Connecting to prior knowledge

Guest speaker

Explain that over the next few weeks students will be looking at texts that deal with injured animals and their recovery owing to compassionate individuals. To build topic knowledge, a community member involved with animals visits the class and recounts an animal rescue. As a model of well-structured and descriptive spoken text, the guest speaker is requested to use a clear sequence of events and use language that clearly describes the setting, participants and their actions, thoughts and feelings.

The guest speaker responds to questions and students share stories of related personal experiences. Students are encouraged to convey a clear sequence of events, use descriptive language and express their thoughts and emotions.
(ACELA1461)   (EN1-1A)


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

Share stories of related experiences

During interactive read-aloud session, read texts from different cultures (see additional resources at the bottom of this page) that deal with the themes of compassion, empathy, responsibility, care and respect for wild creatures. The central messages of the stories are identified and discussed as well as how language and text features reflect the context and cultural background.
(ACELA1462)   (EN1-6B)

Introduce the text

Before introducing the text, students consider the people or organisations that help injured animals and discuss whether an individual child could really make a difference. Students contemplate whether they could make a difference to the life of an animal.

Introduce the cover of the book in small groups. The Wondering Cube can be used to predict what will happen in the text. The open-ended questions (PDF, 63KB) used on the cube will guide and stimulate students’ thinking. Students discuss their predictions and justify their responses. Students’ predictions are recorded by the teacher during a class discussion for future verification and modification.
(ACELY1670)   (EN1-4A)

Building vocabulary

Brainstorm words that could be used to express particular emotions revealed by the characters on the cover of the book. Working in small groups, students use a thesaurus to find words with similar meanings. Synonyms for scared, sorry, sad, happy, worried, disinterested, interested, bored, grumpy, etc can be found. These words are then written on separate cards and used to create a word wall for reference throughout the unit. The words are arranged according to the strength of the meaning conveyed by each word.
(ACELA1462)   (EN1-6B)

Rich assessment task

By analysing the front cover of the Tibetan story, Tenzin’s Deer, by Barbara Soros, students individually discuss how depictions of characters in the image reflect the context in which they were created. Explain that it is a Tibetan story that also deals with a young boy who cares for an injured animal. Select assessment questions and record students’ spoken responses using iPads.
(ACELT1587)   (EN1-11D)

Assessment Questions – Literature and Context

Title of story/cover
  • Look at the cover and the title. What do you think the book will be about? What clues are there?
  • Is this a real or imaginary story? Why?
  • Does the cover remind you of any other event or book?
  • Who do you think the author has written this text for?
  • Where do you think the boy is? Is this a real or fictional place?
  • Does this remind you of a place that you might know?
  • What makes it different from places you know?
  • Who is the main character? Why do you say this?
  • Who are the other characters?
  • Can you predict some of the characters’ qualities by looking at the illustration on the cover? (What he looks like, his actions, thoughts and emotions)
  • What descriptive words can you think of that might describe the characters on the cover? Can you think of one synonym for each of these words?
  • What events might take place in the story?
  • What predictions can you make about the story?
Story Structure
  • What part of the page attracts your attention most? Why?
  • What do you think the purpose of the text might be?
  • What information do you already know about this topic?


Responding to the text

Using visual images

An understanding of visual images as another form of ‘text’ that can be ‘read’ to construct meaning is introduced by initially reading How to Heal a Broken Wing to students without showing the illustrations. Meaning made from listening to the reading is demonstrated by students working in pairs, each group discussing a different question (PDF, 99KB) drawn from a box, recording their ideas and then giving feedback to the class.

The text is reread, this time showing the illustrations. Working with the same partner and question (PDF, 99KB), each group uses a copy of the book to ‘read’ the illustrations as well as the written text. Feedback is given in a class discussion, demonstrating how visual images can be ‘read’ to construct meaning, highlighting the dominance of images for constructing meaning in How to Heal a Broken Wing.
(ACELA1469)   (EN1-4A)

Talking about details in the text

After another reading of the text, students express their ideas, listen and respond to the thoughts of others and extend their language for talking about texts in a whole-class discussion. Aidan Chamber’s Tell Me questions are used as prompts.
(ACELY1789)   (EN1-1A)

Making connections 

Students respond individually to the text during Guided Reading and use Connection Stems to guide and stimulate their thinking.

A Double Entry Journal could also be used to guide students in making decisions about significant aspects of the text and for reflecting on personal connections to the text.
(ACELY1670)   (EN1-4A)


Exploring plot, character, setting and theme

TV Interviews

The text is further explored in a ‘TV Interview’ as each student, working in groups of five, takes on the role of either Will, the mother, the father, an interviewer or a videographer. Possible questions (PDF, 97KB) for the interview are discussed and students are assisted in refining the questions, ensuring these explore the plot, characters, setting and theme. Students are given time to practise their roles and responses. Props and costumes may be used as students record their interviews and then share these with the class.

The plot, characters, setting and themes are discussed, based on the ‘TV Interviews’.


Rich assessment task

Trade Card Creator, an interactive which allows students to create their own trading cards about a fictional person, is used to write and draw about students’ favourite characters from How to Heal a Broken Wing. After watching the ‘TV Interviews’ from the previous activity and discussing the characters, students individually complete a Trading Card Creator Planning Sheet. Students refer to the responses to each question on their planning sheet and use Trading Card Creator to create a card for their chosen character. The illustration of the character is done by the student and not the digital drawing tool, giving students more scope to accurately portray the characteristics of their character.

The planning sheet and cards are used for assesssment purposes, after which the cards can be traded with friends.
(ACELT1590)   (EN1-11D)

Examining text structure and organisation

Exploring narrative structure

  • Explain that the purpose of a narrative is to entertain and what sets narratives apart from other entertaining/engaging texts, such as recounts, news stories and anecodotes, is that a narrative always has a complication that is resolved.
  • Revise the structure of narratives by students retelling familiar stories and using a narrative structure anchor chart (PDF, 96KB) to deconstruct these into the orientation, complication and resolution. The chart could be used throughout the year as narratives are read.
  • Explain that the purpose of How to Heal a Broken Wing, a narrative, is to entertain and it is organised around a major complication that is resolved. The complication has a series of smaller problems and characters’ reactions that build tension. This tension can be released by solutions. Deconstruct familiar narratives in which these stages and phases are clearly illustrated.
  • Working in pairs, students read How to Heal a Broken Wing and use a template (PDF, 104KB) to record the smaller problems that add tension throughout the story.
    (ACELA1463)   (EN1-8B)

Exploring more sophisticated multimodal representations

  • The different ways in which words and images in picture books are combined to either add, contradict or multiply meaning, are demonstrated by reading and discussing relevant books (see additional resources at the bottom of this page).
  • An anchor chart (PDF, 94KB) is made to be used throughout the year as multimodal texts are discussed or read independently by students.
    (ACELA1469)   (EN1-4A)


Examining grammar and vocabulary

Exploring characters by considering their actions, reactions, speech and thoughts

  • The meaning-making potential of images is recognised as the main characters from the text are closely analysed. Download these images (PDF, 680KB). Split students into six groups; three with enlarged copies of image one and three with enlarged copies of image two. For each image, one group identifies the characters’ actions (square Post-it notes are used to stick responses onto the image), another group identifies the characters’ thoughts (cloud shaped Post-it notes are used) and the last group surmises what the characters are saying (Post-it speech bubbles are used).
  • Analysed images are copied and displayed. During a class discussion, students examine how a character’s thoughts, speech and actions convey meaning and consider whether the images add to, contradict or multiply the meaning of the words. The original Post-it notes are collated onto a large profile chart (PDF, 128KB) for each character.
    (ACELT1591)   (EN1-7B)

Exploring the setting (place and time)

  • Settings and time play an important role in understanding the meaning conveyed by images. During shared reading, images are systematically analysed, and a table (PDF, 113KB) is used to guide discussions, as details provided by illustrations about how, when, where, why and with whom are explored.
  • Time is conveyed in a sequence of events throughout the text. Working with partners, students refer to images and record their ideas in a story timeline (PDF, 79KB), recording information about time, setting, characters and events.
  • Colour plays an important part in visual texts. Discuss what and how colours are used in the text to portray different characters and build atmosphere as well as their symbolic meaning.
    (ACELT1591)   (EN1-7B)


Rich assessment task

  • Students draw a picture to go just before the one in which the family exits the underground to release the bird. This image needs to convey the characters’ actions and thoughts, the events, time and place.
  • Students annotate their illustration, demonstrating:
      • the characters’ thoughts and actions (Post-it notes are used for this)
      • how time has passed since the previous image
      • how the setting adds meaning to the event
      • and how colour is used to add meaning.
        (ACELT1591)   (EN1-7B)

Digital Stories

  • Explain to students that they will be creating their own digital picture books with the purpose of entertaining the Preparatory students. The theme of the narrative is compassion and care for nature and should have one main and two other characters.
  • Students work in groups of three to plan the narrative and do the illustrations.
  • Revise the purpose and structure of narratives, using the narrative structure anchor chart (PDF, 96KB).
  • Construct, together with students, an assessment rubric based on the criteria mentioned in the assessment task below.

Part A Planning

  • An animal is decided on. Encourage students to choose an animal based on what it symbolises and then to connect the theme and the problem in the story to this. (The pigeon in How to Heal a Broken Wing symbolises the social outcast. Pigeons are plain and common, they are a nuisance in cities, and they are known as the ‘rats of the sky.’ This view of pigeons accentuates the kindness and empathy of Will and his parents and the apathy of others, one of the main themes of the story.)
  • The problem is devised. Students plan the main complication and three smaller problems, one involving each character, using a template (PDF, 104KB).
  • Characters are decided on.
  • A story timeline (PDF, 85KB) is created. A profile which shows how each character’s emotions, qualities, thoughts and actions change throughout the story is created. A timeline (PDF, 79KB) is also created for the setting, events and time.

Part B Drawing

  • Based on the information in their timelines, students draw illustrations depicting main events in the story. The changes in the time, setting, events and characters are to be clearly illustrated. Colour is used to convey meaning, and characters’ emotions, qualities, thoughts and actions are demonstrated by facial expressions and gestures.

Part C Animation

  • Students’ drawings are scanned and downloaded to a computer. Microsoft Photo Story can be used to arrange the images in order. Transitions, zooms and pans can be added. The stories are presented to the Preparatory students who are then asked to retell the stories and answer questions about the stories to determine how successful meaning was made by using images only.
    (ACELT1593)   (ACELY1671)   (EN1-2A)   (EN1-7B)


Rich assessment task

By using the information in their illustrations and the story timeline, students independently write their narratives. The criteria to assess the writing task are:

  • Students’ capacity to orient, engage and affect the Preparatory students.
  • The organisation of narrative features including orientation, complication and resolution.
  • The creation, selection and crafting of ideas for a narrative.
  • The portrayal and development of character.
  • The development of sense of place, time and atmosphere.
    (ACELT1593)   (ACELY1671)   (EN1-2A)   (EN1-7B)