After our Skyping experience, Mrs. Ruark introduced the first grade to Sam Shannon. Sam is a student at the University of North Florida. He was a student at Chets Creek and his mom, Kristin Shannon, is a fifth grade teacher. The Shannons actually lived in Australia when Sam was in first grade. He played an authentic didgeridoo which is an Australian aboriginal wind instrument. The instrument he brought to play and show the children had beautiful hand burned Australian animals and pictures. The children were fascinated by the sound!
Then it was back to the classroom for some Mem Fox Readers' Theatre! The children have been practicing all week and had a part in Koala Lou, Hattie and the Fox, or Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge, all books we have studied by Mem Fox. The children also tasted our American version of pavlova, a food mentioned in Possum Magic. Make sure to ask your child how they liked it! We even read some books by Mem that were new to us. Then it was on to making a crafty kangaroo and naming and writing all of the Australian animals that we have learned on the back of the kangaroo. You may be familiar with a kangaroo and a koala bear that live down under but how about a bandicoot, possum, wombat, or emu? We even learned about all of the poisonous snakes that live in the Outback!
We finished the day with a review of all the books, characters and Australian facts that we have learned in the last four weeks by playing our own first grade version of Mem Fox Bingo! Mem is a fascinating author, from the pattern books that she has written to the beautiful stories that she has written. We were able to visit her web site and even found videos of her reading many of the books with her Australian accent. Make sure to ask your child which book was their favorite!