Warning: This resource may contain references to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who may have passed away.
9 — Documenting protest
In this learning sequence, which is also Assessment task 2, the students design a research text related to a specific area of protest. The sequence introduces the students to ways of combining fact, interpretation and imagination, leading to the formal assessment task. Tom Romano’s books Writing with Passion, Blending Genres and Altering Styles are useful resources for the development of these kinds of research texts.
Activity 1: Ways of seeing
There are many ways of using language to represent our views of the world. For example, Shakespeare saw poetry in theatre and theatre in poetry. Sometimes we see the world:
- through dramatic encounters such as dialogue or interview
- through poetry: a memorable image, an expression that captures the zeitgeist
- through prose: a pointed story, a speech that tells a story, a convincing argument
- through sound and image: a song, a character sketch, photographs that capture the spirit of the moment
- through appropriating others’ texts.
Read, view or listen to Kevin Rudd’s Apology to Australia’s Indigenous Peoples (often referred to as the Sorry speech) as a class, especially the anecdote related to Nanna Fejo, which you will find in the full transcript of the speech on the Sydney Morning Herald website. The telling of Nanna Fejo’s story as an anecdote in the speech is just one way of sharing her experience. Invite the students to explore the significance of this story today; for example, in a two-voice poem with the voices of Kevin Rudd and Nanna Fejo. Explore with the students how these voices might be similar or different in the years since 2008; for example, whether in the last four years there have been any changes in our community as a result of the apology. By transforming this anecdote it is hoped that the students see the relationships between poetry and speech and learn that critical appreciation of texts can be presented imaginatively. Discuss with the students whether the two-voice poem allowed them to explore aspects of the apology that the speech or anecdote may not.
Activity 2: Introduce the task
In this task the students are required to decide on a topic for a digital research text on one specific area of protest. They might consider war, the environment, feminism, race or social class. What really matters is that they choose an area of significance and passion for them. The students will create a text that combines different textual forms related to a specific topic. They will need to ensure there is a unifying metaphor, motif, symbol or refrain in the text. Textual forms the research task must contain include:
- a dedication
- a foreword that is informative, dealing with the essentials of the topic (250 words)
- a table of contents
- a visual text
- any other form they would like (the Brief list of genres from the Colorado State University website is a useful source of ideas for this)
- a bibliography.
Activity 3: Digital presentation
In this task the students present their work digitally to the class and the teacher. There are many different software possibilities for these projects. A few are:
- book-authoring software such as iBooks or Author
- websites such as Google Sites, Wordpress, Wikispaces or Edublogs
- slideshow applications such as PowerPoint, Keynote or Prezi.
Using the design principles particular to the chosen software, the students combine text, graphics, sound, video and animation to convey information. Remind them that multimodal texts combine elements and that each element contributes to the meaning of the text as a whole.
Activity 4: Assessment task rubric and reflection
The Assessment task rubric addresses the achievement standards for Year 10 in the Australian Curriculum: English. In addition to the criteria, students could undertake the following reflection activity:
- Briefly describe the assessment task you just completed. What do you think was the purpose of this task?
- Give an example of one or two of your most successful responses. Explain what you did that made them successful.
- Provide an example of where you made an error or where your responses were less complete. Why were these items incorrect or less successful?
- What can you do differently when preparing your next assessment task?
(Ideas from Robert Marzano (2006) Classroom Assessment and Grading that Work, page 92.)