The roles of people who are at school
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I say no to racism and prejudice!

I say no to racism and prejudice! | The roles of people who are at school |

Anti-prejudice activites for years K-3

Ellen Arvanitis's insight:

Racism and Prejudice are two issues that unfortunately can be present on a school, community and global level. It is vital for students to understand that their role is to not accept racism and prejudice. Through this knowledge students will develop their cultural awareness and realise that it is also everyone’s collective role worldwide to not accept these issues.

I came across two resources that can assist in teaching ES1 students about the issues mentioned above. Please note that the two websites mentioned detail great lesson ideas/plans to be used in the classroom so I have not detailed lesson ideas, however, it is advised to explore these websites and accompany them with the ideas/views expressed below. 



1- Clicking on the website above will provide you with a perfect introduction for this lesson. Follow the instructions on the website and also the teacher notes down the bottom. The students will explore how they are similar but different to each other through looking into the mirror and students will start to realise that many of these differences are due to their cultural heritage. This is a perfect introduction to the topic as it is age appropriate and is simple, without much preparation needed! This site also has some other great activities for ES1 within HSIE and other KLA's. A great resource!


2-The following site details a picture book (The skin I'm in) that should be used in a modelled reading lesson after the above activity and again, for lesson ideas take a look at the great suggestions on the website as it is set out perfectly for this. 

What I must mention here, however, is that this book details roles for everyone to undertake to ensure they are not being racist or prejudice (p.17 onwards). These include “you must never keep racist behaviour a secret” and “you should never copy racist behaviour”. These are great statements to form a discussion around because they relate directly to the HSIE subject matter and make the story more relatable for the students.

The book also presents questions to the audience that require them to respond such as what days they celebrate during the year etc. Students can in this way turn to a thinking partner and respond to these questions OR as a class, share ideas in sharing circle.

Again, the conversation that can arise from this book is plentiful and once the students gain this foundational understanding on racism and prejudice, further lessons can be developed.


Why include this topic under this subject matter?:

Teaching students to not be racist or prejudice is vital to ensure they become globally aware citizens. Gilbert & Hoepper (2011) detail the importance of challenging the stereotypes that students/society may have towards different cultures. It is in hope that this multicultural lesson will also result in students developing an understanding of their sense of self (Gilbert & Hoepper, 2011).

Gilbert & Hoepper, (2011) also give way to the idea of ‘antiracist teaching’ and this should be incorporated into your teaching practices when teaching this lesson, and any other lesson in the classroom, to ensure that the role of not being racist or prejudice is shared within the school.

Through understanding the ideas detailed by Gilbert & Hoepper (2011), students can come to understand how their needs and the needs of other are met individually and co-operatively ( outcome SSES1).


Informal assessment:

Have students engage in a 'heads down thumbs up' activity after the above lesson/s. The teacher will read out and explain different scenarios and the students will decide if they are racist or prejudice. These scenarios may include for example "A new girl has joined our class and she looks different to everyone else because she has a darker skin colour, no one wants to be her friend because of this".

Students will put their thumbs up if this is racist/prejudice and leave them down if they think this is fair. 


Gilbert, R. & Hoepper, B. (2011). Teaching Society and Environment. 4th Edition. South Melbourne: Cengage Learning Australia.

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Can we use the interactive whiteboard today?

Can we use the interactive whiteboard today? | The roles of people who are at school |
Ellen Arvanitis's insight:

This resource relates directly to the subject matter mentioned above. It consists of virtual resources that directly address the HSIE content for Stage 1, however, can be adapted to accommodate learning across multiple primary stages including ES1. One of the reasons that makes this resource so credible for use in the classroom is the fact that it is interactive, allowing opportunities for students to learn independently (on computers or Ipad’s) and also collaboratively as a class on an interactive whiteboard.


Using this resource in an ES1 classroom:

The 'workers in the community' icon on this website is the most relatable to the subject matter in this case. By exploring the different sub headings that relate to school such as 'what do teachers do for us?' and 'what do librarians do for us?' etc. the students can engage in a variety of interactive activities that will assist their learning.

This site does extend beyond the mentioned subject matter as it details the roles of people within the wider community. A possible activity may be to explore these other parts of the site as a class and facilitate a discussion on how the roles of people at school are different to the roles of people outside the school, creating a well-rounded understanding of the topic.

It is important to realise that this site is directed at stage 1 content, therefore, a great educator would realise the need to make adaptations where appropriate and build upon the content in this resource to accommodate for younger learners.



There is an abundance of research that gives credit to using interactive whiteboards in the classroom. Wall, Higgins & Smith (2005) have conducted research into the opinions of young students on interactive whiteboards and the general consensus of these students was that interactive whiteboards aid concentration, increase motivation to learn, make learning more enjoyable and provide a visual approach to learning, something that the students tested found very important to them.

When using this site in the classroom it is in hope that the students will experience the factors above and have a positive experience and attitude towards the roles of people within their school.


It is to be noted that using this resource in conjunction with other interactive sites, for not only HSIE but other KLA’s as well,  will allow students to develop an appreciation for technology whilst developing their learning in a meaningful way. 



Wall, K., Higgins, S., & Smith, H. (2005). ‘The visual helps me understand the complicated things’: pupil views of teaching and learning with interactive whiteboards. British Journal of Educational Technology, 36(5), 851-867.

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Am I being a good friend?
Ellen Arvanitis's insight:

What a great, quality read this text is! I stumbled across this online version of the text and thought that it would benefit students greatly in comparison to the text just being read aloud to them in class. In this way, the text is accommodating for oral, visual and sensory learners with the hope of also increasing the engagement of the students. This wonderful story can be enjoyed by ES1 students and used within the mentioned HSIE subject matter. It is important to understand that this text alone does not satisfy the subject matter directly. The themes and topics that it portrays such as friendship, helping others, similarities and differences fit perfectly  into the topic of “roles of friends/classmates at school”. This text, therefore, becomes a great starting point to assist students in realising the qualities a friend or classmate should have.


Purpose of resource:

Students will learn about how frog and fish are similar in certain ways but also different. This will provide a foundation for students to realise their own similarities and differences between their friends and people in their class. Having established these factors, students will realise that not everyone is the same, but, that their role as a friend is to accept people for who they are.

The reason a story was used as a resource here was to continue and further the knowledge that children learn in pre-school years. Children these days are exposed to a wide variety of text before they can read or understand meaning (Winch et al., 2010) so continuing this literature is vital to ensuring a fluid learning experience. This story is age appropriate and has a potential semantic knowledge aspect (using familiar characters and a universal theme) (Winch et al., 2010) that will increase the students ability to learn. 


Teaching ideas/other KLA’s (English lesson):

What is required after viewing this text, however, is a discussion for students to not only comprehend the text but to see the connection with the HSIE subject matter. Focus questions for the teacher after viewing/reading could be as follows:

-       How were the fish and frog alike at the beginning of the story?

-       What were some of the differences we saw between them as the story went on?

-       When frog returned and told fish all about the wonderful things he saw, how did this make fish feel? How would you feel in this case?

-       Did frog and fish have a good relationship? Why do you think so?


Following the above discussion, explain to the students that “Frog and Fish are great friends and we see some of the jobs they do as friends in the video. Today we are going to have a look at some of the good things about our friendships and what our roles as a friend are. Maybe we have some similar roles to fish and frog!”

Provide students with a piece of paper and envelope. On the paper will be written the following: family members, pets, likes, dislikes, favourite colour, favourite food etc. Students will write their answer next to each of these categories or draw a picture if writing poses a challenge. 

Students will then seal their piece of paper in the envelope, write a friends name on the front and give to that friend in the class. The friend will open the letter and see if they have any similarities with the person and what there differences are. They will then share with each other what they found out. Please note that teacher assistance is a definite here!


Informal Assessment:

As a whole class activity, have a cut out image of a person on the board and identify collaboratively the qualities that make up a good friend and write these inside the stencil. Engaging in this class discussion will allow the teacher to identify the students that grasp the concept. 

Come back to the subject matter at the end of the lesson/lessons and ask students what one of their roles as a friend is going to be for today, this week and the rest of the year, which is also relating perfectly back to the stage outcome as well. 


Further Teaching Ideas:

This link has 14 other great friendship reads that will extend on the knowledge of the students in regards to the roles of friends/classmates at school.


Winch,G., Johnston,R.,March,p., Ljungdahl, L., & Holiday, M. (2010) Literacy: reading, writing and children's literature (4th ed.). South Melbourne: Oxford University Press. 

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How do all the people in my school share a common role?

How do all the people in my school share a common role? | The roles of people who are at school |
Aunty Wendys Mob is an interactive performance-based introduction to Australian indigenous culture for pre-school and early primary school children, with associated music CDs and teacher resources
Ellen Arvanitis's insight:

All individuals within the school community have a shared role to be aware of and respect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander beliefs, customs and traditions. This combined role also extends to recognising that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the original inhabitants of our land.


Selection Criteria:

This resource is both a student and teacher based resource and its credibility is shown through its endorsement from the Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (AECG) (Department of Education and Training, 2003) and the various support letters provided by Indigenous and political organisations, which are detailed on the resource itself.

The creator of the website is not Indigenous to Australia, however, she is respected across NSW for her work displaying credibility and sensitivity to these issues. This resource recognises contemporary Aboriginal input through the songs and ideas present in the books, stereotypes are avoided and appropriate and respectful terminology is used (Department of Education and Training, 2003).



Although ES1 teachers are limited in appropriate content to teach within this topic, this resource provides a great starting point for early learners. The students, through the books and songs provided on the website (and in the resource kit that teachers can purchase off the site), will become familiar with aboriginal places, names, their activites, their language and much more. They will also come to realise that they have some similarities with Indigenous people/culture through books such as “Kids on our block”. These songs and books will create an understanding and hopefully develop an appreciation of aboriginal culture.


Lesson Idea:

Music- The Indigenous song lyrics that are provided under 'albums' on the website reflect aboriginal language and themes. Some of the songs provided are set to common tunes that children already know such as wheels on the bus and 1,2,3,4,5, however, the lyrics and song titles reflect an indigenous perspective. Great HSIE teachers will not only teach the students the songs but also make comparisons between the two versions, giving way to understanding differences within Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultures and promoting cultural awareness.


English- To ensure the collective role of awareness and respect of these cultures is present for all, students can share a presentation to the school assembly as a class about what they have learnt through their studies (presentations can be used as a formal assessment here). If Aboriginal culture is being taught across the school, students can form buddy classes with an older stage and share their learnt information to do a combined presentation.


HSIE- The song on the website “Melaleuca” tells of animals that are Indigenous to Australia. Provide pictures of these animals to the class (kookaburra, goanna, echidna etc.) on the interactive whiteboard and ask students to tell you what country these animals are from. It is hoped that they will say Australia but will more than likely not realise they are Indigenous to Australia just like the Aboriginal people and were alive when the aboriginal people were. In this way, the students role extends to acknowledging the shared history that we, everyone in the school and the broader Australia has with the Australian Indigenous people.


Satisfying subject matter:

This resource should not be used only to teach songs or read books to students. To satisfy the subject matter, clear links need to be made to the HSIE subject matter and this can simply be done by asking students “What have we learnt today? Do you think everyone should know the information we know?” Explaining to the students that it is our role as students and Australian citizens to be aware of and respect these matters after each idea is taught is necessary. To ensure a holistic approach is taken, other Indigenous resources focusing on different Indigenous aspects must also be used here.  It is important to note that students have an ongoing role throughout school and their life to be aware of and respect Australian Indigenous culture, and this ongoing role will aid the holistic understanding of the outcome SSES1. 



Green & Campbell (2003) give way to the idea of creating classrooms that students would want to be in and I chose this resource based on this idea. This resource is fun, interactive and inclusive which I believe makes this topic an interest of the students. The indigenous students in the class may perhaps feel embarrassed or shy discussing their heritage, so I believe through these songs and books, they would feel they belong and be psychologically accepted because they are not being directed or targeted (Green & Campbell, 2003). 


-Green,D. & Campbell, R. (eds.) (2003). Literacies & learners: Current perspectives. New South Wales: Pearson Education Australia. 


-NSW Department of Education and Training. (2003). Aboriginal Education K-12: Resource Guide. New South Wales: Author. 

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Caution...You are about to sit in a hot seat!

Caution...You are about to sit in a hot seat! | The roles of people who are at school |
Drama techniques for use across the curriculum
Ellen Arvanitis's insight:

This website consists of a plethora of engaging and diverse resources that can be used in an ES1 classroom. This website is drama focused, consisting of teaching resources for the elements of drama, games and activities to be used in a drama lesson and courses for teachers to develop their pedagogy. Now allow me to inspire you on how to use this drama resource in the HSIE classroom!


Purpose of resource

When learning about the roles of people within the school, what better way is there to acquire this information than through first hand experiences. By focusing on the lesson 'Hot Seating' that is in the side menu on the website, individuals within the school such as the Principal, Librarian, Gardener, Councilor, Teachers and Office ladies etc. will be able to address the class and inform the students about their roles within the school. This will provide students with an opportunity to ask questions and also gain a better understanding of the supportive environment at school.


Teaching Ideas

The website listed explains the activity of hot seating in easy, simple to follow instructions. Before the people mentioned above address the class, get the students to discuss with a thinking buddy, the roles that they think each person has. The teacher may guide the students with prompts here such as “Tell your partner what you have seen the gardener do lately” or “When you go to the office, what do you see the office ladies doing?” This activity will promote discussion and increase interest when the guests arrive in the classroom. The students will be able to see if the roles of the people they talked about are correct!

Also, have the class scaffold some questions that they may want to ask the guests that come into the class. 

 When inviting the guests into the classroom, make sure to inform the students that our role as good listeners is to be listening and not talking, have your hand up to say something and always be polite.


Other KLA

This lesson can extend onto an English lesson relating to formal and informal language when talking to different people such as the Principal or our friends etc.



As an assessment based activity, provide the students with pictures of the people that they learnt about through the drama activities. Also provide them with pieces of paper that have different jobs listed on them (mark class roll, collect money, in charge of school, cleans the gardens etc.). Ask students to match up the jobs with the person that does them. Please note that if this is too difficult for some students provide them with the pictures of the jobs instead of the words and perhaps work closely with the group finding the task difficult. 



I loved how this resource is practical. Dufficy (2005) details how activities must assist students to move into challenging new cognitive domains through dialogue and I believe hot seating is a perfect example of this. In this way, the students are making equal contributions to conversations in comparison with the teacher, there is a decrease in questions that the teacher knows the answer to and there are opportunities for students to gain insight into other ways of thinking (Dufficy, 2005). This resource satisfies these concepts which, therefore, makes it credible to use in the classroom for this subject matter. 


Dufficy, P. (2005) Designing Learning for diverse classrooms. Newtown:PETAA

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