Date : August 23, 2018
Students and carers who enjoy a homeschool learning environment are afforded incredible opportunities to meaningfully engage with literature. The world truly is their oyster and they may freely make links between curriculum and personal interests with not an awful lot standing in their way. There is the opportunity for spontaneity, freedom of movement and expression and pursuit of personal goals that is sometimes lost in traditional schooling.
The work of May Gibbs may provide inspiration and aspiration when it comes to the creation of their own explorative, personal writing. Here are some ideas to encourage creative writing with a connection to nature in your own home education environment.
Homeschooling Lesson Plan
The purpose of this lesson plan is to connect students with historical children’s literature in the creation of their own writing.
- Understand the importance of Australian Children’s books and literature.
- Engage in active listening as their educator reads with them and then checks for comprehension (Reading and Viewing – Understanding Texts).
- Apply craft of writing ideas to the concept, planning, design and editing of their own creative stories.
Educators will need:
- Text material: any stories from the May Gibbs collection.
- Writing materials (laptop or paper).
- Car or transport as required to give access to a natural, green space.
Process of Australian Literature Homeschooling Lesson Plan
- Discuss children’s books with the class. Map their responses on the whiteboard. How many can they name?
- Look at the stories that they have amassed on the board. Circle any that you know to be Australian (you may have to research as you go).
- What is important and different about Australia? Map responses onto the board. What is significant and individual about our country and our lifestyle?
- Introduce student to the work of May Gibbs. You may read a number of her stories to the class (time dependant). Show some of the artwork associated with her stories.
- Work through the following questions as a discussion:
o Why is it important to tell Australian stories?
o Why is it important to read and listen to Australian stories?
o Where did May Gibbs’ stories take place? What was the environment like?
o What colours do you associate with her stories?
o What sounds do you associate with her stories?
o What ideas do these give you for creative stories of your own?
- Workshop story ideas with your student. Inspired by May Gibbs is fine whereas directly copying May Gibbs is not. You may wish to travel to a nearby greenspace or your own backyard to find inspiration in nature.
- Work on the craft of writing with your student. You can find some good resources here. Plan the story out together (including characters and inspirations). Work in a theme. Come up with a conflict and a resolution. Ensure that the story makes sense in terms of consistency.
- Ask your student to dedicate time towards writing their story. Work with them through the editing process – do not merely focus on mechanics of writing but ask questions about their story and characters.
- Enter the Australiana themed story your student has created into a writing competition for teenagers. They may digitally self-publish their story, illustrate the pages or create it by hand. Encourage them to express their story in whatever medium best suits.
Lesson Review and Follow Up
It would be easy to extend this lesson into a unit of work on the stories of May Gibbs and the connection to Australian history and literature. There are more lesson plans on site if you would like to build on the work done in this lesson.