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>> Back to SpecEd 2018 – Unit 2 – Under the Big Top

Syllabus outcomes for this unit

Select the subject to show the list of outcomes.

English

EN2-1A: Communicates in a range of informal and formal contexts by adopting a range of roles in group, classroom, school and community contexts.

EN2-2A: Plans, composes and reviews a range of texts that are more demanding in terms of topic, audience and language.

EN2-4A: Uses an increasing range of skills, strategies and knowledge to fluently read, view and comprehend a range of texts on increasingly challenging topics in different media and technologies.

EN2-7B: Identifies and uses language forms and features in their own writing appropriate to a range of purposes, audiences and contexts.

EN2-9B: Uses effective and accurate sentence structure, grammatical features, punctuation conventions and vocabulary relevant to the type of text when responding to and composing texts.

EN2-10C: Thinks imaginatively, creatively and interpretively about information, ideas and texts when responding to and composing texts.

EN2-12E: Recognises and uses an increasing range of strategies to reflect on their own and others’ learning.

Mathematics

MA2-2WM: Selects and uses appropriate mental or written strategies or technology, to solve problems.

MA2-15MG: Manipulates, identifies and sketches two-dimensional shapes, including special quadrilaterals, and describes their features.

Creative arts

VAS2.1: Represents the qualities of experiences and things that are interesting or beautiful by choosing amongst aspects of subject matter.

MUS2.1: sings, plays and moves to a range of music, demonstrating a basic knowledge of musical concepts.

MUS2.4: Identifies the use of musical concepts and musical symbols in a range of repertoire.

DAS2.2: Explores, selects and combines movement using the elements of dance to communicate ideas, feelings or moods.

DAS2.3: Gives personal opinions about the use of elements and meaning in their own and others’ dances.

DRAS2.4: Responds to, and interprets drama experiences and performances.

Science and technology

ST2-5WT: Applies a design process and uses a range of tools, equipment, materials and techniques to produce solutions that address specific design criteria.

ST2-13MW: Identifies the physical properties of natural and processed materials, and how these properties influence their use.

History

HT2-5: Applies skills of historical inquiry and communication.

Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE)

V1: Refers to a sense of their own worth and dignity.

V4: Increasingly accepts responsibility for personal and community health.

V5: Willingly participates in regular physical activity.

GSS2.8: Participates and uses equipment in a variety of games and modified sports.

COS2.1: Uses a variety of ways to communicate with and within groups.

GDS2.9: Describes life changes and associated feelings.

INS2.3: Makes positive contributions in group activities.

MOS2.4: Displays a focus on quality of movement in applying movement skills to a variety of familiar and new situations.

DAS2.7: Performs familiar movement patterns in a variety of dance situations.

Vocabulary words

Teaching and learning activities

Select the activity to display its details.

In order to print out any of the following activities, please select the ‘Print this page’ button at the bottom of this page.

Activity 1 – What is a circus?

Learning intention

Students will share what they already know about the circus.

Success criteria

A colourful drawing reflecting some traditional elements of a circus.

Syllabus outcomes

  • VAS2.1: Represents the qualities of experiences and things that are interesting or beautiful by choosing amongst aspects of subject matter.

Resources

Approximate time

30 minutes

Activity plan

  1. Ask students if anybody has ever been to a circus, heard about it, watched a movie about it or read about it in a book. Discuss what they know.
  2. Show the students a picture of a circus scene (Attachment 1.1) and ask them to describe what they can see. Talk about what they might hear and what they might smell at a circus.
  3. Give the students their A4 exercise books and leave the first page for a later activity.
  4. Listen to Circus Soundscape (YouTube).
  5. Ask students to write down some of the sounds that they can hear. Discuss afterwards and start a word wall.
  6. Give students a colour copy of Attachment 1.2 – a picture of a circus tent with a dotted line down the middle. They are to cut the tent down the middle, and then stick the outside edge of both sides of the tent into their books, so that they can ‘open’ the tent up to see what is inside. Inside the tent, they are to draw the sorts of things that they would expect to see at a circus.

Reflection

Students show their circus picture to a peer and discuss what they are most looking forward to learning about the circus during this unit.

Activity 2 – P. T. Barnum – 'The Greatest Showman'

Learning intention

Students will learn about P. T. Barnum and how he got the reputation as 'The Greatest Showman'.

Success criteria

Students successfully complete comprehension questions about P. T. Barnum and his circus.

Syllabus outcomes

  • EN2-4A: Uses an increasing range of skills, strategies and knowledge to fluently read, view and comprehend a range of texts on increasingly challenging topics in different media and technologies.

Resources

Approximate time

30 minutes

Activity plan

  1. Review some of the thoughts that students had yesterday about the circus, possibly having seen ‘The Greatest Showman’. Explain that you are going to look at the main character of that movie today, the real-life P. T. Barnum. Reflect on the fact that some of what the movie portrayed was accurate, and some was not.
  2. Watch the P. T. Barnum short biography video.
  3. As a class, read P. T. Barnum's biography (Attachment 2.1).
  4. Either as a class, or individually, students work through Attachment 2.2.

Reflection

Students share with a partner, the most interesting thing that they learnt about P. T. Barnum today.

Activity 3 – Barnum’s ‘curiosities and oddities’

Learning intention

Students will learn about some of Barnum’s museum stars and recognise that people are often fearful of things that are different.

Success criteria

Students can recount facts about a person from Barnum’s museum, and empathise with those who appear ‘different’ to the norm.

Syllabus outcomes

  • EN2-4A: Uses an increasing range of skills, strategies and knowledge to fluently read, view and comprehend a range of texts on increasingly challenging topics in different media and technologies.
  • COS2.1: Uses a variety of ways to communicate with and within groups.

Resources

  • Attachment 3.1 – Barnum’s ‘curiosities and oddities’ – fact sheets
  • Attachment 3.2 – Teachers’ background information on ‘freak shows’

Approximate time

30 minutes

Activity plan

  1. Review some key facts about P. T. Barnum from the previous activity, particularly about Barnum's American Museum. Explain that in this activity you will be focusing on the unusual people that starred in the museum.
  2. Play a game, where you call out a characteristic (for example, who has black hair?) and students put their hand up. Use a range of characteristics (glasses, earrings, tall, short, twins). Explain that we are all different sizes, colours, nationalities and all have different abilities. Sometimes people have really noticeable differences, like being very tall or short, missing an arm or a leg, twins who are joined together at birth or people who grow lots of hair on their bodies. These days we recognise that everybody is valued, regardless of how they look, but it wasn’t always that way.
  3. Explain that today, the students will be working in groups of 2–3 to learn more about one of the people, who looked very different and who starred in Barnum’s American Museum. They will be given a fact sheet about their person with images, to read together, as taken from Attachment 3.1. Their job will be to write down four important facts about this person and share this with the rest of the class.
  4. Students work in groups to investigate one of Barnum’s ‘curiosities and oddities’.
  5. Each group presents their findings to the class.

Reflection

In their books, students finish this sentence: 'People who look different deserve to be treated with respect because ...'.

Activity 4 – Different, not disfigured

Learning intention

Students will learn about famous people who have overcome disabilities by focusing on their strengths rather than their limitations.

Success criteria

Students can identify attitudes that lead to a growth mindset in others and themselves.

Syllabus outcomes

  • EN2-12E: Recognises and uses an increasing range of strategies to reflect on their own and others’ learning.
  • V1: Refers to a sense of their own worth and dignity.
  • V4: Increasingly accepts responsibility for personal and community health.

Resources

  • Attachment 4.1 – Jason Acuña – fact sheet

Approximate time

30 minutes

Activity plan

  1. Ask students to remember some of the people who starred in Barnum’s museum or circus because they were ‘different’. Explain that today they will be learning about a person today who is ‘different’, but who has not let that hold them back.
  2. Hand out the fact sheet about Jason Acuña (Attachment 4.1). Ask if anybody recognises him. Read through as a class, focusing on his success, rather than his dwarfism. Explain how to use a Venn diagram. Students are to fill in details about Jason Acuña and Tom Thumb in the Venn diagram, recognising similarities and differences.
  3. Discuss with students what makes Jason’s life different to that experienced by people like him in Barnum’s time. How can we make sure that people who look different are not discriminated against.

Reflection

As an exit pass, students say one positive ‘I am …’ statement about themselves, which positively highlights something that is special about them (for example, ‘I am a fabulous artist!').

Activity 5 – How circus has changed over time

Learning intention

Students will learn about the development of the circus over time, and how to sequence dates on a timeline.

Success criteria

Students will be able to read their ‘fact card’ and organise themselves into a ‘timeline’. Students will be able to correctly organise data images of circuses over time.

Syllabus outcomes

  • EN2-4A: Uses an increasing range of skills, strategies and knowledge to fluently read, view and comprehend a range of texts on increasingly challenging topics in different media and technologies.
  • MA2-2WM: Selects and uses appropriate mental or written strategies, or technology to solve problems.
  • HT2-5: Applies skills of historical inquiry and communication.

Resources

  • Attachment 5.1 – History of circus – fact cards
  • Attachment 5.2 – Historical circus pictures

Approximate time

30 minutes

Activity plan

  1. Give a ‘History of circus fact card’ (Attachment 5.1) to every student. They read their fact card to themselves, checking for understanding with the teacher, if necessary.
  2. Students are to arrange themselves (and/or their cards), in chronological order. You may choose to have the students stand in order, holding their cards, or put their cards in order on a wall. Try not to interfere in the process, so that they can work out strategies for ordering chronologically.
  3. Students read their cards in chronological order.
  4. Introduce the ‘Historical circus pictures’ (Attachment 5.2) one by one, without saying the date of the picture (teacher to write this on the back of the cards). Students determine where on the chronological timeline the picture should go. Question how they came to that conclusion.
  5. Reveal whether they put the pictures in the correct places.

Reflection

Discuss some of the elements of the circus that don’t seem to have changed over time.

Activity 6 – Circus skills – juggling

Learning intention

Students will learn the basic skills of juggling.

Success criteria

Students will be able to juggle two scarves (or balls), on their own or in a pair.

Syllabus outcomes

  • GSS2.8: Participates and uses equipment in a variety of games and modified sports.
  • INS2.3: Makes positive contributions in group activities.
  • MOS2.4: Displays a focus on quality of movement in applying movement skills to a variety of familiar and new situations.

Resources

Approximate time

30 minutes

Activity plan

  1. Ask the students if they have ever seen somebody juggle? Discuss what sort of things jugglers use. Have they ever seen a scarf juggler? Show the video: Comedy scarf juggling (YouTube).
  2. Explain that the students are going to have a go at scarf juggling themselves. Hand out one scarf per student. Form a standing circle.
  3. Start by simply tossing the scarf from one hand to the other. Now try holding the scarf by the end, pulling it into the air and letting go. Grab it to catch it. Try throwing it into the air and clapping before you catch it. How many times can you clap before you catch it? Put one hand behind your back and throw and catch with one hand.
  4. Throw the scarf up and see if you can catch it on your head, your foot, your elbow?
  5. Throw the scarf to the next person in the circle and catch the scarf thrown to you.
  6. Rainbow throw: hold both of your arms/hands at waist height, with the scarf in one hand. Throw it up so it flies over to your other hand in a ‘rainbow’ shape. Throw it back to your other hand in the same shape.
  7. Add a second scarf and try throwing them both up and catching in the opposite hand. Try the rainbow throw with two scarves.
  8. Facing a partner, throw your two scarves to each other, catch and repeat.
  9. Add a third scarf. You must start throwing with the hand holding two scarves.
  10. You could then try similar activities with rolled up balls of paper for juggling balls.

Reflection

Discuss what was most difficult about juggling. Is anybody keen to practise juggling more in the playground at lunchtime? How could you make this activity available for students to practise?

Activity 7 – Animals in the circus

Learning intention

Students will listen to and verbalise both sides of the argument for and against animals in circuses.

Success criteria

Students will share at least one well-constructed opinion about animals in circuses.

Syllabus outcomes

  • EN2-1A: Communicates in a range of informal and formal contexts by adopting a range of roles in group, classroom, school and community contexts.

Resources

Approximate time

30 minutes

Activity plan

  1. Ask the students what sort of animals have been used in the circus. Discuss whether we still see all of these animals in the circus. Why not?
  2. Explain that in this activity, students are going to consider both sides of the argument: Should animals be used in circuses?
  3. Watch the BTN story Circus Animals.
  4. Have a space where students can move around the room. Place two signs (agree and disagree) on opposite sides of the room. Ask the students to stand in the middle of the room. Tell them that you are going to give an argument on the topic. If they agree with you, they are to move to the agree side of the room. If they disagree, they move the other way. Students may wish to stay in the middle of the room if they are undecided, or move just a little either way if they aren’t convinced.
  5. Assure students that there is not a right or wrong answer in this activity.
  6. Students take turns to give an argument for or against the topic. It must be a well thought out argument, with evidence or elaboration.
  7. After each argument, other students can change their position in the room, depending on how convinced they were.
  8. Once everybody has had at least one turn of giving an argument, students are to choose their final standing place: agree, disagree or somewhere in between.
  9. Students return to their desk and write a sentence, explaining why they chose to stand in their final standing place.

Reflection

Students share their response with a learning partner.

Activity 8 – Cirque du Soleil

Learning intention

Students will learn about the history of Cirque du Soleil and what makes it different from a traditional circus.

Success criteria

Students successfully complete comprehension questions about Cirque du Soleil.

Syllabus outcomes

  • EN2-4A: Uses an increasing range of skills, strategies and knowledge to fluently read, view and comprehend a range of texts on increasingly challenging topics in different media and technologies.

Resources

  • Attachment 8.1 – Cirque du Soleil – fact sheet
  • Attachment 8.2 – Cirque du Soleil – comprehension questions
  • Cirque du Soleil website

Approximate time

30 minutes

Activity plan

  1. Ask whether any of the students have ever seen a performance by Cirque du Soleil. Explain that in this activity, students will read about and see a circus that still follows some of the traditions of the circus movement, but has completely changed the circus in many ways.
  2. Choose one of the Cirque du Soleil shows on their website and click ‘Watch video’ for a preview of the show. Let students discuss what they saw and what was familiar and different from regular circuses.
  3. As a class, read the fact sheet about Cirque du Soleil (Attachment 8.1).
  4. Either as a class, or individually, students are to work their way through Attachment 8.2.

Reflection

Class discussion: Do you think that P. T. Barnum would have enjoyed going to watch a performance of Cirque du Soleil if he was still alive? Why or why not?

Activity 9 – 'Hypnotique' – music in Cirque du Soleil

Learning intention

Students will learn about the use of music in Cirque du Soleil and analyse a piece of music called 'Hypnotique'.

Success criteria

Students can identify at least five instruments in the piece of music.

Syllabus outcomes

  • MUS2.1: Sings, plays and moves to a range of music, demonstrating a basic knowledge of musical concepts.
  • MUS2.4: Identifies the use of musical concepts and musical symbols in a range of repertoire.

Resources

Approximate time

30 minutes

Activity plan

  1. Review what was learnt about Cirque du Soleil in the last activity. What sort of a show is it? Explain that in this activity, they will be listening to and analysing a particular piece of music from a Cirque du Soleil show.
  2. Read through the first part of the musical analysis sheet together (Attachment 9.1). Explain that whilst they are listening to the piece, they are going to be listening for instruments that they can hear. Brainstorm some musical instruments that you might hear in an orchestra.
  3. Play the first three minutes of Kurios – Hypnotique (YouTube).
  4. Pause the song at this point. Listen to some suggestions of instruments that people had heard. Add others that they might have missed.
  5. Discuss the question at the bottom of the page. ‘How does this piece of music make you feel? Verbalise how it makes you feel, as an example’. Take some suggestions. Students write their response.
  6. Whilst playing the rest of the piece, students remain sitting at their desks, and use just their heads and arms to respond to the music in a dramatic way. How does the music make them want to move their arms, heads, necks? Stop and discuss at interesting points. Discuss things such as tempo and dynamics.

Reflection

Class discussion: How would this piece of music have been different if there were words? Would that work as well for the circus performance? Why or why not?

Activity 10 – Circus skills – hula hooping

Learning intention

Students will learn the basic skills of hula hooping.

Success criteria

Students can keep a hula hoop spinning around their waist and/or feet, arm or neck for at least 20 seconds.

Syllabus outcomes

  • GSS2.8: Participates and uses equipment in a variety of games and modified sports.
  • MOS2.4: Displays a focus on quality of movement in applying movement skills to a variety of familiar and new situations.
  • V5: Willingly participates in regular physical activity.

Resources

Approximate time

30 minutes

Activity plan

  1. Ask what sort of tricks can be done with hula hoops. Discuss the range of things that can be done. Where do you see hula hoopers? Are they part of the circus?
  2. Show the Groove (YouTube) clip of a fabulous hula hoop routine. Discuss some of the skills.
  3. Talk about management before handing out hoops. Make sure students know that when the music is off, they should drop their hoops and sit down inside of them without touching them. Hand out one hoop per student.
  4. Start with the hoop around your waist. Count to three and spin the hoop, whilst moving the body back and forwards (not side to side).
  5. Try the hoop around the neck. Start the hoop on the back of the neck and bob the head like a chicken whilst trying to keep it spinning. Start slow and give plenty of room.
  6. Arm hooping: hold the arm out straight and spin the hoop around the wrist. Keep the muscles tight and make small circles. Extension – try switching arms whilst keeping the hoop spinning.
  7. In between each challenge, highlight different students who have been successful in that task, or who have made improvements.

Reflection

Put on some music and let the students hula hoop in their chosen style to the music.

Activity 11 – Persuasive text – Circuses are better today – ASSESSMENT

Learning intention

Students will learn how to write a persuasive text, with supporting evidence.

Success criteria

Students will write a persuasive text, with 3 supporting arguments

Syllabus outcomes

  • EN2-2A: Plans, composes and reviews a range of texts that are more demanding in terms of topic, audience and language.
  • EN2-7B: Identifies and uses language forms and features in their own writing appropriate to a range of purposes, audiences and contexts.

Resources

  • Attachment 11.1 – Persuasive writing – proforma
  • Attachment 11.2 – Persuasive writing – marking rubric

Approximate time

60 minutes

Activity plan

  1. Do a quick survey of whether students prefer a modern circus or a traditional circus.
  2. Brainstorm as a class on the board – things that are better about modern circuses and things that are better about traditional circuses.
  3. Explain that today they are going to write a persuasive text about the topic: ‘Circuses are better today’.
  4. Review what is needed for a persuasive text. Use Attachment 11.1 to explain the expected structure. Point out that they already have a lot of information in their books and on the board to help with ideas and evidence.
  5. Look at Attachment 11.2 to point out what is needed for a good mark.
  6. Ensure that all students understand what is expected of them and that they can look back through their book for ideas and evidence.
  7. Give students 30 minutes to independently write their persuasive text.

Reflection

Students who wish to share their favourite sentence in the persuasive text should do so with the class.

Activity 12 – Hall of mirrors

Learning intention

Students will learn what a 'hall of mirrors' is and how mirrors work.

Success criteria

Students will know that we can see objects in mirrors because of reflected light. Students will know that light travels in straight lines.

Syllabus outcomes

  • ST2-13MW: Identifies the physical properties of natural and processed materials, and how these properties influence their use.

Resources

  • Attachment 12.1 – Hall of mirrors – fact sheet
  • Attachment 12.2 – How mirrors work

Approximate time

30 minutes

Activity plan

  1. Have a discussion about whether anybody has ever been in a ‘hall of mirrors’ or ‘house of mirrors’. What was it like? How did it make you feel?
  2. Read through Attachment 12.1 and answer the questions at the bottom of the page.
  3. Read through Attachment 12.2, discussing concepts as they come up.
  4. Talk about other flat surfaces that can produce a mirror image (for example, still bodies of water, windows)

Reflection

Predict forwards: What do you think has to happen to a mirror, so that we don’t get a mirror image? We will talk about it in the next activity.

Activity 13 – Concave and convex mirrors

Learning intention

Students will learn what concave and convex mirrors do.

Success criteria

Students will know the difference between concave and convex mirrors and the effects that they have on reflection.

Syllabus outcomes

  • ST2-13MW: Identifies the physical properties of natural and processed materials, and how these properties influence their use.

Resources

Approximate time

30 minutes

Activity plan

  1. Have a discussion about whether anybody has ever seen their reflection in a ‘funny’ mirror. Did you look smaller or taller, larger or thinner? Have you ever seen your reflection upside down? This is all created with concave and convex mirrors.
  2. Demonstrate the difference between the two mirrors and a plain mirror, using the teacher information page (Attachment 13.1) and models explained there.
  3. Have students draw a diagram of a concave mirror (with a bulge inwards – like going into a cave) and of a convex mirror (with a bulge going outwards).
  4. Discuss when could it be useful to be able to see something bigger than it really is? Watch: Concave mirror - Why is your reflection upside down on a spoon? (YouTube).
  5. When might it be useful to see images smaller than they really are? Watch: Why is a convex mirror used as a rear view mirror? (YouTube).
  6. Using the metal spoons, students investigate which side of the spoon acts as a concave mirror and which side as a convex mirror. What effect does that have on their reflection in the spoon?

Reflection

Discuss the fact that even though we use concave and convex mirrors for fun in a hall of mirrors, they have actually been created for real-world purposes.

Activity 14 – Reflecting on a mirror line

Learning intention

Students will learn how to reflect a shape on a diagonal line.

Success criteria

Students successfully reflect various shapes on a diagonal line.

Syllabus outcomes

  • MA2-2WM: Selects and uses appropriate mental or written strategies, or technology, to solve problems.
  • MA2-15MG: Manipulates, identifies and sketches two-dimensional shapes, including special quadrilaterals, and describes their features.

Resources

  • Attachment 14.1 – Reflecting on a mirror line – worksheet
  • Grid paper

Approximate time

30 minutes

Activity plan

  1. Reflect on what the students learnt about mirrors, especially that they reflect the image. Explain that today they will be drawing a mirror image of some shapes.
  2. Discuss how shapes can be translated, reflected, rotated or enlarged. Demonstrate on the board how to reflect a shape with a vertical and horizontal line.
  3. Discuss how this is different with a diagonal line. Demonstrate how to reflect a shape on a diagonal line. Emphasise placing dots to mark the position of the vertices for proper alignment.
  4. Hand out Attachment 14.1 and discuss the shapes that are used in the examples (pentagon, quadrilateral, and so on). Review as necessary.
  5. Do the first question together as a class. Students then work their way through the sheet.
  6. If there is time, students could draw their own diagonal line and shape on grid paper and swap with a friend to reflect a mirror image.

Reflection

Discuss what was difficult or easy about that activity. Does it help to mark the position of the vertices? What shapes were easier to reflect?

Activity 15 – Making a kaleidoscope

Learning intention

Students will learn how to make a kaleidoscope.

Success criteria

Students successfully follow instructions to create a kaleidoscope.

Syllabus outcomes

  • ST2-5WT: Applies a design process and uses a range of tools, equipment, materials and techniques to produce solutions that address specific design criteria.

Resources

  • Attachment 15.1 – Build a kaleidoscope – instructions
  • Permanent markers, tape, clear plastic sheet, mirror board, toothpicks, scissors, rulers.

Approximate time

30 minutes

Activity plan

  1. Reflect on what students have already learnt about mirrors (flat surface, reflect light without refraction, can be concave or convex).
  2. Explain that today they are going to use some mirror board to make a kaleidoscope.
  3. Discuss whether students have seen or used a kaleidoscope before.
  4. Hand out Attachment 15.1 and read through together as a class. Clarify any vocabulary that is unclear.
  5. Students work individually to create the kaleidoscope.
  6. Test the kaleidoscopes.
  7. Discuss the meaning of the word kaleidoscope. It comes from Greek words, meaning ‘beautiful form to see’.

Reflection

Ask the students if they could spend more time making a kaleidoscope, how would they make it even more beautiful. How would they improve their design?

Activity 16 – Mirror, mirror

Learning intention

Students will appreciate that there is more to a person than what you see on the outside.

Success criteria

Students can express something that is special about them, which others can’t necessarily see. Students work cooperatively in groups.

Syllabus outcomes

  • GDS2.9: Describes life changes and associated feelings.
  • INS2.3: Makes positive contributions in group activities.
  • V1: Refers to a sense of their own worth and dignity.

Resources

  • Attachment 16.1 – Mirror, mirror – worksheet
  • One or two hand mirrors

Approximate time

30 minutes

Activity plan

  1. Discuss what the students have learnt about mirrors over the past few lessons. Do mirrors reflect back an exact image? Can they show everything?
  2. Have the children stand in one large circle and pass around a hand mirror (or two). Ask the students what they can see as the mirror goes around.
  3. Point out that mirrors reflect that people look different in special ways (for example, hair colour, eyes, skin, facial features) but that mirrors do not show what people think and feel, which is also very important.
  4. Hand out Attachment 16.1. Ask the students to complete it individually. Once it is completed, ask the students to divide into groups of three or four and discuss the different answers they came up with.
  5. Once complete, have all groups come back together in a circle. Select a spokesperson from each group to talk about some of the important points that their group came up with.

Reflection

Ask each student to think of one thing about themselves (on the inside), that they wished other people could see (for example, I am kind, I care about animals.)

Activity 17 – Media distorts reality too!

Learning intention

Students will recognise that there are many types of beauty and not all that you see is real.

Success criteria

Students can recognise that they don’t have to live up to images of beauty portrayed online or in the media.

Syllabus outcomes

  • GDS2.9: Describes life changes and associated feelings.
  • V4: Increasingly accepts responsibility for personal and community health.
  • V1: Refers to a sense of their own worth and dignity.

Resources

Approximate time

45 minutes

Activity plan

  1. Reflect on the activity when students learnt about the ‘hall of mirrors’. Depending on the shape of the mirror (concave or convex), people could look smaller, taller or thinner. Explain that in this activity, they will be seeing how the media use similar tools to change the way that people look. With the rise of filters and social media, individual people are now altering how they look online too.
  2. Hand out Attachment 17.1 and read through with the class. Discuss their reactions to the information. Did they know that those images aren’t always real?
  3. Explain that you will now show a short video that demonstrates how images are created for advertising. Watch the YouTube video Dove evolution. Discuss.
  4. In 2016, Meghan Trainor became angry when she found out that images of her were altered in her film clip. Watch the BTN story Photoshopped music and discuss with the class.
  5. Discuss the fact that it isn’t just celebrities who alter their images. Lots of people take selfies and add filters for fun, but why do we post photos of ourselves that make us look different to what we are really like? Watch the BTN story Social media anxiety about distorted images on social media and discuss.

Reflection

Make a pledge with the class, to always question what they see and to recognise that beauty exists in all sorts of shapes and sizes.

Activity 18 – I am more than what you see

Learning intention

Students will metaphorically represent their values and feelings.

Success criteria

Students can draw images that represent who they are on the inside.

Syllabus outcomes

  • VAS2.1: Represents the qualities of experiences and things that are interesting or beautiful by choosing among aspects of subject matter
  • V1: Refers to a sense of their own worth and dignity.

Resources

  • Attachment 18.1 – I am more than what you see – activity
  • Attachment 18.2 – I am more than what you see – examples
  • A3 paper

Approximate time

90 minutes

Activity plan

  1. Reflect on the previous activity and how people are more than just what they appear on the outside. Explain that today, the students are going to create an artwork that reflects both what people see on the outside, and what they can’t see on the inside.
  2. Hand out Attachment 18.1. Students are to write answers to the following questions, all around the page:
    • What are some words that describe you?
    • What are you really passionate about?
    • What things in life do you think are the most important?
    • What do you think is different and special about you?
    • What are you really good at?
    • What do you have trouble with?
    • When do you feel most happy?
  3. Explain that students are going to use these answers to help draw an image of themselves, both inside and outside.
  4. Show the students some of the sample pictures in Attachment 18.2. On A3 paper, they are to draw a portrait of their head and face, but only half of the portrait should have facial features and hair. The other half is to be a compilation of all of the things that make them who they are on the inside.
  5. Give students plenty of time to create their artworks, and display them around the room.

Reflection

Students can walk around the room and look at everybody’s portrait, noting interesting things that they never knew about their peers.

Activity 19 – Contemporary dance

Learning intention

Students will learn about the dance style of contemporary dance and how it is used to convey emotions.

Success criteria

Students can identify the key elements of contemporary dance.

Syllabus outcomes

  • DAS2.3: Gives personal opinions about the use of elements and meaning in their own and others’ dances.

Resources

Approximate time

30 minutes

Activity plan

  1. Reflect on yesterday’s activity, and how drawing is one way to express your emotions. Dance is another way to do it. Discuss what kinds of dancing students know about.
  2. Explain that in this activity, you will be focusing on a style of dance called contemporary dance. It looks different to the style of dancing you would see at a disco. The main aim of this style of dance is to convey meaning and emotions.
  3. Hand out Attachment 19.1 and read through with the class. Pay particular attention to the key features of contemporary dance.
  4. Show the students the video, Land of All – contemporary dance – MN Dance Company (YouTube). Whilst watching, note examples of the key features of contemporary dance (bare feet, falls, use of gravity, balances, fluid movements, expressing emotions).
  5. Read the question at the bottom of the worksheet and assist students to answer individually.
  6. Explain that in the next activity, students will be working in groups to devise their own short contemporary dance routine to a piece of music.

Reflection

Did anybody pick up on any messages, themes or emotions in the dance? What role did the music play in helping with this?

Activity 20 – Contemporary dance composition – 'Sweet Dreams' – ASSESSMENT

Learning intention

Students will choreograph and perform a short contemporary dance routine, using some of the key features of contemporary dance.

Success criteria

Students work in a group to choreograph and perform a 1–2 minute dance sequence using at least three contemporary dance features.

Syllabus outcomes

  • DAS2.2: Explores, selects and combines movement using the elements of dance to communicate ideas, feelings or moods.
  • MOS2.4: Displays a focus on quality of movement in applying movement skills to a variety of familiar and new situations.
  • DAS2.7: Performs familiar movement patterns in a variety of dance situations

Resources

Approximate time

60 minutes

Activity plan

  1. Review the key features of contemporary dance from the previous activity – bare feet, expresses emotions, fluid movements, falls, use of gravity, leans, balances.
  2. Explain that in this activity, the students will be listening to a piece of music and choreographing their own short dance sequence to try to convey a feeling of confusion. They have to use at least one balance, one fall, one lean and fluid movements throughout their sequence. It must go for at least one minute.
  3. Listen to the music together first. Discuss what the students notice about it; how does it make them feel? Is there an element of confusion in it?
  4. Some students may feel comfortable to demonstrate dance movements that they could do to reflect the music in some parts.
  5. Hand out Attachment 20.1 and explain how to achieve marks in this assessment.
  6. Split into groups of 3 to 4 and give each group a copy of the song. Groups have 30 minutes to choreograph their dance. Roam the space to supervise the groups.
  7. Get the groups back together to perform their dance routines. At the end of each performance, ask those assembled to volunteer their favourite part of the dance and which elements of contemporary dance they saw. How did the group represent confusion in their dance?

Reflection

How did you feel doing the dance? Is it a style of dance that you would be interested in pursuing? Why or why not?

Activity 21 – Metaphors in poetry

Learning intention

Students will learn what a metaphor is and be able to identify and create them.

Success criteria

Students identify the meaning of three metaphors and write one of their own.

Syllabus outcomes

  • EN2-9B: Uses effective and accurate sentence structure, grammatical features, punctuation conventions and vocabulary relevant to the type of text when responding to and composing texts.

Resources

  • Attachment 21.1 – What is a metaphor?

Approximate time

30 minutes

Activity plan

  1. Reflect on the way that the students represented the idea of confusion during the last activity, using dance. Explain, that in English, we can also represent ideas in a creative way, using words. This activity is going to focus on how to create a picture in somebody’s mind, using a literary device known as a metaphor.
  2. Hand out Attachment 21.1 and read through with the class, stopping to discuss key points.
  3. When you get to the five example metaphors towards the bottom of the page, discuss what the students think those metaphors mean.
  4. Assist students to come up with metaphors of their own for the question at the bottom of the worksheet.
  5. If there is time, put some examples of similes and metaphors on the board and see if students can tell the difference.

Reflection

Why would writers use metaphors?

Activity 22 – Poetry analysis – 'Once Upon a December'

Learning intention

Students will identify metaphors in a poem and interpret their meaning.

Success criteria

Students correctly identify the metaphors in the poem.

Syllabus outcomes

  • EN2-10C: Thinks imaginatively, creatively and interpretively about information, ideas and texts when responding to and composing texts

Resources

Approximate time

30 minutes

Activity plan

  1. Revise the previous activity on metaphors. What are they? Why do writers use them?
  2. Introduce the idea that songs are just poems that are set to music. Songwriters use metaphors as well. In this activity you are going to be listening to a song called ‘Once Upon a December’. It is from the musical Anastasia (1997). It was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for the Best Original Song. It is used three times during the movie, and was also recorded as a pop song by Deanna Carter and featured on the movie’s soundtrack. The song was written by Lyn Ahrens, David Newman and Stephen Flaherty.
  3. Listen to the song Once Upon a December – Anastasia original Broadway cast recording (YouTube) as a class.
  4. Discussion: What is this song about? How do you know?
  5. Hand out Attachment 22.1. Read through as a poem. Can anybody spot the metaphors? What is the purpose of the metaphor in the lyrics?
  6. Watch the Anastasia – Once Upon a December lyrics (YouTube) video from the original movie. Do the images from the movie support the class conclusion about the meaning of the lyrics?

Reflection

Once you watch a movie, you already have the picture in your mind, given to you by the filmmakers. When you read a book or poem first, you picture it yourself. Which do you prefer?

Activity 23 – Poetry analysis – 'This is Me'

Learning intention

Students will identify metaphors in a poem and interpret their meaning.

Success criteria

Students correctly identify the metaphors in the poem.

Syllabus outcomes

  • EN2-10C: Thinks imaginatively, creatively and interpretively about information, ideas and texts when responding to and composing texts.

Resources

Approximate time

30 minutes

Activity plan

  1. Review what a metaphor is and why songwriters use them. Explain that you are going to analyse one more song for metaphors in this activity. This song is closely tied to the circus theme that you have been looking at throughout the unit. Don’t tell students what the song is yet.
  2. Play The Greatest Showman Cast - This Is Me (Lyric video) (YouTube) but without any image on the board.
  3. Ask students to respond to the song and write their responses in a brainstorm on the board – emotions, thoughts, description, ideas. Reflect on the fact that ‘This is Me’ is a fight song for people who are not accepted by society. The bearded lady refuses to be cut down by society any more.
  4. Hand out Attachment 23.1. Ask students to work in pairs to go through and highlight any metaphors that they can find in the song.
  5. Discuss the metaphors that the students have found and what they think they mean.
  6. If these metaphors have not come up in the discussion, point them out and discuss:
    • What does she mean by ‘send a flood’? (She wants to get rid of the judgements and negativity.)
    • Why has she used the word bruised, when in the first verse she uses scars? (She has had a change in attitude. At first, she thinks they are permanent scars. Bruises are only temporary though.)
    • Are the bullets really hitting her skin? What is she saying (The bullets are people’s words and judgements. Bullets are hurtful and serious.)

Reflection

Watch the film clip again, this time singing along and dancing if they would like to.

Activity 24 – 'I am ...' poem – ASSESSMENT

Learning intention

Students will write a poem, reflecting their inner worth, containing at least three metaphors.

Success criteria

Students include three metaphors in a 15 line poem about themselves.

Syllabus outcomes

  • EN2-7B: Identifies and uses language forms and features in their own writing appropriate to a range of purposes, audiences and contexts
  • EN2-9B: Uses effective and accurate sentence structure, grammatical features, punctuation conventions and vocabulary relevant to the type of text when responding to and composing texts
  • EN2-10C: Thinks imaginatively, creatively and interpretively about information, ideas and texts when responding to and composing texts

Resources

  • Attachment 24.1 – ‘I am ...’ – poem prompt
  • Attachment 24.2 – ‘I am ...’ – poem rubric
  • Hand mirrors

Approximate time

60 minutes

Activity plan

  1. Reflect on the unit so far, and the focus on accepting people for who they are and recognising that there is more than you see in the mirror.
  2. Explain that today, the students are going to write their own short poem, all about themselves. It will be called ‘I am ...’. In this poem, they are going to be listing things about themselves that define who they are. There will be three stanzas, each one finishing with a metaphor.
  3. Demonstrate to the students how to do this poem, by writing one about yourself on the board (for example, I am a teacher, I am a proud mother, I am a netball player, I am an animal lover, I am a sparkling diamond – note that the last line of each stanza needs to be a metaphor).
  4. Hand out Attachment 24.1 and Attachment 24.2. Read through the rubric, to show students what they need to do.
  5. Students work independently to write their ‘I am … ‘ poem. They might need you to point out some of their special qualities at times. They could also ask a friend.
  6. Once students have written their draft copies, they can do a published copy, with illustrations or a border.
  7. Once all students have finished, pair the students up. Give a hand mirror to each pair. Have one partner be the listener and hold up the mirror, so that the partner who is reading can see themselves in it. When you say to begin, have all of the readers read their poems out loud while looking directly at themselves in the mirror. When everyone is finished, have them read their poem again, this time looking directly at their partner, not at themselves in the mirror. Remind the participants who are listening that it is okay to look into someone’s eyes; it shows that you are interested in what they are saying, even if it feels a little uncomfortable. Be conscious of any students who have a cultural or personal aversion to maintaining eye contact.
  8. Swap over and repeat the activity.
  9. When all participants have read their poems aloud, collect the mirrors.

Reflection

Discuss how it felt to read their poems while looking at themselves in the mirror and how it felt to read them while looking at a partner.

Activity 25 – Schools Spectacular, here we come!

Learning intention

Students will understand what Schools Spectacular is and know what to watch for in the circus segment.

Approximate time

15 minutes

Resources

Activity plan

  1. Ask if any students have attended a previous Schools Spectacular. Are there any that haven’t been before? Those who have attended can tell the class what it is all about.
  2. Watch the Schools Spectacular promotional video and discuss with students what they think.
  3. Explain that there will be a segment in the show, early on, that reflects all that they have been learning about in this unit. There will be a young boy, Max, who takes a trip to the circus and has trouble working out what is real and what isn’t.
  4. Explain that you want them to pay particular attention to Max’s journey because, when you come back to class after the show, you will be doing one last activity in this unit about Max and his story.

Activity 26 – Schools Spectacular – The Greatest!

Learning intention

Students will respond to what they saw at Schools Spectacular and what they understood about Max’s journey during the circus segment.

Resources

Approximate time

30 minutes

Activity plan

  1. Discuss as a class, their favourite things about Schools Spectacular 2018. Would they go again? Would they try out to be a part of the show in 2019?
  2. Focus on the circus segment. What happened during this part of the show? Did the students recognise any of the songs from their unit of work?
  3. Discuss what was happening for Max during this segment? How were the performers able to tell his story? Students are to work in pairs to fill in the response sheet on Attachment 26.1.
  4. Share the answers with the class.

Reflection

Ask students what their favourite part of this unit has been.

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