Learning resources for each school magazine include strategies for at least 2 of the stories/poems or plays within each issue. Teachers can utilise these texts and strategies from each magazine in the classroom. The Learning Resources are designed to connect your students to the text and to provide higher order thinking strategies as well as  other literacy ideas.

The strategies for each text can be used as a whole lesson or as small group or individual work in your classrooms.

Learning Resources can also be downloaded in PDF format for your convenience:
Issue 1 - Issue 2 - Issue 3

Issue 1 - February, 2019


written by Geoffrey McSkimming, illustrated by Douglas Holgate

Outcomes

EN 2-8B (ACELY1690)

EN 2-11D

EN 2-10C

EN 2-4A (ACELT1604)

EN 2-8B (ACELT1600)

Learning activities
1. Literary value–text connection

Before reading the story, have students look at ‘Meet the Countdown Crew’ on the previous page. Discuss the visual similarities/differences between the characters. Brainstorm briefly what may have brought these three unlikely characters together.

Discuss the idea of a ‘back story’ with the class; this can be linked to the idea of an ‘origin story’ in superhero comics and movies (like the recent Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse, which has a back story for each of the seven Spider-characters). Read Bob’s ‘back story’ from p 9.

As a whole class or group activity, come up with a ‘back story’ for how Ahab and Shasta came to be part of the same crew before discovering Bob together.
Support:

For students having difficulty getting started in comparing and contrasting the characters, you could scaffold the activity by providing categories they can compare and contrast—for example: type of animal, physical characteristics (size, colour, shape), gender, interests and personality traits.

2. Relationships/friendships/quest journey

This story would fit nicely when exploring a theme of friendship or exploration or in a genre study of adventure fiction or journey stories. Some suggestions for related texts can be found in the ’Further reading’ section.

3. Dialogue

After reading the story, discuss how the author used differences in how the characters spoke to give us information about the characters. Draw attention to the descriptions of Ahab speaking in a ‘deep voice’, ‘bellowing’ and ‘booming’; Shasta talking to herself about different ideas as she prepares for her cooking on pages 7 and 8; and Bob using homely and invented words like ’indeedy’ and ’otter-acious’ and leaving off the final sound of some words.

Ask for volunteers to dramatise reading some of the dialogue from the text, representing each character with multiple readers. Then ask students to form small groups and write a dialogue amongthe three characters that the students think might happen as the characters are setting off to explore the island. Encourage students to use the individual speech characteristics noted in their analysis section. Have each group perform their dialogue for the rest of the class.

4. Cliffhangers: analyse, then write your own

The first part of this serial story ends with a cliffhanger¾some hungry lizards who have a taste for one of the main characters are spotted in the foliage. Have students identify the cliffhanger situation. Discuss what purpose it serves and whether they think it is effective. Brainstorm other cliffhangers the class has encountered in their reading and viewing. The episodes of both comic serials in this issue also have cliffhanger endings¾students can compare and contrast these, providing arguments for which they think is more effective and why.

Demonstrate how a story could be turned into a serial with a cliffhanger ending by editing ’Lots of Latkes’ to end the first instalment when the family has finished the latkes and the doorbell rings with the guests arriving. Have students, individually or in groups, create a two-part story with a cliffhanger from the story ‘Stripe’.



5. Onomatopoeia

Use the Onomatopoeia song video to introduce or review the definition of onomatopoeia. Have students brainstorm categories of types of sounds for which onomatopoeia can be created, using the song as a starting point. Another good source text is Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type.

Have students go on a word hunt in the story to find examples of onomatopoeia and record (manually or digitally) the words or phrases they find together with the category of sound. Some great examples include ‘BOB-OTTER, BOB-OTTER, BOB-OTTER’ and ‘chugged’ to describe the engine noise, ‘clacked’ to represent the sound of Shasta’s beak opening and shutting and ‘squawked’ to portray the sound of Shasta speaking to herself.

Ask students to consider what effect the use of onomatopoeia has on the intended audience and how it serves the purpose of each text, including the comparison between the onomatopoeia and the actual sound that it represents.

Extension:

Assemble some clips or live-action demonstrations of sound effects related to the story. For instance, otters and boats make splashing sounds as in the ‘Water Splashing Sound Effects’ clip, or ‘Brolga trumpeting’ from the Auckland Zoo. Ask students to come up with their own onomatopoeic words and phrases to describe the sounds they hear. Compare results and discuss how different people (and different cultures) represent the same sounds in different ways.

Resources

Auckland Zoo. (2015, August 9). Brolga Trumpeting [Video file].

Cronin, D. & Lewin, B. (2003). Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Bauer, Mindy. (2012, March 26). Onomatopoeia [Video file].

Sound Effects. (2014, December 18). Water Splashing Sound Effects [Video file].

Further reading

Barrows, A. & Blackall, S. (2007) Ivy and Bean. San Francisco: Chronicle Books.

White, E. B. (2012, 1952). Charlotte’s Web. New York: HarperCollins.

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written by Karen Jameyson, illustrated by Andrew Joyner and photos from Dreamstime

Outcomes

EN 2-11D (ACELT196)

EN 2-8B (ACELA1483)

EN 2-4A (ACELY1680)

EN 2-6B

EN 2-8B (ACELT1600)

Learning Activities
1. Connect to text

Before reading, have students look at the various photos and discuss their personal connection to pancakes. Has everyone eaten some kind of pancake before? Make a class list of different pancake types class members have eaten.

After reading, update the list and discuss any new types of pancakes students learned about through reading the article.

Extension:

Using ‘Shasta’s Sensational Pancakes’ as an example, have students create recipes for other types of pancakes they personally have eaten. Gather recipes into a class recipe book.

2. Visual modality of illustrations

Discuss the illustrations that accompany the article. Have students consider the contrast between the high modality (degree of realism) of the photos compared with the lower modality of the pancake flipping cartoon. What sections do the different types of illustrations relate to? How does the modality of the image influence viewer reactions? Do students agree or disagree with the illustration choices made for this article?

Ask students to come up with a proposal for an additional image to include with the article to illustrate the section ’How old?’ Students need to describe, source or create the image they recommend using and provide an argument for why they chose the level of modality they proposed.

3. Connections to other texts

Discuss connections between this text and other pancake-related texts in the magazine, ‘Lots of Latkes‘ and ’Shasta’s Sensational Pancakes‘. Creating a Venn diagram would be a great way to record similarities and differences between these texts.

View a video about Pancake Day, also known as Shrove Tuesday, or about pancakes from around the world with the class and discuss similarities and differences between the relevant article section and the video text.

Support:

For students experiencing difficulty with Venn diagrams, colour code the areas. For instance blue for unique items in one text, yellow for the other and green for similarities.

4. Using questions to engage interest

One technique used to engage interest in nonfiction writing is asking (and answering) questions. Ask students to locate instances of this technique in this text. Discuss whether they find it an effective technique and if any instances are more effective than others. Are all the questions answered? How close to the question is the answer found? Are they more interested in reading sections with question headers or statement headers?

Students could look at the other nonfiction article ‘Captain Ahab’sWeird Wide World: Lunar Calendars and Celebrations’ and try adding a question to engage interest in that text. This could be done by expanding the article by adding a paragraph on another lunar calendar holiday in which students incorporate the questioning technique.

5. Alliteration

Investigate the use of alliteration in this text. Discuss other places students have seen or used alliteration (poetry, advertisements) and how it influences a reader’s or viewer’s engagement with or interest in the text.

Challenge students (or groups) to come up with alliterative phrases, both in title or heading format, like ‘Piles of Pancakes’ or within a sentence, as in ‘You don’t have to do any fancy flips.’

Resources

Anchor Creative Education. (2017, August 18). The Alliteration Song [Video file].

Bon Appetit. (2018, June 19). Kids try 10 kinds of pancakes from around the world [Video file].

Learn English with EnglishClass101.com. (2014, September 25). British holidays: Pancake Day and Shrove Tuesday [Video file].

Further reading

Carle, E. (1992). Pancakes,Pancakes! New York: Simon and Schuster.

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Issue 2 - March, 2019

article by John Lockyer

photos by Alamy


Connecting to the text EN2-1A

How do the ideas in this text relate to the larger world—past, present and future?

Watch Inside the doomsday vault on YouTube to prompt further discussion and questions. What is Doomsday?

Students complete the following statements using Think Pair Share OR Making Connections PDF

  • What I just read makes me think about (event from the past) because …
  • What I just read makes me think about (event from today related to my own community, nation or world) because …
  • What I just read makes me wonder about the future because …

Comprehension EN2-4A/ACELY1680/ACELY1692

Quiz student comprehension using ready-made Kahoot. Search title ‘Secret Seed Vault’ #School Magazine.


Author purpose EN2-7B

Watch Author's Purpose PIE YouTube and discuss what John Lockyer’s intention/purpose is?

Identify evidence in the text using PIE pdf to support student thinking and analysis of the text.

Discuss: Stylerefers to the characteristic ways in which composers choose to express ideas in a variety of modes.

How has John Lockyer used semantics, structure, form, design and point of view to influence the audience? What language choices and images have been chosen and how do they impact our interpretation? Why did he call it a secret vault?

Support: Question Creation Chart

Extension: Create another Kahoot or True/False quiz


Finding evidence EN2-7B

Conduct a class debate about the importance of diversity. Use a KWHL Google Slide to help organise and locate factual information from a variety of digital sources including:

croptrust-diversity-why-it-matters

Food Tank

TedEd Biodiversity

Time Magazine article


Power of persuasion EN2-2A

Create a persuasive flow chart or infographic using canva.com for the importance of Seed Vaults. Scaffold arguments using persuasion scaffold to organise thinking and slogan generation. For example, save our seeds, diversity rules, diversity sustains life.

Adapting structure and styles of texts draws on the intertextuality concept, where texts can be appropriated for audience, purpose, mode or media.


Wonderful words EN2-9B/ACELA1484/ACELA1498

Research and create a crossword using facts and new vocabulary from ‘The Secret Seed Vault’. Use the crossword on page 34 of Countdown as a guide for suitable questions. Remember: answers can only be letters or words, not numbers. Use Crossword generator or puzzle maker to compose.

Support: Question Creation Chart

Extension: Create a Kahoot


Get creative EN 2-10C

Create a film strip from the point of view of the ‘top three grains’—rice, maize or corn. How do they feel about their friends disappearing? Who will be saved by the Vault?

Extension: Adapt the cartoon into a narrative / Create a podcast of the film strip above using

audacity.


Further reading

http://www.englishtextualconcepts.nsw.edu.au/

Food4Ever

Crop Trust

CSIRO

SEED

Resources

Kahoot

Play Kahoot

How to create a podcast

Debating and Public Speaking Resource

story by Jane Buxton

Illustrated by Anna Bron


Connecting to the text EN2-4A/ACELY1680/ACELY1692

After reading ‘The Birthday Party’ ask students to put forward their thoughts, feelings and intuitions regarding the story. Students share immediate, instinctive thoughts on the story. Discuss using a PMI chart as a partner activity or as a whole class.

OR

Text-to-Self: How do the ideas in this text relate to your own life, ideas, and experiences? Discuss the following statements or use a graphic organiser:

  • What I just read reminds me of the time when I …
  • I agree with/understand what I just read because in my own life …
  • I don’t agree with what I just read because in my own life …

Narrative structure EN2-2A/ACELY1680/ACELY1692

Organise the information in the story using one of these three graphic story organisers. What events take place? Students identify the structure as a narrative and discuss conventions used by the author.

Watch Author's Purpose PIE YouTube and discuss the intention/purpose of the author. Identify evidence in the text using PIE pdf to support student thinking and analysis of the text.

Extension: Define the TSM word of the month, ‘offbeat’, and use in creative writing appropriately for the month of March.


Point of view EN2-7B

Thinking Routine True for Who?: The True for Who routine helps students cast a wide net for facts and arguments by imagining how an issue looks from different points of view. Begin the discussion by clarifying a claim and imagining various perspectives on the topic—for example, ‘Liam shouldn’t invite Andy to his party’. Use True for Who.pdf to scaffold discussion.


The value of friends EN2-6B/ACELY1676

What are the values and benefits of friendship? Who benefits in ‘The Birthday Party’? How did the benefits come about? How do we value our friends? What do we expect from a friendship? What do our friends teach us about ourselves? Use a tree chart to illustrate thoughts and ideas about friendship from the text.

Identify Liam’s character traits based on evidence from the text. Illustrate students’ understanding of the text using character traits pdf


Get creative EN2-2A/ACELT1601/ACELT1794

Write a thank you letter to a friend.

Adapt the story using animals or different characters entirely.

Create a cartoon/storyboard using Storyboarder

Perform the story as a three-minute mime.

Create a friendship poem using the structure in ‘Waiting’ on page 20-21. Model six stanza ideas to mimic the structure and provide a scaffold for ideas and planning.

Extension: Use rhyme, rap or prose and perform the friendship poem.


Hot seat

Perform a Hot Seat (how to play) activity where students can explore the points of view of each character. Perform in groups of three, or as a class.

Support: List suitable/creative questions on cards


Further reading

Visible Thinking

Scan Special Issue

http://www.englishtextualconcepts.nsw.edu.au/

Resources

Flocabulary PIE

Issue 3 - April 2019



Chrissie and a Queen

story by Kaye Baillie | illustrated by Aśka


Prior to reading

See, think, wonder thinking routine to explore the title and make predictions about ‘Chrissie and a Queen’.

  • What do you see?
  • What do you think about that?
  • What does it make you wonder?

Connecting to the text EN2-11D

Background reading: Strategy explained: text-to-text, text-to-self, text-to-world

  • Text-to-text connections occur when we make connections between other texts in relation to the text we are reading.
  • Text-to-self connections occur when we make connections between personal experiences and the text.
  • Text-to-world connections occur when we relate the text with what we already know about the world.

Text-to-World: How do the ideas in this text relate to the larger world—past, present and future?

  • What I just read makes me think about (event from the past) because …
  • What I just read makes me think about (event from today related to my own community, nation or world) because …
  • What I just read makes me wonder about the future because …

Students complete a Text-to-World worksheet activity.

Discuss as a class or use a worksheet from Think, Pair, Share.


Author purpose EN2-7B

Watch Finding Author’s Purpose, which explains the ‘PIE’ model: was it to Persuade, Inform or Entertain? Discuss: What is Kaye Baillie’s intention/purpose?

Identify evidence in the text using the Author’s Purpose worksheet to support student thinking and analysis of the text.

Discuss the English Textual Concept Narrative as the fundamental way in which humans think. It is innately human to tell stories. Stories shape the way we see our world and make sense of our experiences.

How has Kaye Baillie portrayed characters to influence her audience? What language choices, for example names and descriptive language, and images have been chosen? How do they impact our interpretation? How did Kaye Baillie create a connection between the reader and her story? Why is this important?

Remind children that connection is also important in their writing endeavours. Choosing which ideas will connect with their audience and their language choice, directly influences their narrative writing development.

Createa Narrative PowerPoint or Google slide to illustrate understanding of the textual features, structure and the messages conveyed in ‘Chrissie and a Queen’.


Get creative EN2-10C

Draw what Chrissie saw from the detailed description given on page 16, beginning where ‘Chrissie couldn’t believe her eyes’. Animate using Vyond.

Create a film strip of ‘Chrissie and a Queen’ using this story board worksheet.

Adapt the film strip into a play or podcast using the Audacity multi-track audio recorder and editor.

Write a poem about chickens. Use the poem ‘Coo-ee’ (page 9), as a writing scaffold and utilise animal sounds instead of coo-ee.

Create a crossword using this free crossword maker, using unfamiliar words from the story.

Adapt ‘Chrissie and a Queen’ into a play and perform as a mime.


Map it out EN2-2A

Createa mind map for ‘Chrissie and a Queen’ that shows Thirteen’s point of view as an unwanted pet. What emotions did he feel? How did Thirteen’s actions change how Chrissie felt? How do you think Thirteen would feel knowing he would have a real home? Would you want a pet chicken?

Story map the main events of ‘Chrissie and a Queen’, with one of these Story Map worksheets, or by using a Story Arc.

Using this Venn diagram worksheet, compare Thirteen to the other ‘prized’ chickens, or to another pet.

Use this ‘Label a chicken’ worksheet to identify the various parts of Thirteen, using information from the text.


Persuade EN2-9B

Design an infographic, using Canva, on how to look after a pet of your choice.

Create an advertisement for a new chicken product to rival KFC.

Write a persuasive speech to convince your school principal to buy chickens for your school.

Write a persuasive letter to convince your parents to buy chickens or another pet.


Hot Seat EN2-6B

Perform a Hot Seating activity where students can explore the point of view (sometimes written as POV) of each character. Perform in groups of three, or as a class. Students can pose questions to each character, including Chrissie, her father, Thirteen and Mrs Pompy.

Explore further the English Textual Concept Point of View.


That’s interesting EN2-7B

Complete a PMI chart Encouragestudents to use their PMI chart to highlight three elements (in three different colours or use coloured post-it notes) within the narrative that are positive, negative and interesting:

  1. Plus/Positive: Good/Positive experiences, themes, messages, events and happenings in the text.
  2. Minus/Negative: Events in the text that are negative/bad experiences in the text, things that go wrong etc.
  3. Interesting: Anything that appeals to the student; questions, feelings and emotions that arise, morals, messages and connections that resonate with the students.

Reflecting EN2-12E

I used to think ... But now I think … This routine helps students to reflect on their thinking about a topic or issue and explore how and why that thinking has changed. It can be useful in consolidating new learning as students identify their new understandings, opinions, and beliefs.


Further reading

English Textual Concepts

Resources

Introduction to the Story Arc YouTube clip

Thinking Routines


Jamie's Experiment

story by Janeen Samuel | illustrated by Andrew Joyner


Prior to reading

See, think, wonder thinking routine to explore the title and make predictions about ‘Jamie’s Experiment’.

  • What do you see?
  • What do you think about that?
  • What does it make you wonder?

Connecting to the text EN2-11D

Background reading: Strategy explained: text-to-text, text-to-self, text-to-world

  • Text-to-text connections occur when we make connections between other texts in relation to the text we are reading.
  • Text-to-self connections occur when we make connections between personal experiences and the text.
  • Text-to-world connections occur when we relate the text with what we already know about the world.

Text-to-Self: How do the ideas in this text remind you of another text (story, book, movie, song, etc.)? Complete the following statements using one of these Making Connections worksheets.

  • What I just read reminds me of (story/book/movie/song) because …
  • The ideas in this text are similar to the ideas in … because …
  • The ideas in this text are different than the ideas in … because …

Discuss as a class or use a worksheet from Think, Pair, Share.


That’s interesting EN2-7B

Complete a PMI chart Encouragestudents to use their PMI chart to highlight three elements (in three different colours or use coloured post-it notes) within the narrative that are positive, negative and interesting:

  1. Plus/Positive: Good/Positive experiences, themes, messages, events and happenings in the text.
  2. Minus/Negative: Events in the text that are negative/bad experiences in the text, things that go wrong etc.
  3. Interesting: Anything that appeals to the student; questions, feelings and emotions that arise, morals, messages and connections that resonate with the students.

Author letter EN2-7B

Write a letter to author Janeen Samuel, using the writing a letter to the author guidelines and worksheets and the Praise Question Polish scaffold.Encouragestudents to highlight three elements within the narrative that they would Praise, Question and Polish:

  • Praise: What I like about the author’s writing style or ideas.
  • Questions: For the author to remove any confusion.
  • Polish: Things to improve, I would change, I wish that …, I wonder if …, I couldn’t believe …

Support: Write a postcard


Get creative EN2-10C

Animate ‘Jamie’s Experiment’ using Vyond.

Create a film strip of ‘Jamie’s Experiment’ using this story board worksheet.

Write a creative story that asks, What did the Tooth Fairy leave under children’s pillows before money was invented? Or, What will the Tooth Fairy leave in the future?

Write a thank you letter to the Tooth Fairy for all her/his hard work and money.

Create a Narrative PowerPoint or Google slide to illustrate understanding of the textual features, structure and the messages conveyed in ‘Jamie’s Experiment’.

Explore further the English Textual Concept Narrative.

Remind children that connection is also important in their writing endeavours. Choosing which ideas will connect with their audience, and their language choice, directly influences student narrative writing development.


Map it out EN2-2A

Story map the main events of ‘Jamie’s Experiment’, with one of these Story Map worksheets, or by using a Story Arc.

Create a Venn diagram to compare the Tooth Fairy to the Easter Bunny, using this Venn diagram worksheet.


Persuade EN2-9B

Design an infographic, using canva, on how to look after your teeth.

Write a persuasive argument about who has the toughest job: the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus.


Cube a thought EN2-7B

Clarify and demonstrate understanding using this cube template. Supported by their peers, students practise articulating their views and deepen their understanding of the text or themes depending on teacher direction.


Reflecting EN2-12E

I used to think ... But now I think … This routine helps students to reflect on their thinking about a topic or issue and explore how and why that thinking has changed. It can be useful in consolidating new learning as students identify their new understandings, opinions, and beliefs.


Further reading

English Textual Concepts

Resources

Introduction to the Story Arc YouTube clip

Thinking Routines


Kangaroos Under the Pyramids

article by Philippa Werry | illustrated by Marjorie Crosby-Fairall


Connecting to the text EN2-11D

Background reading: Strategy explained: text-to-text, text-to-self, text-to-world

  • Text-to-text connections occur when we make connections between other texts in relation to the text we are reading.
  • Text-to-self connections occur when we make connections between personal experiences and the text.
  • Text-to-world connections occur when we relate the text with what we already know about the world.

Text-to-Text: How do the ideas in this text remind you of another text (story, book, movie, song, etc.)? Complete the following statements:

  • What I just read reminds me of (story/book/movie/song) because …
  • The ideas in this text are similar to the ideas in …  because …
  • The ideas in this text are different than the ideas in … because …

Students can complete a connection stem or connection web to clarify their responses.

Discuss as a class or use a worksheet from Think, Pair, Share.


Author letter EN2-7B

Write a letter to author Philippa Werry, using the writing a letter to the author guidelines and worksheets and the Praise Question Polish scaffold.Encouragestudents to highlight three elements within the narrative that they would Praise, Question and Polish:

  1. Praise: What I like about the author’s writing style or ideas.
  2. Questions: For the author to remove any confusion.
  3. Polish: Things to improve, I would change, I wish that…, I wonder if…, I couldn’t believe…

Support: Write a postcard


Get Creative EN2-10C

Design a war memorial to ‘commemorate’ (Countdown word of the month) Australian soldiers. Students may find interesting the unusual Sphinx memorial found in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park in NSW.

Create a script for a news reporter interviewing a war veteran about the mascots. Students might use iMovie or Microsoft Movie Creator..

Research Australian war mascots and write a biography about one of the many mascots that went to war. For reference, the Australian War Memorial has a collection of manuscripts, portraits and audio and visual recordings.

Write a poem from a mascot’s point of view. Use the poem ‘Coo-ee’ (page 9), as a writing scaffold and utilise animal sounds instead of coo-ee.

Create a crossword about Anzac Day, using this free crossword maker, using unfamiliar words from the story, or these Anzac Day resources.

Write anode to commemorate an Australian soldier or war mascot. Students could refer to this Writing an Ode worksheet.


Persuade EN2-9B

Design an infographic, using canva, to entice people to join the armed forces.

Create an advertisement to encourage tourists to visit The Australian War Memorial

Write a persuasive speech arguing we should bring our native mascots back to Australia.


Soldier Letters EN2-6B

Writea letter from a soldier’s point of view to his/her parents back home. For inspiration, students could research actual letters written by Australian and New Zealand ANZAC troops. A lesson scaffold can be found at The Anzacs of Gallipoli: writing home.


Reflecting EN2-12E

I used to think ... But now I think … This routine helps students to reflect on their thinking about a topic or issue and explore how and why that thinking has changed. It can be useful in consolidating new learning as students identify their new understandings, opinions, and beliefs.


Further reading

English Textual Concepts

Resources

Anzac Day Commemoration Committee website

Anzac Day: What does it mean to you today?

Australian Department of Defence—Army: Anzac Day

Australian Geographic: Aussie animal war mascots gallery

Australian War Memorial: ‘A is for Animals’ education kit with worksheets

Australian War Memorial: ‘A is for Animals’ photographic exhibition

Introduction to the Story Arc YouTube clip

Thinking Routines


The Smallest Kangaroo

article by Philippa Werry | illustrated by Greg Holfeld


Prior to reading

See, think, wonder thinking routine to explore the title and make predictions about ‘The Smallest Kangaroo’.

  • What do you see?
  • What do you think about that?
  • What does it make you wonder?

Connecting to the text EN2-11D

Background reading: Strategy explained: text-to-text, text-to-self, text-to-world

  • Text-to-text connections occur when we make connections between other texts in relation to the text we are reading.
  • Text-to-self connections occur when we make connections between personal experiences and the text.
  • Text-to-world connections occur when we relate the text with what we already know about the world.

Text-to-self: Have a class discussion on how the ideas in this text relate to their own lives, ideas and experiences? Ask students to consider:

  • What does this text remind you of?
  • Can you relate to the characters in the text?
  • Does anything in this text remind you of anything in your own life?
  • I understand what I just read because in my own life …
  • I don’t agree with what I just read because in my own life …

Students complete a connection stem or making connections activity.

Discuss as a class or use a worksheet from Think, Pair, Share.


Author purpose EN2-7B

Watch Finding Author’s Purpose, which explains the ‘PIE’ model: was it to Persuade, Inform or Entertain? Discuss: What is Philippa Werry’s intention/purpose?

Identify evidence in the text using the Author’s Purpose worksheet to support student thinking and analysis of the text.

Discuss the English Textual Concept Style, which refers to the characteristic ways that composers choose to express ideas in a variety of modes.

How has Philippa Werry used semantics, structure, form, design and point of view to influence her audience? What language choices and images have been chosen and how do they impact our interpretation? How did she create a connection between the reader and her story? Why is this important?

Remind children that connection is also important in their writing endeavours. Choosing ideas that will connect with their audience as well as appropriate language choices, directly influences student writing style and development.


Get creative EN2-10C

Design a medal honouring the war mascots for their service to the troops using canva.

Create a film strip of ‘The Smallest Kangaroo’ using this story board worksheet and adapt it into a play or podcast using the Audacity multi-track audio recorder and editor.

Research Australian war mascots and using one of the biography worksheets, write about one of the many mascots that went to war. The Australian War Memorial’s ‘A is for Animals’ offers some useful resources.

Write a persuasive speech that argues to bring the mascots back to Australia.

Write a poem from a mascot’s point of view. Use the poem ‘Coo-ee’ (page 9), as a writing scaffold and utilise animal sounds instead of coo-ee.

Create a crossword about Anzac Day, using this free crossword maker. Students could use these ‘Understanding Anzac Day’ factsheets to source terms, or use unfamiliar words from the story.

Adapt ‘The Littlest Kangaroo’ into a script for a play, and perform as a mime.


Map it out EN2-2A

Create a mind map  for ‘The Smallest Kangaroo’ that shows Joey’s point of view regarding going to war. What emotions would a living mascot feel? How did Joey’s actions change how the diggers felt? What emotions were evident at the training camp? How do you think Joey would feel, knowing he would never return home? Would you want to live in a zoo?

Story map the main events of ‘The Smallest Kangaroo’, with one of these Story Map worksheets, or by using a Story Arc.


Hot Seat EN2-6B

Perform a Hot Seating activity where students can explore the point of view (sometimes written as POV) of each character. Perform in groups of three, or as a class. Students can pose questions to each character, especially Joey the smallest kangaroo, to generate empathy.

Explore further the English Textual Concept Point of View.


Reflecting EN2-12E

I used to think ... But now I think … This routine helps students to reflect on their thinking about a topic or issue and explore how and why that thinking has changed. It can be useful in consolidating new learning as students identify their new understandings, opinions, and beliefs.


Further reading

English Textual Concepts

Additional resources

Anzac Day Commemoration Committee website

Anzac Day: What does it mean to you today?

Australian Department of Defence—Army: Anzac Day

Australian Geographic: Aussie animal war mascots gallery

Australian War Memorial: ‘A is for Animals’ education kit with worksheets

Australian War Memorial: ‘A is for Animals’ photographic exhibition

Introduction to the Story Arc YouTube clip

Thinking Routines

Issue 4 - May, 2019


Article 1 content in this section.

Article 2 content in this section.