CCES1 • Changes in Their Lives, Both Past and Present.
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Australia Past and Present Teacher Resource

J's insight:

This file contains twelve different learning experiences for students revolving around the idea of the past and present in Australia. It focuses on four topics – home, play, school and work, all of which are present in their daily lives. Although these activities are aimed at Year 1 and 2 classrooms, these hold great inspiration and can be easily adapted for Early Stage 1 students. Modifications could include additional picture boxes and visuals to assist their expression of what was in the past and present, or using the sheets in conjunction with a picture book that shows comparisons between the past and present. To make it more interactive for students, teachers could transfer a similar template to that in the list of activities (for example: the venn diagram in BLM 2 or the ‘play’ boxes in BLM 4), onto the interactive whiteboard. Further modifications could be made to the now digital resources by providing both words and pictures to be moved around the board into the appropriate spaces. By allowing students to brainstorm and learn together as a class, instead of filling out sheets individually, they can work through literal, inferential and evaluative questions and gain deeper understandings of the changes from the past to present and try to apply this new information to a variety of contexts, inside and outside of the classroom.


There are also multiple avenues in which these activities can link to developing literacy and numeracy skills. Literacy skills including reading, writing and speaking outcomes can be shown through activities including the students reading timeline options out loud on the board, joint contruction of sentences written on the IWB, and mini speeches talking about experiences in the past or present. Numeracy concepts are also practised throughout these through the language being used - namely time (through the use of timelines, numbers in the years..etc), and ordering in sequence.

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Dust Echoes

Dust Echoes | CCES1 • Changes in Their Lives, Both Past and Present. |
J's insight:

Storytelling is one of the most familiar concepts children have when entering primary school settings. From an early age they are exposed to bedtime stories that are invented or read from books, cartoons on the television and movies in the theatre. But what about the times prior to when books and televisions were invented? Dust Echoes is a great online resource for teachers and students to use as a basis for discovering the evolution of storytelling over time. The short videos tell traditional tales of the Dreamtime; explaining how certain things came to be in the world (such as songs, the moon and stars). ‘The Be’ is a particularly interesting story to show the students as it portrays an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspective of how they are connected with the land and animals. As an extension of this resource, schools can organise Aboriginal incursions for students to gain a first hand experience of traditional storytelling and portrayals of stories through art and movement.

To demonstrate the idea of change in storytelling over a period of time, the teacher can make storytelling an ongoing theme throughout the day or week and provide a visual timeline for what form of storytelling was used to reinforce this idea. This can be done by finding different ways of tell stories in a variety of ways in different lessons. For example: In the morning, students have to verbally share stories in small groups or as a class in a circle. The afternoon lessons could include picture books and audio books read to them (for subjects such as English and Mathematics). Finishing with online videos and digital representations of stories such as ‘To Be’ or an episode from ‘My Place’. At the end of the time day, or week, students can reflect with the visual timeline on different ways in which stories were told and relate them to whether they are similar or different to what they experience today.

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My Place Website

My Place Website | CCES1 • Changes in Their Lives, Both Past and Present. |
J's insight:

The 'My Place' website is based on the book 'My Place' written by Nadia Wheatley and illustrated by Donna Rawlins. It provides fictional characters’ perspectives (of Indigenous and non-Indigenous backgrounds) dating back to pre-colonisation, as well as visual and written comparisons of items, belongings and living environments that have changed over the decades. On this website there are a series of episodes based on each decade as well as interactive games and activities that students can enjoy independently. However as this is aimed at an Early Stage 1 level it is best that the teacher modifies these for any classroom use, as the explanations provided may be too complex.


Although the book is a resource every teacher must find, this digital version adds another dimension to the students’ understanding of how various aspects of living between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children have changed from the past to the present. Students find the videos to be more realistic and relatable as the characters are all children and aspects of their lives may contrast or parallel to their own. As a resource that highlights an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) perspective, this should not be the first encounter students have with Indigenous Australians. It is the teacher’s responsibility to scaffold the students to understand and explain that Australian history is Aboriginal history. Therefore teachers should prepare verbal discussions and lessons revolving around the different heritage of others and themselves in order to introduce the topic and make the connections with what they are learning.


As an early stage 1 student resource, it allows students to visually compare, contrast and explore ATSI and non-indigenous perspectives. Through further inquiries, it can link to further exploration of global perspectives – where students discover the living conditions of children all around the world and contribute a drawing or picture to a large world map artwork that can be displayed in the classroom. Students can also discover their own heritage and ‘space’ by asking their parents and grandparents about what their homes and living spaces looked like in the past, in comparison to the present.

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Interactive SMART Board Activities

Interactive SMART Board Activities | CCES1 • Changes in Their Lives, Both Past and Present. |
J's insight:

This website provides a few early stage 1 appropriate matching games which revolve around the concept of past and present. As these are customised for the use on SMART boards, this is a great interactive resource for teachers to have in the classroom as an extra activity to practice the concept of past and present or even as a foundation for other lessons.


Lesson idea! ~ “Tell me about it”

* Ask students to ask their parents/guardians about what they played with/used in the past (toys, technology…etc)

-        if possible bring in that item for show and tell/mini presentation

* Each student presents their findings to the class.The student presenting describes what item was from the past

-        with a visual aid prepared (physical object or picture of object)

* The rest of the class listens and responds with questions

(previously brainstormed as a class to inquiry further about the news)

* Display possible questions that could be asked by the students (this allows them to get used to the phrasing and vocabulary associated with change).

-        “Do we still use this today?”

-        “How old is (item)?”

-        “Where did this item come from?”

-        “What do we use instead of _____?”

-        “Are there any items used today that are similar/different?”

-        “What is the same?/What are the similarities?”

-        “What is different between the two?”


This activity can bring a further understanding of the similarities and differences between households and heritages. Students will be able to make connections that families born in different countries may have also possessed similar items or used similar materials for different purposes. For example: one person had a bottle cap fashioned into a cutting tool and another explains the bottle cap was used as a toy. It can also lead to discussions about whether we see these items today and what they are used for. This mini show and tell also becomes a great assessment for English as it monitors the student’s speaking and listening skills as well as their understanding of the concept of change.

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Window written by Jeannie Baker

Window written by Jeannie Baker | CCES1 • Changes in Their Lives, Both Past and Present. |
J's insight:

The Window by Jeannie Baker is a fantastic picture book that highlights environmental and structural changes over a period of time. It is a perfect teacher resource for Early Stage 1 classes as it visually explores the idea of change from the past to the present. There are a variety of lessons and activities that can be based around this book – all of which are appropriate for EAL/D students be able to participate and create a deeper understanding of the message of the book.


Lesson Idea! ~  'Look out the Window'

Link with other KLAs: English and Creative Arts (Visual Arts)


Resources/Materials Needed:

* Window by Jeannie Baker

* A3 paper – one for each student

* Coloured paper

* Crayons/oil pastelsPaint



* Read Window by Jeannie Baker to the class on carpet.

* Ask students a series of questions to describe, compare and contrast.

-        “What was happening as we kept going through the book?”

-        “What was changing?”

-        “What stayed the same?”/”What was different?”

-        “What is outside your window?”

NB: Prepare visuals and corresponding words for brainstorming and place on the board as each suggestion is made.

--> eg. pictures of trees, houses, schools, shopping centres, roads, dogs, birds,…etc

--> eg. printed words such as parks, houses, buildings, roads, animals…etc

* Students back at desks.

* Each student is given one A3 piece of paper with a window frame (with 2 panels) template already drawn/printed on it.

* Prepare a Google map image screenshot of your local area and display it on the IWB.

* Students recreate the Google map image in the left panel (showing the past) with a variety of materials (paper collage, oil pastels, finger painting).

* Students now think about what is outside their own window or the window at school and create that image in the right panel (showing the present).

* Once finished, display around the classroom and reflect on the aspects and techniques the students’ used to create similarities and differences between the two times.

Dean Dray's curator insight, August 13, 2014 9:05 AM

A resource that can be used in the classroom HSIE