subscribe to our channel to keep up with all things literacy on The Literacy Channel!

Keep an eye out for some exciting Literacy Channel news over the next week.... we will share details next Monday!






SHARE:

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Preparing For Literacy - Webinar

WEBINAR ALERT!!

Webinar logo


Good news! 

You asked and we listened:

Since our CPD summer course with Marino Institute of Education, we have been inundated with queries about some further CPD for infant teachers. Myself and my colleague Sinéad Mc Cauley Lambe are delighted to be teaming up with Tralee, Navan, Clare and Monaghan Education Centres to present a *FREE* webinar for infant teachers on Monday September 21st at 7pm.

We'll be exploring some of the critical skills that infants need time to develop before they are sufficiently ready to engage with formal reading and writing instruction. We're going to look at preparing the literacy learning environment, preparing for language development, preparing for reading, preparing for handwriting and preparing for literacy development through play - all in one hour!

We'll be sharing some really useful, practical and realistic strategies to help best prepare your infants for literacy learning.

Register and book your place through Tralee Education Centre here!

Register and book your place through Navan Education Centre here!

Register and book your place through Clare Education Centre here!

Register and book your place through Monaghan Education Centre here!

Looking forward to 'seeing' you on the 21st!




Webinar banner


SHARE:

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Albert The Dragon - Gareth Chapman

Albert the Dragon Gareth Chapman Books Dragon childrens book adventure

Anyone who has been following LMT for any duration of time knows that I am fond of picturebooks. Fond? Ok, I love them. One of the privileges of working in education, especially literacy education, means that so much of my work gets to revolve around literature - more specifically, children's literature!



Galway based (via New Zealand) author, Gareth Chapman recently sent me a copy of his newest publication, 'Albert The Dragon' and I just knew on the first read that it was one for my resource armoury.

Meaningful plot 

Rhyming 

Clever Illustrations 

Subtle print embedded within illustrations (you all know I'm all about that environmental print!) 

Dragon as a protagonist 



Chapman's carefully crafted picturebook tells the tale of an elderly dragon, named Albert who is a little ashamed of his wings. Without giving too much away, Albert makes a fabulous friend in Holly, a young girl called who not only helps him to overcome his worries about his wings but also awards Albert with a whole new lease of life.



A lovely text for a read aloud, for incorporation into well-being learning activities and a without doubt, a great addition to a class library ...definitely a text which would be accessible for Junior Infants right up to 2nd class to model rhyming, descriptive language and even to aid the development of visual literacy. It is also an ideal text to utilise in the senior classes as a mentor text for delving into discussion and critical thinking. An ideal text to inspire creative writing and even as a focus for working on those all-important reading comprehension skills like predicting, inferring, visualising and making connections. 

One of the things that really stands out to you on your first read of Albert the Dragon, is the quality of the illustrations. Though detailed, they are age appropriate and afford plenty of opportunities for exploration, discussion and inferring. A perfect complement to the story, the illustrations are the creations of Spiddal based Brazilian artist, Andrea Rossi.

Albert the Dragon can be purchased on Gareth's website is on sale in Charlie Byrne's bookshop, Galway City and is also available on Andrea Rossi's workshop.

A beautifully crafted text with a truly heart-warming plot - and my goodness do we need more of those these days!

Children's Books | Gareth Chapman Books | Ireland

For more:

Follow Gareth on Instagram 

Follow Anrdrea Rossi on Instagram




This text was #gifted.



SHARE:
Blogger Template by pipdig