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12 — Comprehension and connection

To date the class has examined the story of Guji-Guji for its narrative structure and for some of the salient language features, and has looked at how the visuals enhance the story and our reading of it. This learning sequence looks at comprehension strategies that help students gain a deeper understanding of the story by going beyond literal meanings. It also explores how students can make connections between the texts they read and their own lives as a means of deepening their understanding of a text.

The learning sequence gives students further tools to interpret, analyse and evaluate a story and respond to the ideas, characters and viewpoints expressed. In Sequence 11 the students looked at words that referred to the different characters in the story; in this sequence they will be looking at how those words tell us what the characters are like. Sometimes readers cannot rely on just the words, but have to look at what the pictures are showing too.

Teacher resources

Introduction

Write the words positive and negative on the board and elicit what students understand by these terms. Tell them they are going to think about the words in terms of the positive or negative emotions they give rise to as they categorise the words in the table below according to whether they see them as positive or negative.

smile

fierce

terrible

laugh

grin

help

happy

content

odd

bad

dance

celebrate

worry

pointed (teeth)

vanish

strong

When you have done this as a class, provide opportunities for the students to justify why they categorised the words as they did (laugh is a positive word/action because you do it when you are happy). Point out that some words can be used either as a positive or negative, depending on the context (laugh can be negative in the sense of an evil laugh). ACELA1462

Activity 1: Words that convey positive and negative emotions

Go through the text of Guji-Guji with the class and find some of the words in the story that confirm your placement as positive or negative. You could make a second chart that is titled ‘Words that show positive and negative emotions in Guji-Guji’. For example, on the page that tells us the crocodiles were smiling and that they laughed, we can see this as relating to negative emotions in the reader because we are told it was a ‘terrible’ day and we can see the picture of the three menacing, bad crocodiles even though there are no words that tell us these things. Point out that sometimes words might say one thing but mean another (for example, sorry, when the person saying it does not mean what they are saying). Add words not mentioned in the story that describe the characters in either positive or negative terms (evil, nasty, kind, loyal, trick, save, smelly and so on).

Activity 2: Creating more expanded noun groups

Revisit the noun group charts from Sequence 10 for evidence of positive and negative descriptions of the animals and develop some other expanded noun groups based on the lists you have just compiled.

Activity 3: How does Guji-Guji see himself?

The different characters in the story see Guji-Guji in different ways. From the text, identify words that tell us how Guji-Guji sees himself and how others see him, and describe how they see him. Students can use the How Guji-Guji sees himself worksheet to record their answers. ACELT1589ACELT1590,  ACELY1670

After the students have filled in the worksheet, they can discuss their answers as a class. For the first part of the worksheet their answers might look something like this: He sees himself as a duck, as a good brother and a good son, and also as happy, but then he questions himself and sees himself as perhaps not belonging to the duck family, and looking a little ridiculous. However, he also sees himself as responsible and resourceful, clever, and at the end of the story he sees himself as truly part of the duck family and community.

Ask the students to then think about how this worksheet connects with each of them. They can fill in the How I see myself worksheet or answer the same questions in their writing/English books.

Activity 4: Thinking about the issues

This activity invites the students to connect more deeply with the issues underlying the story. The following questions will help to draw out what those issues are:

Assessment task

For Assessment task 2, the students will be writing a character profile of one of the characters from the picture book Guji-Guji. They will also jointly develop a rubric of what is expected to be in a character analysis.

Reflection

The students should use the rubric to self-assess their character profile before handing it in for formal assessment.