Archive | October, 2016

A Funny Recipe

27 Oct

I often find it quite difficult to get my students to articulate the features/conventions of a particular genre.  To make the activity more interesting I recently asked my students to create a recipe for a sitcom.  To do this they had to identify a selection of ingredients, outline the process for combining the ingredients and specify how long and in what manner that finished product should be cooked.

The activity, predictably, elicited a number of humorous additions.  Lines that I particularly enjoyed included:

  • “One large bowl (or hyperbole) of exaggeration”
  • “Roast in oven for 22 minutes”
  • “One can laughter”

Hello Stranger

25 Oct

Hello Stranger is an ABC documentary series which seeks to meet a range of individuals and then follow one story home.

I recently watched the Hello Stranger episode entitled ‘Straight Outta Footscray‘ about Bangs, a rapper who hails from South Sudan and has achieved internet fame for a much derided song entitled ‘Take U to Da Movies’.  The episode allows responders to learn about Bangs, his hopes and his dreams.

I think I want to play the ‘Take U to Da Movies‘ clip to my students first, asking them to offer their thoughts about the clip and the man who stars in it.  Then, I want to show them the short documentary, asking them at the end if their perspectives have changed and why.


24 Oct

I recently introduced my students to the mockumentary form and the role of satire in revealing truths about our society.

It has been really interesting watching my students engage with We Can Be Heroes, picking apart the construction to reveal the truths communicated.  They have been quite perceptive, noting how the opening montage features predominantly white males, thus engaging with our stereotyped understanding of Australian identity.  Students have also raised some interesting ideas about privilege and voice as a result of realising that all key characters are played by Chris Lilley.

So, I’ve been watching a lot of television…

4 Oct

It is the school holidays and I am watching more television than usual.  As I am a teacher, I cannot help but make connections between what I am watching and what I have seen before and, to think about how I could use these texts in the classroom.

I have caught a few episodes of Black-ish.  It occurred to me as I watched this show that it should really be studied alongside some episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.  Why?  Well, both shows seek to engage with the intersections of race, class and identity.

Now, if only I could find space in the program to explore this further with one of my classes!

Language and Gender related material

3 Oct

I cannot stop thinking about the different types of texts I would introduce students to as part of the ‘Language and Gender’ elective in Extension 1 English.  As such, I have started to compile a list (see below).  I plan to keep revisiting and updating this list as new ideas come to me.

  1. The Bluest Eye (novel)
  2. Beloved (novel)
  3. Americanah (novel)
  4. ‘Girl’ (short story)
  5. The visual album accompanying Beyonce’s Lemonade
  6.  Girl Rising (film)
  7. Poetry of Maya Angelou
  8. Poetry of Warsan Shire
  9. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (autobiography)
  10. Bad Feminist (collection of essays)
  11. The Twyborn Affair (novel)
  12. Annie John (novel)
  13. Quiet‘ (spoken word poem)
  14. Anzac Girls (television series)
  15. Call the Midwife (television series)
  16. The Help (film and novel)
  17. Love Child (television series)
  18. House Husbands (television series)
  19. Black Eye‘ (spoken word poem)
  20. Spear‘ (spoken word poem)
  21. I think she was a she‘ (spoken word poem)
  22. Real Men‘ (spoken word poem)
  23. She Said‘ (spoken word poem)
  24. Macbeth (play)
  25. ‘One Word’ (short story)
  26. The Color Purple (novel)
  27. Mr Selfridge (television series)
  28. Scandal (television series)
  29. Bush Mechanics (television series).

Language and Gender

2 Oct

As you have no doubt gathered as a result of reading this blog, I have a particular interest in the relationship between language, representation and gender.  For this reason, were I offered an opportunity to teach Extension 1, I would be keen to select the elective entitled ‘Language and Gender’ in the ‘Languages and Values’ module.

While the set texts have some appeal, what particularly interests me is the potential for diverse and exciting related material.  I would love, for example, to introduce my students to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah in which a woman grapples with her identity personally and through the prisms of culture and country.  I would also love to introduce students to the novels of Toni Morrison, particularly Beloved and The Bluest Eye.  In the former text a conflict in terms of the construction of gender identity is conveyed: is it written by the individual, society or by one’s master?  In The Bluest Eye, we see an exploration of beauty and the way in which gender expectation intersect with race.

Documentaries with a twist

1 Oct

I am keen to help my Years 9 and 10 students to broaden their knowledge of the world.  To do this, I hope to run a unit about documentaries.

However, instead of selecting one documentary which we will study as a class, I hope to put together a selection of short documentaries which students can engage with.  In doing so, I hope to be able to showcase a variety of perspectives, cultures and religions and thus help me students to understand the true multicultural nature of our nation.

By showing a selection of shorter documentaries, I am also hopeful that I can create opportunities to discuss with my students different ways of representing experiences.  This, in turn, will enable discussions of editorial and production choices, thus engaging students critically in how texts are constructed.