Look at the winning pictures of the International Photo Contest 2010.
Jane Proust's insight:
To tap into students’ desires and abilities, this is an idea to hold a photography competition. The idea is for students to take a photo of something they love or find interesting. Using the National Geographic Photo competition as a starting point, the teacher would go through the photos to inspire the class. The teacher could give an example of their favourite thing that they took a photo of. The class would need the help of their caregiver to take the photo, upload and email the photo to the teacher who could then print and display the photos around the room as a mini art gallery display. The students could describe why they chose their subject. This then ties in outcomes from the English Syllabus to “respond to and compose simple texts about familiar aspects of the world and their own experiences ENe-11D” (BOS, 2012). Students are using different media to express themselves and are visually engaged in others’ interests too. The term ‘competition’ is used loosely as the entire class will be creating images that are important to them and as long as they can explain why they chose that subject they have successfully completed the task.
A Life Like Mine: How Children Live Around the World [DK Publishing] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Profiling children from all over the globe leading their lives in different and fascinating ways, the challenges of nations both developed and developing are revealed in the stories and photographs in this special volume.
Jane Proust's insight:
A Life Like Mine: How Children Live Around the World is a book that explores the needs and desires of children from all over the world. It is broken down in to 4 main areas: Survival, Development, Protection, and Participation. Because it is quite an in-depth look at all of these areas, perhaps it would be best to address each area over a week. This way, different ideas and activities could be developed. For example, the survival section, which discusses food, would be a great opportunity to discuss dishes from different backgrounds and could even provide an opportunity to have a ot-luck day where students bring traditional dishes to share with the class (being mindful of allergies).
The teacher could begin by introducing the topic and the key vocabulary that will be used throughout the book asking questions about what the students feel they need to live well, targeting language such as food, love, school etc. This would be in line with the English syllabus and the need for students in early stage one to begin making connections from texts and their personal experience (BOS, 2012). Techniques for extending and deepening thinking would be used to engage students and students’ prior knowledge, beliefs and understanding of the topic would be explored through carefully planned questions (some of which are already in the book) (Edwards-Grove et al, 2014, p.91). The emphasis here is for students to understand that children’s needs/desires are the same all around the world, however the way in which those needs are met may just look slightly different (i.e. house or food). In terms of a Global Perspective, this book will begin to develop students connections to “other people and places…and develop an awareness of the diversity of peoples, places, cultures, languages, and religions…and gradually extend this understanding to a concern for the rights of others” (Global Education Project, 2008, p. 15).
Board of Studies NSW (2012). English K-10 Syllabus. NSW
Syllabuses for the Australian Curriculum. Sydney: Board of Studies. Retrieved March 28th, 2014, from
The short electronic book is in both the Gudjal and English language with an illustration of each item. There is an audio recording to listen to the correct pronunciation of each Gudjal word. At the end of the book, there is a glossary with many other words and asks the reader to draw a book for each of those words. This helps “to work together to halt the decline of Aboriginal languages, to create an awareness of the language remaining in the community, to retrieve any language knowledge which has been recorded, to revive the language for the descendants of today and to revitalise the language for the children of tomorrow” (Stockley, nd, p. 90) This picture book would be used to expose Early Stage one learners to one Aborigine language.
The teacher could begin by showing where the Gudjal language was used on a map (Upper Burdekin, Queensland). The students should know that the language is no longer used but is important realize that people are working to know more about it (Sutton, 1973). The author himself is working to find out more about the language that was predominantly oral, so has very few written records. The picture book would need reference to its author but there is information at the back of the book. The teacher could then go through each picture, listen to each word pronounced (there is a guide in the book too) and ask the students to repeat. The back of the book asks readers to draw their own picture representation for each of the items. I would ask students to choose 5 and write and paint them. They would be using acrylic paint just like the illustrations in the book. The students’ engagement with the text, illustrations and then their production of their drawings and writing connects to the English Syllabus “demonstrating developing skills in using letters, simple sound blends and some sight words to represent known words when spelling ENe-5A” (BOS, 2012). This also explores the similarities and differences in words and representation and how these early stage one learners represent their chosen words. Their drawings could be put up around the class for all the students to see.
Board of Studies NSW (2012). English K-10 Syllabus. NSW Syllabuses
for the Australian Curriculum. Sydney: Board of Studies.
All About Me is a way for students to reflect on their own characteristics both physically as in what they look like, their age, the number of people in their family and also characteristics in terms of the students’ favourite food, favourite things and favorite colour. The small booklet would be compiled of the students’ own drawings with some guidance from the teacher to write numbers or words that the students are unfamiliar with. The booklet gives two opportunities for the Early Stage one learners to practice drawing their faces. The cover could be drawn using a mirror and the portrait page could be done from memory. This depiction of their face requires space and position awareness, which is introduced in mathematics at the stage as well (MAe-16MG). Because the booklet is not only focused on appearance, it gives the opportunity for students to discover other similarities they may have with their classmates. Once the booklet is completed, there could be a small presentation by each student fitting into the Syllabus for English with the students learning to deliver small presentations at this stage (ENe-1A). Post presentation the teacher could have all the students stand up. The teacher can ask all the students whose favourite colour is blue for example, to sit down. Then work his or her way through the class until no one is left standing. It could also be done the other way to have the students get up or do something fun like all the students who have brown hair stand on one leg. Of course the teacher would be sensitive to anything that may single out a child. The aim of this activity is for students to learn about themselves and their peers.
Board of Studies NSW (2012). English K-10 Syllabus. NSW Syllabuses for the Australian Curriculum. Sydney: Board of Studies. Retrieved March 28th, 2014, from
Explore diversity with fun activities and related media about family traditions and cultures.
Jane Proust's insight:
The ‘Celebrate Diversity’ resources from Sesame Street give a fun perspective to explore similar characteristics, desires and abilities of early stage one learners. The page begins with a short video with two puppets looking at what is the same or different about them in a very light-hearted way. The video could be shown to the whole class and then a discussion about same and different. Perhaps, the class could think about what is the same with the teacher (i.e. brown hair) and what is different (i.e. age) just to get students thinking about the topic. The subsequent videos located on the right hand side follow the same theme and target different details within the topic of same or different. The teacher could follow them in order and show a new one each day or each week to maintain the theme with a small discussion after each viewing asking questions such as “What do you think this is about?” and gauge students’ understanding by their responses.
‘No Matter What Your Language’ is a song about how different languages are all used for the same purpose and stresses that despite language differences between people, that there are many similarities as well. This would be a video to include if there were students from non-English speaking backgrounds and could open up the opportunity to have those students teach the class common words like ‘hello’, ‘please’, ‘thank –you’.
‘Count Me In’ is a catchy song showing images of all different types of people with the message that everyone is special. I think this song could be a great song to learn as a class and could be sung if the class needed a reminder of inclusivity.
The final tab is a story of the Monster and the Princess where the parents disapprove of their child’s new friend because he is different. The child proves to the parents that difference does not matter. It is done in a light-hearted way as puppets are used to understand the message.
All of the videos are springboards for conversations about inclusion and characteristics shared between children in the class and could be extended to children around the world. To gather evidence that the learners are understanding the concept would be in the output of critical discussion through the process of learners being presented with new facts or ideas and expressing their understanding through the sharing of ideas and then eventually through their own reflection and constructed knowledge (Schellens & Valcke, 2005, pp. 960-961).
Schellens, T. & Valcke, M. (2005). Collaborative learning in asynchronous discussion groups: what about the impact
on cognitive processing? Computers in Human Behaviour, 21.
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