Date : August 28, 2018
There is no need to cast your eye overseas for creative, engaging books that children will respond to. Australia is, and always has been, rife with the kind of literary talent that makes little eyes shine and young hearts swell.
May Gibbs has long been the stalwart of Australian children’s books. Her timeless tales have entranced generations with soft, sweet and sustainable tales from the bush. From the beautiful gumnut babies to the hauntingly terrifying Banksia Men – these are stories that teach children narrative structure and arc, Australiana themes and the craft of story-writing.
Therefore, crafting a lesson plan focused on Australian Children’s books that uses May Gibbs as the centrepiece makes perfect sense. You’ll find it below.
Australian Children’s Books Lesson Plan
The purpose of this lesson plan is to connect students with historical children’s literature. Students will:
· Understand the importance of Australian Children’s books and literature.
· Engage in active listening as their teacher reads to them and then checks for comprehension (Reading and Viewing – Understanding Texts).
· Create a whole class collage representative of a May Gibbs character (Visual Arts – Using materials, techniques and processes to explore visual conventions).
Teachers will need:
· Text material: any stories from the May Gibbs collection.
· A clear classroom wall free of other displays.
· An open-plan, creative space capable of giving children room to move, explore and create.
· One large piece of paper per child.
· A variety of art materials and found objects (including native flora) that the children can use to create their pictures. A variety of textures is advised.
· A drop sheet to prevent material from falling onto the floor during installation.
· Thumb tacks or similar to assemble the work (teacher to be in charge).
Process of Australian Children’s Books Lesson Plan
· Discuss children’s books with the class. Map their responses on the whiteboard. How many can they name?
· Look at the stories that they have amassed on the board. Circle any that you know to be Australian (you may have to research as you go).
· What is important and different about Australia? Map responses onto the board. What is significant and individual about our country and our lifestyle?
· Ask students the following questions:
o Why is it important to tell Australian stories?
o Why is it important to read and listen to Australian stories?
o Where did May Gibbs’ stories take place? What was the environment like?
o What colours do you associate with her stories?
o What sounds do you associate with her stories?
· Tell your class that you will be filling the boring, empty space with a beautiful May Gibbs inspired collage. Depending on your class, you might ask them to all create their own piece or you might divide a picture into sections, asking them all to create their own piece of the puzzle.
· Allow a considerable amount of time for the thought process and designing to take place. Your students will be making a range of decisions and selections that are important for their creative development.
· When all of their creations are complete and dried, assemble them onto the classroom wall using your adhesive materials. Take photos for the school newsletter, website and reporting to parents.
Lesson Review and Follow Up
It would be easy to extend this lesson into a unit of work on the stories of May Gibbs and the connection to Australian history and literature. There are more lesson plans on site if you would like to build on the work done in this lesson.