Drama · English · History · Uncategorized · visual arts

Book Review: A Child of Books

a child of books

Book review: A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston

A Child of Books is a wondeful book about the importance of stories and imagination. As the child moves through the pages and explores her imagination and the different stories she encounters we get an insight into the way a child, or adult for that matter, can be transported through the words of stories.

The clever illustrations support the books message as the artist uses actual words to create the images. The pathways, seas, creatures and sky are often made up of letters and words that convey more stories. This is actually a really hard thing to do well in artmaking and it has been done to perfection in the pages of this book.

This book promotes reading, story telling, imagination, invention and more. A truely lovely book to add to your library at home or at school that will help to build a culture of creativity.

To extend the learning from this book you could:

  • Discuss the importance of story telling in fictional and non-fictional forms.
  • Have you ever felt like the words you are reading in a book become pictures in your head and you are transported into the story?
  • Can you create an artwork or image using letters and words like in the book?

For more creativity inspiring book suggestions, visit our library.

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English · History · music · Uncategorized · visual arts

Book Review: Mamie

Maime

Book review: Mamie by Tania McCartney

Where do I start with this beautiful illustrated story about the childhood of Australia’s sweetheart, May Gibbs (aka Mamie)!

Tania McCartney has brought the little girl ‘Mamie’ to life in this book filled with references to May Gibbs’ original stories and illustrations.

I highly recommend this book for homes and schools that want to encourage a creative culture for two main reasons. Firstly, this book gives children access to the history of an iconic Australian artist and author, which is great for English, history and Art subjects, in a way that children will enjoy. Secondly, the book describes Gibbs’ inspirational creative way of seeing the world. She spends plenty of time playing in nature, using her imagination and practicing her artistic skills. We get to see Mamie sing, draw, paint, dance, play, bake, sew, explore, observe, imagine and dream. These words and images will make the creative types feel like they’ve made a new, kindred friend.

An adorable, whimsy tale of an inspirational Australian child.

To extend the learning from this book you could:

  • Read a May Gibbs book and discuss the similarities and references in Mamie.
  • Explore the other wonderful Australian works by Tania McCartney.
  • Find some gum blossoms and leaves to paint or draw. Perhaps you could turn some of your illustrations into characters.
  • Visit the original home of Mamie, May Gibbs’ Nutcote. 

For more creativity inspiring book suggestions, visit our library.

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English · PDHPE · Uncategorized · visual arts

Book review: The Dot

the dot

Book review: The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds

The Dot is the story of Vashti, who somewhere along the line has lost her confidence in her drawing abilities. Thankfully, she has an understanding art teacher, who has most likely taught many students with this same view.

(As an art teacher, I have taught many students who have announced that they couldn’t draw. One of those students went on to become a recognised artist for their drawing ability!)

Vashti, in frustration, jabs the paper and creates “The Dot”. With encouragement and determination, she goes on to explore the basic shape as an artmaking theme and creates bigger and more exciting artworks each time she creates. Her confidence grows and she encourages others with their drawing as well.

This is a beautiful book about not giving up, keeping it simple, developing skills, having a go, growing in confidence and encouraging others. We are dedicated fans of author and illustrator Peter H. Reynolds and highly recommend his books, particularly the others in this set, Ish and Sky Color.

To extend the learning from this book you could have a read of the following activities.

  • Discussion: Do you sometimes feel like drawing is difficult like Vashti did? Do you have a go anyway?
  • What artworks could you create using just dots?
  • How important is encouragement to you and do you like to encourage others?
  • Yayoi Kusama is a popular artist who uses dots in her work. Have a look at this white room in a gallery that visitors were able to stick coloured dot stickers onto the walls, floors and furniture!*

For more creativity inspiring book suggestions, visit our library.

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*Note: We do our best to make sure any external links are suitable but a supervising adult will need to do the research first to check that the content is suitable for students. Many artists have a wide range of artworks and although some artworks may be suitable for children and families, other artworks may not be. Supervising adults are responsible for ensuring that the content is appropriate.

English · Science and Technology · Uncategorized · visual arts

Book Review: Australian Birds

Australian birds

Book review: Australian Birds by Matt Chun

This gorgeous book is by artist Matt Chun. I’ve included this book in my recommendations as not only is it a wonderful gathering of beautiful artworks but it is also a fantastic introduction to facts about Australian birds that is great for children. This would be a valuable book for any library.

The illustrations are so lovely and really capture the personality of each Australian bird. Opposite each artwork is a few paragraphs describing the life, habitat, diet and nests unique to each bird family. It is written in a way that is easy to understand and yet still interesting.

To extend the learning from this book, here are some more suggestions for activities.

  • Take notice of the birds around your home and see if you recognise any of them from the book.
  • Find some photos of native birds and create your own illustrations.
  • What other birds are native to your area? Write a short description about their nest, habitat and diet.

This is a great book for art and science.

For more creative learning book suggestions, visit our library.

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Drama · English · Geography · History · Mathematics · music · PDHPE · Science and Technology · Uncategorized · visual arts

Creative learning experiences: Sydney

 

SydneyI think most educators would agree that excursions are a fantastic and fun learning experience. We try to visit the city centre of Sydney, NSW a few times each year and explore all the wonderful things there are to experience and learn from. I think the following activities are worth the time/money and can easily be linked to learning outcomes. This list includes places and activities we have visited as well as suggestions from other educators that we are yet to visit but plan to! Park the car, put on your most comfortable shoes, grab your Opal card and explore! You could also pack a small art diary and some sketching pencils!

You might like to read my post about talking with children about art too.

I have also added cost indicators from Free, $, $$, $$$ to help. I have done my best to make sure this information is up to date and accurate at the time of posting but you will need to do your own research and planning as these things can change any time.

  • Powerhouse Museum – You can spend hours here and there is so much on offer for science, technology, history and art. $
  • Art Gallery of NSW – Fantastic for art, history and geography. Free – $$
  • The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney – Great for science, geography and history. Free
  • Chinese Garden of Friendship – Great for history and geography. $
  • Australian National Maritime Museum – Amazing for history, science, technology, geography and often art. I think its worth paying the extra to get on board the ships as they are fantastic. Talk to the guides on the ships too as they are full of great information. Free – $$$
  • Chinatown – great for geography and history.
  • Sydney Aquarium – Great for science and geography $$$
  • Wildlife Sydney – Great for science and geography $$$
  • Darling Harbour playground – great for fun with lots of interactive play. Free
  • Museum of Contemporary Art – See what programs are currently on offer to suit children and families. Free – $
  • Sydney Opera House – Amazing for music, art, drama, dance and history. It’s free to visit, which in itself is a wonderful experience, but it is definitely worth looking out for a moderate cost family friendly show often on in the school holidays. Free – $$$
  • Sydney Observatory – Great for science, history and geography. Its free to visit but the tour costs a little. The planetarium often travels to libraries in other towns and is an excellent experience. Free – $
  • May Gibbs’ Nutcote – Home and gardens of May Gibbs, now museum. Fantastic for English, history and art. $
  • Pylon Lookout, Sydney Harbour Bridge – Great for history, geography and science. $$
  • Public Transport, especially ferries – Great for science, technology and geography. The ferry is a great way to view the architecture and landscape of the harbour as well. Get the cheap Sunday rates. $$
  • Barangaroo Reserve – wonderful for history, art, geography and science. Free
  • Taronga Zoo – great for science, geography and history. $$$
  • Cockatoo Island – Great for history. $$
  • Wendy’s Secret Garden – lovely for art, history and geography. (Wendy is the wife of the late artist Brett Whiteley). Free
  • ABC Studios tour – $$ cost but needs to be organised in advance
  • Australian Museum – Great for science, history, geography and art. $$
  • The Rocks walking tour – Free app
  • Vivid Sydney – Annual light exhibition

This is not a sponsored post.

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visual arts

Art Bag

5 day of Christmas

An art bag is a really important item and needn’t cost you anything. You’re going to want a bag or large pencil case of some sort to be able to get out and about with your art materials. You can use a bag you already have or find something at a second hand shop. Something that can carry an art diary or journal and some pencils or watercolours so that you can get out into nature and amongst the inspiration!

visual arts

Clay

12 day of Christmas

Clay, Air dry clay or Play dough, depending on the age of the children is a fantastic art material to have in your resources. Being able to work with items that promote creativity in 3D is really important and there is something really earthy about building something out of clay or dough.

Air dry clay allows children to be able to make something permanent which sometimes changes the way they look at an art project which can be an interesting learning experience.