Saturday, April 30, 2016

May National Bike Month

It is the beginning of Spring in America and therefore a good time to get your bike out and start riding again, so they designate May as Bike Month. Here in NSW we have a Bike Week in our Spring in September, but the weather here has been ideal bike riding weather right now. We just had two weeks school break with weather that was perfect for picnics, biking, walking and playing outside. Queensland celebrates Bike Week from the 15th to 22nd May.

There are so many wonderful picture books about bike riding so pull them out and display them if you are a librarian or go to the library and borrow some to read with your children. America and Canada have a Ride to School Week at the end of May. Quite a few children I teach ride their bike or scooter to school, but unlike when I rode my bike to school, albeit in a country town , our school does not have anywhere to store them during the day and I see mums struggling to carry these vehicles as they walk home.  This year we are having a Ride Safe to School Week from 31st October to 4th November. We need one of them too, as I know that some of the children I teach do not know how to ride a bike and perhaps it isn't high priority.   Recently, a mother asked me when her kindergarten child would learn to ride a bike and she seemed quite shocked when I suggested that that was her job, not the school's.

Biking is a great outdoor activity and it doesn't have to be on the road. Take your bike to the park, the bike track or if you are under eleven you are allowed to ride on the footpath.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

23rd April Shakespeare Day

23rd April marks the 400th anniversary of the death of English playwright and poet William Shakespeare. Isn't it amazing that he is still so revered? There are anniversary events everywhere, even here in Australia. Australian musician Paul Kelly has even chosen this day to release a new album Seven Sonnets and a Song where he has set Shakespeare's words to music.

Although my library only caters to children under eight, their parents and teachers we will still celebrate Shakespeare with a display of books. Many parents like to share the little Andrew Matthews and Tony Ross and Usborne versions of the stories. In this way young children know the stories well before they meet the Old English language versions. Other parents are avid borrowers of biographies, so they will be borrowed from any display and some of my Year 2 boys who love Marcia Williams' 'comic' format books will borrow her Shakespeare stories, so as you can see it is well worth making the effort. My own favourite Shakespeare books are the poetry illustrated by James Mayhew in To Sleep, Perchance to Dream and the exquisitely illustrated version of Romeo and Juliet by Margaret Early, both of which will be hard to buy now but may well be in your library, as they are in mine. What is in my school library is on my pinterest page.

If you are short of books, find the witches poem from Macbeth and have fun reciting it, acting it out and just playing with the magic of the words. There is a version here already done as a readers theatre script. I would use a more abridged version with my Year 2 students such as this, where language is the key element, not the gore or frightening aspects that many of the film clips of it emphasise.