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Copyright Agency: Connecting Authors and Illustrators in SchoolsThai-riffic!

Read, write and talk about plot development

Detail of Thai-riffic! cover wit characher's thought bubble

A unit of work for students in Middle to Upper Primary years

Author: Oliver Phommavanh

Penguin Books | ISBN: 9780143304852

From the publisher's synopsis: Albert (Lengy) Lengviriyakul, is fed up with being Thai. His parents own a Thai restaurant with the cheesy name of Thai-riffic! and Lengy is sick of being his father's curry guinea pig, longing to just eat pizza! At school he is a bit of a troublemaker, going to any lengths to hide his background. But when his best friend decides to become Thai for a day for a school project, Lengy stubbornly comes to the realisation that there may just be some pretty cool things about his culture.

Key skills, knowledge and understandings developed in this unit

This unit of work focuses on specific strategies used to teach plot development in narrative writing. Students will learn how to link scenes and events using concise, effective language choices, avoiding word redundancy and repetition; create purpose through effective event transition and sentence structure; embed appropriate tension, suspense and engagement in the storyline; use illustrations and diagrams for purpose and to add meaning; and utilise ICT to draft and edit work samples, focusing on engagement and plot transition.

Teaching and learning sequence (below)

Lesson 1: Assessment for learning  | Before reading 

Lesson 2: Decoding context and genre   | Visual literacy: covers and book trailers

Lesson 3: Shared and independent reading  | Exploring context

Lesson 4: Creating storyboards

Lesson 5: After reading — Assessment as learning | Exploring plot

Lesson 6: Close reading  | Exploring humour  | Exploring beginnings

Lesson 7: Video conference Part 1  | Exploring the writing task  | Expanding language

Lesson 8: Independent writing  | Assessment of learning

Lesson 9: Video conference Part 2 | Class Wiki and podcast

Lesson 10: Creating a Thia-riffic! book trailer

Video note: This unit resulted from a collaborative project between PETAA and the Copyright Agency. The unit links to videos recorded live at Gymea Bay Public School using the NSW DEC videoconference network. The videos are presented as recorded with minimal editing.

Australian Curriculum: English Year Levels  Year 4   Year 5

Content descriptions

Language: Expressing and developing ideas Year 4 – Explore the effect of choices when framing an image, placement of elements in the image, and salience on composition of still and moving images in a range of types of texts ACELA1496. Year 5 – Understand how noun groups/phrases and adjective groups/phrases can be expanded in a variety of ways to provide a fuller description of the person, place, thing or idea ACELA1508.

Literature: Responding to literature Year 4 – Use metalanguage to describe the effects of ideas, text structures and language features of literary texts ACELT1604. Year 5 – Use metalanguage to describe the effects of ideas, text structures and language features on particular audiences ACELT1795 Examining literature Year 4 – Discuss how authors and illustrators make stories exciting, moving and absorbing and hold readers’ interest by using various techniques, for example character development and plot tension ACELT1605. Year 5 – Recognise that ideas in literary texts can be conveyed from different viewpoints, which can lead to different kinds of interpretations and responses ACELT1610. Creating literature Year 4 – Create literary texts that explore students’ own experiences and imagining ACELT1607. Year 4 – Create literary texts by developing storylines, characters and settings ACELT1794 Year 5 – Create literary texts using realistic and fantasy settings and characters that draw on the worlds represented in texts students have experienced ACELT1612. Year 5 – Create literary texts that experiment with structures, ideas and stylistic features of selected authors ACELT1798.

Literacy: interpreting, analysing and evaluating Year 4 – Identify characteristic features used in imaginative, informative and persuasive texts to meet the purpose of the text ACELY1690 Year 4 – Use comprehension strategies to build literal and inferred meaning to expand content knowledge, integrating and linking ideas and analysing and evaluating texts ACELY1692. Year 5 – Identify and explain characteristic text structures and language features used in imaginative, informative and persuasive texts to meet the purpose of the text ACELY1701. Navigate and read texts for specific purposes applying appropriate text processing strategies, for example predicting and confirming, monitoring meaning, skimming and scanning ACELY1702. Creating texts Year 4 – Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive texts containing key information and supporting details for a widening range of audiences, demonstrating increasing control over text structures and language features ACELY1694. Use a range of software including word processing programs to construct, edit and publish written text, and select, edit and place visual, print and audio elements ACELY1697. Year 5 – Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive print and multimodal texts, choosing text structures, language features, images and sound appropriate to purpose and audience ACELY1704. Year 5 – Use a range of software including word processing programs with fluency to construct, edit and publish written text, and select, edit and place visual, print and audio elements ACELY1707.

Source for content descriptions above: Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA)

NSW English K–6 outcomes

Learning to Read — Skills and Strategies: RS2.6 Uses efficiently an integrated range of skills and strategies when reading and interpreting written texts. RS3.6 Uses a comprehensive range of skills and strategies appropriate to the type of text being read.
Learning About Reading — Context and Text: RS2.7 Discusses how writers relate to their readers in different ways, how they create a variety of worlds through language and how they use language to achieve a wide range of purposes. RS3.7 Critically analyses techniques used by writers to create certain effects, to use language creatively, to position the reader in various ways and to construct different interpretations of experience.
Learning to Write — Producing Texts: WS2.9 Drafts, revises, proofreads and publishes well- structured texts that are more demanding in terms of topic, audience and written language features. WS3.9 Produces a wide range of well-structured and well-presented literary and factual texts for a wide variety of purposes and audiences using increasingly challenging topics, ideas, issues and written language features.
Learning to Write — Skills and Strategies: WS2.10 Produces texts clearly, effectively and accurately, using the sentence structure, grammatical features and punctuation conventions of the text type. WS3.10 Uses knowledge of sentence structure, grammar and punctuation to edit own writing. .
Learning to Write — Skills and Strategies: WS2.12 Uses joined letters when writing in NSW Foundation Style and demonstrates basic desktop publishing skills on the computer. WS3.12 Produces texts in a fluent and legible style and uses computer technology to present these effectively in a variety of ways.
Learning About Writing — Language Structures and Features: WS2.14 Discusses how own texts have been structured to achieve their purpose and the grammatical features characteristic of the various text types used. WS3.14 Critically evaluates how own texts have been structured to achieve their purpose and discusses ways of using related grammatical features and conventions of written language to shape readers’ and viewers’ understanding of texts.

Assessment for learning

Australian Curriculum: English sub-strands: Literature – Creating literature | Literacy – Creating texts

Review a previous narrative written by students using the following  criteria. Check that students are able to:

  • create a sustained and engaging plot line
  • develop characterisation through the use of effective language choices
  • develop setting through the use of effective language choices
  • create cohesion in a narrative by using appropriate transitions
  • write a variety of correctly constructed sentences
  • construct a text that is grammatically accurate
  • punctuate a narrative correctly, including dialogue punctuation
  • spell words of varying difficulty correctly.

Students will: Students review own work against the given criteria and set goals for further writing.

Before reading

Australian Curriculum: English sub-strand: Literature – Examining literature

Display or read the opening words of the book Same, same, but different by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw. Use think, pair, share strategy to elicit students’ understandings of other cultures. Record key discussion points so that students can revisit their ideas as they read the book.

Students will: Individually reflect on the meaning of the opening line in relation to their understanding of other cultures. Form pairs to discuss their thoughts and understandings. Pairs then share their discussions with the whole class.

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