Connecting to prior knowledge

Information for the teacher

Football in the Northern Territory has important cultural significance for Aboriginal people. Understanding this will assist you in allocating the appropriate emphasis on it’s cultural base. The local Darwin football history, especially those with close proximity to the Tiwi Islands, is important. 

Before reading

Show students the cover of the book and read the title, Going to the Footy. Ask students to make a prediction about what the book might be about. Invite students to share their predictions and record these in a sketch book, on butcher’s paper or on an interactive whiteboard. Continue this conversation by asking students some questions. These could include the following:

  • What do you notice on the front of the book?
  • What is footy?
  • What are the pictures and why might they be on the front cover?

Conclude by showing the back cover and reading the text.

Read Going to the Footy pausing on each page so students can take in the words and illustrations.

After reading

Revisit predictions with the students after reading the book. Ask:

  • did we learn any new information from reading the book?
  • is there anything you would still like to know in order to fully understand the text?

Discuss other features of the book that can be used to further inform readers. These could include the blurb, back matter, dedication page and the section of the book referred to as ‘About the artist’. Listen to Debbie Coombes speaking about footy, culture and her art. Read each of these sections and work with the children to determine if it is new and useful information to help make sense of the book. Return to the sketch book to record any new information. This could include:

  • the setting of the book
  • football plays a big part in Tiwi life
  • types of transport are needed to get to the football

(ACELY1650)   (ENe-4A)   (ACELT1575)   (ENe-7B)

Show students a map and locate Melville Island and Bathurst Island. Revisit the information recorded in the sketch book and discuss that Debbie Coombes, author and artist of the book, grew up on Melville Island and experienced a Tiwi lifestyle.

Discuss that different Indigenous groups have a different artistic style. Turn to the page with the bus. Ask the students to describe the artist’s technique. It uses a lot of lines and is called crosshatching. Crosshatching is common to Indigenous groups in the Northern Territory. The Indigenous artist uses a reed to make a very fine painting brush. For more information about different styles of Indigenous art, visit Artlandish.

Prior to the lesson, create a slideshow or photo display using the links that can be found in the More Resources tab located a the bottom of this page. As a class, browse and discuss the images of footy on Tiwi, and have students draw a picture representing their new learning and understandings. Support students to annotate their drawing and display these in the classroom environment.

Strategic Immersion

Collect photographs of special events both locally and those that occur on Tiwi. Special events could include:

  • Footy on Tiwi
  • School assembly
  • Learning journey at school
  • ANZAC day
  • Parties
  • Anniversary
  • Earth hour
  • Clean Up Australia Day

Use these photographs to create a display in your environment for students to refer to.
(ACELT1575)   (ENe-7B)


Exploring the text in context of our community, school and ‘me’

Read Going to the Footy to the students again, making connections to the new information, particularly on the significance of footy for the Tiwi community. There are suggestions of videos in the More Resources tab to show students what it is really like to travel there and to see the feelings and the passion for the culture.

Go on a gallery walk of the photographs. Prompt students to look at these carefully, keeping an eye on the similarities between them. As a class, discuss these similarities and record them using the sketch book. Frame your discussion around themes. Themes to explore could include:

  • Purpose of event
  • Type of event (game, party, etc.)
  • People who attend the event
  • When the event occurs
  • The location of the event
  • How might the event be advertised/shared with others? Are they personally invited? Is it an event for anyone to attend?
  • How might the event be memorialised or remembered after it has occurred?

(ACELT1783)   (ENe-10C)


Rich assessment task

What makes a special event special? 

Reflect on the information collected by looking through the class sketch book, again making connections to the footy being a special event. Talk about the similarities between special events and the significance of these events with students. Ask students to think about their own experiences with special events. Have students share their ideas by engaging in a turn and talk. Invite students to share their ideas with the whole class and record these in the sketch book. Ask parents/carers to email a photo from the family/community special event. Put students into small groups of 3–4. Have students use an iPad, chromebook or other device to make a video to show their understanding of special events and why they are significant.

Upload to the class blog site or webpage to encourage conversations in the home and community.
(ACELY1647)   (ENe-1A)

Responding to the text

Exploring Emotions

Prior to rereading Going to the Footy, talk to students about the illustrations in the book and invite them to look closely as the book is reread. As an alternative watch the book being read here.

What do they notice about the style of illustration? Do a quick pair-share about what students noticed in the illustrations and then ask students to record their ideas.

Support students to recognise that the illustrator of the book has chosen to leave each of the faces blank with just the shape of the head for each person.

Ask students if they have any ideas about why the illustrator chose to do this? If students are unsure listen again to Debbie Coombes speaking about footy, culture and her art.

What might it make the reader think? Then ask students to think about how the people in the book could feel about the following:

  • travelling to the footy
  • travelling in their mode of transport

In small groups, have students act out how the people in each mode of transport could feel. Invite each group to share with the whole group.
(ACELT1580)   (ENe-10C)

Exploring Individual Emotions

Reread Going to the Footy, prompting students to think about their feelings and emotions about each of the modes of transport in the book. Feelings and emotions could include happy, excited, scared, nervous, etc. Provide children with emoji visuals (PDF, 148KB) or something similar representing a variety of feelings and emotions. After a small group discussion, share ideas in a whole class setting. Invite children to choose an emoji that represents their own feelings and emotions about each mode of transport as you read the book. Ask children to justify this and record in your class book. This could be done as a whole group, small groups or in pairs.

Again, share on the class blog or website so as to engage with family and community.
(ACELT1783)   (ENe-10C)


Exploring plot, character, setting and theme

Connecting to the story 

Reflect on past experiences and learning based on the book Going to the Footy. This could include the use of the sketch book with class recordings and class discussions. In small groups or pairs, have students reflect on what they know about the story and what they still need to or would like to know to make sense of the story. Encourage students to talk about each mode of transport seen throughout the book and why they are used. For example, a plane is used for people who need to travel a long distance, and probably over water, to get to the footy. Mention that the size of the planes change too. It is common for people from Darwin to fly a short distance in a twin engine plane.

You could also refer to the map of Melville Island and Bathurst Island, using post-it notes or images of each type of transport to mark out the travel routes of the different transport modes.
(ACELT1783)   (ENe-10C)

Exploring Setting

Using the illustrations in the book, ask students to consider the setting, where the story takes place. Discuss the artistic decisions that were made by the artist of the book and why they think these decisions were made. Ideas for this could include:

  • the artist of the book kept the background as one solid colour because they wanted the reader to decide what was in the background
  • the artist of the book kept the background as on solid colour because they wanted to focus on the people in the vehicles
  • the artist of the book kept the background as one solid colour because they wanted to focus on the vehicles
  • the artist of the book decided to show some people with their arms up and some people with their arms down. This could show movement and emotions.

Making personal connections to the text, ask students to consider their environment and the modes of transport they see regularly. Provide students with a range of materials such as scrap pieces of paper, images of various environments and any other useful materials that they could use to create their own backgrounds to a mode of transport that is representative of their own experiences.

Note for teacher – it is disrespectful to appropriate Aboriginal artwork. Encourage the children to use the artistic style that is most familiar to them.
(ACELA1786)   (ENe-8B)


Rich assessment task

Community Survey – ‘What event is special to you’?

Reflect on the significance of the footy and how this is a special event. Talk with students about what a survey is and show them example surveys. Explain that surveys are used to ask people questions so that information is gained to support a particular purpose. Tell students that they will be developing their own survey to gather information from the community about special events. This information will be used later to support students to organise a special event. Explore the example surveys to determine what information needs to be included in the survey in order to gain enough information.

Prompts to support thinking throughout this process could include:

  • What questions do we need to ask to get enough information?
  • Will questions be short answer questions, yes or no questions or both?

Create a survey that students will use to gather information about special events. This could be their school community or the wider community such as family members. The survey could be created on paper or digitally on platforms such as Google Forms. Questions for this survey could include:

  • Do you know what a special event is?
  • Have you ever celebrated a special event?
  • If yes, what special event did you celebrate?
  • What did you do at the special event?
  • What makes it a special event?

After conducting the survey, reflect on the data with students. Remind students that the information from the survey will be used later to help them organise their own special event.
(ACELA1430)   (ENe-7B)

Examining text structure and organisation

Text structure and meaning

Reread the first sentence of Going to the Footy. 

Ask students if this sentence makes sense on its own. Read the second sentence. Ask students if this sentence makes sense on its own. What information is the author expecting us to remember from the first sentence to add to the meaning of the second sentence? The author is expecting us to remember that ‘Everyone is going to the footy’ and to add the information ‘on a plane’. Ask the students if this type of writing seems more ‘story like’ or more ‘spoken like’. It’s more ‘spoken like’; it’s the way we tend to speak, rather than the way we tend to write a story.

Then divide the class into small groups and ask them to look at another page. The groups have to decide if the new page is a sentence. If it’s not a sentence, what information is the author expecting the reader to remember to make meaning of the new page?

Talk about the choice of the author of the book to include fewer words on each page while also maintaining meaning and ease of reading. The students might suggest that the author has made a list, and that we don’t need the subject of the sentence repeated each and every time. This is one strategy that authors use when they want to avoid repeating the same words.

Explore the way other authors create lists, such as a list of ingredients for cooking, a list of parts for a lego kit, a list of items in a first aid kit, etc. Discuss the different way punctation is used to signal the list (e.g. dot points, dashes, commas, etc).
(ACELA1437)   (ENe-6B)   (ACELA1431)   (Ene-7B)   (ACELA1432)   (ENe-9B)


Examining grammar and vocabulary

Exploring connections to text, self and world

Provide students with a word sort (PDF, 259KB) and a Venn diagram (PDF, 84KB). The word sort will contain each of the modes of transport throughout the book. Students will be prompted to sort these words according to the following:

  • Words/transport I have/have not heard of before
  • Transport I have/have not seen before
  • Transport I have/have not been in before
  • Transport that works on land, water or both
  • As an extension question, ask what transport requires a licence to use.

Throughout this task prompt with questions:

  • Have you been to the footy before?
  • Have you been to a special event before?
  • How did you get there?
  • Did you go in a car, bus, train, tram, taxi, Uber or something different? Perhaps you walked?

Invite children to add their own modes of transport to the Venn diagram to reflect their own experiences.
(ACELA1437)   (ENe-6B)

Exploring transport

With the students, research how to travel to Tiwi. Show students a map of travel to Tiwi. Using this document as support, map out the Tiwi Islands in your environment (playground, oval, school hall, etc.). Talk to students about the area and the travel that occurs. Explain that students will be acting out each mode of transport on its travel path. Prompt students to engage in this experience by using the following:

  • Imagine you are on a plane. Where do you travel from? What sounds will you hear? What will you see? What does it smell like? What do you feel?

Repeat this exercise for every mode of transport mentioned in the book.

(ACELY1646)   (ENe-1A)


With students, collect items that could be used to create the possible sounds that could be heard while travelling to Tiwi and the possible sounds each mode of transport could make. This will create what is known as a soundscape. Items could include:

  • water
  • sand
  • leaves
  • rocks
  • egg beaters
  • paper

While reading the book, stop on each page and ask students what sounds might be heard. This could include sounds that each mode of transport might make as well as the sounds that could be heard in the environment. This could also include things that the people are saying. During this experience, explore the use of onomatopoeia. For example, while travelling in a tinny sounds could include:

  • moving water – ‘whooosh’
  • running motor – ‘brrrrrr’
  • the sound of the tinny moving through the water – ‘chug chug chug’
  • the sound of the water against the tinny – ‘swoosh’
  • the sound of people talking – ‘chitter chatter’
  • animals in and around the water – ‘rooooor’
  • sounds as the tinny approaches land – ‘clunk’

(ACELT1580)   (ENe-10C)


Rich assessment task

What else could be happening?

In small groups provide students with copies of the book so they can focus on the illustrations. Explain to students that this artwork has been created by an Indigenous artist using the techniques common to her culture. It is disrespectful to appropriate Indigenous artwork. Students should be encouraged to use their own artistic style. Explain to students that they will be inferring what else could be happening in the picture. For more information on inferring and other reading strategies refer to First Steps Reading Resource Book.

Ask students to choose one illustration from the book and infer what else could be happening beyond what the artist has already created by engaging in an art experience. Provide students with materials such as pencils, textas, crayons or any other materials appropriate for art. Students will select the illustration they will use to infer what else could be happening. For example, for the trail bike, one might infer the following;

  • the trail bike nearing the footy
  • people in the background dressed in their team uniform
  • a gravel track
  • trees in the background
  • footy goals in the background

After completing their art, students will engage in a Stand Up, Hand Up, Pair Up where they will share their artwork with one other person in the class. The aim of this task is for students to share what they have inferred in their drawing and how this supports their understanding of the story. For the example listed above for the trail bike, one could cover the following in their sharing:

  • The trail bike is getting closer to the footy and is on a gravel track to get there.

(ACELY1650)   (EN1-4A)

Creating Literature

Exploring Language

Reread the book Going to the Footy with the students and this time ask the students to think about the patterns throughout the book. After reading the book, draw their attention to the two main patterns in the book which are ‘in a’ and ‘on a’.

Talk about what these patterns mean using the illustrations in the book to support this discussion. In small groups, have students act out each page. Students may also use props or pictures to support their actions and make further meaning of the book. Prompt students to think about other words that describe position and explain that these words are known as positional words.

Note for the teacher – students who speak another language may need to be scaffolded through the list of English position words. Not all languages have a long list of positions words.

In English, some position words have lost their specific meanings. We see examples of this in Going to the Footy. For example, ‘in’ usually means ‘inside’ and ‘on’ usually means ‘on top of’. In Going to the Footy, the words are ‘on a plane’ but we sit inside a plane, and ‘on a bus’, but we sit inside a bus. Another sentence is ‘on a trailbike’ and that makes sense because we sit on the trailbike.

In small groups students will act out different positional words that are not included in the book Going to the Footy. Words could include through, over, under, next to, around, etc. Then ask students to use a positional word to extend a sentence from the book, e.g. next to the barge, over the troopy, under the tinny.

Discuss what this does to the meaning of the book?
(ACELY1784)   (ENe-1A)

Investigating Storylines

Explain to students that some stories need to be in a particular order, containing a beginning, middle and an end, to make sense to the reader. Others can have a beginning and an end while also maintaining meaning, like the book Going to the Footy. Read a book with the students that has a beginning, middle and an end such as The Lizard Gang. Provide children with a selection of illustrations from the book and have students rearrange the order in small groups. Is the meaning of the story maintained?

Reread Going to the Footy with the students and provide each small group with the illustrations from the book. Students will reorder these illustrations in these small groups. Have the students discuss the meaning of the book now that it has been reordered. Does it still make sense to the reader? Invite each small group to share their storylines with the whole group and explain why they think the book still makes sense to the reader. Introduce the idea that Going to the Footy is a list rather than a narrative.
(ACELY1646)   (ENe-1A)


Rich assessment task

Invite students to innovate on the text Going to the Footy to represent events that are significant to them. Revisit the idea of the book being a list. Students can reflect on special events by revisiting the section of the sketch book about special events. Have students consider the following:

  • What is the special event I am going to write about?
  • How will I tell the reader about the event?
  • What pictures or illustrations will I include to help the audience understand the event?
  • What artistic decisions will I make to enhance the writing?

Ideas might include a special event in a child’s life, for example: Everyone is going to my little sister’s birthday. In a car, in a taxi, on foot, across the road, up the hill, etc. 

Students can complete their text innovation using a book, paper that can be bound together to create a book, applications such as Book Creator or Creative Book Builder, or other digital platforms such as Google Slides. Support students to publish their work, either digitally or physically, for sharing their work with others.

As a whole class organise a special event, such as a book launch, for the students to share their publications with others. Using the class sketch book, reflect on what makes a special event special and the community survey. Explore the following with the students:

  • what will the special event be? For example, a book launch, a book club session, etc.
  • what information does the community need to know before they attend? For example, date, time, place, dress code, etc.
  • ways to promote the event for the community. For example, an announcement, invitations sent out, posters, etc.
  • what will happen during the event? For example, a book reading.
  • how will the event be captured? For example, pictures, videos, interviews about the event, etc.

(ACELY1651)   (ENe-2A)   (ACELY1654)   (ENe-3A)