Exploring Three Galarious Goods Picture Book Studies for Upper Primary

I love picture books. I love reading them. I love exploring them more thoroughly. And I love creating a range of activities to bring them to life in classrooms around the world. I have a house full of picture books and a list full of studies to tackle.

But right now, I wanted to introduce a couple of books to you, and the book studies which will help you to bring them alive in your classroom

 
Exploring three Galarious Goods picture book studies for upper primary. Looking at Drought, The Peasant Prince and Memorial, and my favourite parts of the comprehensive book studies for these books. A Galarious Goods blog post
 

The Peasant Prince by Li Cunxin and Anne Spudvilas

This is the autobiographical picture book story of Li Cunxin, who spent his early childhood living in a small peasant village in China until he was chosen to join a ballet school in Beijing. It’s a story of family, working hard and following dreams.

This lovely story is excellent to explore for classrooms looking at persistence, or classrooms exploring memoirs or biographical texts. Students can compare it to other biographical and autobiographical picture books (including The Little Refugee by Anh and Suzanna Do or The Darkest Dark by Chris Hadfield).

This book study includes comprehension, reader response and review activities as well as activities exploring Li Cunxin, allegories and writing memoirs.

One of my favourite things is the interactive notebook activity which brings together a quick retell and student impressions of the book. You can see how this activity goes together here:

 
 

Drought by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley

This is the fourth book in the natural disaster series from Jackie French and Bruce Whately and a beautiful, heartbreaking look at drought and its impact on the people, animals and land.

Drought is an incredibly important book and a great way to open discussion about drought and to prompt further research about what causes drought and how we can help communities who are going through droughts.

The extensive book study for Drought includes comprehension, reader response, vocabulary, language, theme, research and writing tasks. It’s everything you need to take a comprehensive look, with most activities available in a variety of formats to suit your classroom and your students.

I love this little interactive notebook activity within the book study which explores what happened before, during and after the drought. You can see how it goes together here:

 
 

Memorial by Gary Crew and Shaun Tan

I adore the work by both of these creators and this is a truly special book - the benchmark for books which deal with Australian involvement in wars. It tells two stories - the story of family and the impact of war on the family and the story of two war memorials - a statue and a tree - which have had a world grow up around them.

This is a must read if you are looking for activities around Anzac Day or Remembrance Day or when you’re exploring the impact of war on Australia and Australians. There are so many avenues for further discussion, from looking at whether the tree should be removed, to exploring how we can create memorials for those who fight (and die) in wars.

The book study for Memorial takes a really close look at the book, encouraging students to develop questions, to look at how the text is structured to tell a story through conversation and dialogue, to look at the symbols included within the picture book.

One activity asks students to look at what Memorial says about memories and what it says about war. Students discuss the message of the story, then put together an interactive notebook resource where they can record those messages. You can see how it goes together here

 
 
 
 

Using I'm Australian Too in Upper Primary Classrooms

You will find I'm Australian Too (by Mem Fox and Ronojoy Ghosh) in classrooms across the country. But while it has been celebrated as a book for younger children, I'm Australian Too can be used as a teaching tool with classroom activities well beyond the early years. This is an important book - a book that students of all ages can learn from.

 
Using I’m Australian Too in UPPER PRimary classrooms - Teaching ideas and Teaching Activities for the mem fox book
 

I'm Australian Too introduces us to a wide range of children who live in Australia, exploring the history they and their family have with Australia and giving the reader a little insight into how they experience life in Australia. The story shows us that Australia has been a safe place for generations of immigrants and refugees, a place for those facing hardship and danger. And we can question whether we are honouring that legacy today.

There are a range of learning activities which can accompany this book, including

1. Discussing Australian Identity

I'm Australian Too shows the readers children who all consider themselves Australian, even if their family comes from other parts of the world. This is a great introduction to concepts of Australian identity, to explore what makes Australians Australian.

This is a particularly useful book for students to explore at those times of the year when we examine what it means to be Australian like Australia Day, Harmony Day and those times when Australians are involved in large international sporting competitions. These occasions often raise questions about Australian identity and this book gives students a starting place to work from to discuss these questions. Students can use I'm Australian Too as part of a discussion activity, exploring the text and illustrations to draw conclusions about what the author and illustrator believe. They can use these understandings from the text to shape and write their own belief statements, or compare and contrast with other books which look at Australian identity.

2. I'm Australian Too Character Postcards

There are a wide range of 'characters' in I'm Australian Too. The bright distinctive illustrations tell students additional information and allow them to draw conclusions. These conclusions and the illustration styles can then be combined as creative learning activities.

One option is for students to be inspired by the illustrations and characters to create a postcard which features one of the characters as well as a short piece of text about what it means to be Australian. They can touch on where the character family comes from, how it feels to be Australian, the atmosphere of Australian places or participation in Australian past times.

The postcard is a useful tool when students are trying to summarise their thoughts since they are restricted in space - therefore are restricted in how much they can say. This allows them to keep their character reflections succinct and to the point.

Students can then expand on this by creating a postcard which reflects their own experiences and understandings of what it means to be Australian.

Interested in creating your own postcards? Get the free folding template here.

 
 

3. Create a Character Diagram

The wide range of characters and their different backgrounds in I'm Australian Too also allows for visual comparisons. Students can combine text, shapes, arrows and lines to show different characters and how they are alike or different or connected.

Students might also like to explore how they can create different styles of diagrams to show different types of information. Students can then apply this knowledge of diagrams and organisers as they explore other books and novels.

Get I'm Australian Too resources here

 
 

What is a Teachers Pay Teachers Sale? (And how can you save?)

Every now and again, you might see Facebook and Instagram posts advertising Teachers Pay Teachers sales. These pop up, with beautiful graphics and enticing promises, but you're not really sure what they're all about. What's the code? What is the discount? Why should you check it out? 

Well, we're here to hopefully demystify the process a bit, answer all your burning questions and to show you some of our favourites: perfect for you when the next sale comes around!

 
What is a Teachers Pay Teachers Sale?
 

What is a TpT Sale?

Teachers Pay Teachers (or TpT) is a one-stop place to find downloadable teaching resources created by teachers. It's the best place to search when you're looking for teaching materials - small or large. 

Several times a year, TpT hold a massive sales event. Many sellers take advantage of this event to put their shops on sale for up to 20% off. TpT also provides a code which takes 5% off the original price - which means you get up to 25% off!

How does this work with real-life money? If a product is usually $10, the seller may put it on sale for 20%, a discount of $2. The TpT code takes 5% off the original price - a discount of 50c - so you get a $2.50 discount and only pay $7.50 for a $10 product! (If the seller sets their shop at a 10% discount, you get 15% off with the code. If they set it at 5% off, you get 10% off with the code)


How Can You Save More?

The discounts for TpT sales are already great, but there is a way to save even more! TpT offers a wonderful incentive to leave feedback on products you love. Each time you leave  feedback, you are rewarded with credit points - and these credit points, allow you to get a further discount.

Leaving feedback is really easy - simply go to 'My Purchases' and click on the 'Provide Feedback' link. Remember to think about what kind of feedback would be useful to other buyers - tell them what you loved about the product!


All My Friends Want to Save Too

Many products are licensed for single teacher use only, which means you can’t share, but there is a way you can help your friends save when they want to buy the same product. Many TpT sellers provide special 'additional license' prices - usually at a discounted rate. Simply go to your 'My Purchases' page and click on the 'Buy Additional Licenses' button. This allows you and your friends to save money while being safe in the knowledge that you are following copyright laws and helping a teacher-author.


How Do I Prepare For A TpT Sale?

The dates of TpT Sales are closely-held secrets - we all want the surprise! So what can you do to prepare? Follow your favourite sellers on TpT and through their preferred social media and look out for sale announcements. Make friends with your TpT wish list - it's a great place to keep track of those 'maybe one day' product. Think about what you'll be teaching later in the year - spend some time looking for the best products available. Give as much quality feedback as you can. And don't forget to use your code and your credits when sales time comes around.

What Are Our Favourite Resources?

We put together a little sneak peek into some of our own favourite resources. Check out our stores for more:

Galarious Goods loves the Hating Alison Ashley Novel Study Bundle because it combines my adoration of Robin Klein books with a fabulous set of resources designed to make it easier for Year 5 and 6 teachers to teach this great novel. 

Top Teaching Tasks loves the Myths and Legends Bundle Close Reading Pack because it engages students with a range of myths and legends from around the world (Volume One includes stories from New Zealand, England, Scotland and Greece). It also provides a wide range of higher order thinking activities!

A Plus Learning loves Conflict Resolution: How to Handle Conflict because I have been teaching them in the classroom and have been very useful and effective to my students so I just had to put it out there to help others hopefully.

Aussie Waves loves the Figurative Language Bundle because I love teaching kids how to use and understand figurative devices in their writing and reading. I feel it is  important  and these tasks make it great FUN!

 
 

We look forward to seeing you all at the next Teachers Pay Teachers sale!

Galarious Goods, Top Teaching Tasks, A Plus Learning and Aussie Waves