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What does Mrs Echidna's Dilemma have to do with Maths? An enterprising teacher linked the cross-stitch illustrations in the narrative text of the book to the maths unit on reading and understanding graphs.
Their excitement was palpable. Because the teachers had taken the time to share the story with the children before my visit, the students were anticipating the author's visit, and ready to learn more about how the book was written, and the animals in it. They loved the finger puppets (always a hit!) and were quite inventive as they made up THEIR songs about the animals encountered in the story.
Our Year Three students have enjoyed author visits from Betty Johnston for a number of years. This year, Betty indulged us by visiting twice and developing a new, hands-on program for our students.
Recently I visited Year 3 students who were learning to write and illustrate a story. I completed TWO workshops with these students - one on how I developped the story, and the other on how the illustrations were created.
After the first visit, students were asked to research an Australian animal Mrs Echidna could have met as she waddled through the bush, and add their character to the book. Here are their stories...
A group of University of the Sunshine Coast pre-service teachers investigated teaching 'off the beaten track', visiting 13 "country" schools of various descriptions in central Queensland. As we all know, visitors bring a gift - in this instance, a copy of 'Mrs Echidna's Dilemma' for the school libraries. Here's the report from their intrepid leader, who has more than 40 years teaching experience under his belt:
A routine book purchase from my website had an unexpected ending. Jan had purchased the book for her overseas grandchild. However, when she saw the return address, she realised that the author lived just north of Brisbane. As co-ordinator of a SEQ 'Be Creative' retreat at Dakabin , Jan asked if I could visit them and show them the original quilts. Who can resist an invitation like that? Dakabin is about 10 minutes from where I live!
How exciting it is to visit a school where the children have been preparing for the visit by reading the book and doing many activities around the topic of our wonderful Australian animals. The Preppies at SSSS were amazing - so interested in the story, the singing, the puppets, and all the other stuff that happens in the program.
The response to 'Mrs Echidna's Dilemma' at the ECTA (Early Childhood Teachers' Association) was overwhelming! Professional early childhood educators really appreciated the various ways the story could be intergrated into the curriculum, whether it was literacy, science, or environmental studies.