You are on page 1of 15

EDUC 4725

Unit Overview
Book
Title/s:

Parvana

Author/s:

Deborah Ellis

Illustrator/s:

N/A

Theme/Genre:

Parvana

Year Level:
6
Cross Curricula
KLA/s
Geography
Drama

Explanation and Validation of Topic:


The novel, Parvana, tells the story of an 11-year-old Afghani girl, growing up during the Taliban regime. As a girl, she is not
permitted to learn, work, or even leave the house without male supervision. When her father is arrested, Parvana must take
responsibility for her family, cutting her hair and dressing as a boy in order to make a living and keep her family fed. The
story is equal parts confronting and touching, illustrating many of the struggles faced by the Afghan people during this
turbulent time, in particular those faced by the women and girls of Afghanistan.
The novel was selected by my supervising teacher, who had used it previously to teach skills in understanding, analysing
and evaluating literature. In her experience, it provided multiple opportunities to develop these skills and understandings,
in addition to encouraging a broader, global understanding of the world. The novel introduces the students to some very
confronting situations and considers some very dark themes (e.g., warfare and oppression), however, it does so in a way
that makes them accessible to upper primary students they are able to relate to the situation and themes through the
character of Parvana.
In addition, the novel also fit with the broader, cross-curriculum theme for the term: Asia. This theme was chosen as it
linked with the cross curriculum priorities as dictated by ACARA (2014). The theme will be incorporated across the
curriculum, enriching the students studies in multiple subjects, including geography, history, ICT and religion. Due to the
Sophia Bubner

2074498

EDUC 4725

novels setting, Parvana offered the perfect opportunity to extend this theme even further, into the students English
studies. This type of cross-curricular teaching will hopefully enable students to transfer knowledge and skills taught in one
discipline to other subject areas, leading to an overall richer learning experience (Duchesne, et al., 2013). In addition, the
inclusion of cross curriculum priorities will equip students with skills, knowledge and understandings to help them engage
with, contribute to, and prosper in a globalised world (ACARA, 2014).

ACARA Curriculum Links (desired aims and outcomes): English, Geography


& Drama (ACARA, 2014)
LANGUAGE
Text
Structure
and
Organisation
Expressing
and
Developing
Ideas

Understand how authors often innovate on text structures and play with language features to achieve
particular aesthetic, humorous and persuasive purposes and effects (ACELA1518).
Understand how ideas can be expanded and sharpened through careful choice of verbs, elaborated tenses
and a range of adverb groups/phrases (ACELA1523).
Investigate how vocabulary choices, including evaluative language can express shades of meaning, feeling
and opinion (ACELA1525).
LITERATURE

Literature
and Context
Responding
to Literature
Creating
Literature

Make connections between students own experiences and those of characters and events represented in
texts drawn from different historical, social and cultural contexts (ACELT1613).
Analyse and evaluate similarities and differences in texts on similar topics, themes or plots (ACELT1614).
Identify and explain how choices in language, for example modality, emphasis, repetition and metaphor,
influence personal response to different texts (ACELT1615).
Create literary texts that adapt or combine aspects of texts students have experienced in innovative ways
(ACELT1618).
Experiment with text structures and language features and their effects in creating literary texts, for
example, using imagery, sentence variation, metaphor and word choice (ACELT1800).
LITERACY

Interacting
with Others

Participate in and contribute to discussions, clarifying and interrogating ideas, developing and supporting
arguments, sharing and evaluating information, experiences and opinions (ACELY1709)
Plan, rehearse and deliver presentations, selecting and sequencing appropriate content and multimodal
elements for defined audiences and purposes, making appropriate choices for modality and emphasis
Sophia Bubner
2074498

EDUC 4725

(ACELY1710)
Interpreting,
Analysing &
Evaluating

Creating
Texts

Analyse how text structures and language features work together to meet the purpose of a text
(ACELY1711)
Use comprehension strategies to interpret and analyse information and ideas, comparing content from a
variety of textual sources including media and digital texts (ACELY1713)
Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive texts, choosing and experimenting with
text structures, language features, images and digital resources appropriate to purpose and audience
(ACELY1714).
Reread and edit students own and others work using agreed criteria and explaining editing choices
(ACELY1715).
GEOGRAPHY

Geographica
l Knowledge
and
Understandi
ng

The location of the major countries of the Asia region in relation to Australia and the geographical diversity
within the region (ACHGK031).
Differences in the economic, demographic and social characteristics between countries across the world
(ACHGK032).

Geographica
l Inquiry and
Skills

Develop geographical questions to investigate and plan an inquiry (ACHGS040).


Collect and record relevant geographical data and information, using ethical protocols, from primary and
secondary sources, for example, people, maps, plans, photographs, satellite images, statistical sources
and reports (ACHGS041).
Represent the location and features of places and different types of geographical information by
constructing large-scale and small-scale maps that conform to cartographic conventions including border,
source, scale, legend, title and north point, using spatial technologies as appropriate (ACHGS043).
Present findings and ideas in a range of communication forms, for example, written, oral, graphic, tabular,
visual and maps, using geographical terminology and digital technologies as appropriate (ACHGS045).
DRAMA

Knowledge
and Skills
Sophia Bubner

Develop skills and techniques of voice and movement to create character, mood and atmosphere and
focus dramatic action (ACADRM036).
2074498

EDUC 4725

4
Rehearse and perform devised and scripted drama that develops narrative, drives dramatic tension, and
uses dramatic symbol, performance styles and design elements to share community and cultural stories
and engage an audience (ACADRM037).

Sophia Bubner

2074498

EDUC 4725

Learning Experiences: English, Geography & Drama


The Literature Strand of ACARA: involves teaching the understanding, appreciating, responding to,
analysing and creating of literature.
*Must include reading prose, reading poetry and creative writing*
ENGLISH
As part of this unit, students will engage in the following learning experiences in English
Reading the novel as a class
Over the course of several weeks (three to five preferably, but this will need to be flexible to accommodate
unforeseen circumstances) the teacher will read the novel aloud to the class.
Whilst listening to the novel students may be asked to listen for certain features, or think about how certain
issues, events or themes relate to the story. This will coincide with any learning activities the students have or
will engage with, on that particular day.
Students will regularly be asked to recall what has taken place in the novel so far, and predict what they think
may happen and why.
Prior knowledge activities
Students will complete activities prior to reading the novel, in order to activate their prior knowledge about
the setting, characters and themes. Sheena Cameron (2009) notes the importance of activating prior
knowledge when studying literature, stating it creates a base upon which students can build new knowledge.
Students will brainstorm all prior knowledge about Afghanistan (setting), and the themes (warfare and
oppression)
Examining the novel cover, and reading the blurb, students will brainstorm what they think the novel may be
about, what might happen, who the main characters are, what the setting might be like as a place to live. In
this brainstorm, they are beginning to combine their prior knowledge with new knowledge gained from the
novel jacket and blurb.
Students will record their predictions of what might happen in the novel.
Reading comprehension
Students will complete several simple reading comprehension exercises to ascertain their basic understanding
of the novels events and the literary devices the author uses to illustrate certain aspects of the story.
Analysing the text
Students will analyse the setting, considering what language and other techniques the author uses to portray
the conditions in Afghanistan and compare it to the conditions they experience in Australia.
Sophia Bubner

2074498

EDUC 4725

Example task: students will be asked to visualise the setting (choosing a particular place within the
novel e.g., the marketplace) and think of appropriate words to describe what they would see, hear,
feel, smell and taste. They will then utilise these words in a short piece of prose to share with a
partner.
Students will analyse the characters, examining how the author introduces them and how she illustrates their
personalities, strengths, weaknesses, beliefs, thoughts and feelings. They will consider similarities and
differences between themselves and the characters (in particular, the protagonist, Parvana). They will
evaluate if and how the characters grow what they learn from the experiences described in the novel.
Example Task: students will complete a Venn diagram comparing themselves to the protagonist,
Parvana. Using their analyses from the Venn diagram they will then consider how they would react to
a certain situation in the novel, stating if they would act differently to Parvana and why.
Students will compare and contrast the text to other comparable literature including poetry.
Prose: students will compare Parvana thematically to the big book Hannah by Josephine Croser
Poetry: students will compare the portrayal of warfare in Parvana to war poetry from World War I
(poetry from website: Primary Sources for World War I).
Creative writing
Familiar with the characters, setting and themes of Parvana, students will create a diary for one of the
characters (at least five entries).
The features of diary writing will be discussed (i.e., date, dear diary from , first person perspective).
The idea of writers voice will be introduced students will be encouraged to analyse their chosen character
and consider what type of language and writing style they would use based on their personality (Parvanas
mum, would write very differently to Parvana herself, for example).
Teacher will monitor student progress as this piece of work is completed.
Students will be encouraged to share their work with their peers to both receive and offer feedback as they
progress.
Students will be encouraged to be as creative as possible in producing their diary it should be hand written
(because Parvana didnt have a computer), and decorated as they think their character would decorate it.
They may include other creative pieces that someone may put in a diary (e.g., caricatures, poems, doodles).
GEOGRAPHY

As part of this unit, students will engage in the following learning experiences in geography
Knowledge of Afghanistan location, people and geography
Students will become familiar with the relative and absolute location of Afghanistan, and become familiar with
Sophia Bubner

2074498

EDUC 4725

basic facts (e.g., what is the capital, what language do they speak, what currency do they use?) and the
demographics of its people.
Students will practice mapping skills by producing a detailed map of Afghanistan including all cartographic
features, as well as geographic features including the following: major cities, regions, mountains, rivers, and
deserts.
Students develop a short unit of inquiry related to a specific topic (e.g., food, clothes, language), plan
questions, research answers and present their findings to the class. The context for their presentation is
They are from a museum that has just opened an exhibit on their topic they are visiting schools to
present a few interesting facts that will make people want to visit the museum and learn more.
DRAMA
As part of this unit, students will engage in the following learning experiences in drama
Performance narrative, dramatic portrayal and characterisation
As part of a cumulative activity, to complete the unit, students will devise, rehearse and perform an Unseen
Scene from the novel Parvana. That is, a moment that was not described in the novel, but could conceivably
have taken place within it it may not concern the main characters (Parvana and her family), it may be in a
setting not encountered in the novel, but it should be believable that it occurred during the course of the story
(i.e., will not involve aliens, or other such nonsense).
Students will work in groups to
Outline and storyboard their scene
Devise a script
Organise set, props, costumes, etc.
Rehearse their scene
Perform their scene in front of an audience

Sophia Bubner

2074498

EDUC 4725

Sophia Bubner

2074498

EDUC 4725

TIMETABLE: Indicate teaching times for Reading Prose, Reading Poetry and Creative Writing (school follows a
bi-weekly timetable, highlighted below)

Time
8.55
10.40 am

Assembly
English
Spelling
Contract

11.00
12.45 pm

Maths
P.E.

1.35
2.25 pm

Music
Art

Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Art
English
Humanities
Spelling
History info.
Contract
text
Science
Recess Time
English
Maths
Reading Poetry
Chinese
Form
Lunch Time
Maths
P.E.
English
Humanities
Literature Study
Research Inquiry
WEEK A

ICT
Maths

Thursday

Friday
English
Grammar
Chinese

Music
Humanities
Mapping

Maths
English
Creative Writing

English (Double)
Literature Study
- Drama

P.C.P.
P.D.

WEEK B

Sophia Bubner

2074498

EDUC 4725
Time
8.55
10.40 am

10

Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
English
P.E.
Maths
P.E.
Spelling Contract Maths
Music Band
Chinese
Science
Assessment Techniques/Evidence:Recess Time
11.00

Humanities
ICT
Religion
Music Band
Science
Diagnostic
12.45
pm
Asia
Focus

info.
English
English
Humanities
Art
English
Reading
Prose worksheet,
Reading
Poetry
Mapping
text
Students complete a Before
Reading
(adapted
from Cameron,
n.d.) detailing all knowledge about
Science
Afghanistan and the novel Parvana. An additional worksheet Activating Prior knowledge is also provided
Lunch Time
for students who may have already read the novel.
1.35
English
Maths
Humanities
English
Maths
Students will also write a short paragraph (three sentences) describing what they predict will happen in the
2.25 pm
Literature Study
English
(Double)
Literature Study
Humanities
novel for students whoLiterature
may haveStudy
already read
the novel,
they will
write three things the learned
Chinese
Research
Inquiry
Humanities
Historyfrom
reading it the first time.
- Drama
Research Inquiry
Geography
Students complete a blank geographical map, highlight all prior knowledge of the Asia region
In groups, students complete mind map highlighting all knowledge and understandings they have of the Asia
region and its people (any details that werent applicable on a map of geographical features)
Drama
Students will fill out a questionnaire, detailing their dramatic experience including performing and working
backstage/behind the scenes.
Formative
English
Student progress is monitored throughout the unit through observation and consultation, as well as daily
assessment (usually in the form of an exit card, or concluding activity to check for understanding).
All work (i.e., class activities) is marked and appropriate feedback provided, following the structure proposed
by Hattie (2012), which aims to offer students answers to the following questions:
Where am I going? What are my goals?
How am I going to get there? What progress is being made towards the goal?
Where to next? What activities need to be undertaken to make better progress?
Class activities include: reading comprehension exercise, character analyses, setting analyses, comparisons
between poetry and prose.
Geography
Maps of Afghanistan are collected and marked students receive a one on one consultation with teacher to go
Assembly
Maths

Sophia Bubner

2074498

EDUC 4725

11

through the mapping exercise. Again feedback provided follows Hatties structure (2012).
Research inquiry presentations students will receive constructive feedback from their peers considering, the
content and structure of their presentation, as well as how engaging and interesting it was to watch. In
addition, they will provide feedback for the other groups that consider their strengths, areas of improvement
and any other general comments. Finally they will also complete a self-assessment and reflection. Teacher will
observe and make anecdotal notes on the presentations and feedback students provide.
Drama
Teacher will offer feedback on the students plans/storyboard and script.
Teacher will observe student rehearsals and offer feedback, once more following Hatties structure (2012).
Summative
Character Diary (English)
This will be the main summative assessment for the unit
Students will illustrate understanding of the text, by adapting the voice of a character and accurately
reflecting how this character responded (thoughts, feelings and actions) to the events in the novel. This will
involve at least some imagining and implying, based on what they know about the character.
Students will demonstrate skills in adapting aspects of the texts they have studied to portray their chosen
character in greater detail.
Students present their diary appropriately, adapting the features and style of a personal diary and show
evidence of considering the audience and purpose. They adhere to correct grammar, spelling and punctuation.
Achievement Standards (ACARA, 2014):
Students understand how the use of text structures can achieve particular effects. They analyse and explain how language
features, images and vocabulary are used by different authors to represent ideas, characters and events.
Students understand how language features and language patterns can be used for emphasis. Students create detailed
texts elaborating on key ideas for a range of purposes and audiences. They demonstrate understanding of grammar, make
considered choices from an expanding vocabulary, use accurate spelling and punctuation for clarity and make and explain
editorial choices.

Mapping Skills Assessment (Geography)


Students will complete a mapping test, utilising the skills developed through mapping Afghanistan and
applying it to map another unseen country.

Achievement Standards (ACARA, 2014):


Sophia Bubner

2074498

EDUC 4725

12

Students represent data and the location of places and their characteristics in different graphic forms, including large-scale
and small-scale maps that use cartographic conventions of border, source, scale, legend, title and north point.

Unseen Scene Performance (Drama)


Students present their unseen scene before an audience, clearly illustrating their characters and portraying
their narrative dramatically.
Students use props, costumes and sets to enhance their performance.

Achievement Standard (ACARA, 2014):


Students work collaboratively as they use the elements of drama to shape character, voice and movement in
improvisation, play building and performances of devised and scripted drama for audiences

Evidence
Characters diary
Mapping assessment
Unseen Scene performance (filmed)
All classwork and responses (recorded in English Reading Workbook)
Afghanistan map
Research inquiry presentation (including feedback and self-assessment)
Narrative storyboard (for performance planning)
All pre-assessment tasks (including drama questionnaire, geography map/mind map)
Anecdotal notes from observations in class and consultations

Culminating Activity:
Students will perform their Unseen Scenes for parents and/or fellow students at open day or special Drama Day. They
will have the chance to work in the Centre for Performing Arts (CPA), experiencing what it is like to work on a stage in an
actual theatre.
The performances will be filmed and each student will receive a DVD copy of their performance.
Final activity will be a movie day when the students will get to watch the film of their performances (this will also
encourage some reflection on their successes, strengths and areas that may need improvement).
Sophia Bubner

2074498

EDUC 4725

13

Resources/Incursions/Excursions:
Pre-assessment Tasks:
Before Reading and Activating Prior Knowledge worksheets (Appendices A and B)
What I Know About Asia Map (Appendix C)
Drama Questionnaire (Appendix D)
Books and Sources:
Parvana (Ellis, 2002)
Hannah (Big Book) (Coser, 1998)
Primary Sources for World War I (Website) (Lewis, n.d.)
Teaching Reading Comprehension Strategies: A Practical Classroom Guide (Cameron, 2009)

Unit Evaluation:

Self-Evaluation:

As part of evaluating the success of this unit, the following


questions will be considered and answered:
Did students meet the identified achievement
standards?
Were the learning outcomes (content descriptors
from ACARA, 2014) covered? Were all aims met?
Was the novel interesting and engaging for the
students?
Did students show improvement in their analysis of
text skills?
Did students show a better understanding of global
issues and diversity from studying the novel?
Did all learning experiences contribute to the overall
success of the unit (including those for geography
and drama)? Could any be removed for next time?
Were there any learning experiences not included in
the unit, which could have been? Is there anything
that could be added, which would enrich the learning
Sophia Bubner

As part of evaluating my performance in planning and


teaching this unit, the following questions will be considered
and answered:
Were my expectations of students appropriate?
Did I effectively manage my limited time (i.e., did I
cover everything that needed to be covered)?
Were all my planned learning experiences appropriate?
Did they all link back to ACARA aims and overall
learning objectives of the unit?
Did I introduce the topic in an engaging and motivating
way? Did I maintain this motivation throughout the
unit?
Did I address the needs of all students?
Was I adequately prepared?
Were there any changes I could make to my teaching
strategy in future (i.e., could I adapt the unit to be
more student-driven)?
Was my assessment fair, useful and appropriate?
2074498

EDUC 4725

14

of future students?

Sophia Bubner

2074498

EDUC 4725

15
References

ACARA. (2014). The Australian Curriculum, accessed at http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/


Croser, J. (1998). Hannah, London, England: Era Publications.
Cameron, S. (2009). Teaching Reading Comprehension Strategies: A Practical Classroom Guide, New Zealand: Pearson.
Cameron, S. (n.d.) Before Reading Worksheet, accessed at
https://readingcomprehensiondownloads.wikispaces.com/Downloads
Duchesne, S., McMaugh, A., Bochner, S. & Krause, K. (2013). Educational Psychology for Learning and Teaching, (4th ed.).
South Melbourne, Vic: Cengage Learning.
Ellis, D. (2002). Parvana, Australia: Allen and Unwin.
Hattie, J. (2012). Flow of the lesson: the place of feedback, in Hattie, J., Visible learning for teachers: maximizing impact on
learning, Routledge, London, pp. 115-137.
Lewis, G. (n.d.). Primary Sources for World War I, accessed at
http://hsc.csu.edu.au/modern_history/core_study/ww1/poetry/page133.htm

Sophia Bubner

2074498