Connecting to prior knowledge
Discuss an Australian holiday that you have taken – be specific about the names of the places you visited. If possible share photos of places you have visited. Create a word wall of all the locations you went to on the holiday.
Next invite students to share an Australian holiday experience they have had. Ask the students to discuss any holidays they’ve had with their family and record the places and share with the class. If students have not had a holiday they can name the places they would like to go. Add these places to the word wall. If there are some overseas locations, create two word walls, one titled Australia and one titled overseas.
Show the students the front cover of the book and ask if they have seen this character before. Mr Chicken is very well travelled and students are likely to recognise this as a Leigh Hobbs’ book. Invite students to make predictions or wonders about some of the places Mr Chicken might visit when he goes ‘All Over Australia’. Record these predictions on another wonder wall and display in the classroom. If possible, stock the classroom library with other Mr Chicken books for the students to read during independent reading time (text-to-text).
Read the text aloud without stopping for a long discussion. This will give the opportunity for students to enjoy the text. Be sure to pause on each page so the students can enjoy the humour depicted in the illustrations. Also, be sure to have pre-read the book to have the correct pronunciations for the towns.
Create a ‘Tourist Information’ stand in your classroom’s play space. Gather a collection of Australian travel brochures and add them to the play space for students to look through. Many towns and cities are adopting Aboriginal place names. Add these and their meanings.
(ACELT1831) (ENe-11D) (ACELY1646) (ENe-1A)
Create a class mascot similar to Mr Chicken. It could be a teddy bear, a doll or a stuffed toy someone has brought in. Set the mascot up with a notebook and a digital camera in a backpack. Send the mascot home with a different student from the class every few days with the instructions that, just like Mr Chicken, the mascot will travel ‘All over (insert hometown)’. Each week, collate the photos and stories from the students to create a class book for the school library.
Exploring the text in context of our community, school and ‘me’
Display a big map of Australia and before reading the text again to the class, locate where you are on the map. Then, ask the students to listen for places Mr Chicken visits so you can mark them on the map too. This could take some time so be sure to have an idea of most places before beginning this lesson. Cross reference the word wall created earlier and see if Mr Chicken has been to any of the places the students have been (text-to-self).
Take your students on a walk around your school, stopping at their favourite places to play. Discuss why these places are special to them, noting details such as play equipment, nice big trees or garden spaces. Have the students draw or write notes as you walk around to help them remember ideas for when they return to class. Add some of these ideas to your classroom Writer’s Notebook.
Read aloud some of the letters from the front and back endpapers of the book. Tell the students that these are real letters from students in schools from around Australia. Discuss why these children might have asked Mr Chicken to visit their place.
Are these places special to them? Why? What makes a place special?
As a shared-writing response, write a letter to Mr Chicken inviting him to come to your school. Use some of the ideas from your classroom Writer’s Notebook. Ask students to share in pairs before editing a creating a final copy. Remind students of audience and purpose.
(ACELY1652) (ENe-2A) (ACELY1646) (ENe-1A)
Rich assessment task
Invite students to draw a picture of themselves in a place which is special to them. It could be a holiday, home or somewhere in their home town they like to go. Model this in your classroom’s Writer’s Notebook and then model writing a sentence about your favourite place. Ask students to write a sentence about why their place is special to them. You could use the sentence starter ‘I am…It is special to me because…’ Example: I am in my backyard. It is special to me because I play hide and seek.
Ask parents/carers to support this activity by emailing a photo or uploading a photo to the class blog. Invite students to share their writing with the class and display it with the artwork around the room.
Responding to the text
During this session, don’t read the words, show the students the pictures and ask them to identify how Mr Chicken is feeling. Discuss how the illustrator has used lines and colour and also Mr Chicken’s facial expressions to tell the reader how he is feeling. Record the emotions suggested on a word wall, prompting the students to encourage a variety of suggestions. Give praise for the use of specific emotions rather than happy or sad.
Once the emotions list is created, prepare the students for a mini-drama activity. Introduce the ‘action’ and ‘freeze’ clap. Teachers says an emotion, a moment of thinking time, then ‘clap’ for action, then ‘clap’ for freeze. Take photos of the ‘freeze’ to add to a word wall. Before beginning this game, discuss different postures and actions for each emotion, as well the classroom rules about safety and respect.
Play ‘Freeze Frame’ from The School Drama Book. Ask students to get into groups of 3 or 4 and hold up the page showing where Mr Chicken is lifted off the Sydney Harbour Bridge by the helicopter. Identify all the different characters on this page – Mr Chicken, the pilot, the people watching below. Ask the students to create this page with their group members. When you say ‘Freeze’ the groups need to hold their pose. Walk around the room, pausing to tap a student’s shoulder which is the signal for them to share who they are and how they feel. Repeat this game with a few different pages from the book. Discuss why they think the characters are feeling this way.
Revisit the word wall displaying emotions. Invite students to orally share when they have felt one of these emotions.
- What happened?
- Who was there to share or help them through this experience?
- What did they learn from their experience?
Read either Alison Lester’s Are We There Yet? or Ernie Dances to the Didgeridoo. Both are journeys in Australia, the latter about a student who travels to Arnhem Land with his family. Discuss what is the same or different about the character’s journey in this book compared to Mr Chicken’s journey. Using a Venn Diagram, scribe what the students notice to be the same or different about each book.
- How did the characters travel?
- Where did they go?
- What was the purpose of each journey?
Thought provoking questions to discuss with the students:
- Which journey would you like to take part in and why?
- How do the different stories make you feel as a reader?
Watch the 2014 Tropfest shortlisted film ‘I’ve Been Everywhere Man’. Listen for all the places the singer visits and watch as his hair grows to show the passing of time. Discuss with the students how big Australia is and how long visiting all these places would take. Ask:
- Did he visit any of the places Mr Chicken visited?
- Have any of the students been to these places?
- Did the singer visit your home town?
Read Possum Magic by Mem Fox. Similar to Mr Chicken, Hush tries a lot of Australian food. Together, research some of the foods mentioned in both books and if possible have a class meal together to try some of the foods from both Possum Magic and Mr Chicken. Invite students to write food reviews of the foods they liked and disliked from the class meal. Display these in the room, together with photos of the meal.
Exploring plot, character, setting and theme
Mr Chicken’s goal was to ‘go everywhere, see everything and meet everyone’ (page 2). Show the map of Australia from the text. Explain to the students that the author Leigh Hobbs based this book on all his travels around Australia for work.
Using Google Earth, locate Australia and then your home town. Locate your school. Take some time to find places of interest to your students. Reread Mr Chicken All Over Australia and ask the students which big attractions or landmark would they like to see on Google Earth.
After searching for a while, invite the students to create an art piece of an attraction or landmark they have looked at on Google Earth. Discuss why some of these towns might have ‘big’ attractions.
After looking on Google Earth, discuss with the class how far some of these places are from each other. Australia is a big country. How did Mr Chicken travel around to all these places?
- How have the students travelled?
- What is their favourite way to travel with their family? Why?
- What is their least favourite way to travel and why?
Linking in with Mathematics, create a graph showing all the different ways students in your class travel with their family. It could be on a holiday or down to the local shops.
Rich assessment task
After looking at all the big attractions Mr Chicken visited around Australia, invite your students to design, plan and create a big attraction for their school or home town. Support the students to write a sentence or two about why this big attraction would be good in their school or home town. It might be a popular food sold at the canteen, an animal that lives in the environment, a popular sporting event or just something the students like. Allow time for your students to create this big attraction with craft supplies and recycled materials.
Examining text structure and organisation
One of the most enjoyable aspects of all of Mr Chicken’s adventures is the humour depicted in the illustrations where a lot of action occurs.
With the class, take the time to enjoy and discuss why some of these illustrations are funny. In particular, look at the way Mr Chicken is so big he wouldn’t be able to fit through the front door of his own home (first page), he fills the entire helicopter, scares the dog in Humpty Doo, and surprises everyone at Uluru. Discuss how different the text would be if it were just the words or just the pictures. You may like to mention tourist behaviour and cultural protocols for visitors at Uluru.
Give the students time to draw and play with humour in their illustrations of Mr Chicken. Support them to add a sentence relating to their illustration similar to the way Hobbs adds text to his.
Leigh Hobbs uses subtle humour in the written text too. For example, consider the sentence ‘A few children even wanted Mr Chicken for dinner’. This sentence can be read in one of two ways – invited for dinner or eaten for dinner! Discuss with the children.
Examining grammar and vocabulary
Place students in small groups with copies of the text. Open the books at the page where Mr Chicken visits the Big Banana. Read the page to the class, looking at the pictures to help develop understanding of what is happening.
Ask the students to find the capital letters on the page. Ask them ‘Why do we use capital letters?’ Invite the students to share their ideas with the class and have a discussion using the text as evidence of when this author has used capital letters.
Once the students have an understanding that capital letters are used for beginning a sentence and also for proper nouns, invite them to collect all the proper nouns from the text. Create a classroom alphabox with all the proper nouns from the text. Discuss other proper nouns that need a capital letter, such as their names. Add the students’ names to the alphabox.
Using the alphabox, play syllable clap/hop/step/jump with the class. Call out a proper noun and support the students to hear the syllables as they clap/hop/step/jump.
Invite the students to write a sentence using a proper noun from the alphabox, e.g. ‘My name is…and I have been to…’ or ‘My name is…and I would like to go to…’ Display these sentences around the alphabox.
When introducing new sounds to the class, create a Word Noticing board with that sound at the top. For example, Inquiring into the sound ‘Mm‘. From the class alphabox, students now have access to new words that have the sound Mm in them. Encourage the students to identify if the focus sound is in the beginning, middle or end of the word. Add new words as the students notice them in their reading and writing. This is a great opportunity to discuss that the same sound can be made with different letter combinations:
- /k/ sound can be made with the ‘ck’ letters (as in Yackandandah and chicken) and with the ‘c’ letter (as in Victoria, Canberra and Capital)
- /o/ sound can be made with the ‘a’ letter (as in Wagga Wagga) or the ‘o’ letter (as in got and lamington)
- /s/ sound can be made with the ‘c’ letter (as in city) and the ‘s’ letter (as in Sydney, Brisbane and visit).
Word of the Week
It is important for students to discuss words; talk about what they mean, where they come from and what they sound like.
Use the word marsupial as your Word of the Week. After exploring the word and its meaning, invite students to try and use that word in their conversations or writing and record their names on the Word of the Week chart when they do.
Rich assessment task
There are many native Australian animals featured in Mr Chicken All Over Australia. Visit the school library with the class and gather books on native Australian animals or search on the web for information about the Australian animals featured. Lead a class discussion about how information about animals is non-fiction and as such the drawings are called diagrams (not illustrations). Find a diagram of an Australian animal that appears in Mr Chicken All Over Australia and compare the diagram with the illustration in Hobbs’ book. Ask the children to identify the points of difference between a diagram and an illustration. Print out a copy of a diagram and an illustration and annotate the points of difference (e.g. diagram has a title, and looks real; an illustration has no title and the animal is a character, etc).
Discuss how the words in the information text and the words in Hobbs’ book are also different. For example, in an information text, the words tend to be technical classifications, physical attributes or lifecycle details. In Hobbs’ book, the marsupials are characters undertaking human-like tasks such as arranging holiday tickets for overseas guests.
Individually or in small groups, invite students to select an animal from the text, and research a few interesting facts about that animal. Ask each group to create a poster with a diagram of the animal and list the interesting facts they have identified. Emphasise that the students need to use the technical drawings for a diagram, and the factual details for an information text. Display in the classroom or make a book for the school library.
Alternatively, create an eBook with Book Creator or a similar app. Students can record themselves talking about interesting facts on their animal. They can select a picture to add to the eBook.
(ACELY1651) (ENe-2A) (ACELA1430) (ENe-7B)
Read the story again and focus on Mr Chicken. Ask the students to draw Mr Chicken, cut him out and stick him onto a paddle-pop stick. This creates a simple puppet for each student. Allow time for small groups of students to create a scene where Mr Chicken experiences something around the school. It might be going to their favourite place to play, ordering from the canteen or visiting other classes. Students then come and share their Mr Chicken adventures with the class. Digital photos can be taken to share with the class or a digital photostory can be made of each adventure. These can be shared on the class blog site.
(ACELT1831) (ENe-11D) (ACELA1430) (ENe-7B)
In groups, provide time for students to browse the book and revisit the adventures of Mr Chicken. Then invite the groups to choose a page from the text they would like to work with.
Using the sentence starters: I see, I hear, I feel, I smell, I taste, the students orally share what they think Mr Chicken experienced. Students can add an I wonder query to show what Mr Chicken might be thinking about.
Provide students with the opportunity to record their ideas using this template and display around the room.
|Event||I see||I hear||I feel||I smell||I taste|
|Swimming in the Great Barrier Reef||colourful fish||the waves||relaxed||suncream||salty water|
Great Barrier Reef
I see colourful fish
I hear the waves
I feel relaxed
I smell suncream
I taste salt water
Prepare an A3 copy of the Alphabet Brainstorm (PDF, 133KB) chart or display it on the interactive whiteboard. Invite students to share a word or phrase from Mr Chicken’s adventures using a letter from the chart. Continue using as many letters from the chart as they can. Record responses. Fill in the chart and display it in the room. Example:
|p – Pavolva||Qu – Quokka||R – Rode on a tram|
|S – Surfed to Tasmania||T – Tasted pavlova||U – Under the stars (he slept under the stars)|
|V – Visited the Sydney Opera House||W – Went swimming||X – Caught a taXi|
Rich assessment task
Using the photos from the mascot that has been sent home with the students, ask individual students to create a short story using two or three adventures the mascot has been on. Model by writing a simple sentence for each photo, adding an illustration and checking for the Aboriginal place names (explored earlier). Encourage the students to add emotion and use humour just as Leigh Hobbs did with Mr Chicken. Example: Thomas Teddy helped do the shopping. (Draw Thomas Teddy dropping a carton of eggs.) Students can use a comic strip format to help retell their story.
(ACELA1786) (ENe-8B) (ACELT1575) (ENe-11D)