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9 — The Magic Brocade, a Chinese folktale

A piece of silk brocade with a pattern of bamboo leaves in copper-brown on a textured golden-brown background

Above: Bamboo leaf brocade, photo by Daniel Cavanagh

This sequence examines a folktale from China. There are at least two versions of the tale available on the internet and the focus of the first activity is to compare and contrast the similarities and differences between two of these texts. Students will work in small groups to complete a story map of one of the tales, and this will be the basis for the comparison.

In the second activity, the students will illustrate each scene of one of the tales and use these illustrations to create a digital version of the tale. Illustrations should be modelled on the completed story maps.

As with the previous sequence, it is recommended that students be provided with background information on China, including its location on a map of the world, and information about its people and their culture(s).

Activity 1: Sharing the stories

Organise the students into small groups and provide each group with one of these two versions of The Magic Brocade:

Provide time for each group to read the folktale as a shared or guided reading experience and to discuss the tale. Focus the students’ discussion, using the following questions:

Story maps

Each group constructs a story map using the Story map worksheet, either in their books or as a document on the computer, that details the key events in the tale and identifies the main characters.

The construction of story maps needs to be explicitly taught to enable the students to effectively identify the key elements of a story, identify the main characters, the goals or objectives of the main characters, the problems or challenges they face, and the resolution or conclusion. You may also wish to encourage students to include a reflection on the message or lesson that the tale is imparting to the reader. ACELY1680

As a class, share the story maps and have the students identify the similarities and differences between the two versions. Discuss the possible reasons for the variations. Draw the students’ attention to how in the story with the three brothers the youngest brother is unselfish and may seem braver because his two older brothers had gone before and not completed their task but had accepted the gold for themselves.

Share the story of The Magic Brocade with the students and then, using this readers’ theatre script, have the students present the story orally. Presentations could be recorded for sharing with other classes.

Activity 2: The magic brocade illustrated

Silk toggle closures on a piece of red silk brocade, with a circular piece of gold silk brocade appliqued in the centre

Above: Detail of toggle closures on a piece of silk brocade, photo by Daniel Cavanagh

Engage the students’ interest in this illustration activity by showing them a variety of richly coloured and patterned brocade fabrics produced by Chinese artisans. You should be able to find images of brocade fabric from China in books or on the internet.

Using the completed Story map worksheets as a basis for the activity, divide scenes and events from the story among students in the class. Depending on the number of students, it might be possible to complete both texts in this manner.

The students are to create their own illustrations of key scenes from the story, using watercolours and pencils or other art materials of their choice. There is also the option of using computer programs such as Paint to create the illustrations.

Once the illustrations are complete, have the students create a digital book by photographing or scanning the illustrations and using these images to recreate the story through programs such as PowerPoint or Photostory. Note that students may need explicit instruction on how to effectively use these tools to create digital stories. ACELY1685

Transcript of first 1:10 minutes of clip (The Incredible Journey of Mary Bryant, 2004)

Governor Arthur Phillip: We are not just solving the problem of overcrowded prisons, we are expanding empire ahead of the Dutch and the French.

(Reverend pours his wine down to the hull where the convicts are; they catch it and lick it off their hands.)

Elizabeth (convict): Oh … Do you know who they are entertaining up there? Lord Muck himself.

1st male convict: Captain Arthur Phillip, he’s to be Governor of the Colony.

2nd male convict: A good man? (convict vomits)

Governor Arthur Phillip: Lieutenant Clarke? Perhaps you would like to share your thoughts on our prospects?

Lieutenant Clarke: Yes sir. I was just thinking of the question of the reform of our human cargo.

Governor Arthur Phillip: Yes, reform; well there should always be hope, always hope.

Reverend Johnson: But not with regard to the criminal classes; experience tells us there should be very little of it.

Governor Arthur Phillip: Yes I think turning wretches into workhorses is as much as we can expect.

Reverend Johnson: I do what I can! I did try reading to the women … [excuse me] but the stench down there it’s enough to floor an ox.

Governor Arthur Phillip: Ah the pig... (Murmurs from the other guests ‘wonderful’.)

Elizabeth: Oh. Pork!