Transformation: FOUNDATION - HASS - Engage

Little J finds a Hawk Moth caterpillar on the Tar vine in the backyard that he names ‘Sausage’. He wants to take it to school but the caterpillar has other ideas and disappears underground. Nanna teaches Little J the story about the Yeperenye caterpillar of the Arrernte people from central Australia. Sausage finally returns to give Little J a further lesson on life cycles. Sissy wants to perform a dance for the school with Big Cuz, but Big Cuz feels ‘shame’.

Engage - Pose questions about past and present objects, people, places and events

Theme - PLACE

After viewing Little J & Big Cuz, Episode 10 ‘Transformation’, and ask students to identify parts of the story focused on ‘change and continuity’ in the many individual stories about each character.

Divide the class into groups and have each group select one character from the episode to observe and identify how the character changes in the story. Ask students to retell in their own words the story of their character:

  • Little J wants to grow faster, and measures his growth on a height chart. Nanna wants him to eat carrots and vegetables to grow more. He waits for the caterpillar to reveal itself and uses a calendar to measure the time he sees it again.
  • Big Cuz wants to learn to dance with Sissy but feels ‘shamed’ to perform in front of the school. Over time, her confidence grows and she eventually overcomes her fear.
  • ‘Sausage’ the caterpillar changes from a caterpillar to a moth over the timeof its life cycle.
  • Nanna tends to the growth of Little J and Big Cuz through good food, and building their confidence, patience and persistence. She teaches Little J the ancient Arrernte people stories of the giant caterpillars in central Australia.
  • Sissy practises her dance routine and accepts that Big Cuz can’t perform with her the first time. She shows patience and support for her friend and encourages her to keep practising.
  • Old Dog watches and waits for the family to experience life, and always has a moral at the beginning and end of the show.

Have students identify their favourite types of stories, such as funny stories, thrillers/scary stories, fantasy/imaginary stories, dramatic stories, historical/informational stories, personal/true life stories. Have students also consider the informal stories we tell about ourselves, our family and friends, and our favourite places, such as who is good at something and why places are named what they are.

Have selected students stand and share with the class a story about their favourite place. List the nominated places on the IWB/board.

Introduce students to Aboriginal stories and/or Torres Strait Islander stories about Place:

  • Burarrwanga, L. & Ganambarr, R. & Ganambarr-Stubbs, M. & Ganambarr, B. & Maymuru, D. & Wright, S. & Suchet-Pearson, S. & Lloyd, K.  (2013). Welcome to my country.  Crows Nest, NSW:  Allen & Unwin.
  • Kwaymullina, E. & Morgan, S.  (2011). My country (Teaching Activity).  North Fremantle, WA :  Fremantle Press.
  • Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages – Ladd, A. & Moore, S. (2007). Ampe rarey nyente anyetyeyel anem. (Cubby House). (Arrente) Atitjere. (Harts Range)
  • Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages – Marrnanyin, G. (1981) 29a. Galiwin'ku : Literature Production Centre Elcho Island
  • Wheatley, N. & Rawlins, D.  (2008). My place.  Newtown, NSW :  Walker Books Australia (Classroom Ideas (PDF))
  • Murphy, J., & Kennedy, L., (2016) Welcome to Country. Black Dog Books:  Newtown, NSW:  Walker Books Australia (video clip- ABC Splash)

Have students pose questions about the stories, such as,

  • Who are the characters and what happens to them?
  • Is the story real or imaginary?
  • How does it connect the reader to where it is taking place?

Introduce the term, ‘memoir’, and explain what it means (a historical account of an actual experience written from the memory of a person who experienced it). Explain that historical stories are based on evidence from firsthand accounts of what happened.

In pairs, invite students to tell a story about their favourite place and explain why it is special to them. Encourage students to elaborate on the details in their stories, such as who else was there, how did the place smell, what it felt like, etc. Both people in the pair have an opportunity to tell a story to the other, and also listen to the other person’s story. The listener can ask questions for more details and explanations of the other person.

As a class, call on selected students to recount the story of the other person in their pair. Have the person whose original story it was, evaluate if the re-telling of the story was accurate, and was exactly what they told. If the stories have variations, use this to talk about ‘perspective’ and how different people will tell stories using the same facts but in different ways because they understand the facts from their own understanding and set of prior experiences.

Introduce students to ‘recounts’ from the Aboriginal readers and/or Torres Strait Islander readers contained in the Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages, such as:

Have students consider how pictures can assist the reader to interpret the story, regardless of the language. Ask the students to consider if the reader is correct in assuming the meaning of the story purely through the pictures? Have students therefore assess what benefits language adds to the telling of the story.

Ask students to use the story that they told earlier in their pair, and to illustrate it in three or four frames without using words. Students can decide if their story takes place in the present or in the past. Share students’ picture books with others and have them ‘decode’ what they read from the illustrations.

Working individually or in pairs, have students pose questions about how the past can be represented through stories and images. Find examples of old newspaper reports that include a photograph or cartoon that the students can decipher.