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9 — How do I find the right angle to a story?

In this sequence the students will bring together aspects of their learning from previous sequences as they discuss and explore how they can bring their own unique angles to a story. The students will create a plan for the writing of a feature article by framing their topic, the points that they wish to make, how they will make these points and what kind of language they will use to convey their points. They will also begin to list and search for resources that they will need. The content of the feature article will relate to the overarching inquiry topic: ‘Living with trash’ and how our lifestyles are shaping and changing the planet.

This sequence addresses the Cross-Curriculum Priority: Sustainability and draws on the following General Capabilities: Literacy, Information and Communication Technology, and Personal and Social Responsibility.

What’s my angle?

So far in this unit, we have learnt about individuals who use art, print, social and online media to tell their story. We have learnt about groups who aim to live more sustainably and we have been presented with issues and questions related to our overarching question: How are our lifestyles shaping and changing the planet?

Share with students the summary table below that highlights some of connections that have been made in the unit thus far.  Encourage them to add any further connections and new insights that they have made and to share these connections. Students can draw on one of their Track my thinking worksheets to assist with this exercise.

Topic Examples

Using art to tell a message

Chris Jordan

Individuals making a difference

Chris Jordan, Brennan Bird, Beth Terry

Living with trash (groups at the coalface and/or making a difference)

The catadores of Brazil, freegans

Issues in focus

Sustainability, recycling, managing waste, electronic waste, Pacific Garbage Dump

Companies making a difference

EarthShell, ‘The Story of Stuff’ project 

What is a feature article?

Explain to the students that a feature article is designed to both entertain and to inform. Some of the most interesting feature articles are written about people who have made a difference in the world or who wish to draw our attention to an issue that they are passionate about (draw student thinking back to the ideas covered in the earlier sequences).  As opposed to a news story or news report that covers just the facts and events, feature articles give greater depth to the human interest side of a story. Feature articles also allow for more detail, more description and more creativity in how words and sentences are used to tell a story.

Project planning

Explain to the students that they will be writing a feature article about a chosen topic and this will constitute a major assessment task for this unit. The articles will be written for a general audience of their peers, as well as for a wider audience who will read their pieces on the class blog and when the works are published in a class magazine. In the sequences that follow they will learn more about article writing. For now, the goal is for students to choose a topic and to refine their topic.

Present the students with a Project planning guide for them to complete in readiness for writing their articles. Ideally the planning guide will be completed (with teacher guidance where necessary) in readiness for the next phase of the unit. Encourage students to refer to their annotated bibliography for ideas as well.

Note: A KWHL chart could be a useful tool for planning purposes.

Ongoing tasks

It is envisaged that most students will have completed their ‘art from trash’ pieces at this point in the unit and from here on, the key focus will turn to the writing process and creation of a feature article.