Saturday, 30 July 2016

Suri's Wall: Teaching Ideas

Book Week 2016: Suri's Wall

Book Week 2016

Suri's Wall by Lucy Estela is shortlisted by CBCA for the Picture Book of the Year.

This is the story about Suri who appears to have fled her home and is now in a place where there is a large wall. As Suri is taller than other girls her age a time comes when she can see over the wall at what is there. Rather than telling the other children the truth she makes up a beautiful fantasy world of what she imagines it could be like.

Now onto some ideas for locating teaching notes, resources and lesson ideas!

Teaching Notes

Scholastic has a free PDF with basic teaching notes and questions to use in the classroom. Click HERE to download from their website.

Author Lucy Estella has information about her inspiration and writing process about Suri's Wall on her official website. Click HERE to view.

Photograph from her official website (left).

Illustrator Matt Ottley has an official website - nothing that I could find about the process of illustration for this book but still worth a look at who he is. Click HERE to view.

PaperToys has a free downloaded wall. Granted it is the Great Wall of China but it comes with a base (which you can easily substitute for some plain A4 card) and have each student build the model. I recommend photocopying the model pieces onto 125gsm paper (lightweight card) or cartridge paper)I recommend having PVA glue as the standard gluesticks students have don't do half as good a job at holding the paper together.

* A4 card or cartridge paper (3 sheets p/student) or A3 card or cartridge paper (3 sheets p/group of students) 
* PVA glue
* Scissors
* pipe cleaners (optional but they are easy to shape into a person to have them "looking over the wall"
* Craft materials (such as cardboard, crepe paper, tissue paper etc)

I recommend doing this over more than one lesson to allow each section to dry.
L1 Construct wall
L2 Construct the "image" on one side of the wall and a person 
L3 Literacy: Descriptive or narrative passage

The first two lessons as straightforward - for the literacy I recommend focusing on the creative aspect of the art the students construct on the "other side of the wall". I personally would allow students to choose whether they would like to...
* write a detailed description of their "world"
* write a narrative piece in first-person describing to their audience what the "world" looks like

L3/4 Photography
To a multimedia angle to the the project have students photograph their creation from three different angles:
* Bird's eye view
* Down low looking up
* Peering over the wall

These photographs could either be included with the written work or used in a display in the classroom or library.

Brick Background with words
I would use these to have students...
* describe the story using keywords (one word p/brick)
* describe Suri using keywords* opposing viewpoints: have students describe how walls bring people together or separate them (I would have 2 brick pieces per/student so they could be back-back displayed on a window)

If you are looking to do the opposing views I highly recommend getting a copy of Talking Walls by Margie Burns Knight to use as a companion book.

In addition, you can download a free PowerPoint by Katacha Diaz on Slideshare

Information Reports
A good geography/history tie in is to look at famous walls from history - such as the Great Wall of China and Hadrian's Wall. Heritage Daily has a great article with photographs showing 10 well known walls from different parts of the world and eras.

Perspective Writing
I know, I've mentioned this idea before but it is such a good activity! Have students write or draw about the perspective of Suri or one of the children she is telling her description to - ideally I would have students write a brief description on one eye and then draw the picture on the other - make a great side-by-side comparison. The example to the left is from Kristine Nannini @ Young Teacher Love

Australian Perspective
As the author mentioned the detention centres here I feel it is important to tie this story in with something the students have heard about and that ultimately may impact on them - such as by refugees being settled in their town. It is important that when you teach this area you give a balanced view. You can't simply say that "all refugees are evil/bad/should be returned home" but you also can't say that "all refugees are good/honest/welcomed". The reason behind these comments is simple: We are not there to tell students what is correct; we are there to give students the facts, look at both sides of an issue and allow them to make their own decision (whether or not we agree).

The Australian Government: Department of Immigration and Border Protection has some information regarding the detention centres in Australia that you can use as a starting point to plot out on a map where they are and the type of centres.

The Australia Bureau of Statistics has data (though is is 6 years old) about which countries people come from to try and settle in Australia for Humanitarian reasons.

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre likewise has data that is both local and worldwide - a good source for data tables and graphing for mathematical lessons. Another plus is that their data is current to 2016.

Racism No Way  has a fact sheet with definitions of an asylum seeker, refugee, migrant, and illegial immigrant. This is a good starting point for prior knowledge in this area as I think that even many teachers would struggle to define each one as they are usually "bunched together" in overarching terms.

Click on the board cover to the left and Follow my Pinterest board for links, ideas and more for Book Week 2016

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