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Melbourne, VIC, Australia
2nd Grade Teacher at a school in Melbourne, Australia. My job: push kids to think. My passion: helping kids to tackle the life-long skill of searching for meaning, skills, answers and more questions.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

From Little Things... Big Things Grow

Pictures for this blog post supplied by 4RPB.  Little Legends.
 In my last post about authentic student ACTION, I mentioned that I had previously asked my class to reflect on how their THINKING or FEELING had changed in relation to Indigenous Australia.

It's worth mentioning that we had just 'completed' a Unit of Inquiry which had focused on the history of Australian settlement.  The kids had seen and heard some chilling stories of the (not so distant) past and they were challenged to reflect on what they could DO.

"I wonder if there is anything I can do?"

Many were stumped.
They couldn't 'give' land back.  They had no land to give.
They couldn't 'give' money.  They had none to give.
They couldn't join the year 10 kids on their journey to Northern NSW to help Indigenous Communities (much as many of my 10yr olds would have jumped at the chance)
They couldn't DO much.

But they could:
 Sing. Tell. Think. Feel. Hope. Be. Have.

We started singing.  Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody wrote this song about an Australian Prime Minister starting the ball rolling on land rights in the 1970's.  The kids loved the song and loved the story.

This is a photo of PM Gough Whitlam 'giving back' the land to Vincent Lingiari  (August 1975)
 After a good sing along, we discussed what little things we could DO.
We agreed that we wanted to get the ball rolling on Respect for Indigenous Australia.  
Our verbs did include some action verbs, such as give and help.
Many more were saying, thinking, feeling, being and having .VERBS.

"Did you know that it doesn't matter if you say [that's not cool!] to an adult?!"

This student feels empowered to be able to tell others that racism is not cool.  Seems a simple gesture until you see that she is prepared to tell adults if she needs to....

"Imagine... Listen... Respect... Help Others... Change"

This student took on the idea of building the Perfect, Good Life for our nation by building a tree like this.

She has noticed that good will come from these core verbs.  Gracie sees these verbs as little things.... She doesn't understand why most adults find them so hard!


This student wants us to give land back to the indigenous owners.  He doesn't see why we should be mining or farming on it if it was wrongfully taken [although he didn't write this, he said it].

He wanted to join our year 10 kids as they visited Indigenous communities and schools during June.

He wanted to let everyone know that Aboriginal culture is a huge part of Australia's history and it needs to be respected.

What are YOU prepared to DO?  How do YOU FEEL about Indigenous Australia?  
Can YOU THINK about others and how they feel?  Are YOU prepared to TELL others?  

These kids may not have baked cakes or started a website... one kid simply offered the suggestion that we don't laugh when somebody was showing us their traditional dance or song.  Instead, we should respect the history... the story... the people.

These kids have used other types of verbs to show authentic ACTION.  They care, have learned and have changed... and I think that's a great start.   I FEEL proud of them.
 Can you tell?

1 comment:

Bruce Ferrington said...

Inspired and inspiring. And it shows that we can teach grammar in meaningful ways.

PS - Did you forget to credit the legend on the guitar for the sing-a-long?