National Reconciliation Week is a great opportunity to learn more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and history. There are some great details about the purpose of this week, as well as ways of participating, on the National Reconciliation Week website.
Dreamtime stories have long been a favourite of my students. Not only do they capture the imaginations of the students, drawing their attention, but they also help reflect the culture and history of the original owners of this great land.
One of my personal favourites is the story of Tiddalick the Frog. In honour of National Reconciliation Week, I am sharing with you one of my favourite art pieces that my students enjoy year after year.
Templates for this artwork can be found in my Free Resource Library. Don’t have the password yet for the Library? Head to my Instagram account, check out my Story Highlights and inside the one titled FREE, you will find the password. Feel free to follow my Instagram account while you are there.
So here are the instructions on creating your own Tiddalick master piece.
You will need:
Oil pastels or crayons (I personally prefer oil pastels as the colours are more vibrant
Note: Before I begin this art work I read to my students the story of Tiddalick the Frog. If you don’t have a picture book for the story here is a link to a video or a printable PDF with a simple story on it.
I also like my students to have completed their recount before beginning the art work as well.
Colour in your frogs. There are many ways you can go about doing this. Either colour them fully in crayon or oil pastel. Or partially colour them with oil pastel or crayon and then paint with water colours over the top (as I did for the spotty frog).
Cut out your frog. (Allow the water colour paint to dry if you painted them)
Putting your frogs aside, take your A3 paper. Students will now do rubbings on their A3 paper. This really can be of anything you like. I chose leaves, with the aim for students to paint them blue with watercolours, giving the illusion of a pond. For the other one we simply rubbed lines along the paper while resting the paper on concrete. This gave the lines a rough texture. This was then painted over in brown water colours to give the illusion of dirt or mud.
After rubbings are completed, students can was over the top with your chosen water colour paint.
Once the paint has dried, students can now glue their frog and recount onto the A3 paper.
Pretty simple hey?! You are welcome!
If you are looking for other activities to support Reconciliation Week, check out these resources:
So as well as Lapbooks, I LOVE using Factballs in the classroom as well.
Factballs are easy to assemble and are a unique way to display research content in your classroom. This content could be recorded in your students’ books, never to be seen or looked at again, but with Factballs, student work is on display all the time. It becomes a talking point, reminding your students of the work they are covering in class. Parents are also easily able to see what their child is learning, creating an opportunity for conversation between child and parent or teacher and parent.
So how do I use Factballs?
I use Factballs in a variety of ways in my classroom. I often use them in my Literacy centres. Because each Factball comes with a fact sheet to complete each section of the Factball without the need for researching on the computer or borrowing books from the library, they provide the perfect opportunity to become a comprehension task with a difference. At first it appears that students are simply filling in another Q&A comprehension worksheet but upon completion of the worksheets, they transform into something far more exciting than a normal comprehension task sheet.
I usually try to match up the Factball with the topic we are covering in class to integrate other subjects into our Literacy rotations. It often means we can get on with other investigations during our allocated Science and History lessons rather than getting bogged down in teaching content.
I also like to use Factballs as a means of getting to know my students. At the start of each year I have my students complete these Back to School Factballs (available in my Free Resource Library). It is a great way to get to know them and get some of their work hanging up in the classroom straight away.
At the beginning of each term, I then get my students to complete these Goal Setting Factballs. These are a great way for students to reflect on their strengths and weaknesses and set goals for the term/semester/year ahead. Having them hang up in the classroom means the students can constantly refer to them throughout the term/semester/year and it keeps them accountable for their own learning.
But how do you assemble your Factball?
I have digressed. I should really get down to the purpose of this post. How to assemble your Factball.
Factball assembly is quite straight forward really. All you will need is:
The completed Factball template
Now before you start I will put a disclaimer in. While the assembly of the Factballs is quite straight forward, assuming that a whole class of seven year olds can complete it without assistance may be a little fantastical. I will give you instructions on how they are assembled below, but please consider how you would communicate this to your whole class based on their age and needs. Personally I prefer to deliver these instructions to small groups rather than the whole class. I find this easier to manage in the younger grades. If I am lucky I will have a teacher aide assisting another group at the same time. But consider the instructions below and do what works best for you and your students.
After students have completed the details on their Factball and coloured it in, allow students to cut around the outside of each circle and rectangular labels (there should be two of these).
Once all the pieces are cut out, punch a hole at the top of each circle.
Fold each circle in half, keeping the title of each circle at the top. I like to use the hole that I’ve just punched into the circle as a guide. Don’t unfold the circles.
Take one folded circle. While still folded, add glue to one outside half of the circle.
Place the next folded circle on top of where you have just added the glue.
Continue adding glue and circles until you have no circles left.
On the last circle that you glue on, add glue to the remaining exposed side. Open up your Factball and secure this glued side to the remaining exposed side of your first circle. The Factball should now form a sphere.
Through holes at the top of your Factball, thread a piece of string. I like to flatten my Factball out (as in the image below) to make this step easier.
Putting your Factball aside momentarily, take your rectangular headings.
On the back of one heading add some glue.
Place the string of your Factball on top of the glued heading.
Place the remaining rectangular heading on top of the string.
Aaannnd… You are finished!! Well done! Easy hey?! Here a few examples of finished Factballs.
Because not only do they showcase student learning in a neat and organised package (pleasing my OCD tendencies ;p) but they are engaging for students also. I love how my students take ownership of their Lapbook. They take pride in the work they produce and interest in the topic that is being studied. Even the most boring of topics comes to life as my students explore the content using interactive notebook style flaps and pockets.
Why does it work?
I don’t really have the most scientific of answers but all I know is that it just does! Taking notes in a flipbook style format as opposed to straight into their books just grabs their attention more.
So how do I use Lapbooks?
Lapbooks are used in a variety of ways in my classroom. Most commonly I use them for assessment. Like the Australian Explorer Lapbook below, there is usually some element to the Lapbook that showcases the learning process as a whole class and then an element where the students then have to take this knowledge and apply it. In this case, the students have to write a biography/letter/diary based on the knowledge gained from their research of their Australian Explorer.
Other Lapbooks I have used in the classroom are used in rotations. These Lapbooks are designed for the teacher to create and can be used over and over again to consolidate learning of a particular topic. My Math Centre Folders are a great example of this.
But how do you assemble your lapbook?
I should really get down to the purpose of this post. How to assemble your Lapbook.
Lapbook assembly is quite straight forward really. All you will need is:
A Manilla folder (A4 or foolscap is fine – all my resources have been created to suit an A4 lapbook)
A4 thick cardboard – about 230gsm (optional)
Taking your Manilla folder, open it out and flatten out the middle crease as much as possible.
With the Manilla folder still open, fold the left edge into the middle crease. Press down firm to create the new crease.
Fold the right edge into the same middle crease and once again press down firmly to create a new crease.
At this point your Lapbook is assembled, however, in order to ensure the sturdiness of your Lapbook and prevent it from folding at the middle and destroying the contents of your Lapbook I recommend you follow the next steps.
Open the new folds you have just made.
Take your piece of cardboard and apply some glue to one side.
Glue the cardboard into the middle of your Lapbook (this will prevent it from folding in on itself).
You are finished!! Well done! Easy hey?! Now the possibilities are endless. Check out the ideas below on how to use your Lapbook.