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Books, Teaching

How to find inspiration, ideas and wonderful reading books

As a Relief teacher the first thing i do when i have organised my day, and know what the schedule and planning is, is to look around. I don’t mean just look at the classroom. I mean really look.

Look at the books on the book shelf, the teachers desk, the walls, thumb through the children’s books and anything you can get your hands on (maintaining some privacy of course).

Here are some are some of the places i have found great ideas and inspiration from 

  • worksheets left for me – if there is a spare
  • Ideas from the childrens books (not always their work but things stuck in for organisation)
  • teacher’s planners left out and their set up
  • the management and set up of guided reading
  • resources on the walls
  • the books you may not have seen before
  • teachers books that are new
  • practises the school may see as normal but that maybe new to you
  • workbooks the kids have

-if there is a spare i may take it away and if i can’t take it, i take a picture of it with my phone or make detailed notes on post-its or scrap paper.

This has let me create a whole notebook of ideas that i will share with you over the coming weeks topic by topic and idea by idea.

Today i wanted to share some books which i have encountered in my travels across the classrooms in Australia and New Zealand. They maybe old news to you but there maybe a gem in there that you haven’t seen before.

Any Questions? by Marie- Louise Grey

questions picture book

Many children want to know where stories come from and how a book is made. Marie-Louise Gay’s new picture book provides them with some delightfully inspiring answers through a fictional encounter between an author and some very curious children — together they collaborate on writing and illustrating a story.

My class and I really enjoyed reading this book. It would be great to start a Literacy topic on story writing at the beginning of the year or to encourage the use imagination.

Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall 

Red crayon picture book

A blue crayon mistakenly labeled as “red” suffers an identity crisis in Red: A Crayon’s Story, by Michael Hall. Which is about being true to your inner self and following your own path despite obstacles that may come your way.

I picked this one up while the children where doing silent reading and read through it. It is a great story for social science and helping children come to terms with who they are as a person.

Truax by Terri Birkett (free download)

truax lorax parady

Truax (a parody of The Lorax), at first seemed like promotional material defending the lumber industry (yes, it was published by a wood flooring association). But this book was hilarious, and it shows readers that there are two sides to every story, that environmentalism isn’t always the right side to agree with, and its information was factual. – Rebecca McNutt, Goodreads

I agree this puts an interesting spin on the topic and makes for a good study of parodies.

When Henry Caught Imaginitis by Nick Bland

imagines book picture

Henry is a very serious boy. His room is always neat, and he always buttons his shirt right to the top. But lately Henry has been having thoughts that don’t make any sense, thoughts about pirates, dragons and rocket ships. Henry has caught imaginitis – and the only cure is to grow up. But what should Henry do in the meantime?

A great book to encourage imagination in children, we loved reading this one.

The Adventures of the Dish and the Spoon by Mini Grey

dish and spoon adventures picture book

A twist on the nursery rhyme “Hey diddle, diddle, the cat and the fiddle”. Set in the midst of the Great Depression, Dish and Spoon become rich and famous vaudeville stars—until their taste for the high life puts them in debt to a gang of sharp and shady characters (depicted as evil knives).

This was brought in to be read by a child and it was a book we all loved. It encouraged them to twist the normal story retelling and create their own versions of classics.

Stay Tuned for a selection of Young Adult books i had recommended by a group of grade 6 children ……….

For more Bookish ideas, posts and sites to follow head over to my Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest pages. Don’t forget to follow my blog so you don’t miss out on the weekly book post.

Other Bookish posts can be found here:

Why journal? 

Book Pet Peeves 

The great debate: Books vs Kindle

9 thoughts on “How to find inspiration, ideas and wonderful reading books”

  1. A great teacher once told me there are no new ideas, just borrowed ones. I feel that is so true as, in teaching, so many people have gone before us and we all get ideas and inspiration from each other. Sharing is caring. The favourite saying in many classrooms.


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