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Archive for the ‘Australian History’ Category

New history unit for Years 1 & 2: Technology and Tradition (Toys and Games of the Past)

Posted by Lisa Hill on July 15, 2014


This week I’m working with my colleagues to develop our units for Even Years Term 3.  Today I worked with the Junior team to develop a history unit, and you can download it from the Goodies to Share menu:

Technology and Tradition (Toys and Games of the Past)

 

Posted in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, History units of work, Resources to share | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

New unit and resources for NAIDOC Week: Indigenous War Service

Posted by Lisa Hill on July 13, 2014


Indigenous ServiceLast term I developed and trialled a new unit of work about Indigenous War Service for years 5 & 6. It’s based on a resource called Indigenous Service, A Resource for Primary Schools, published by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Shrine of Remembrance, but I adapted it quite a bit.  You can download the unit, and all the supplementary resources from the Goodies to Share menu, Australian Curriculum Literature & Research units for Years 5 & 6

This unit forms part of our whole school plan for the ANZAC Commemorations for 2014-5 (which you can download from the same page).

As it turned out, although I didn’t know this when I decided to develop this unit, the theme for NAIDOC Week 2014 was Serving Country: Centenary & Beyond:.  As it says on the NAIDOC website

This year’s NAIDOC theme honours all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women who have fought in defence of country.

From our warriors in the Frontier Wars to our warriors who have served with honour and pride in Australia’s military conflicts and engagements across the globe.

We proudly highlight and recognise the role they have played in shaping our identity and pause to reflect on their sacrifice. We celebrate and honour their priceless contribution to our nation.

I would be rapt to get some feedback from teachers who download and try out the unit. Please use the comments box below.

 

Posted in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, Australian History, Indigenous Teaching Resources, Library activity sheets, Resources to share, School Library Units of Work | Tagged: , , , | 6 Comments »

Background reading: “Repaying our debt to Aboriginal soldiers” – The Drum (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Posted by Lisa Hill on July 9, 2014


“How many Australians know that Matthias Ulungura, a young Tiwi Islander, captured – and disarmed – the first Japanese serviceman taken as a POW on Australian soil in 1942?”

It’s NAIDOC Week: Visit this link to learn more about the contribution of our indigenous people to the defence of Australia

Repaying our debt to Aboriginal soldiers – The Drum (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

Posted in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, Indigenous Teaching Resources | Leave a Comment »

Book review: Tracker Tjugingji, by Bob Randall and Kunyi June-Anne McInerney

Posted by Lisa Hill on July 5, 2014


I’m going to kick off Indigenous Literature Week 2014 with a review of a delightful picture book called Tracker Tjugingji, by Bob Randall of the Yankunytjatjara desert people from Central Australia and a listed custodian of Uluru.  The book blurb tells us that the author was taken from his family when he was 8 or 9 years old, and sent from Alice Springs to Minjala (Croker Island) off the north coast of Arnhem Land.  A well-known story-teller and songwriter, he used this childhood experience to write the award-winning song Brown Skin Baby.

Tracker Tjugingji, however, is not a sad story of the Stolen Generations, it is a celebration of traditional Aboriginal family life.   Tjugingji is a little fellow who lives in the desert with his parents, camping in little windbreak shelters and sleeping by the fire.  One day his parents let him know that he’s not to play too late that night because they are moving on in the morning, to a big lake, a long way east of where they were camped.  Of course kids will be kids, and by the time he gets back from playing his parents (and the dogs) are all fast asleep, so he lies down beside his father and goes to sleep.

But…

When Tjugingji’s parents woke up there was a glow in the sky -  the sun was rising.  But Tracker Tjugingji was still fast asleep.  ‘Oh well, let’s leave him,’ they said.  ‘He can catch up later.’

That’s  the Aboriginal way – you don’t wake your children when they are fast asleep.

I expect this will raise a few eyebrows today when so many children are raised to be fearful of stepping outside their own front gate by themselves.  But Tjugingji is not the least little bit alarmed, because he knows he can follow their tracks.  He has his little spear and boomerang with him, and by walking around in a circle he soon picks up his parents’ tracks and sets off.

Before long he picks up other tracks as well: he meets an assortment of wildlife who tell him that yes, they’ve seen his parents, and what’s more, they’ve been chased by the family dog.  The snake, the perentie, the malu (kangaroo), the papa (dingo) and the emu all follow him to make sure that he doesn’t lose his way, and they all end up having an inma (dance to celebrate.  The song they sing is included on a CD at the back of the book.   (There is also a glossary and a pronunciation guide).

The pictures, by Kunyi June-Anne McInerney, of Yankunytjatjara descent are gorgeous.  A stunning sky blue contrasts with the rich red of the desert landscape, and as you can see from the front cover Tjugingji is  a really cute kid with unruly curls and an infectious grin.

In the classroom, I would use this book to talk about how Tjugingji managed to find his parents, eliciting that Aboriginal families in traditional communities teach their children the skills they need to know to manage in a desert or bush environment, in the same way that city children are taught to manage traffic in an urban environment.  I think it would also make a superb stimulus for artwork with pastels or crayons, and art teachers could take the opportunity to talk about the Aboriginal mining of ochre, discussing the traditional routes and the trading that went on.

(I would do this because I think the best way to counter the insulting ignorance of anyone who thinks that Australia wasn’t already ‘settled’ in 1788, is to teach children about the thriving culture that was here in Australian for 40,000 years or more, and survives to this day).

If you have enjoyed a book by an indigenous author this week, please drop in at the ANZ LitLovers reviews page, and either leave a comment or a link to your review on your blog, at Goodreads or at Library Thing.

Update 14/7/14
I’ve been working on including Aboriginal Perspectives (aka the AC Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures priority) in our new Year 1 & 2 unit on Past and Present Family Life (ACHHK030), and have included this title in one of the activities.

ABORIGINAL PERSPECTIVES AusVELS Y1&2 Past&Present Family Li

Author: Bob Randall
Illustrator: Kunyi June-Anne McInerney
Title: Tracker Tjugingji,
Publisher: Jukurrpa Books, an imprint of IAD Press, 2012
ISBN: 9781864651263
Source: Review copy courtesy of Dennis Jones and Associates

Availability

Fishpond: Tracker Tjungingji

Posted in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, Authors & Illustrators, Book Reviews, Indigenous Teaching Resources, Recommended books | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Book review: Indigenous First Discovery Series, by Debbie Austin

Posted by Lisa Hill on June 30, 2014


I came across the Indigenous First Discovery series when book distributors Dennis Jones and Associates sent me three of their little books to review for Indigenous Literature Week 2014. 

They’re small square board books entitled

  • Animals
  • People and Places
  • At the Billabong

and they’re all illustrated with exquisite artwork by Debbie Austin,  from the Kirrae Whurrong nation in western Victoria.

Animals is a simple little book of symbols representing Australia’s native animals.  There are footprints of wombats, kangaroos, dingoes and so on, all painted in the traditional colours of black, yellow, red and white.  There is a legend at the back so that children can guess which footprints belong to which animal.

People and places is similar, but the symbols are of fire, watering places, weapons and so on.  I enjoyed trying to guess what these ones were, and will use this knowledge next time I try to interpret an Aboriginal work of art.

At the Billabong features a cut-out circle representing a billabong in the middle of the book, and the text tells a simple little story about the creatures that gathered at the billabong on a hot day.

Small children will find these little books enchanting, but they serve a wider purpose.  As the blurb says:

The series was created to help raise awareness of the importance of using Australian Aboriginal symbols to teach stories top our young in all cultures, as they have been for over 60,000 years.

In this delightful new range of books for babies and children, we discover the value of learning more about the spirituality of the Australian landscape and its indigenous people and embrace an Australian identity infused with existing native wisdom and lore.

Suitable for kindergartens and prep classes, they would also make a very special gift to welcome a new baby, I think.

Click the links to buy from Fishpond.

Animals (Indigenous First Discovery) People and Places (Indigenous First Discovery) At the Billabong: An Indigenous First Discovery Book [Board book]
Author and illustrator: Debbie Austin
First Discovery Series
Publisher: Discovery Press, 2008
Contact: info@discoverypress.com.au
ISBNs: Animals  9780980470109; People and Places 9780980470116; At the Billabong 9780980470123
Source: review copies courtesy of book distributors Dennis Jones and Associates sent

 

 

Posted in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, Authors & Illustrators, Book Reviews | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Book review: Silly Birds, by Gregg Dreise

Posted by Lisa Hill on June 22, 2014


Silly Birds

Silly Birds is a delightful book with a clear message about the folly of joining in with destructive gangs.  The artwork is stunning.

Gregg Dreise is a descendant of the Kamilaroi people from south-west Queensland and north-west New South Wales.  The youngest of eight children, he grew up in a family that valued sport, music and poetry, and was inspired to write by his mother, Lyla Dreise-Knox, who has been writing poetry for decades.

Currently a teacher on the Sunshine Coast, Gregg was inspired to write Silly Birds by hearing the Elders saying that it was ‘hard to soar like an eagle when you are surrounded by turkeys’.   I love the way the book begins, and from now onwards, I plan to use its opening lines whenever I read indigenous stories about The Dreaming to my students:

Way back before Once-upon-a-time time, there was the Dreamtime…

Maliyan is an eagle who comes from a loving family that’s very proud of him.  They teach him to be a good listener, and to remember that talking too much is only for wombah thigaraa – silly birds.  So Maliyan becomes a well-respected bird, until he meets up with Wagun, a bush turkey and a braggart, a boaster and a bird that’s careless about others.  Alas, Maliyan is attracted to Wagun because of the fun they have, mocking the Elders – and talking, talking, talking.

The gang doesn’t listen to the Elders, and they cause a lot of trouble, especially when they pollute the billabong with their rubbish and cause food shortages by taking more than their share.  Fortunately Maliyan responds to his parents’ concern in time and he decides not to hang around with the turkeys any more.   With help from the Elders he changes his ways and gets back his ability to see and hear things from a long way away.  The other birds respect him again, and follow his example.

All except for Wagun.  He loses his ability for soaring flight - and his friends - and is reduced to scratching around in a limited world.

Like many indigenous stories I have read, Silly Birds has an explicit moral, but it is not didactic in tone.  This beautiful, brightly coloured and superbly illustrated picture book is a 21st century way of doing what our indigenous people have always done – teaching their children through the arts.  In indigenous oral culture, children learned what they needed to know through story, song and dance.  Making the transition into print means that we can all share the story, no matter where we live.

Gregg has also made a very 21st century book promo at YouTube!

Author & illustrator: Gregg Dreise
Title: Silly Birds
Publisher: Magabala Books, 2014
ISBN: 9781922142993
Source: Review copy courtesy of Magabala Books

Availability
Fishpond: Silly Birds
Or direct from Magabala Books

Posted in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, Authors & Illustrators, Book Reviews, Indigenous Teaching Resources | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Announcing 2014 Indigenous Writers Week at ANZ LitLovers

Posted by Lisa Hill on June 22, 2014


ILW 2014I am pleased to announce that ANZ LitLovers will again be hosting Indigenous Literature Week in the second week of July to coincide with NAIDOC Week here in Australia. (6 to 13 July). This is a week when Australians celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and this year the NAIDOC Week theme is Serving Country: Centenary & Beyond. ANZ LitLovers’ contribution to NAIDOC is to celebrate all forms of Indigenous Writing, and I hope that many of my readers will join in and read a book by an Indigenous author.

Here at LisaHillSchoolStuff, I will be placing my reviews of  children’s literature by indigenous authors, and tagging the reviews

If you would like to participate, your choice of indigenous literature isn’t restricted just to Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Maori literature. Participants are welcome to join in reading indigenous literature from anywhere in the world, from Canada to Guyana, from Native American to Basque to Pashtun or Ixcatec. (For a list of indigenous people of the world, see this list at Wikipedia.) As to how we define indigenous, that’s up to indigenous people themselves. If they identify as indigenous themselves, well, that’s good enough for me.

Thanks to contributions from a fantastic bunch of participants in ILW 2012 and 2013 the reading list is growing. For reasons of space and time and personal preference my ANZ LitLovers reading list is limited to literary fiction titles by indigenous Australian and New Zealand authors but participants are free to choose any form you like – short story, memoir, biography, whatever takes your fancy! The permanent link to my reading list (and to other sources) is on the ANZLL Books You Must Read page in the top menu I plan to generate a reading list of children’s books by indigenous authors here at LisaHillSchoolStuff as well, but for the time being please visit the one at ANZ LitLovers .

Thanks to all those who joined in last year and have encouraged me to host the week again.

Interested? Sign up now to give yourself time to source the book you want to read.  Click this link to go to the ANZ LitLovers page.

Posted in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, Indigenous Teaching Resources | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Book review: Midnight Burial, by Pauline Deeves

Posted by Lisa Hill on May 28, 2014


21897737Midnight Burial, by Pauline Deeves,  is a most interesting short historical novel for readers aged eight to twelve.

It’s a mystery story, set on a remote sheep station in the 19th century.  It’s cleverly crafted in the form of letters and diary entries from various protagonists in the novel, so that events are gradually revealed from multiple points of view.

The central character, the one that the kids will identify with, is Miss Florence Williamson, who, in 1868 is aged ten.  She’s a smart kid, rather rebellious, and very determined.  The novel begins with her declaration that she will never write in her diary again because she doesn’t ever want to remember this day, the day that her sister Lizzie, suddenly died.  Her father is outside hastily burying the body -  no doctor, no clergyman and no witnesses - and the rest of the family is in shock.  Clearly there is something odd about this death, and Florence’s curious questions at a dinner in town bring others to the same conclusion.

Deeves uses the historical period to explore gender issues and social conditions.  Florence’s father James is an irascible man, sacking servants at whim, and laying down the law about the role that women should play.  He has strong objections to his neighbour’s efforts to extend education to the labouring class; and he is horrified by his sister Hetty turning up in a riding habit.  Nothing his family can say will reconcile him to Henry Parkes’ plans to bring some of Florence Nightingale’s nurses to the colony, and he is adamant that none of  his daughters will be tainted by marrying a former convict.

Events conspire to make him reassess his ideas.  The tension rises when James goes missing just as it’s shearing time, and he has sacked his overseer so his ‘bossy’ daughter Jane has to deal with recalcitrant shearers and a heavy workload.

The novel is only 72 pages long, supplemented by the author’s ‘historical notes’ at the back, so it’s very suitable for reading aloud or reciprocal reading.  Its structure lends itself to plotting the course of the story and of course predicting what might happen next, and perhaps writing alternative endings in the same diary/letters format.

Recommended, especially as a supplementary text for units of work on Australian settlement.

Author: Pauline Deeves
Title: Midnight Burial
Publisher: National Library of Australian, 2014
ISBN: 08441336
Source: Review copy courtesy of the NLA.

Availability

Fishpond: Midnight Burial
Or direct from the NLA Bookshop.

Posted in Australian History, Book Reviews | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Book review: Meet … Douglas Mawson, by Mike Dumbleton, illustrated by Snip Green

Posted by Lisa Hill on May 24, 2014


Meet Douglas MawsonI was delighted to receive an advance copy of Meet … Douglas Mawson this week, because Mawson has been a hero of mine since I first read about him in primary school.  His story was featured in the old Victorian Readers and I still remember it vividly.  I have since read Mawson’s story in his own words and found it even more compelling  – see my review of The Home of the Blizzard republished by Wakefield Press; it’s essential reading for teachers of history, IMO, especially since the Australian Curriculum includes the topic of Explorers for year 4.

This edition is shorter than the version in the Victorian Readers and somewhat sanitised of the grisly bits.  There’s nothing about eating the Huskies out of desperation, nor of the manner of Mertz’s brave exit.  Nothing about the gruesome state of Mawson’s feet, and his plunge into a crevasse is pruned so that readers don’t realise that he fell into it twice but overcame despair.  Are todays’ readers such sensitive souls that they must be spared these truths?   It seems a pity to me to short-change children in this way.  So many of them think that playing sport at elite level is heroic, and don’t know what heroism really is.

The story, however, is  salvaged by Dumbleton’s crisp prose, focussing on the courage of the adventurers and the expedition’s achievements:

It was a world of extreme cold, but also extreme beauty.

The men discovered breathtaking glaciers, drew maps and collected rock samples.   They were uncovering secrets that would help people understand how this mysterious land was formed.

Snip Green’s illustrations make this book the highlight of this series.  They are so perfectly realised that I am sorely tempted to breach copyright and share some of the images.  (But no, visit the Random House website instead where you can see some of them if you click on the Free Sample icon).  Green has captured the bleak climate of Antarctica in pale geometric shards of green and white with the human intruders in dark grey and black, often dwarfed by the immensity of the landscape.  Most poignant of all is the double page spread depicting Mawson trudging on alone, watched over by Mawson’s burial cross: it symbolises so vividly the integrity of a man in extremis, who pushed himself to the limit to erect a memorial to his companion, in a place where no one else could see it.  The clean edginess of Green’s images must surely make this book a candidate for an award; they are stunning.  You can find out more about Snip Green at Random House.

This series from Random House is turning out to be excellent.  Here’s my wishlist for future titles:

  • Faith Bandler
  • Nancy Wake
  • Edith Cowan
  • Eddie Mabo
  • Germaine Greer
  • John Curtin
  • Nancy Bird Walton
  • Sister Vivian Bullwinkle
  • Emily Kngwarreye
  • Oodgeroo Noonuccal (Kath Walker)
  • Patrick White
  • Percy Grainger
  • Peggy Granville-Hicks
  • Eileen Joyce

Author: Mike Dumbleton
Title: Meet… Douglas Mawson
Illustrator: Snip Green
Publisher: Random House, 2014
ISBN: 9780857981950
Source: Review copy courtesy of Random House

Availability

Fishpond: Meet Douglas Mawson (due for release on June 2, 2014)

Posted in Australian History, Authors & Illustrators, Book Reviews, Recommended books, School Library stuff | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Migration Year 5 & 6 unit of work

Posted by Lisa Hill on May 21, 2014


I am working on a new unit of work for years 5 & 6: it’s intended to teach content from the Australian Curriculum on the topic of migration:

Stories of groups of people who migrated to Australia (including from ONE Asian country) and the reasons they migrated, such as World War II and Australian migration programs since the war. (ACHHK115)

In addition to exploring waves of migration at different times in Australian history, I am also interested in guiding students towards an empathetic understanding of the migrant experience, which will include the experience of being a refugee.

So far, I have gathered together these picture books to support the unit

  • Rebel! written by Allan Baillie and illustrated by Di Wu
  • The Peasant Prince, the true story of Mao’s Last Dancer, by Li Cunxin and Anne Spudvilas
  • The Little Refugee, the inspiring story of Australia’s happiest refugee, by Anh Do and Suzanne Do, illustrated by Brice Whatley
  • Boat Boy by Hazel Edwards, illustrated by Eric David
  • The Island, by John Heffernan and Peter Sheehan
  • Ali the Bold Heart, based on the true story of an Iranian refugee, who performed as a magician in his own country, written by Jane Jolly and illustrated by Elise Hurst
  • Glass Tears, by Jane Jolly and Di Wu
  • Ziba Came on a Boat, by Liz Lofthouse, illustrated by Robert Ingpen
  • A True Person, written by Gabiann Marin and illustrated by Jacqui Grantford
  • Home and Away, by John Marsden and Matt Ottley
  • The Arrival by Shaun Tan
  • The Boat, by Helen Ward and Ian Andrew

Novels to use include

  • Boy Overboard by Morris Gleitzman
  • The White Ship by Jackie French
  • When Hitler Took Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr

Non-fiction resources

  •  Story of Migration to Australia, Heinemann
    • From the Middle East and Africa, by Nicolas Brasch
  •  Migrations series (Wayland)
    • Chinese Migrations, by Judith Kendra
  • We Came to Australia, Looking for … series, by Christine Mulvany & Lucy Carroll, MacMillan
    • Family;
    • Jobs and Education;
    • Different Environments;
    • Freedom;
    • Different Lifestyle.
  • Australian Immigration Stories by Louise Courtney and Linda Massola, Heinemann,
    • 1900-1940
    • 1940-1960
    • 1960-1980
    • 1980 -

Does anyone else have any suggestions for resources for this topic?

Posted in Asia & Australia's Engagement with Asia, Australian Curriculum, Australian History, School Library stuff, School Library Units of Work | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

 
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