Sami Bailey, author and Illustrator of “The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Ugly Animals” and “The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Dangerous Animals”, shared with the conference audience her story of hopes and dreams being fulfilled in the most wondrous way. Sami started her journey as an author/illustrator through her art and study in animal drawing. She also had the opportunity to travel and see the Proboscis Monkeys, which fascinated her. She entered her artistic drawings of the Proboscis Monkeys into a competition at the Australian Museum and won, later including those drawings in her Ugly Animals encyclopaedia.
Sami’s story of becoming an author/illustrator demonstrated the importance of having dreams and believing in your ability to reach them. With a little spark of magic, luck and a lot of hard work, she illustrated and wrote two informative and amazingly presented books. Her story is inspiring and her books, filled with weird and wonderful animals of the world, are amazingly illustrated with interesting information about each animal.
Public Libraries 101
Librarians, Karyn Stephens and Caitlin Hadrill, introduced and explained many on-line features of the modern, digital public library system. Whilst many users are familiar with the Libraries SA OneCard system, it was interesting to see the full benefits of apps such as Libby, and to learn about the availability of e-books, e-audiobooks, and limited but free access to external websites such as Ancestry.com. There is also a growing range of ezines available as the digital world of public libraries expands in many directions.
Overall, a very enlightening presentation.
Everything You DON’T Need To Know About Poetry with Mike Lucas
Mike Lucas shared his passion for poetry and how we shouldn’t get caught up with the technicalities! He explained that poetry should be about expressing your ideas, emotions or experiences. Mike guided us through writing poetry of our own, focusing on how the writing flows when read aloud. He creates engaging pieces of poetry, including the annual Book Week Poem and his latest book, “Let’s Build A House”, where his background in engineering comes into play. He was a joy to listen to as his excitement for writing left me feeling motivated to write and teach about poetry in my own way.
Embedding Indigenous Perspectives Across the Curriculum with PJ Edwards
PJ Edwards is a Teacher Librarian at St Aloysius College and she is passionate about embracing indigenous perspectives in our daily lives. She spoke about how we need an ‘anti-bias lens’ in order to listen deeply, move away from cultural appropriation, have humility for ours and others’ opinions, and to trust each other. PJ gave us a wealth of ideas to move from ‘safely’ teaching to ‘bravely’ teaching about indigenous culture and perspectives. She has built a wealth of resources and explained that she examined the perspectives she was missing in her collection and continues to introduce the missing lenses. PJ explained that anyone is able to embrace indigenous perspectives, as there are print and online resources for all ages. She began my path to be braver in embedding indigenous perspectives in my teaching practice.
Makey Makey and Scratch Are Not Two Cartoon Characters with Jason Coleman
Jason Coleman is a teacher at Prince Alfred College who demonstrated how to apply coding and Makey Makey to present student thinking in exciting ways. He took an Inquiry approach to build student engagement in learning to code using Scratch. Jason showed us how Makey Makey’s six commands can do interesting things, including playing audio recordings. His students made posters with elements connected to a Makey Makey programmed to play their book reviews aloud! It was impressive to see Jason teach a variety of coding functions in Scratch to use with Makey Makey devices. I was inspired to explore different Scratch commands with my students.
Manga Mayhem with Mel Phillips
Mel presented a fascinating workshop on manga. Manga may be an acquired taste, but Mel is a passionate manga reader and thus the students at her school have every opportunity to explore. She defined manga and how to read it. Manga are Japanese comics. Chapters are published weekly and combined as a Tankobon which is what we buy. You read Manga back to front and right to left. There are two main styles: action and romance. Both are fantasy worlds which show Japanese culture highlighting cultural differences including honorifics such as bowing. Translations provide explanations of cultural aspects.
Mel made useful suggestions about how librarians could include manga in their collections. Age appropriateness is a consideration. Librarians could keep the manga section separate, buy 2 copies of the first book of a popular series to test take up and then buy the first ten in the series. The presenter then talked about series that are popular in schools. For primary, possible choices could be Haiquu (Boys volleyball team), DragonballZ, Yotsuba (a feisty 6 year old girl), Fluffy, fluffy Cinnamoroll (for young girls –about a dog), Astroboy, Pokemon and Chi’s sweet home. Many Manga stories are made into anime productions which can be viewed through streaming services such as Crunchyroll, Netflix and Funimation.
An interesting genre to dabble with and explore. Beware- some people get hooked!
Sustainability with Ian Boyd
Ian discussed the broad concept of sustainability from a philosophical point of view and questioned whether schools will continue teaching the subject in the current way. He also discussed the well-being of children who feel helpless in the face of the complexities, and their sense of impending doom when the environment and ecosystems are discussed in depth.
He offered examples of excellent past and present books that have been published under the banner of “eco-literature” including “Dog Runner” by Bren MacDibble, and other books that define the current trend in dystopian literature. Considering his own writing, he looked at how to approach this genre (sometimes called “faction”), being conscious of the responsibility towards youth, to not present a hopeless view but to somehow present hope within a factual framework. To educate and to entertain whilst writing narrative is a challenge for authors addressing this field. Ian’s presentation gave the audience a lot of food for thought. It was interesting to have an author share his concerns about the responsibility of creating material for children about serious issues from his perspective.
Running Book Clubs With
Wendy Jeffrey, East Adelaide PS teacher librarian, gave a helpful insight into how to run a successful book club with students.
She recommended starting with one targeted group first and she provided book related food to make the event even more enjoyable.
Wendy states Sheena Cameron's "The Reading Book" provides all the guidelines and support material you need.
Wendy encourages each group to provide a name for their group and a list of group rules.
"Running Book Club" attendees watched a movie of Wendy's students participating in the book club discussions and were able to check out the boxes of support material provided to each group.
Thank you Wendy for providing inspiration for starting a book club with students.
Poetry in motion with Janeen Brian
I knew that this would be fun when I saw the circle of chairs for participants. Janeen’s opening to the workshop, and it really was a workshop, was to show us how to perform a story in a poem. Her performances inspired us with the use of tone, volume, accents, movement, and interaction with her audience. We were a very attentive audience ready to get creative and to be in on the fun. We could feel that careful planning had gone into the session to first draw us in and then to convince us that we too could take an audience on an exciting journey through poetry. Thank you Janeen.
Interview with Kunyi June Anne McInerney
Kunyi’s book was new to me. Sadly, some of her experience was not. Her beautiful book tells her personal story of being taken, as a child, from her family, her community, and her country. Importantly it also tells us about the inventive games and fun created by the children growing up together, the places where they played and the adventures they had but this does not take away from the cruelty, sadness and pain. It is a privilege to hear these stories and to meet the author and I thank the conference committee for organising this and Kunyi for her willingness to share.
Character Design Workshop with illustrator Mandy Foot
Mandy began her session with a read along of her picture book Lucy and Copper. The story follows young Lucy and her childhood pony, Smudge. As Lucy physically outgrows her beloved pony, the readers follow Lucy along the bitter-sweet journey of grieving the cessation of childhood, but finding optimism in newfound growth and individuality. Mandy explored the often delicate relationship between the written and visual narrative. She expressed the necessity of visual narrative in providing contextual information for the reader, often filling the gaps in the written narrative. To conclude, Mandy held a mini illustration workshop to take us through the process of character design, demonstrating that characters (both people and animals!) can be highly expressive and animated, thus adding richness to the narrative. Mandy Foot’s creativity, love for animals and appreciation of natural environments was a pleasure to experience at her creative workshop.
Create with Canva
Kate Moore shared her experiences with the free online creation tool Canva, and demonstrated ways that this tool can be utilised by both staff and students to create visually engaging creative pieces, both in digital and physical formats. Though this interactive workshop, Kate walked us through the process of creating promotional materials, such as posters and pamphlets, that are ideal for use in the classroom. Kate demonstrated that Canva is a particularly useful tool to use for classroom assessment as a differentiated learning strategy, or simply for creative projects. Additionally, this highly intuitive creation tool can be used by the novice creator for more complex projects, such as illustrated picture books. With its large selection of free templates, including posters, magazine covers, brochures, and catalogues, Canva is the all-rounder web-tool every educator needs to know about! Thank you Kate for introducing us all to this excellent resource.