On the eighth day of Christmas (1st January), New Horizons (the space probe that took photos of dwarf planet Pluto back in July 2015) will be 6.6 billion kilometres from Earth, travelling at 14 kilometres per second, flying past a rock about 37 kilometres wide called 2014 MU69 (nick-named Ultima Thule) in the solar system’s Kuiper Belt. If it doesn’t bump into anything on the way, we will receive images from its cameras just over six hours after they are taken. This is an incredible technological adventure with cosmologically amazing consequences. What an exciting way to start the New Year!
Diving Into a Book
Summer time is a good time to escape the heat by bathing in the sea or in a swimming pool.
Diving into a good book is a bit like diving into a swimming pool according to the poet.
Activity: Write a short argument for why this might be a good comparison or why not.
Discussion: How can books –
Immerse us in ‘wondrous lands’
Get us involved in ‘plots and plans’?
Activity: Write a short description of the plot of a story you have just read or are reading and talk about what new ideas, information, or ways of thinking it has shown you. How is it different to other stories you have read? How is it different to your own life and experience?
A SEASONAL TELESTITCH
The end of cold days:
The sun rises warm
But expect a quick storm,
Then catch a wave —
It’s my kind of weather!
The sunsets glow red
We’re all on holiday —
The best of all times!
TEACHERS’ NOTES by James Aitchison
A telestitch is the opposite of an acrostic. Discover the poem’s hidden message by reading the last letter (rather than the first) of each line.
Give it a try
And most of all — have fun!
AARDVARK, APE, BARRACUDA, BUTTERFLY AND BEAR
Crowds, rabbles and throngs, clubs, hordes and troupes
Are Collectives for people who gather in Groups
But what do we call friends who are woolly and furry
Barking or whistling, singing or purry?
When they get together with family and friends
What is the word for their special blends?
Let’s start with the alphabet, that means the A
Which letter was first from the Ark would you say?
It wasn’t the whale, the worm or the shark –
But a shy bunch of prickles we call the Aardvark.
If you should meet lots of aardvaarks at once
And call them an Armoury, you’d not be a dunce.
If you’re keen on games and like jokes and japes
You’ll be happy to meet a grouping of Apes
But what will you call them – this family of jokers…
This smart clever band of naughty provokers?
The word is descriptive, it’s perfectly apt
A *Shrewdness of Apes has them all neatly capped.
Now think of the sea, in the depths of the ocean
Where swims a predator in fast or slow motion
He is hunted and eaten, grows more than three meters
Provides tasty meals and feeds plenty of eaters
He’s a high-powered fish and fond of flattery
When found in groups it’s a Barracuda Battery.
Our next group of B is from land, not the sea
And some of his kind live and sleep in a tree
Some like the snow, others the jungle
The name for this lot seems a silly bungle
It’s a **Sleuth or a Sloth when you see many Bears
An affliction of fiction from hundreds of years.
The last of our B’s flies dainty and free
Over the land but seldom the sea
She does beautiful things with colourful wings
She dances o’er flowers as the sweet bird sings
A Flutter of Butterflies is commonly heard
But Kaleidoscope’s often the Collective word.
Sounds of the Aardvark: soft grunts as it forages (looks for food like antnests); loud grunts as it approaches its nest entrance and soft bleats if frightened.
What do you call a group of Aardvaarks?
How many ‘As’ are there in Aardvaark?
Sounds of the Ape: sounds like something between a series of dog yaps and UGH! The sound is called a ‘jibber’.
What do you call a group of Apes?
What is the meaning of ‘shrewd’?
*Shrewd means both clever and sharp. Apes are known to observe you closely, often appearing to deduce what your next move will be.
Sounds of the Barracuda: Sadly, most fish sounds are inaudible to the human ear. But if we could hear them, fish-talk would sound like purrs, grunts, hums, clicks and hoots.
What is a group of Barracuda called?
Information not included in the poem: Barracuda can grow up to 100 cm and weigh up to 9 kilos. They can live 10-15 years because they have few natural predators – only man, sharks and the Orca whale.
Sounds of Bears: Each Bear family has a different sound, they growl and when angry they roar, Bear cubs make a hoarse bawl when they’re scared, they also make whuffing noises and they moan and grumble.
What is the name for a group of Bears?
What characteristic does this name imply?
**Both Sleuth and Sloth come from Old and Middle English. Some writers associate the idea of Bears often seeming to look for things with ‘sleuth’ or detective. Most agree that Sloth comes from Old English Slow-th, meaning slow. We now know that not all Bears are slow. In fact you should never run from a bear – he can cover 50 yards in 3 seconds! And your running will just encourage him.
Yards: an imperial measure equal to the metric measure of 0.9144. Discuss Imperial and Metric measures.
What sounds do baby bears make?
Sounds of the Butterfly: they flutter – an onomatapoeiac word.
Onomatapoeia is a “figure of speech” – it describes a word that itself sounds like the subject it refers to!
What are examples of onomatapoeiac words?
Baa-lamb. Baa is the sound that the lamb makes.
Or sizzle – the sound that the steak makes.
Buzz – the sound a bee makes.
What is a group of butterflies called?
Information not included in the poem: The butterfly has four different stages of growth: the Egg, 100-300 are laid at a time. The Caterpillar: the egg produces a caterpillar which grows to its final size and then becomes the Pupa (which are usually attached to the underside of a leaf), which finally produces the Butterfly.
All sounds are available online. Simply Google ‘Sound of the …’ and you will be taken either to a dedicated website or to YouTube.
Making Poppies with Pa
I traced the outline:
5 perfect petals
on the shiny red metal sheet.
Pa used the tin snips
snip, snip, snip
to carefully cut around the shape.
Together we hammered the petals up
one at a time.
“It looks like a leaky cup!” I laughed.
Then I sprayed
one puff of black
into the flower’s centre.
Pa attached the wire stem
and handed it to me
like it was a long-stemmed rose.
But when I carried our poppy outside
and proudly placed it in the new-turned dirt
Pa began to cry.
He knelt down so I could hug him tight
“I hope you never know what war really means.”
Teacher Notes by Jeanie Axton
Read this poem to the students then get them to make poppies.
On each leaf write words that relate to Remembrance Day.
Display the poppies then ask the students to write down one word from each persons poppy.
Can they write a poem with the words they have collected?
Write and Share
Here is a poppy template
Fred, Ted and Ned.
I have a mate whose name is Fred.
“I’d like a verse,” is what he said.
So I sat down with sharpened lead,
and penned some lines that end in ‘ed’.
I wrote about a horse named Ned,
whose owner’s name was Mister Ted.
He built that horse a fancy shed;
He shod him, groomed him, kept him fed.
Ned had a rug of crimson red,
embroidered with a golden thread.
He wore that rug when Mister Ted,
last Sunday rode to church to wed
his girlfriend who had bravely led
an army – she had battle cred!
Then after vows they quickly sped,
along the road in wooden sled.
The sled was pulled, of course, by Ned.
The reins were held by Missus Ted,
while Mister Ted laid out a spread
of cakes and biscuits, jam and bread.
But now this verse must end dear Fred,
I’ve no more ‘eds’ left in my head!
Teacher Notes by Jeanie Axton
Common word families in English are: are: ack, ain, ake, ale, all, ame, an, ank, ap, ash, at, ate, aw ay, eat, ell, est, ice, ick, ide, ight, ill, in, ine, ing, ink, ip, it, ock, oke, op, ore, ot, uck ,ug, ump, unk.
Many of these are included in Nursery Rhymes.
Jack be nimble as seen below uses ack and ick
1. Put the common word families on cards and turn upside down on the floor
2. Students choose a card and brainstorm as many words as they can in that word family
3. Students then have a go at writing a rhyming poem similar to today’s poem
4. Give the poem to another student to make suggestions on improvements
5. Edit and the present to the class