Note key events from the text (e.g. the bulldozer sliding into the creek, the boy attempting to confess, etc.).
Conduct a Colour, Symbol, Image, Visible Thinking routine, choosing three key events and following the instructions below:
- For one of these, choose a colour that you feel best represents or captures the essence of that idea (e.g. red for the father’s reaction when Jarrad tells the story about the bulldozer being dragged by an eel).
- For another one, choose a symbol that you feel best represents or captures the essence of that idea (e.g. a stop sign for the moment the bulldozer slipped into the creek).
- For the other one, choose an image that you feel best represents or captures the essence of that idea (e.g. the boy sat alone in a gum tree for the ending).
Responses could be displayed in a mood board. Refer to How to Create a Mood Board, Using Word.
Alternatively, ideas could be shared orally.
Refer to the accompanying images, considering the sizing and placement of the elements within the frame. Pay close attention to the eel in the second image and the fact it dominates much of the frame, with the bulldozer being shown off in the background.
Discuss how where the elements are placed within the image influences how important to the story they are perceived to be (e.g. the eel may be interpreted as being of greater significance than the bulldozer). After reading, reflect on whether prior perceptions were correct. Suggest reasons for the placement of elements in the images (illustrators may have chosen to accentuate interesting or unusual parts such as the eel).
Identify the main character’s responses to ‘drowning’ the bulldozer (planning to admit the truth, deciding to tell a lie about how it happened, then finally avoiding the consequences by hiding). Place signs with each of these responses written on them around the room. Play a game of, ‘I have never …’ using the responses to dilemmas included on the signs as the examples (e.g. ‘I have never admitted the truth when I did something I wasn’t supposed to.’). If you have acted in the way described in the statement, stand in front of the matching sign. Reflect on whether the response helped or hindered the situation you are recalling from your own life.
Examine the images that accompany this text and those that appear with ‘Nana’s Terrible Trifle’. Create a table for each text, labelling the columns ‘See’ and ‘Infer’. Complete the table for both texts, for example, in ‘Nana’s Terrible Trifle’, ‘See’ Christmas decorations and ‘Infer’ Christmas time; for ‘Waiting’, ‘See’ a boy touching a bulldozer and ‘Infer’ he is fond of it. Reflect on how much can be inferred from each of the images.
Highlight any behaviour shown by the character that you identify with (e.g. yearning for something you are not allowed to play with, sneaking off to play with something off limits or being in a situation where events suddenly get out of hand). Ask questions such as:
- Do you like the main character? Why/why not?
- Does the main character seem inherently good but as though he has made or mistake or does he seem mean? Why/why not?
- Do you empathise with his situation? Why/why not?
- Have you been in a similar situation?
Conduct a poll to ascertain whether students are interested in finding out what happens when the boy finally goes home. Reflect on how well the author has made readers care about the character and the outcome of the story by creating a likable and relatable character.
Identify non-verbal communication that reveals Dad’s emotional response to his son telling a fictitious story about what happened to the bulldozer (e.g. stopped smiling, snarled and clenched and unclenched his fingers). Consider things that have made you feel angry. Role-play events that have caused an angry response. Have one person acting as an observer jotting down any non-verbal signs of anger (e.g. straightening arms, baring teeth, changing pitch of voice, etc.). Write down what happens next in the story and include non-verbal signs of anger identified earlier.
Label moments of dramatic tension in the plot (e.g. the boy has a secret he must own up to, he tries to cover it up but gets caught, the reader is left wondering what happens next).
Create a narrative based on a time when events have suddenly got out of hand, similar to when the bulldozer slipped into the creek. Include dramatic tension. Swap narratives with a partner. Use the labels created earlier to identify moments of dramatic tension in your partner’s work.