Tag Archives: Autobiography

‘A Long Way Gone’ and ‘Freedom Writers’

16 Nov

For a while now I have been posting text pairings on my blog.  I tend to update it once I read or watch something new, hoping that one day I can draw from the list and teach something really exciting, engaging and thought-provoking.

I wanted to take some time out from adding to the list, instead explaining why I think particular texts would work well together.  Some of these options I have tried in my own classroom, others I aspire to teach one day but have not yet had to right class with which to test them.  I hope by explaining my thought process other teachers may have the right class with which to take the leap and might be inspired to try something new.

A Long Way Gone  is the autobiography of Ishmael Beah, a former child soldier from Sierra Leone.  This book explores mature content but in a reasonably accessible way, making it the perfect choice for a mainstream Year 10 class.

Freedom Writers is a film that explores the power of relationships both within and outside of gang culture.  It highlights the role of education and strong relations to change the trajectory of lives.  Again, the content is mature but the presentation is accessible, making it a good film to pair with A Long Way Gone.

You could engage with both the texts around the idea of relationships and the forces that inspire/compel loyalty.  It would interesting to make comparisons between the experiences of child soldiers and those of gang members.  This particular comparison also enables meaningful engagement with notions of innocence and responsibility as well as charting courses towards redemption in various forms.

Youth Week

16 Apr

In celebration of Youth Week, SBS recently featured a selection of short films (1 minute in length) about the experiences of young people in Australia.

One film, entitled ‘Stephanie’s Film‘, showcases the experience of a young Muslim girl as she strives to overcome negative comments and become the first Australian ballerina to wear a hijab while dancing professionally.  The juxtaposition between the ugly negatively of the comments and the beauty of her dancing is striking.

Another film, entitled ‘Taz’s Film‘ offers insights into the experiences and emotions of an Indigenous brotherboy as he discusses his struggle with gender identity.  Here, the images of him boxing provide a powerful metaphor for both his inner turmoil and strength.

These short films could be used as part of units exploring Australian literature and experience, identity, youth experiences, and/or autobiography.  They could also be utilised in an introduction to the Year 12 Standard English module on ‘Distinctive Voices’ to help students to understand the ways in which experience and representation shapes voice and the messages conveyed by distinctive voices.

Pairs of texts

31 Mar

I have spent a lot of time recently thinking about interesting textual pairings for study as part of a comparative unit.  Many of my ideas are not suitable for my school context or the ability levels of my classes.  However, I do think that, in the right contexts and with the right classes, all could form the basis of interesting and engaging units.

  1. A Lesson Before Dying (novel) & To Kill a Mockingbird (film)
  2. A Long Way Gone (memoir) & Freedom Writers (film)
  3. A Long Way Gone (memoir) & Girl At War (novel)
  4. A Long Way Gone (memoir) & Hotel Rwanda (film)
  5. A Long Way Gone (memoir) & Schindler’s List (film)
  6. A Long Way Gone (memoir) & Poetry of Siegfried Sassoon (poetry)
  7. A Long Way Gone (memoir) & The Devil That Danced on Water (non-fiction)
  8. A Long Way Gone (memoir) & Poetry of Wilfred Owen (poetry)
  9. Americanah (novel) & selected episodes of Black-ish (television series)
  10. A Monster Calls (novel) & Boy (film)
  11. A Monster Calls (novel) & Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (film)
  12. A Monster Calls (novel/film) & Frankenstein (novel)
  13. And Then There Were None (novel) & Selected episodes of Trapped (television series)
  14. Animal Farm (novel) & Selection of episodes of House of Cards (television series)
  15. Antigone (play) and Home Fire (novel)
  16. Anzac Girls (television series) & Poetry of Siegfried Sassoon (poetry)
  17. Bad Feminist (collection of essays) & For Colored Girls (film)
  18. Bad Feminist (collection of essays) & When I Hit You (novel)
  19. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (novel) & Freedom Writers (film)
  20. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (novel) & The Dreamer (novel)
  21. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (novel) & The Kite Runner (film or graphic novel)
  22. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (novel) & Wadjda (film)
  23. Becoming Kirrali Lewis (novel) & Boy (film)
  24. Becoming Kirrali Lewis (novel) & The Kite Runner (graphic novel)
  25. Beloved (novel) & Dracula (novel)
  26. Beloved (novel) & Frankenstein (novel)
  27. Beloved (novel) & Icarus Girl (novel)
  28. Beloved (novel) & Uncle Tom’s Cabin (novel)
  29. Beloved (novel) & Unconfessed (novel)
  30. Boy, Snow, Bird (novel) & Americanah (novel)
  31. Boy, Snow, Bird (novel) & Selected short stories of Chinua Achebe (short stories)
  32. Boy, Snow, Bird (novel) & Desdemona (play)
  33. Boy, Snow, Bird (novel) & God Help the Child (novel)
  34. Boy, Snow, Bird (novel) & Kissing the Witch (novel)
  35. Brave New World (novel) & The Crucible (play)
  36. Brave New World (novel) & Never Let Me Go (film)
  37. Brave New World (novel) & V for Vendetta (film)
  38. Briar Rose (novel) & Grave of the Fireflies (film)
  39. Briar Rose (novel) & Lion (film)
  40. Briar Rose (novel) & Night (autobiography)
  41. Briar Rose (novel) & Schindler’s List (film)
  42. Deadline (novel) & Dead Poets Society (film)
  43. Deadline (novel) & The Fault In Our Stars (film)
  44. Deadline (novel) & The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (film)
  45. Deadly, Unna? (novel) & A United Kingdom (film)
  46. Deadly, Unna? (novel) & Hairspray (film)
  47. Deadly, Unna? (novel) & Invictus (film)
  48. Deadly, Unna? (novel) & Remember the Titans (films)
  49. Deadly, Unna? (novel) & Selected episodes of Redfern Now (television series)
  50. El Deafo (graphic novel) & The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (novel)
  51. Etiquette and Espionage (novel) & Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (film)
  52. Exit West (novel) & Romeo and Juliet (play)
  53. Exit West (novel) & The poetry of Selina Nwulu (poetry)
  54. Exit West (novel) & The poetry of Warsan Shire (poetry)
  55. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (novel) & After the Storm (film)
  56. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (novel) & 11’09’01 (collection of short films)
  57. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (novel) & Lion (film)
  58. Face (novel) & The Intouchables (film)
  59. Fahrenheit 451 (novel) & Persepolis (graphic novel or film)
  60. Fahrenheit 451 (novel) & V For Vendetta (film)
  61. For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow is Enuf (choreopoem) & When I Hit You (novel)
  62. For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow is Enuf (choreopoem) & Mustang (film)
  63. Frankenstein (novel) & Boy, Snow, Bird (novel)
  64. Frankenstein (novel) & Frankenweenie (film)
  65. Frankenstein (novel) & The Iron Giant (film)
  66. Frankenstein (novel) & Metropolis (film)
  67. Frankenstein (novel) & Never Let Me Go (film)
  68. Frankenstein (novel) & The Rocky Horror Picture Show (film)
  69. Frankenstein (novel) & The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (novel)
  70. Girl Rising (film) & Poetry of Maya Angelou (poetry)
  71. Girl Rising (film) & When I Hit You (novel)
  72. Hamlet (play) & A Monster Calls (novel/film)
  73. Hamlet (play) & Nutshell (novel)
  74. Hamlet (play) & The Lion King (film)
  75. Hiroshima (novel) & Grave of the Fireflies (film)
  76. Jasper Jones  (novel) & The Help (film)
  77. Jasper Jones (novel) & To Kill a Mockingbird (film)
  78. King Henry IV, Part I (play) & Selected episodes of House of Cards (television show)
  79. King Henry IV, Part I (play) & Selected episodes of Scandal (television show)
  80. King Richard II (play) & Selected episodes of House of Cards (television show)
  81. Life of Pi (novel) & Castaway (film)
  82. Lord of the Flies (novel) & Where the Wild Things Are (film)
  83. Lord of the Flies (novel) & The Hunger Games (film)
  84. Macbeth (play) & Selected episodes of Designated Survivor (television series)
  85. Macbeth (play) & The Dressmaker (film)
  86. Macbeth (play) & The Gods of Wheat Street (television series)
  87. Macbeth (play) & The Kite Runner (graphic novel, novel or film)
  88. Macbeth (play) & Selected episodes of House of Cards (television series)
  89. Macbeth (play) & Selected episodes of Scandal (television series)
  90. Maus (graphic novel) & A Long Way Gone (memoir)
  91. Maus (graphic novel) & Night (autobiography)
  92. Maus (graphic novel) & Schindler’s List (film)
  93. March (novel) & Little Wome(novel)
  94. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (novel) & The Fault in Our Stars (film)
  95. Night (autobiography) & A Long Way Gone (memoir)
  96. Night (autobiography) & Beatrice and Virgil (novel)
  97. Night (autobiography) & Girl At War (novel)
  98. Night (autobiography) & Over A Thousand Hills I Walk With You (biography)
  99. Night (autobiography) & Rabbit-Proof Fence (film)
  100. Night (autobiography) & Schindler’s List (film)
  101. Night (autobiography) & The Seven Stages of Grieving (play)
  102. Nineteen Eighty-Four (novel) & Pleasantville (film)
  103. Nona and Me (novel) & Looking for Alibrandi (film)
  104. Nona and Me (novel) & September (film)
  105. Of Mice and Men (novel) & Hunt for the Wilderpeople (film)
  106. Othello (play) & Boy Snow Bird (novel)
  107. Othello (play) & Desdemona (play)
  108. Othello (play) & Gone Girl (film)
  109. Othello (play) & Jasper Jones (novel)
  110. Othello (play) & New Boy (novel)
  111. Othello (play) & Selected episodes of Redfern Now (television series)
  112. Othello (play) & V For Vendetta (film)
  113. Over a Thousand Hills I Walk With You (biography) & Girl At War (novel)
  114. Over A Thousand Hills I Walk With You (biography) & Hotel Rwanda (film)
  115. Over A Thousand Hills I Walk With You (biography) & Lion (film)
  116. Over A Thousand Hills I Walk With You (biography) & Maus (graphic novel)
  117. Over A Thousand Hills I Walk With You (biography) & Night (autobiography)
  118. Over A Thousand Hills I Walk With You (biography) & Schindler’s List (film)
  119. Pride & Prejudice (novel) & Bride and Prejudice (film)
  120. Pride & Prejudice (novel) & Bridget Jones’s Diary (film)
  121. Pride & Prejudice (novel) & Mustang (film)
  122. Pride & Prejudice (novel) & The Wedding Plan (film)
  123. Refugee Boy (novel) & Freedom Writers (film)
  124. Refugee Boy (novel) & The African Doctor (film)
  125. Refugee Boy (novel) & The Arrival (picture book)
  126. Romeo & Juliet (play) & Alex and Eve (film)
  127. Romeo & Juliet (play) & A United Kingdom (film)
  128. Romeo & Juliet (play) & Freedom Writers (film)
  129. Romeo & Juliet (play) & Hairspray (film)
  130. Romeo & Juliet (play) & Meet the Patels (film)
  131. Romeo & Juliet (play) & Mustang (film)
  132. Romeo & Juliet (play) & My Big Fat Greek Wedding (film)
  133. Romeo & Juliet (play) & Tanna (film)
  134. Romeo & Juliet (play) & The Fault in Our Stars (film or novel)
  135. Romeo & Juliet (play) & Titanic (film)
  136. Romeo & Juliet (play) & Viceroy’s House (film)
  137. Romeo & Juliet (play) & West Side Story (film)
  138. Safana and Aunt Sarrinah (play) & Selected episodes of Redfern Now (television show)
  139. Safana and Aunt Sarrinah (play) & The Green Bicycle (novel)
  140. Safana and Aunt Sarrinah (play) & The Kite Runner (novel or graphic novel)
  141. Safana and Aunt Sarrinah (play) & Wadjda (film)
  142. Safana and Aunt Sarrinah (play) & Poetry of Warsan Shire (poetry)
  143. Scattered Lives (play) & Americannah (novel)
  144. Scattered Lives (play) & Freedom Writers (film)
  145. Scattered Lives (play) & Looking for Alibrandi (novel)
  146. Scattered Lives (play) & Poetry of Peter Skrzynecki (poetry)
  147. Scattered Lives (play) & Poetry of Selina Nwulu (poetry)
  148. Scattered Lives (play) & Poetry of Warsan Shire (poetry)
  149. Schindler’s Ark (novel) & Hotel Rwanda (film)
  150. Speak (novel) & For Colored Girls (film)
  151. Speak (novel) & The Lovely Bones (novel)
  152. Speak (novel) & The Scarlet Letter (novel)
  153. Speak (novel) & When I Hit You (novel)
  154. Stargirl (novel) & Wadjda (film)
  155. Station Eleven (novel) & A Midsummer Night’s Dream (play)
  156. Station Eleven (novel) & Hag-Seed (novel)
  157. Station Eleven (novel) & Never Let Me Go (novel or film)
  158. Station Eleven (novel) & The Tempest (play)
  159. Stolen (play) & Rabbit-Proof Fence (film)
  160. Stolen (play) & The Rabbits (picture book)
  161. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (novel) & Hunt for the Wilderpeople (film)
  162. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (memoir) & Queen of Katwe (film)
  163. The Color Purple (novel) & For Colored Girls (film)
  164. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (novel) & Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (film)
  165. The Dreamer (novel) & Billy Elliot (film)
  166. The Drover’s Wife (play) & Selected episodes of Redfern Now (television series)
  167. The Drover’s Wife (play) & ‘The Drover’s Wife’ (short story)
  168. The Drover’s Wife (play) & When I Hit You (novel)
  169. The First Third (novel) & Boy (film)
  170. The Fault in Our Stars (novel) & Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (film)
  171. The Handmaid’s Tale (novel/television series) & Never Let me Go (novel/film)
  172. The Help (novel) & A United Kingdom (film)
  173. The Help (novel) & Remember the Titans (film)
  174. The Help (novel) & The Blindside (film)
  175. The Outsiders (novel) & Hunt for the Wilderpeople (film)
  176. The Outsiders (novel) & Freedom Writers (film)
  177. The Outsiders (novel) & Yolngu Boy (film)
  178. The Rabbits (picture book) & Deadly, Unna? (novel)
  179. The Rabbits (picture book) & Poetry of Oodgeroo Noonuccal (poetry)
  180. The Rabbits (picture book) & Rabbit-Proof Fence (film)
  181. The Real Inspector Hound (play) & Selected episodes of Trapped (television series)
  182. The Real Inspector Hound (play) & And Then There Were None (novel)
  183. The Scarlet Letter (novel) & Easy A (film)
  184. The Skull Beneath the Skin (novel) & The Real Inspector Hound (play)
  185. The Skull Beneath the Skin (novel) & Selected episodes of Trapped (television series)
  186. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (novel) & The Drover’s Wife (play)
  187. The Street Sweeper by Elliot Perlman (novel) & Freedom Writers (film)
  188. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle (novel) & Hamlet (play or film)
  189. The Kite Runner (novel) & Big Fish (film)
  190. The Kite Runner (novel) & Boy (film)
  191. The Queue (novel) & Animal Farm (novel)
  192. The Queue (novel) & Brave New World (novel)
  193. The Queue (novel) & Fahrenheit 451 (novel/film)
  194. The Queue (novel) & Nineteen Eighty-Four (novel)
  195. The Queue (novel) & Persepolis (film/graphic novel)
  196. ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ (short story) & Icarus Girl (novel)
  197. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & A United Kingdom (film)
  198. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & Boy, Snow, Bird (novel)
  199. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & Hairspray (film)
  200. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & Poetry of Langston Hughes (poetry)
  201. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & Jasper Jones (novel)
  202. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & Pleasantville (film)
  203. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & Remember the Titans (film)
  204. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & Selected episodes of Redfern Now (television series)
  205. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & The Blindside (film)
  206. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & The Hate U Give (novel)
  207. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & The Help (film)
  208. To This Day (graphic novel) & Wonder (novel)
  209. To This Day (graphic novel) & Face (novel)
  210. Vernon God Little (novel) & Elephant (film)
  211. Vinegar Girl (novel) & The Taming of the Shrew (play)
  212. Vinegar Girl (novel) & 10 Things I Hate About You (film)
  213. Voices from Chernobyl (non-fiction) & Grave of the Fireflies (film)
  214. War Horse (film) & Poetry of Siegfried Sassoon (poetry)
  215. War Horse (film) & Poetry of Wilfred Owen (poetry)

‘Walk in my shoes’

28 Dec

I have been on the lookout for texts about empathy, understanding and walking in someone else’s shoes to build the field for a unit focussing on Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.  As part of my search I stumbled upon a collection of autobiographical reflections written by Muslim women.  The short reflections will hopefully help students to develop their abilities to see events/experiences from the perspectives of others.

‘Kwa Heri Mandima’

4 Jul

As part of my research for the (still hypothetical) ‘Representing the Self’ unit, I came across a short film entitled Kwa Heri Mandima.  The film tells the story of a young European boy’s departure from the village in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo).  In less than ten minutes, it flags the boy’s formative experiences in the village, and his relationships with other members of the community.  It also touches upon important questions about identity, expression and knowledge.

It would be an interesting addition to the unit as the narrative is told from a second person perspective, allowing for an unexpected lessening of distance between subject and audience.   If I were using this as part of a lesson, I would be asking students to comment on the effect of this perspective and, perhaps to transform a first person autobiographical text into second person and then to discuss the effect of this change.

Representing the Self

2 Jul

I am interested in running a unit entitled ‘Representing the Self’ as a way of introducing students in Year 9 or 10 to the choices made by composers when creating or adapting autobiographical and biographic texts.

Interesting possible questions to discuss could include:

(1) What are the difficulties of representing reality?

(2) Whose perspectives matter?

(3) For what purposes are biographical and autobiographical texts created?

(4) How does one represent the self?