recycling ‘The Journey’

This term our English faculty have decided to teach Area of Study-style units with our Year 10 classes, in preparation for the concepts and style of learning that they will encounter in Stage 6.  While most teachers are using the old HSC units on Change, a couple of us have elected to study The Journey instead…another recycled HSC topic :)

In the spirit of preparing the students for Year 11, I’m reflecting the new, broad AOS topic of Belonging by simply teaching the overall concept of The Journey i.e. not breaking this down into a smaller topic of either Physical, Inner or Imaginative Journeys.

In week 1 I started with an outdoors lesson, where students went ‘on a jounrey’ (to a seated area of the school playground!) to write about a significant jounrey they had taken in their life.  The writing that this yielded was pretty weak, with most student experienceing writer’s block (“Miss, I’ve never been on a significant jounrey”) or writing very basic narratives.  This was to be expected, and I’m looking forward to reflecting with the class at the end of th term on how far they will have come in thinking about and representing journeys in their writing.

Week 2 found us brainstorming ideas about “Why do people go on a journey?”, and in another lesson students worked in rotating groups on the following four questions:

  • List all the places you could go on a journey to
  • List all the people you could go on a journey with
  • List all the ways you could travel on a journey
  • List all the ways a journey might end

At the end of the activity, groups reported back their most interesting or original responses to each category, and posters were made to put up in the room.  I’m hoping these responses will provde some content for future student writing, and that the activity helped to scaffold a way of thinking about a variety or aspects of the journey.

We then moved on to a close study of Frost’s Road Not Taken.  The set text for study in this unit will actually be a set of RTA television ads from the RTA/ETA Stage 6 resource In The Driver’s Seat, but a number of related texts will also be studied, and Frost’s poem is one of these.  So far students have drawn visual representations of the poem (these A4 posters are also now on display in the room), and this week they have been set the task of re-writing the poem as a four-part narrative (mirroring the four stanzas of the poem).

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  1. #1 by darcymoore on August 10, 2008 - 5:20 pm

    I’ve decied to go with the Area of Study: Authority and use the RTA materials distributed by the ETA, along with sections on Web 2.0, satire and the prescribed text of Animal Farm. Couldn’t face Journey or Change again ;O)

  2. #2 by kellimcgraw on August 10, 2008 - 8:17 pm

    Sounds great – I’m going to plan for AOS: Authority with 2009 Year 10, but as this was my first year of doing HSC AOS: The Journey, I didn’t want all my prep work to go to waste! (although the year 10′s *are* getting a fairly watered down version, I have time focus on creative writing with them that I didn’t get with the HSC group)

  3. #3 by Lyntiernan on October 19, 2008 - 6:21 pm

    I’ve used a variation of the trip outside with the journey that works well. We begin at the school gate and kids think about the first time they entered the gate to come to High School and then write about this ‘on the spot’, just notes and impressions etc. Then we move up the walkway and stop at the hall and write about memories of assemblies etc, then we move into the school area and visit some of the year level areas and they write about events and memories. It continues on (you get the idea) ending back at the classroom. Their task is then to write about their ‘journey’ through High school. Usually kids are all fired up to write and produce really entertaining and interesting journey texts from this. it also leads to some really interesting discussions about the whole idea of journeys.

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