The first day of September marks the first day of spring in Australia. It is also recognised throughout Australia as Wattle Day. The golden wattle is our national floral emblem. Its colours give the recognisable green and gold to our sporting teams.
Like the people of our land, it is a plant that shows both diversity and resilience. There are hundreds of species of wattle growing in many different habitats across Australia. They may be seen growing wild in bush areas and national parks, and cultivated in botanic gardens, on footpaths and in home gardens.
I have three varieties of wattle growing in my garden. Last year, when the plants were one-year-old, they flowered abundantly and were home to ladybirds. It was wonderful to watch each stage of the ladybird’s growth, from egg to adult. This year, the trees were more heavily laden with blossoms, but there were no ladybirds. I was disappointed as I was looking forward to seeing the ladybirds again. However, it has been suggested that the absence of ladybirds may indicate the tree is healthier this year. I don’t know.
In Australia we generally refer to seasons as occurring in particular months:
Spring in September, October, and November
Summer in December, January, and February
Autumn in March, April, and May
Winter in June, July, and August.
However, it is not as simple as that. Australia is a land of extremes, with different climate zones and types of weather experienced across the country. It can be cooler in the summers of southern areas than it is the months called winter in the north. For example, the average January (summer) daytime temperature in Hobart in the south is 21.7⁰C, and the average July (winter) daytime temperature for Darwin in the north is 30.5⁰C.
Spring is a great time for exploring the garden and it’s inhabitants. What is spring like where you are?
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Also coinciding with the beginning of spring is the Australian Father’s Day, celebrated on the first Sunday in September. It is a day not just for dads, but for grandfathers, stepfathers, and other male carers and role models. It is a day to let them know how much they are appreciated.
One great way of providing children with a purpose and targeted audience for writing is to get them to make a book for their father figure. I have provided some ideas to get the writing started in the resource How to make a book cover. The resource itself provides step by step instructions for making a cover for a book using complementary colours. The instructions can be displayed on the white board for children to read and follow.
Suggestions for writing include:
- A list of statements about their Dad e.g. My Dad goes to work. My Dad makes my breakfast. My Dad has curly hair and a bushy beard. Children write and illustrate one statement on each page.
- A recount or memoir about a favourite holiday or activity they do with their Dad.
- A series of things about fathers e.g. Some fathers ride motorbikes. Some fathers ride horses. Children finish with a statement about their own dads, for example; But my father rides a skateboard.
- A list of things that Dad likes, one to each page.
Five Fabulous books to read for Father’s Day
Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney, illustrated by Anita Jeram
My Dad by Anthony Browne
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
Just Me and My Dad by Mercer Mayer
Hey, I Love You by Ian Whybrow, illustrated by Rosie Reeve
Of course, there are many more too.
The readilearn estory The Ice Cream Shop also features an outing with Dad. However, before reading it with your children, decide if you wish to use the interactive covered cloze version with them. If desired, for most effective teaching and learning, the covered cloze should be used prior to any other familiarisation with the story. (You can find information about covered cloze as a teaching strategy here.)
Please contact me if you have any questions. I welcome your feedback, especially suggestions for improvements to existing resources or ideas for new ones.
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I’ll see you next week. In the meantime, enjoy the weekend.
Thank you for reading.
Happy teaching and learning,
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