Archive | January, 2015

AOS Prejudice

25 Jan

My Year 10 class will begin the year with an Area of Study.  The focus concept will be ‘Prejudice’.

As part of the unit of work, they will be introduced to snippets from a selection of texts which will be considered alongside their set text Deadly, Unna?

Below is a selection of texts that explore ‘prejudice’ and which can be drawn on for this AOS:

If you have any other suggestions, please let me know!

A sign!

24 Jan

When we think about distinctively visual texts, we tend to think of texts with particularly evocative images or language.  While these are undoubtedly important, and arguably form the basis of most of the texts studied in English, it seems to me that it is possible for a text to be distinctively visual even without these elements.

A case in point is ‘Sign Language‘, a Spoken Word poem by Rives.  In this poem, Rives shares some of the poems and experiences of students at a high school for deaf people.   As such, interspersed between his explanation and translation are beautiful moments of animated silence.  What do I mean by this?  Well, the moments when his hands sign stories, and the emotion on his face and the simplicity of the gestures create in the minds of the audience a clear visual of both the substance of the narrative and the emotion that inspired it.

Distinctively Visual Poetry

23 Jan

The HSC Standard English elective entitled Distinctively Visual requires students to locate and analyse a range of related texts which help them to understand how form, features and language create, affect interpretation and shape meaning in distinctively visual ways.

For many students, and less well read Standard English students in particular, finding related texts is quite difficult.  As such, I am compiling a list of poems which can be used by students who are studying, as a prescribed text, a text that is not a poem.  Each of the examples is accompanied by a short section of analysis.

  • Spelling Father‘ is a beautifully evocative Spoken Word poem by Marshall Jones.  Unlike films, such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, mean in a Spoken Word poem is a product of language, tone and pace.  ‘Spelling Father’ is no different.  In that poem, Jones’s words seemingly tumble into and trip over each other as they seek to convey an image of a mother who performs her own role and that of an absent father.  As the pace increases, a strong image of the always busy, always juggling mother is created; the words accentuate her burdens but also echo her capacity to continue functioning, supporting and nurturing.
  • If I should have a daughter‘ by Sarah Kay is another spectacular Spoken Word poem.  Unlike ‘Spelling Father’ where images are largely contingent on pace, Kay’s  images are reliant on language.  For example, she begins the poem by explain that is she “should have a daughter, instead of mum, she is going to call.. [Sarah] point B,” using this as a metaphor to explain the connection between mother and daughter.  This opening line forms the first half of a rhyme, with Sarah noting this will enable her daughter to “always find her way back to me.”  The rhyme reinforces the connection, assisting us (the responders) to visualise the certainty of the connection.
  • You Move Me‘ by Gina Loring is yet another phenomenally moving Spoken Word poem that engages with the themes of love and family.  In Loring’s poem, the visuals are created through similes and associations.  Indeed, Loring piles simile on top of simile on top of simile, building associations between emotions and famous figures in a bid to articulate the strength of her feelings.

AOS Family

10 Jan

I have had a slight change of approach for my A Bridge to Wiseman’s Cove unit.  In particular, I want to approach it as an area of study in order to start preparing students for senior English.  I want to focus on the concept of family.

This focus lends itself well to testing students’ understanding through a range of textual forms while also allowing students to begin preparing for NAPLAN.

In this unit, students will begin my brainstorming what they think a family is, what it looks like and whether there are any obligations/responsibilities associated with being a member of a family.  There may also be opportunity for them to research what the average family looks like in Australia, and to write an information report.

As we examine the text, students will be asked to provide descriptions of key characters/relationships.  They will then be asked to compare these characters/relationships with the equivalent individuals/relationships in their own families.  This will provide points of connection to their own lives.

I also want to introduce students to a range of guiding questions.  These can be used as a the basis of exposition or discussion pieces.

Novel Study: A Bridge to Wiseman’s Cove

5 Jan

My mainstream Year 9 class will begin the year by studying James Moloney’s A Bridge to Wiseman’s Cove.

Carl, his big sister Sarah and little brother Harley have had a difficult childhood.  Their fathers did not stick around and heir mother experienced difficulty coping, often going on little ‘holidays’ to escape her life.  During their mother’s absences, Sarah, the eldest child, looked after her brother. Well, she did until their mother’s last disappearance; after a few weeks she sold the furniture, sent her brothers to live with their Aunt Beryl in Wattle Bay and set off for Europe.

The brothers had a rough start in Wattle Bay; Beryl did not really want them, Harley got into trouble, and Carl as forced to leave school and find a job.  However, after meeting the Duncans life started to look up for the brothers.

This is a novel about family, love and friendship that provides numerous points of connection to the lives and emotions of students.

The plan is to use this unit to gauge students’ knowledge levels and introduce them to different textual forms as a means of responding to texts.