discussion topics

Tea for Two or Maybe More.

IMG_0329Kids love any excuse for a tea party. My neighbour's kids think it's wonderful when I invite them over for High Tea. We go all out using my special china and make lots of tiny sandwiches and cakes. I try to make the tea party a memorable treat as if they were at high tea at an exclusive restaurant, something like High Tea at the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney. It's a delight to watch the expressions on the faces of everyone concerned. I don't feel you need a reason to hold a tea party, they are a great idea with kids at any time. However you can use it as a prompt for reading and story writing. There are plenty of children's books on the market that include tea parties in their plots. The most classic one that comes to mind is Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland." A Mad Hatter's tea party is the obvious choice.

That being said, this being the month of March where we turn our thoughts towards St Patrick's Day, Leprechauns and all things green, why not read a few Leprechaun tales and hold a "Green" or "Rainbow" tea party.

httpThe Leprechaun Who Loved Yellow://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B007KFXGM2/ref=s9_simh_bw_p351_d0_i3?pf_rd_m=ANEGB3WVEVKZB&pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-3&pf_rd_r=0699PZZET7QNHQK14WJ7&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=218163269&pf_rd_i=2496751051

"The Little Leprechaun Who Loved Yellow"  is a perfect choice as a children's picture book to read out loud together at bedtime or in the classroom. Within the pages are plenty of conversation starters for use during your tea party. A few topics for discussion could include being true to yourself, your uniqueness, building self-esteem, feelings and emotions, not to mention all the magnificent colours of the rainbow and where in nature you may find them.

In some ways "The Little Leprechaun Who Loved Yellow" shares a very similar message to my own

Copyright Sandra Bennett and Dianna Budd

picture book "Emma the Eager Emu" who through her tenacity to never give up eventually learns the importance of her very own special and unique qualities.

If you are using the story in the classroom and incorporating it with a tea party, a suggestion is to elicit the help of class buddies. If your school uses the buddy system you know what I mean. An older class of kids are paired with your younger group of kids for various activities. There are two activities I suggest here as ideas towards your classroom resources.

  1. After reading the story together, the older group of children can use it as a writing prompt to write a story perhaps that includes inviting a Leprechaun to tea. You might give them a list of words that they must use in their story. eg: Leprechaun, tea party, rainbow, tree, cup cake. The younger group of children can draw a picture that includes the five suggested items above and try to write a one line description/story. Both groups can come together and read aloud to share their stories.
  2. Have the buddies help make a tea party invitation for the younger child's mum/dad or significant other. Then you can hold a special morning or afternoon tea party with mums or dads included, I'm sure they would be more than happy to help supply the goodies for the tea party.



Here is the template to make the card. The children can decorate the outside with whatever they like or suggestions from you.  I like to leave this open to allow for creativity and imagination. Inside they can write or you can print "Have a cup of tea on me."  In my class I would then sticky tape a tea bag to the inside cover.

My next book in my 'Bradberrie Brother's Alien AdventureBook3_Cover' series will be another great addition to add to your reading list before a tea party. in "Alien Milkshakes" not only are there plenty of laughs to entice the reluctant reader but plenty of interesting edible suggestions and moral dilemmas to discuss over a pot of tea.  "Alien Milkshakes" is coming soon.

Enjoy your tea party, have fun and make lots of memories with your kids.

What book would you read with your kids to encourage a themed tea party?

Double Trouble and Mischief Make a Great Tale.

The other day as I was glancing through one of my Facebook groups I came upon the middle grade children's book "The Rabbit Ate my Homework" by Rachel Elizabeth Cole. I looked at the front cover and read the blurb and was so intrigued I was enticed to offer to read the story and write a review. The Rabbit Ate my Homework

Rachel certainly did not disappoint. The book held up to my every expectation. As a former primary school teacher, I absolutely loved this! I read this story thinking all the time how an 8 to 10 year old student would enjoy reading it and felt they would laugh from beginning to end. It is certainly a story to encourage reluctant readers, which is something I am always searching for. Not only were the two main characters, Drew and his little sister Libby, believable, so too were the background characters including the two girls in Drew's class who proved to be a constant torment. The story provided huge doses of humour, a little intrigue and suspense, not to mention a large dollop of cuteness.

It raises many discussion opportunities as the story develops, right from the opening where Drew makes the decision to go against his father and ride his bike in the woods unsupervised. Naturally, mistakes are made and consequences must be faced, or do they? From this one seemingly innocent moment of quick decision things quickly escalate out of control. As I read this I couldn't help thinking about the lessons learned in my own chapter book "Gingerbread Aliens" where the three brothers must also face the consequences of their behaviours. Both books use humour and escalating problems before a resolution is eventually and inevitably reached. Naturally, there is the whole discussion topic of how to keep and take good care of a pet, especially one your parents don't know you have! The topic of bullying is a background issue but covered substantially well and sibling rivalry changes to a form of united understanding and bonding over a common cause.

A thoroughly entertaining story for readers 6 -12 years of age. I recommend it for home and school. Parents and teachers will delight in reading it aloud with their children. I gladly give it 5 stars.