The Cherbourg School Picture Diaries is a unique e-book, sourced from the State Library of Queensland. 11 Indigenous students in the town of Cherbourg constructed the text in 2007. It is the story and artwork of each child, showing what they have a passion for in their current life stage. This resource was ‘re-scooped’ from Beatrix Greenhalgh’s page, Change and Continuity in the HSIE classroom- Stages in a Lifetime. All credit for finding this resource goes to her and she has some high quality teaching suggestions in her annotations of the resource. The text would be engaging for students as the language is simple and the text limited, but it is also accompanied by beautiful artwork. Each diary entry is personal and interesting, giving students in the classroom an insight into the lives of these Indigenous Australian children’s lives.
Before reading the text hold a class poll, asking students what they think is the current life stage they are in. Some suggestions could be childhood, stage one, living at home, dependent, lower primary school. This could hold a numeracy link in graphs and data that could be explored further using an online polling tool and excel to create basic graphs.Scaffolding students to collate and analyse data in a tables and graphs is a quality teaching pedagogy as it provides an accessible way for young students to understand a wide range of ideas in a concise, concrete and visual way (Bobis, Mulligan & Lowrie, 2013, p.79).
What is important to people in the same life stage as you? Create a word cloud on the smart board as a way of recording the class brainstorm. Introduce the story to the class by talking about diaries and what people write in them, but also introduce the students to the town of Cherbourg, locating it on a map or looking at the school website (as suggested by Beatrix Greenhalgh). Read the text to the class and ask them what was important to each of the students in the text. The suggested ideas should be similar to those students had suggested for the word cloud, such as sport, family, a house, having good friends, etc.
The aim of this would be for students to gain an understanding that people of a similar life stage value the same or similar things. To assess their understanding the students could construct their own diary entry (a literacy link) explaining their own interests and values and then choosing one student from the Picture Diaries that shares this interest. In a visual arts lesson students could construct an artwork depicting their friendship with this person. For example, if a student really valued their friends, they could choose Blanche, who also values friendship, and the artwork could be of them with a large group of friends going shopping or playing in the schoolyard.