So I taught the first lesson of my unit of work on Australia in the 1900’s and will try to make an attempt to get students to perform more in depth historical inquiry (HT3-5) and think more about the importance of some of the events and struggles that shaped Australia (HT3-4). As I have the opportunity to teach a cohort of around 90 students divided into three ability groups, I do get the chance to refine my activities as I progress through each group which means the last group of the three probably benefits from this.
I bought an amazing picture book over the weekend called Amazing Babes by Eliza Sarlos and Grace Lee that I was able to use as the perfect entry event for the topic of Women’s Suffrage (especially for the lower ability group). This book introduces the characteristics and traits of a number of famous women in history with references to more recent individuals from a diverse range of cultures and backgrounds such as Tavi Gevinson and Malala Yousafzai. I read the book to the class (Stage 3 love having books read to them.. in fact, everyone does!) and asked them to discuss what event Australian History we might be exploring next (they had previously finished looking at the White Australia Policy with another teacher). One of the spreads in this book mentions Edith Cowan, which I strategically spent a little more time discussing what the word ‘pioneer’ meant and how they thought she might have contributed to the history of Australia. One student mentioned women’s rights amongst the many hands up and voices calling out – so off we went down that path.
I introduced them to the term Suffrage meaning having ‘the right to vote’, which then led to the discussion of what ‘rights’ are. I got students to split off into pairs and brainstorm the questions of “Why are rights important? Why is the right to vote important?”. That’s all the time we had for this rotation as we only had 30 minutes but a lot of students had some pretty insightful things written down to present tomorrow and explore what it meant for Australian women. This gave me some time to walk around and speak to a number of the groups as well as having the assistance of the RFF teacher to support the EALD students.
Reflecting on this lesson, I could probably have spent a little more time using the book (I love it!) to discuss the characteristics of these women and how they link to the traits of Australian women fighting for what they believed in in the 1900’s (courage, fervour, compassion and much more…). This could then lead into further inquiry tomorrow into the historical events, a better understanding of why these events occurred and struggle they experienced. I didn’t get the chance to use this book for the first two groups as I had other activities planned using a KWL chart, but in hindsight, I would probably have used this book (in fact, might use it tomorrow).
Anyways – I love this book. Thank you lady from Kinokuniya for the recommendation. “You’re a pioneer like Edith Cowan”!