The Best Books About Space for Kids

World Space Week is a UN-declared celebration of space held annually, every October 4 to 10. It is the largest space event in the world and an ideal time for teachers and educators to use space-based activities to excite students about science and technology.

What will I be reading in the classroom for World Space Week?

1. Give me some space! by Philip Bunting

Una dreams of a life in Space. Life on Earth is just so so-so. But how will she get there? And will she complete her mission to discover life in Space? And did she remember to feed Neil the goldfish?

2. Here we are – Notes for Living on Planet Earth by Oliver Jeffers

“ Here We Are is a tour through the land, the sea, the sky, our bodies; dioramas of our wild diversity….Jeffers is the master of capturing the joy in our difference.

– NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

3. Sun is kind of a big deal by Nick Seluk

A funny and factual look at the Sun explains every part of the Sun’s big job: keeping our solar system together, giving Earth day and night, keeping us warm, and more. It gives so much information about Earth and it even explains everything leading up until now. The kids love this book. 

4. Smart Kids: Space: For Kids Who Really Love Space! by Roger Priddy

Smart Kids Space is an ideal first guide to the wonders of the universe from the Solar System to the Milky Way, from Mars to Mercury, from UFOs to the Space Shuttle – this book has it all…

5. A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars by Seth Fishman

This book is wonderful because it makes you stop and think about the number of stars vs. something that kids can relate to. It’s great because it compares space to real-life examples.

Space activities for the classroom!

Visit Mrs L’s Little Learners to find more great teaching resources!

Super Fun Halloween Writing Activities

Kids love Halloween… The costumes, the candy, the spooky stories! The month of October is the perfect opportunity to engage students in writing and get those creative juices flowing.

These Halloween writing activities will help your students create a creepy tale or two.

1. Haunted House For Sale

A school I used to teach at had a Halloween fete every year and one of the sponsors was a real estate company. They would post amazing Haunted House For Sale signs outside the school. It was a perfect opportunity for descriptive writing activities that could engage even the most reluctant writer.

2. Room on the Broom

This Julia Donaldson book is one of my year round favourite picture books – especially perfect for Halloween! There are just so many wonderful teaching opportunities in this story. Here are some activities that I have created…

3. Senses Writing

Senses writing is such an effective scaffold to encourage descriptive writing. Students use their senses to imagine what it would be like to trick or treat at a haunted house or meet a monster, a witch or a ghost.

4. Procedural Writing

Procedure writing is my favourite to teach. The structure and sequencing skills students learn when writing a procedure are so easily transferrable. October is a great time to hone those procedure writing skills because Halloween procedures can be so much fun, engaging and creative!

How to sneak a monster into school is always a winner! There is a great text that you can buy to go with it here: PROCEDURAL WRITING – How to Sneak your Monster into School

How to make a Jack O’Lantern is fun and can be hands-on. Great for home-school, and family writing fun. Use this YouTube video tutorial to help your students with the steps.

5. Descriptive Writing

Halloween is full of weird and wonderful creatures and settings that capture the imagination. Have your students draw spooky characters like witches, wizards and goblins then write a description.

Try it Out!

Visit Mrs L’s Little Learners to find more great teaching resources!

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The Fire Wombat by Jackie French

The Fire Wombat – Notable for the 2021 CBCA Book of The Year

The publishers say…

 

As the flames of a bushfire approach, one small wombat shelters with other animals in her burrow. But that is just the beginning of their journey to safety.
Based on events witnessed by Australian Children’s Laureate Jackie French during the 2020 fires, and co-created with award-winning illustrator Danny Snell, this is a story of courage, compassion and survival, which saw people across Australia come together to save our wildlife from devastation.

Download the Teacher Notes HERE!

I’ve also created these activities to support teaching with this book…

Try it Out

Click here to buy this resource.

Visit Mrs L’s Little Learners to find more great teaching resources!

First Day of School with The Kissing Hand

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn is a classic Back to School book for many Pre-K, Kindergarten and First Grade Classrooms. 

If you’re yet to discover this heartwarming book this is what the publisher says…

School is starting in the forest, but Chester Raccoon does not want to go. To help ease Chester’s fears, Mrs. Raccoon shares a family secret called the Kissing Hand to give him the reassurance of her love any time his world feels a little scary. Since its first publication in 1993, this heartwarming book has become a children’s classic that has touched the lives of millions of children and their parents, especially at times of separation, whether starting school, entering daycare, or going to camp. It is widely used by kindergarten teachers on the first day of school. Stickers at the back will help children and their parents keep their Kissing Hand alive.

My favorite first day of kindergarten book is The Kissing Hand

I’ve created a bundle of activities to go along with the book to make the first day of school memorable and comforting!

Check them out below and remember to download the freebie!

Download your The Kissing Hand freebie below!

Try it Out

Click here to buy this resource.

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Ellie’s Dragon by Bob Graham

Ellie’s Dragon – Shortlisted for the 2021 CBCA Book of The Year: Early Childhood.

The publishers say…

No friendship is imaginary. 

When Ellie is very little, she finds a newborn dragon fresh from the egg on a supermarket shelf, and calls him Scratch. He is quite the sweetest thing she has ever seen! From that day on, Ellie and Scratch do everything together. Ellie’s mum and her teacher can’t see her fiery friend, but all her friends can – and, over the years, Ellie’s dragon grows to be big, house-trained, and very affectionate. And Ellie is growing, too… A moving story about the wonders of imagination and the nature of growing up from one of Australia’s most revered bookmakers. 

This story provides excellent opportunities to discuss…. Growing up, imagination, feelings, friendship and family.

Discussion questions:

  • Who do you think the audience for this book is? Why?
  • What does it mean to be a friend?
  • What makes a good friend?
  • Why do you think Ellie and the other children can see Scratch and the adults cannot?
  • How can you make a new friend?
  • Scratch starts to fade for Ellie as she grows up. Why do you think this happens?

Teaching ideas:

  • Ellie didn’t really have a chance to say goodbye to Scratch. Have student’s write a goodbye letter to Scratch.
  • Create a dragon dinner plate!
  • Students imagine their own dragon. Draw and name the dragon and describe their character traits.

Try it Out

Click here to buy this resource.

Visit Mrs L’s Little Learners to find more great teaching resources!

Anemone is not the Enemy by Anna McGregor

Anemone is not the Enemy – Shortlisted for the 2021 CBCA Book of The Year: Early Childhood. This quirky and humorous picture book tells the story of a sea anemone who lives alone in a rock pool and desperately wants a friend … The story follows a series of conversations between the anemone and the visitors to the rock pool as the tide goes in and out. A sweet story of friendship dappled with fascinating marine life facts.

This story provides excellent opportunities to discuss…. Friendship-building, feelings, individual differences, strengths and weaknesses, compatibility and loneliness.

Discussion questions:

  • What does it mean to be a friend?
  • What makes a good friend?
  • Have you ever been the new kid somewhere? How did you feel?
  • How can you make a new friend?
  • Is there anything about you that makes you feel different to all your other friends?

Teaching ideas:

  • Act it out! Students act out the conversations from the story. Cut out the characters from the story and create a puppet show.
  • Create an under the sea diorama!
  • Compare high tide and low tide… Rockpool and ocean.
  • Use the facts from the book to create a rockpool fact file.

Try it Out

Click here to buy this resource.

Visit Mrs L’s Little Learners to find more great teaching resources!

Sing Me the Summer by Jane Godwin & Alison Lester

CBCA 2021 Shortlist – Picture Book of the Year nominee Sing Me the Summer. is the latest from the perfect picture book pairing from Jane Godwin and Alison Lester.

This beautiful story takes the reader on a journey through Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring and back to Summer again. It follows the change of seasons and the change of activities all these changes bring – like playing on the beach, stomping through leaves, bonfires on cold winter nights and playing in long springtime grass.

A wonderful rhyming story packed with teaching and learning opportunities.

Explore…

Day and night

Seasons

Rhyme

Senses Writing

Try it Out

Download the Sing Me the Summer FREEBIE:

You can buy the full resource here:

Sing Me the Summer Print and Go Worksheets

You can find other book buddy resources in my TPT store:

Mrs L’s Little Learners

Not cute. by Philip Bunting

CBCA 2021 Shortlist – Picture Book of the Year nominee Not cute. is the latest book from the much-celebrated author and illustrator Philip Bunting.

Not cute. is a funny story about an adorable Quokka who wishes to be described as anything but cute. He would prefer to be dangerous, scary or ferocious. Quokka encounters a number of Australian animals and becomes more and more frustrated at being considered cute. He starts to become angry, aggressive and too big for his boots. Quokka eventually meets an animal who agrees with him and meets an unfortunate fate. The final pages include a quote from Aesop, “The stubborn listen to nobody’s advice and become a victim of their own delusions”, a wonderful prompt to discuss the consequences of one’s actions.

How can I use Not cute. in the classroom?

This book is a great starting point for many lessons in the classroom… I recently used it to teach a Dynamic Dialogue lesson and the kids loved it.

The dialogue in the story lends itself to drama. So we acted out the story and interchanged the ‘said’ words from the story, while discussing the meaning of the new vocabulary.  

Not cute. features a plethora of ‘Words that are better than said’ including:

We used Dynamic Dialogue writing prompts to imagine some hilarious conversations between the different animals.

Then, using the book Not Cute. as an example we explored how to use punctuation with direct speech.

Try it Out

To save yourself a heap of time grab my Not Cute. book buddy bundle here:

Not cute. Print and Go Activities and Worksheets

I created a Dynamic Dialogue writing prompt freebie that you can use in your classroom:

You can buy the full resource here:

Dynamic Dialogue Writing Prompts

You can find more book buddy resources in my TPT store.

Mrs L’s Little Learners

Using Newman’s Prompts in Lower Primary

Young children are natural problem solvers: that is how they learn.

I was first introduced to Newman’s Error Analysis by a numeracy consultant many years ago and it has been the basis of my problem solving teaching ever since. Problem solving is an important way of learning, because it motivates children to connect previous knowledge with new situations and to develop flexibility and creativity in the process.

By consistently using Newman’s Prompts to explicitly scaffold the problem solving process, student’s quickly develop confidence and a range of problem solving strategies.

So what is Newman’s Error Analysis?

Newman’s error analysis came from research into language issues in maths in the 1970s. As a result of these studies Anne Newman identified five basic steps students typically work through to solve written word problems:

1. Reading

2. Comprehension

3. Transformation

4. Process Skills

5. Encoding

Newman’s Prompts

Newman suggested five prompts to determine where errors may occur in students’ attempts to solve written problems.

Reading 1. Please read the question to me.

Comprehension 2. Tell me what the question is asking you to do.

Transformation 3. Tell me how you are going to find the answer.

Processing Skills 4. Show me what to do to get the answer.

Encoding 5. Now, write down your answer.

Using Newman’s Prompts in Lower Primary

I introduce Newman’s Prompts to solve mathematical word problems as soon as my students are able to read basic sentences. Giving students problems with words that they can decode helps to build both their reading and math confidence.

I teach my students the steps with these Newman’s Prompts posters and then they each have a bookmark to remind them.

Here is an example of how I structure the lesson:

THE PROBLEM

Try it Out

I created a freebie that you can use to teach your students using Newman’s Prompts. You can grab it with the link below:

FREEBIE – Newman’s Error Analysis Problem Solving Worksheet

To save yourself a tonne of time… Buy my other Newman’s Prompt resources here:

Newman’s Error Analysis Problem Solving Booklet – Numbers to 20

Newman’s Error Analysis Posters and Bookmarks

The Power of the Picture Book

I love picture books… like really love picture books. There is no better way to engage students and introduce key concepts in the classroom than with a quality picture book.

As well as providing children with an introduction to art and story, these experiences are also rich in their support of early literacy. Reading picture books, whether as an independent reader or as a shared reading experience, builds language skills and fosters critical and creative thinking. Today’s world needs those creative thinkers with solid problem-solving skills, and the ability to ‘read’ pictures – to compose, communicate, and think critically about images in our visually saturated world – is key.

There are so many reasons to use picture books in the classroom… Here are just five:

Enjoyment.

Engaging with visual images is enjoyable and stimulating. It’s true what they say… a picture is worth a thousand words. Children appreciate images and gain meaning from them.

Engagement.

Enjoyment leads to engagement. This is the same for us all – adults and children alike. A good picture book will absorb children’s attention.

Discussion.

A stimulating image promotes talk and allows children to reflect on images – whether they are familiar, unusual or playful – if they have captured interest – children will want to talk about them. In talking they are building vocabulary and making meaning.

Developing skills in reading and writing.

Engaging with a picture book offers opportunities to develop English skills in an ‘holistic’ way. Engaging with pictures develops ‘visual literacy’. The opportunities to talk, can be structured and planned to allow children to ask questions, share with a partner or develop a dramatic moment – a freeze frame or role play from the book.

Pictures will often support children’s understanding of text and will enable children to develop their language comprehension skills. Engagement in a picture book may stimulate a child to write – creating a character description from an image or creating their own picture book on a similar theme.

Motivating reluctant readers.

Children who are struggling with their reading for whatever reason benefit from spending more time with picture books to develop their visual literacy.

CLICK HERE to check out these picture book resources.