Archive | December, 2014


25 Dec

Below are a collection of resources that can be used to help students understand pronouns:

The first two resources seek to explain the purpose of pronouns.  The final resource can be used to illustrate the importance of using the correct pronouns and not overusing pronouns.

Bran Nue Dae

18 Dec

I am keen to use the film Bran Nue Dae to introduce my Year 10 students to literary criticism.  In particular, I want to get them to think critically about texts and how others interpret texts.

To do this, I will provide  students with extracts from a paper on the theatrical predecessor to the film.  The chosen extracts will pertain to the representation of Aboriginal people and culture.  I will ask students to read and discuss these extracts.  We will then view the film, stopping periodically to discuss.

During the course of discussion, students will be challenged to offer perspectives on the text (which they are mostly already comfortable doing) and to position themselves/their views in relation to the existing critical material (the extracts).

Inspiring sports films

13 Dec

This year my Year 9 classes viewed the film Remember the Titans as a way in to examining and understanding ‘inspirational’  texts and speeches.

Next year, I would like to branch out a bit and either show Remember the Titans alongside another sports film, or to replace Remember the Titans with something that the kids may not have seen yet.  So far, in contention, I have Cool Runnings and The Blind Side.  

Depending on the ability levels in my class, I hope to be able to run a comparative unit or one which looks at sports films as a genre.

Keeping up with the Capulets

10 Dec

I was looking for Romeo and Juliet theatre reviews to include in a unit of work for Year 9 next year when I stumbled upon an article entitled ‘Romeo and Juliet: Keeping up with the Capulets‘.

The title triggered a flicker of an idea… task the students with creating a trailer for a Shakespeare inspired reality TV show.

Romeo and Juliet would, of course, become Keeping up with the Capulets.  Macbeth lends itself to a perverse interpretation of Survivor, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, perhaps, could become season 3 of MTV’s ‘Are you the One?’


9 Dec

I am not a preachy English teacher.  In fact, I try incredibly hard not to foist my beliefs on my students.  However, I do think that teachers have a responsibility to help students see the world in new ways.  As an English teacher, we do this by teaching, and encouraging our students to engage with, a wide variety of texts.

While skimming the newspaper, I came across an article about the underlying message in Paddington Bear. The idea that the Paddington Bear movie is really an asylum seeker story intrigued me, not least of all because, over the last few days, I have read a number of articles that demonize asylum seekers or highlight their suffering.

Coincidentally, when I opened Youtube, I stumbled upon a poem by Michael Ellison entitled ‘Mezeker means to remember‘.  This poem is about human suffering, how we should be grateful for what we have got, and not judge the choices of others.

I think both these texts would be interesting texts to examine alongside The Arrivals, perhaps as part of a unit about the migrant experience for a lower ability Year 9 or 10 class.

The Pitch

7 Dec

Inspired by the television show The Gruen Transferone of my Year 9 classes has been tasked with ‘selling the unsellable’.

In order to kick-start their thinking, I showed them a series of extracts from The Gruen Transfer segment ‘The Pitch’.

We began exploring the proposition that ‘We should invade New Zealand‘.  Students enjoyed both advertisements, and talked intelligently about the different approaches.

We then looked at advertisements created to sell the idea that ‘We should support child labour in Australia‘.  Again, students were captivated by the different approaches.

Students will use these ads, and the commentary around each, to guide and inspire their own advertisements.

Are you human?

6 Dec

In his Ted Talk, Ze Frank, asks the audience a series of questions to determine whether or not they are human.

I plan to show this video to my Year 7 class as part of their Museum of Words unit.  The word will be HUMAN, and the prompt question will be ‘If I am not human, then what am I?’  Student will be asked to respond in a form of their choosing (short speech, series of riddles, short story etc).

I will be looking for creative responses which demonstrate out of the box thinking.

100 words about freedom

5 Dec

As noted previously, my Year 7 students are participating in a series of activities inspired by the Sydney Museum of Words (here, here and here).

For the first writing tasks, students had to write a 100 word story about freedom.  In order to encourage them, I wrote one too:

My earliest memory is being in the tank.

I liked to hunker in the corner to escape the hot lights and sullen glares of those who fed and cleaned up after us.

They didn’t like that. They wanted me on display.

When they couldn’t find me they would carry out a sweep, disturbing the delicate ecosystem in a bid to hunt me out.

Then, one day, it all changed. I was scooped from the tank and, for one tantalising moment, I sniffed freedom.

It was strange.

As strange as being a fish out of water which,

of course,

I was.

Listen to their voices

4 Dec

As part of the Museum of Words project, my Year 7 students will be asked to listen to a section of testimony of a Stolen Generation survivor.  We will then discuss some of those experiences.

Students will be given the word VOICES as their prompt for the lesson.

Students will select a historical event (can be drawn from their History studies) and write a series of six 33 word stories, each of which offers a different voice from the past.

Prompting reflection

3 Dec

As part of the Museum of Words Project, my Year 7 students will be shown the final two pages of Jeannie Baker’s Where the Forest Meets the Sea. These pages show high rises and tourism infrastructure superimposed over the Daintree Rainforest.

Students will then be given the word ENVIRONMENT.

Students will be challenged to write TWO 5 sentence stories.  The first will be about the Daintree in its natural state, the second about that environment as altered by infrastructure and tourism.