Scarecrow Street

story by Natasha Childs , illustrated by Sarah Davis

Learning intention:

I am learning to understand how the events of a story affect the characters so that I can empathise more deeply with the experiences of others.


Success criteria:

  • I can identify the way Tom’s life has changed in the story
  • I can discuss the helpfulness of the strategies the family used to make the changes easier
  • I can write and draw strategies I would use to cope if I was in the same situation as Tom


Essential knowledge:

More information about how our own situations and experiences shape the way we respond to texts can be found in the English Textual Concepts video Context.


Read the story as a class and ask students to use textual evidence to identify the ways that Tom’s life has changed by moving from the farm to the city. Answers may include:

  • His house, bedroom and backyard are much smaller
  • He had to leave a lot behind including his dog, bike, and rope swing
  • His grandfather is not with them
  • His school is much bigger and he doesn’t know anybody


Discuss the ways that Tom and his family tried to make this move easier by creating familiar surroundings and ask students to give examples. These may include:

  • Hanging a rope swing in the yard
  • Planting a vegie garden
  • Making a scarecrow
  • Putting Grandpa’s farm hat and boots on the scarecrow

Ask students to imagine having to move to a completely different place like Tom did. Perhaps it would be from the city to the country or the outback to the coast. Discuss examples of what these changes may mean for them. This may include things like Tom, such as leaving family behind, a significant change in the size of their home or school, and unfamiliar aspects of their environment and new lifestyle.

Students should then create a list in their books of items they would take with them to remind them of their home, as well as what they could create in their new home to help them with the change, just as Tom’s family did with the vegie garden and scarecrow. They should also draw an illustration of what they imagine this would look like in a new home, taking into account that it would be very different to where they live now.

Students should present their list and illustration to the class, if they are comfortable sharing.