Shakespeare Resource Center http://bardweb.net/ An extensive collection of information and links on the Bard, this site is useful for a wide age range. It includes: biographical information; synopses of Shakespeare’s plays; sketches of The Globe theatre; detailed information on Elizabethan England; an explanation of aspects of Elizabethan Language and much more. A search mechanism is available for ease of access. Beginners, students well versed in Shakespeare, and teachers, will find this a valuable reference source. This is a readily navigable site, with concise information, attractively presented, with the written material often being supported by well-selected illustrations.
Schizm: Mysterious Journey This interactive game has a narrative created by an Australian SF writer, Sean Williams. He has chosen to mirror the mystery of the Mary Celeste in an SF context. The appropriation of the original story is deserving of some research and consideration by students. The striking visuals and the haunting soundtrack could be used as a valuable motivation to compose a range of texts. The students could also be drawn to create a range of written responses to the game. The mystery elements of the game allows for high interest and interactivity.
StageStruck – Dept of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts
CD-ROM Produced by NIDA, Opera Australia, The Australian Ballet, Sydney Opera House Trust and the University of Wollongong, this CD-ROM provides drama teachers with a powerful tool to engage their students’ interest. Students have the opportunity to take a virtual tour backstage and then design and stage their own performance. Historical information is embedded in easily accessed mini databases, for example quality visual and text information on the State Theatre. StageStruck is a significant step forward in the relationship between technology and teaching creative arts, in particular drama and dance. It is a useful way of introducing students to difficult concepts in theatrical and performance design. Teachers could use the CD to introduce ideas in drama in the virtual environment before exploring them experimentally. Use of this CD would strongly complement practical experiences in the dance and drama classroom. Further exploration of this resource will uncover more applications for each teacher’s specific needs. The Great War www.pitt.edu/~pugachev/greatwar/ww1.html is a site that has been developed by the University of Pittsburgh. It has a broad range of links to a number of other sites around the world, including virtual tours of French war memorial sites, sound effects and images. It may complement historical research skills and the analysis of what makes an effective website.
The Hobbit Name Generator www.chriswetherell.com/hobbit/default.asp does as the title suggests: you can create a hobbit name for every member of your class. The Hobbit has its own site, www.thehobbit.com that has background to the novel and is a rich source of visual images from the text and other Tolkien-related material.
Shakespeare.com www.shakespeare.com is a more commercial site than many. It has clear copies of the plays which can be edited relatively easily. There is an interactive poetry exercise employing Shakespearean language, as well as hyperlinks to sections where students can ask questions to be answered by other visitors to the site, and to reviews of recent performances of Shakespeare’s plays around the world.
To Kill a Mockingbird & Harper Lee http://mockingbird.chebucto.org A greatly loved work of American fiction is celebrated on this site. The sheer extent of the links collected and recorded suggest it is the work of a most avid fan of the novel. It is a treasure trove of fascinating resources, which include information on both the novel and the film; biographical information on the author; quizzes and tests; an FAQ page; further readings; and opportunities to join discussion and chat groups. For teachers who would like to see their students link a traditional study of fiction with information available on the internet, this is a valuable site.
Wayne Bennett: A Man For All Seasons (video, 30 minutes) Deb Fleming, ABC TV, www.abc.net.au/programsales/programs/s436728.htmAustralian Story is a regular program on ABC Television that looks at the lives of interesting Australians. Wayne Bennett is the coach of the Brisbane Broncos rugby league team and the Queensland State of Origin team. He is one of the best-known coaches in Australia. This program, originally shown on Australian Story in 1999, looks at his family life as well as his coaching career, and profiles the love and dedication of Wayne and his wife for their children, two of whom are disabled. Students could identify and explore the characteristics of the documentary genre and compare the purpose, audience and context of this program with those of other media reports about Wayne Bennett.
Texts for students in Years 7 to 10 who have not yet achieved
Stage 3 Outcomes
Preface All students are entitled to have access to good books (as well as good poems, plays, films and multimedia texts).
In particular, for less able students the drama, poetry, film and multimedia sections of Fiction, Film and Other Texts will provide many texts that stimulate at the level of ideas and emotions and are accessible because of their brevity or their relatively immediate association with spoken language. Novels and nonfiction can create special problems for reluctant or less successful readers because of their length. Less successful readers are often offered books that have little interest or appeal to them. They need books that stir the emotions, books that are easy and enjoyable to read but which address the same demands and interests as books for better readers. If such students are given access to good writers, their resistance to reading can be overcome and they can gain confidence that the books others read are not beyond them.
In Years 7 to 10 there are likely to be several groups of readers who would enjoy books in this section. Among these would be some students for whom English is a new language. In addition, the annotated list of books below should assist students whose first language is English but who find reading difficult. It is recognised that NESB students, students seen as remedial readers and students who are reluctant readers are not the same group. Nevertheless, all such students will find these books useful in gaining access to literature in English.
So-called remedial texts have often proved to be unsuccessful with each of these groups. They look different from the books their peers are reading and sometimes sacrifice story and feeling in favour of excessively simple language. It is teachers, parents and librarians who read widely who will provide students with a range of books to interest and enthuse them. Many of the books on this list are also found on the other fiction list, illustrating the fact that good books are available to all. Most texts in this section are mapped to Stage 4 in Appendix 2. With many of the books on this list students will experience success and enjoyment. We can help to match books to students and expand their horizons of reading. That is surely the start to becoming a successful reader.
Hodder Headline – ISBN: 0733612040
Set in a working-class Australian suburb, Dogs is an action drama about two teenage boys and their fathers, brought together by a greyhound called Monster. The story centres on Stephen and his father and the moral dilemmas they face when they are drawn into the world of greyhound racing by Hangan and his unpredictably violent father. The story is a thought-provoking read that explores issues of loyalty and friendship, domestic violence and animal cruelty without being didactic. Written in an accessible, distinctly Australian voice. (For Stage 5.)
Penguin (Puffin) – ISBN: 0140387978
Gleitzman again displays his talent for highlighting a serious social issue while maintaining humour through the use of a child’s perspective. Angus exaggerates his chaotic home life hilariously and, realising he hasn’t a hope of changing his parents’ irresponsible behaviour, summons the energy necessary to look after his siblings. He encourages his friend Rindi to assert herself in a potentially ghastly situation and protects his mother from certain ruin.
Unbelievable ISBN: 0141301716
Quirky Tails ISBN: 0141301783
Uncanny ISBN: 0141301759
Jennings’s collections of ‘surprising’, ‘spooky’, ‘oddball’ (his subtitles) etc stories have now established themselves as favourites among both primary and high school students. The stories in these collections follow the basic structures of bizarre plot and surprising twist at the end. Tales about a skeleton on a dunny, stuffed cane toads and similar wacky plots have a Dahl-like appeal to a very wide adolescent audience in Australia.
Random House Australia – ISBN: 009183953X
This action-packed sea rescue adventure is set in the future. Kira is a rich female protagonist whose aim is to save refugees attacked by pirates on the high seas. The book deals with a number of moral dilemmas, decisions relating to piracy, individual responsibility and the dubious power of the press, highlighted in sensationalised gossip columns and headlines. The thriller is compelling and easy reading with an interesting twist to complete the story.
The Burnt Stick
Anthony Hill, illustrated by Mark Sofilas
Penguin NZ – ISBN: 0140369295
Until the 1960s many Aboriginal children in traditional communities were forcibly separated from their parents and expatriated to Christian missions. In spare but eloquent prose this unhappy history is personalised through the poignant, fictional but factually based story of John Jagamarra’s childhood. Mark Sofilas’ highly accomplished graphite pencil and charcoal pictures are a judicious choice of images highlighting the emotion behind Liyan’s desperate but ingenious ruse to keep her son from the ‘Big Man from Welfare’.
Collins/Angus & Robertson – ISBN: 0207170282
This is the story of young Nam-Huong who escaped from Vietnam but lost her grandfather on the long terrible voyage to Australia. She has many reasons to cry but finds it hard to release her pent-up grief as she struggles to understand a different culture. This simple tale of refugees and the trauma they face is a valuable text for classroom discussion.
The Binna Binna Man
Meme McDonald and Boori Monty Pryor
Allen & Unwin – ISBN: 1865080713
This novel introduces young people coming to terms with their identity and heritage. The story covers a trip to a relative’s funeral and the response of different generations to the grief of untimely death. The Binna Binna man of the title is a presence who encourages appropriate behaviour and respect for traditional ways. While true to the oral tradition of storytelling, the language is accessible.
The Colour of Sunshine
Puffin – ISBN: 0141310510
This is a depiction of grief and confusion in a family’s life seen through the eyes of nine year old Davey. His sixteen year old sister has been killed in a road accident, and the loss has sunk his parents into a depression. Colour comes back into Davey’s life in the form of an irrepressible family who runs a pet shop in the neighbourhood. The difference between the families is almost too polarised yet the complexity of emotions, especially in the older characters, is intelligently drawn.
Macmillian Children’s Books – ISBN: 0330310453
This is a survival story a reader will never forget. Brian Robeson is a thirteen-year-old city boy who is left alone in the Canadian wilderness after his plane crashes. He faces the problems of finding food, shelter and clothing. With imagination and courage, he experiences despair and perseverance and it is the character development as well as the survival skills that grip the reader. (See also Hatchet: the Truth.)
Bloomsbury – ISBN: 0747548471
In a Texas wasteland at Camp Green Lake, in a juvenile detention facility where there is no lake, boys are forced to dig countless holes to improve their character. Stanley Yelnats finds himself at Camp Green Lake, the innocent victim of mistaken identity. He discovers that the character building is a cover for the warden (who paints her fingernails with rattlesnake venom) and her search for something hidden in the desert. The novel moves between time with humour and craft, it has a wonderfully twisted ending and its deep understanding of friendship and compassion make it an outstanding classroom text. Holes won the Newbery Award in 1999.
The Bad Beginning
HarperCollins – ISBN: 0064407667
Poor Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire! They have the misfortune to lose their parents and despite their intelligence, charm and resourcefulness they are exceptionally unlucky. This leads to many difficult and dangerous experiences, which inevitably amuse and entertain. This irreverent and twisted tale should prove popular in the classroom.
Lothian Books – ISBN: 0734401132
If white boys can’t jump, can Asian boys play cricket? Vietnamese-born Lan is sick of multicultural food festivals and wants to do something different. He decides with his friend, Izram, to form a school cricket team with a difference. This funny and entertaining novel explores multiculturalism from the other side of the fence.
Charlie Carver Stacks It! And Other Stories: A Crash Course in Applied Physics for Beginners
Laurie Stiller, illustrated by Jeff Raglus
Random House Australia – ISBN: 0091832969
A science-based text illustrating the laws of physics creates its own category of humorous case studies in the guise of stories about Charlie. Raglus’s Mambo-style drawings and wild diagrams support the equally exaggerated narrative style. The humour is accessible to ten-year-olds but is also appreciated by young adults, as Charlie crashes in increasingly spectacular ways.
Lockie Leonard, Legend
Macmillan – ISBN: 0330360027
This is an engaging story of second love as Lockie continues learning about relationships when his ex-girlfriend comes back into his life. Lockie is growing up and family responsibilities take over when his mother suffers a breakdown and is admitted to the local hospital. Winton’s skilful use of language and his creation of a contemporary vernacular are very appealing. (See also Lockie Leonard, Human Torpedo and Lockie Leonard, Scumbuster.)
Nonfiction The Blue Death
Hodder Children’s Books – ISBN: 0340805714
This detective story with a difference concerns the tracking down of the source of the dreadful cholera epidemic in London 1854. In simple and accessible prose Judy Allen tells a remarkable tale of Dr John Snow, a doctor who would not give up until he had solved the mystery of the cause of cholera.
Crash! The Search for the Stinson
Jennifer Beck, Dyan Blacklock and Katrina Allen
Omnibus Books – ISBN: 1862913781
Using refreshing innovative design features this book retells the story of a modern Australian hero and Australian mateship in a format that should appeal to young readers. Using original sources to research and illustrate a large part of this true story of a 1937 plane crash, the authors have created a collage of facts, personal anecdotes, technical details and images which merge to produce a sense of mystery, anticipation and drama. The collage style is challenging to the reader.
Race to the Pole
Hodder Children’s Books – ISBN: 0340785055
This account of the three attempts to be first to the South Pole is exciting and accessible. Shackleton, Scott and Amundsen prepared for their attempts in different ways and Hooper’s retelling of their expeditions contains details of food, transport, difficulties and dangers. The glossary of terms and the information about Antarctica adds additional material for students to investigate.
Kirsty Murray, illustrated by Harry Harrison
Allen & Unwin – ISBN: 1864489294
The courage of children is portrayed in this sensitive compilation of true stories. Each story gives a short account of a young person’s experience, encompassing stories of rebellion, oppression, survival and fortune made or lost. As the stories are set in varying countries and times over the past couple of centuries, they provide a good insight into lives in times past. This book is interesting and enlightening, though sometimes confronting. It encourages readers to develop a greater understanding of the strength and courage that children can and do have when faced with adverse situations. The inclusion of the character Milo, who highlights important messages, adds to the book’s appeal for students. This book could be used to examine the idea of personal identity in relation to young people.
Stoked! Real Life, Real Surf
Glyn Parry, illustrated by Jeff Raglus
Allen & Unwin – ISBN: 1863737111
This small handbook on surfing stretches from the origins of boardriding to predictions that surfing contests will take place in constructed wave pools. History, techniques, safety, the big names – it is all here. Parry talks surfie language. He writes with humour and his topic is well researched. The text presentation is varied using subheadings, blocked summaries and interspersed with Jeff Raglus’s delightful drawings. Coloured centre photographs are attractive and give good female representation. There are references to fiction and nonfiction books, surfing biographies and magazines.
Hatchet: The Truth
Macmillan – ISBN: 0330483625
Gary Paulsen’s ‘Hatchet’ novels of disaster and survival are widely read in schools. In this book, Paulsen describes the true-life experiences that underpin his books. This account of the inspiration and craft of writing will be of great interest to students.
Bog Bodies: Mummies and Curious Corpses
Allen & Unwin – ISBN: 1863735836
This small paperback draws a wide range of readers into its fascinating survey of corpses that have remained preserved over millennia through ritual or chance natural circumstances: embalmed mummies and mediaeval knights, peat-entombed murder victims and ice-bound travellers. It even peeks into future cryonics. Bog Bodies has all the reference features expected of information books but is firstly an engaging, lucidly written factual anthology generously illustrated with sketches and photographs.
Mysterious Ruins: Lost Cities and Buried Treasure
Natalie Jane Prior, illustrated by John Nicholson
Allen & Unwin – ISBN: 1863737677
This book provides information on lost cities, sunken treasure, pyramids, caves and stone monuments. All are presented as tantalising mysteries with sufficient information on each to encourage the reader to make use of the extensive ‘Further Reading’ list to seek out more details. In addition there are line drawings, maps, eight pages of coloured photographs, a glossary and an index.
Appendix 1: Winners of major book awards for children and young adults
John Newbery Award (USA) The Newbery Medal honours the year’s most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. The medal was established in 1922 and is presented annually by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). The recipient must be a citizen or resident of the United States.