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Learning from Home – 21 May 2020

Welcome to Thursday! At this point, I’m not going to make any assumptions about what your school, students or children are doing: some people are back, or about to go back, to full-time schooling; some are doing a mix of remote and on-campus learning; and some are still undertaking, or at least attempting, remote schooling. Whatever your situation, as most of us are still restricted in what we are able to do outside of work and school, I hope the activities below help you to spend some time learning new things, and being entertained.

Rob Biddulph is a fantastically talented picture book writer and illustrator, who you might know from the Dinosaur Juniors series, or Odd Dog Out. He is currently hosting a twice weekly drawing class, showing children (and adults!) how to draw a variety of things including characters from his books, self-portraits and book marks. These videos are very well done, allowing viewers to follow along with him as he draws, meaning that even those of us with very little artistic talent can end with a reasonable picture at the end of the lesson! The lessons can be watched on either his website or YouTube channel.

Can your child code? Would they like to learn? How about going to the moon?! Or, coming up with more sustainable ways to live here on planet earth? Moonhack is back! Moonhack is a virtual coding camp, where students will learn to code, or receive help in improving their coding. In teams they will work together on projects, with this year’s focus on sustainability. If your students or children are interested in taking part, they will need to register as soon as possible, as Moonhack is taking place next week. Projects can be completed at home, or through schools. A great way to learn some new skills, be creative and help the planet!

A few weeks ago I let you know about the updated and expanded schools program on the ABC. Having a bit of an explore of these resources, I can’t tell you how excited it made me when I realised that BTN (Behind the News) is still going strong! I loved this show when I was at school, and it’s fantastic to know that it exists today. As well as the episodes that are broadcast on TV, the show also has a great website with a variety of resources about news and current affairs. I particularly wanted to highlight the Rookie Reporter part of the site. This features news reports by students, and also has a page which lets teachers and students know about how they too can become BTN reporters. I’m actually a bit jealous that students today are able to do this. Check out the site, and start thinking about what you and your students can tell Australia about!

This final one is, if nothing else, hilariously funny and hugely entertaining. Wes Tank raps Dr Seuss books to Dr. Dre beats. It’s a fantastic way to experience books you are familiar with in a whole new way! Each book is matched with a different song that best matches the rhythm of the text. If you have a child who struggles with reading, or who is perhaps learning English as another language, this could be helpful (as well as a lot of fun). So far, you can experience, Green Eggs and Ham, The Lorax (perhaps a good one for World Environment Day in a couple of weeks), and, my favourite of the series, Fox in Socks.

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