The books in the Eugene’s Island series can be used across curriculum areas in the classroom, as part of the Health & Wellbeing, Science, The Arts and Literacy areas. We have free teachers notes available to teachers (written by an experienced former senior primary school teacher), but we thought we’d highlight seven of the best ideas to help you get your learning plan sorted!
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- Get learners to write a comment card that can go with the book in the school library. Explaining why other students would enjoy reading a book helps learners think through the text and they enjoy seeing their recommendation presented in the library!
- Problem solving plays a big part in The Birthday Solution. Brainstorm as a class the problems Eugene faces and how he solves them (hint: we have a list of a few of the problems in our free teacher notes to get you started). Can learners think of other ways to solve the problems?
- Read the books and then encourage learners to email the author, Elizabeth Kirkby-McLeod, with ideas for future storylines. She loves to hear from readers and will write back. Talk about what you need to include when writing a letter (i.e. greeting, introducing yourself, signing off) and use the contact us form to send it.
- Write a Topic List Poem about one of the feelings Eugene has in either The Birthday Solution or The Christmas Visitors. The title is the name of the emotion (eg ‘Cheerful’) and then the poem is a list of five things that make the learners experience that feeling. Hint: encourage learners to think of specific experiences, not general.
- Visiting the island was special and new for Eugene’s cousins in The Christmas Visitors. When have your learner been somewhere or done something for the first time? Encourage them to draw a picture about this and then describe briefly what it was, how they felt, and what happened.
- The Department of Conservation has a video describing how to make a nature journal from items at home and what to include. Watch it as a class, create the journal for art, then get outside in the school environment to fill it.
- Show the learners photos of bioluminescence (as described in The Christmas Visitors) and discuss it. Use paint and glitter or glow-in-the-dark paint to create their own ‘picture’ of this natural phenomenon.