Curriculum-linked literacy lessons for EdWeek19
We've taken the hard work out of bringing the Education Week theme, Every student, every voice, to life with these curriculum-linked lessons centred on literacy activities for children up to Stage 5.
Early Stage 1
ENe-8B demonstrates emerging skills and knowledge of texts to read and view, and shows developing awareness of purpose, audience and subject matter.
- engage with shared stories and join in shared book activities on familiar and imaginary books
- explore the different contribution of words and images to meaning in stories and informative texts
- identify some features of texts including events and characters and retell events from a text
- recognise rhymes, syllables and sounds (phonemes) in spoken words.
Edward the Emu by Sheena Knowles and Rod Clement (illustrator) 1998.
This rhyming picture book looks at Edward the Emu who feels that everyone else has a better life. He wants to be anything but an emu. Sheena Knowles weaves an entertaining tale that is certain to keep you laughing from start to finish.
- Students share their knowledge of emus.
- Students are asked to infer how Edward the Emu is feeling at the start of the text, based upon the picture. Compare these ideas to words like “sick of” “nothing to do” “a bore” when reading begins.
- As Edward pretends to be each other animal (seal, lion, snake), students are asked how Edward is similar and/or different to this other animal. e.g. long neck like a snake
- At the end, compare the picture of Edward to the one at the start. How is he feeling now? How do you know? Why is he feeling this way now?
- In reading aloud, support students to recognise the rhyme used throughout a section of the text. e.g. Here is the word ‘zoo’. Put your hand up when you hear a word that rhymes with ‘zoo’.
- Students use picture clues (pages of the book) to take turns retelling the five main sections of the text to their talking partners: 1. Edward bored as an emu; 2. Edward as a seal; 3. Edward as a lion; 4. Edward as a snake; 5. Edward as an emu again.
EN1-1A communicates with a range of people in informal and guided activities demonstrating interaction skills and considers how own communication is adjusted in different situations.
- use turn-taking, questioning and other behaviours related to class discussions use role-play and drama to represent familiar events and characters in texts
Where The Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak, 1963.
One night Max puts on his wolf suit and makes mischief of one kind and another, so his mother calls him 'Wild Thing' and sends him to bed without his supper.
That night a forest begins to grow in Max's room and an ocean rushes by with a boat to take Max to the place where the wild things are. Max tames the wild things and crowns himself as their king, and then the wild rumpus begins.
But when Max has sent the monsters to bed, and everything is quiet, he starts to feel lonely and realises it is time to sail home to the place where someone loves him best of all.
After reading the text aloud to the class, the teacher divides the class into groups. Each group plans, practises and presents a freeze frame of a different scene from the text to the rest of the class as the audience.
The teacher can model this first, using one student (with teacher as ‘director’) or themselves as Max. They ‘think aloud’ how to use body and face to capture the key aspects of the scene from the written text and illustrations.
As each freeze frame is presented, the teacher asks the audience to respond to these questions:
- Can we tell what the scene is? What part of the text are we seeing?
- Does the freeze frame look like the picture in the book? Why/why not?
- Does the freeze frame show what is described in the written text? Why/why not?
- How are the students in the freeze frame using their faces and bodies to present this scene?
EN2-11 responds to and composes a range of texts that express viewpoints of the world similar to and different from their own.
- draw connections between personal experiences and the worlds of texts, and share responses with others.
Ernie Dances to the Didgeridoo: For the Children of Gunbalanya, by Alison Lester, 2000.
A young boy, Ernie, moves with his family to the outback Oenpelli Community of Gunbalanya, (24km east of Darwin) in Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, for a year. He writes home to his friends about his experiences. He learns that they are studying the exact place in which he is living. Follow Ernie’s adventures with his six new friends. The story is based on the author, Alison Lester’s visit to the community.
- Discuss seasons with students. How many do you know about? What do we call them? What is each one like? What activities might we do in each season?
- Introduce the idea of the six seasons presented in this text and why different cultures may recognise different seasons. List the six Arnhem Land indigenous names for these out the front of the room.
- As each Arnhem Land season is described, ask students to describe the characteristics, e.g. rainy, humid, and list these words (and/or picture symbols) next to the season name
- Ask students to turn and tell a partner which activity they would most like to do in each season and why
- Students do some partner talking and mind mapping about their favourite season and what they and their families and friends like to do in that season
- Students then use this planning to write a short letter to Ernie telling him about their favourite season and listing / illustrating the activities they and their friends and family like to do in that season. [The structure of Ernie’s letters can be used as a scaffold.]
EN3-3A uses an integrated range of skills, strategies and knowledge to read, view and comprehend a wide range of texts in different media and technologies.
- interpret picture books, comic strips and sequences of digital images which do not contain written text.
EN3-2A composes, edits and presents well-structured and coherent texts
- plan, draft and publish imaginative texts, choosing and experimenting with text structures, language features, images and digital resources appropriate to purpose and audience.
Free Fall, by David Wiesner, 1991.
When he falls asleep with a book in his arms, a young boy dreams an amazing dream-about dragons, about castles, and about an unchartered, faraway land. And you can come along.
The teacher selects a wordless picture book – for example, David Wiesner’s Free Fall – and this is shared with the class [Alternatively, students can be split into groups and each allocated a different wordless text.]
Students are encouraged to take the opportunity to have a voice in creating the written text. They work in small groups to:
- share interpretations of the illustrations and their contribution to the visual narrative through the text
- brainstorm key words and phrases that capture key ideas for each illustration
- draft, write and edit text to support the visual narrative
Groups then share and compare their written narratives.
EN4-1A responds to and composes texts for understanding, interpretation, critical analysis, imaginative expression and pleasure.
- compare the ways that language and images are used to create character, and to influence emotions and opinions in different types of texts.
Drac and the Gremlin, by Allan Baillie, Jane Tanner (Illustrator), 1989.
Two stories told side by side, Drac fighting the evil Gremlin and children acting out the fantasy in the garden, which was the joint winner of the Australian Children's Book Council's Picture Book of the Year Award 1989.
Students are prepared with pencil and paper. They are asked to select a character to focus on:
- Warrior Queen of Tirnol Two
- White Wizard
- General Min
- Terrible Tongued Dragon
Teacher reads to students the text without revealing the illustrations. Students are asked to sketch their allocated character as they listen. They share their sketches, referencing any memorable words or events that shaped them. They state their impressions of and feelings about the character.
The teacher then presents the text again, revealing the illustrations of each character. Students compare to their own.
Students form groups to focus on one character each. They complete a Venn diagram with the titles “language” and “images” and compare and contrast the ways that each contribute to the characterisation of their character and the effect of each on readers’ emotional responses and impressions of the character. Groups share their Venn diagrams.
EN5-8D questions, challenges and evaluates cultural assumptions in texts and their effects on meaning.
- analyse and evaluate how people, cultures, places, events, objects and concepts are represented in texts, including media texts, through language, structural and/or visual choices.
Whoever You Are, by Mem Fox and Leslie Staub (illustrator) 1998.
This rhythmic book by bestselling author Mem Fox, with colourful and whimsical illustrations by Leslie Staub, celebrates the diversity in our world and the fact that, inside, we are all the same -wherever and whoever we are.
Teacher engages class in shared reading of the text.
Class discussion questions:
- Who is the target audience and what is the purpose of this text?
- What are the text’s messages?
- How does this text present different cultures, through choice of language and images, to the target audience? Give examples.
Students in small groups are then allocated a double page of the text to look at more closely. They complete a close analysis of the double page, using sticky notes to label the language, structural and visual features of the text used to depict different cultures.
Groups report back. In their reporting, they are also asked to suggest ways in which the images and/or language could be changed to strengthen the depiction of different cultures to support the text’s message for the target audience.