Tag Archives: The Rabbits

Differentiated instruction

11 May

As we all know, it is important to differentiate instruction to ensure that all students can access course content.  Sometimes differentiation involves simply sitting with a student and explaining the task differently.  Other times, it involves a separate set of worksheets.  See, for example, HANDOUT – Connecting paragraphs.

In the example above, most students complete the first handout (Handout 06) with various amounts of assistance.  My weaker students and some of my ESL students complete the second handout (Handout 06A).  My strongest students complete the first handout and then build on their knowledge from previous extension activities by completing the third handout (Handout 06B).

Opera in the English classroom

9 May

As part of the introduction to my Year 10 ‘Visions of Australia‘ unit I asked students to explain how images were created in written text, a double-page spread of a picture book and an opera.  All three texts engaged with a series of quotations from Marsden and Tan’s The Rabbits.  The idea was that they would recognise how different types of texts create images in different ways.

On the whole, students came up with perceptive responses.  They noted, for example, that the rhetorical questions in the original text example created a sense of loss, that the high-pitched voice in the musical clip suggested pain, and that the overwhelming use of black in the double-page spread might represent the absence of something.

Analysing ‘The Rabbits’

7 May

Learning how to analyse texts and display that knowledge in clear paragraphs is the focus skill for my Year 10 class.  In order to assist them to organise their information I have given them a paragraph proforma that we use each time we write a paragraph.

Typically, we complete the first paragraph together as a class, which can then be used as a model.  Students must then complete the other two examples by themselves with varying levels of assistance. An example handout can be found here: HANDOUT – The Rabbits analysis table.

Visions of Australia

14 Apr

My Year 1o class is awesome.  However, they have a long way to go if they want to be properly prepared for Standard English in Years 11 and 12.  As part of my campaign to prepare them for senior school I am in the process of creating an ‘Introduction to Distinctively Visual’ unit for them.

The focus if this unit will be representations of Australia. Why? Well, it flows well from our novel study, building on some of the themes flagged there and answering some of the questions that students had at the end of that unit.  It also engages with ideas that may well have personal resonance for my class; all members of my class are either first generation Australians or were born overseas.  It is my observation that my classes much prefers topics that have some application to their own lives and experiences (either directly or through representation in media that they engage with).

I would like to begin this unit with a brief exploration of The Rabbits, a picture book by John Marsden and Shaun Tan.  This text is an allegory for Australia’s colonisation, representing these ideas in distinctively visual ways.  In particular, I am keen for students to discuss colour, positioning, juxtaposition, and salience as they apply to the text.  I also think that, as a text type, a picture book represents an accessible starting point for my ESL and lower ability students.

I would like to follow The Rabbits with something from Growing up Asian in Australia.  By comparing these texts, I hope to spark in depth discussion about identity, marginalisation, community and cross-cultural interactions.