Connecting to prior knowledge

Ned Kelly is an infamous Australian bushranger whose life and death may be known to some students prior to reading this book. Determine the knowledge base by asking a few questions and if little is known about this character, begin with some research around bushranger in general. Provide some time in the library for pairs of students to research bushrangers generally. Suggest they look at various sources of information, newspaper accounts and artwork. Each pair is to return to the class with three or four key facts.

As a way of finding out students’ prior knowledge and/or beliefs about Ned Kelly, ask students to create a character portrait of him. Before showing students the book ask them to close their eyes and picture Ned Kelly, focus on his looks and character traits from what they have previously read/seen/heard about him. Direct students to now draw Ned Kelly. Around the outside of their picture students can write words describing him physically and his characteristics (thoughts, feeling, emotions, values, beliefs) as well as any other information that they know about Ned Kelly.

Point out that the story of Ned Kelly has inspired many artists including Sidney Nolan’s Ned Kelly Series. Display some of these on the IWB. Have students compare these works to the artwork of Frané Lessac and their own.
  • What are the similarities? e.g. both Nolan and Lessac produce uncomplicated images, using a direct vision.
  • What are the differences? e.g. Nolan paints Kelly as a dark tin man, whereas Lessac provides more facial features. Nolan gives as much space to the landscape as he does to the main character, whereas Lessac gives more space to the character and less to the landscape. Nolan lets us see the world from Kelly’s viewpoint while Lessac allows us to see Ned Kelly from the viewer’s perspective.
  • What might these images portray about Ned Kelly and the era in which he lived and died?
  • Do the paintings of Nolan and Lessac tell different stories?
  • Greenwood’s book title mentions the green sash. Did anyone notice a green sash in any paintings? What might be the connection to the green sash? Explore what the children know about sashes – e.g. worn by pageant winners, laid across a candidate at baptism by the priest, worn by meter maids on the Gold Coast, etc.

On completion, work as a whole class to compile prior knowledge into a class brainstorm word list that can be referred to throughout the reading of the book.
(ACELT1608)   (ACELT1610)   (EN3-8D)


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

Using Google maps or a map of Australia, invite students to nominate the towns/states/areas where they believe bushrangers lived and ‘worked’.

Pose the research question ‘Did bushrangers live in every state/territory in Australia?’

Ask the children to brainstorm keywords to use in an online search engine to answer this research question. 

Ask the students if they know the names of other infamous Australian bushrangers (e.g. Ben Hall, Dan Kelly, Thomas Jeffries or Jacky Jacky). Talk about the word ‘infamous’. 

Students work in small groups to completed their research and add their findings to a class map. 

As a class explain why Australian bushrangers lived and worked in certain areas.
(ACELT1610)   (EN3-8D)


Rich assessment task

Show students the front cover of Ned Kelly and the Green Sash, drawing attention to the images by Frané Lessac. Pose questions for a class discussion.

  • What do you notice about the image?
  • Why do you think the picture of Ned Kelly is so large?
  • What do you notice about the background?

Discuss with students who they believe are real life heroes, list these people and place them into groups if applicable e.g. professions like emergency services. Pose the question “what makes each one of these people a hero?” record the criteria given. Complete this discussion again however this time focusing on villains. From both lists agree upon characteristics, qualities, actions and effect on others for what makes a hero and villain.

Students are given the stimulus sheet Two Box Prediction (PDF, 89KB). Explain that students will each be writing a prediction on what they think might happen in the book by using their prior knowledge of Ned Kelly and sentence starters such as:

‘I think…..because…..’

‘I believe…….because….’

Allow students time to complete this stimulus sheet before giving time for students to share their predictions with each other, either as a whole class or in a pair-share buddy chat.

Once students have shared with each other bring their attention back to the book. Remind students that prior to reading we are able to gain further information on what a book is about by reading the blurb. After reading the blurb aloud to the students ask them to now complete the second prediction box using the new information they have on what part of Ned Kelly’s life the book is going to cover.
(ACELT1610)   (EN3-8D)

Responding to the text

Read Ned Kelly and the Green Sash from the beginning to the pages where Ned Kelly receives the green sash from Mr Shelton. In pairs have students sculpt each other: one as Mr Shelton giving and the other as Ned receiving the green sash. Ask them to think about how each of the characters were feeling. Then ask students to complete a think-pair-share focusing on their prior thoughts on Ned Kelly and the listed questions.

  • What characteristics did you picture Ned having as a young boy?
  • Was this opinion different to what you have now learnt about Ned? if so how?
  • What words would you use to describe Ned Kelly as a child?

Set up two opposite corners of the classroom with A4 signs ‘agree’ and ‘disagree’ for a classroom debate on Ned Kelly as a child. Using the information given pose the statements below one at a time and ask students to move to the corner of the room that they feel best fits their interpretation of the statement.

  • Ned Kelly was a hard worker.
  • Ned cared deeply about his family.
  • Ned Kelly was thoughtful.
  • Ned Kelly was brave.

Invite students to respond to their decision on where they stand for each statement. To conclude this activity, ask each student to add a statement to the class blog site about Ned’s character attributes as a child. Students can either make a declaration, reinforce someone else’s stand or rebut an opinion with which they disagree.
(ACELA1502)   (EN3-8D)


Exploring plot, character, setting and theme

Before reading the remainder of the narrative, tell students this book is described as a non-fiction narrative. Discuss what this means. Discuss other books that may fit into this category e.g. Flood by Jackie French.

Then as a whole class make a list of the main characters that are included in this story based on Ned Kelly’s life. Brainstorm how the characters are linked to Ned Kelly and what the relationship was between the two. Before doing a hot seat activity have students decide on some important questions to ask each of the characters.

Have students complete a character web where Ned Kelly is in the middle and all other main characters are placed around the outside and are linked to Ned Kelly or each other through arrows. Along the arrows students record how the characters are linked, focusing on the change from Ned moving from a ‘hero’ who saved a life to the outlaw bushranger we know him as. Students will need to discuss the vocabulary choices to describe, for example, friend, acquaintance, colleague, gang member etc. Students can work in small  groups.
(ACELT1608)   (EN3-8D)


Rich assessment task

Identify Ned Kelly’s major life events from the book. In small groups, students select one life event and create a 5-minute play to record.

Students should take the following aspects into account when creating and presenting one of Ned’s life events.

  • The feelings of the characters involved
  • Are you depicting the character in a certain way? (hero/villain)

When preparing ask each group to hone in on one visual element and report back to the rest of the class about the use of the technique:

  • Use of lightness and darkness? What is the effect of each?  
  • Framing of point of view, either medium shot, long shot or close up? What is the effect of each?
  • Camera angle, either high angle, eye level or low angle? What is the effect of each?
  • Camera movement, either zoom, tilt or crane shot? What is the effect of each?
  • Special effects for the ending (where no one is sure what happened)?
  • Sounds used in the clip? What is the effect of each?
  • Editing techniques, either fade-out, dissolve cuts or wipes? What is the effect of each? 

Allow students one lesson to draft a script and one or two lessons to rehearse prior to filming their life event. Once all life events have been filmed, edit the footage into the correct order, as per the book, and show students the complete video version of the book.
(ACELT1610)   (EN3-8D)

Examining text structure and organisation 

The events of Ned Kelly’s life that are shared in the book Ned Kelly and the Green Sash occurred in towns in Victoria and New South Wales. Reread the story to students, drawing attention to the settings and recording these as they appear in the story. After reading, ask students if they are aware of the location of any of these towns/places in Australia.

Introduce the Ned Kelly Tour website before revisiting the map that was created at the beginning of the unit. Students seeking more information can spend some time exploring the website. Focus students on Victoria and New South Wales, pointing out geographical features such as capital cities, state borders and major river systems. Ask students to use a map to find the towns/places that were listed from the story and record these on the map with a brief description of the events that happened there. Have students reflect on the movements of Ned Kelly by writing a paragraph on why they think he may have travelled to the areas that he did. Do these areas match what was originally predicted?
(ACELT1608)   (EN3-8D)

In small groups allow students to look closely at the illustrations in this book and comment on the style referring back to previous activities in the Literature section (Tab One). Have each group make a list of what they notice now and prepare to share with the whole class. For example, the illustrator painted a bird in the first scene of Ned in gaol.

  • Does the bird appear any where else in the story?
  • What might the bird represent or symbolise in Ned’s cell in the first scene?
  • What is the significance of no bird on the last page?
  • What other symbols do we commonly use to build our understanding of the significance of events?
  • This bird is a motif. Ask students to recall how motifs are used in other emotional stories.

(ACELT1610)   (EN3-8D)


Examining grammar and vocabulary

Ned Kelly lived from 1855 to 1880. His father John Kelly originated from Ireland. Throughout the story the author purposefully includes a large variety of vocabulary/phrases to tell the story. Some of this vocabulary may be different to the language students use on a daily basis.

Divide students into small groups, each with a copy of the text. Ask students to read through the book as ‘word spies’ hunting for unusual vocabulary and phrases. Have groups record the words they find on a table divided into three sections; next to each word/phrase they write what the word/phrase means and then consider words that might be in more common use today. All words need to be considered in context.

Word Word meaning in the text  What word would be in more common use today?

. . . he bawled for his mother

cry, yell . . . he cried out for his mother

. . . you are a plucky lad for saving our son

courageous . . . you are a brave lad for saving our son
bailed up

Students may use the internet to help them find the meaning of words/phrases, such as ramshackle, traps and dripping. Students can add their work to the class Padlet for sharing and recording.
(ACELA1500)   (EN3-4A)   (ACELA1512)   (EN3-6B)


Rich assessment task

The author Mark Greenwood chooses to write four events about Ned Kelly’s life in a newspaper format. Ask students why they think he may have chosen to do this and discuss how the vocabulary and writer’s tone changes when he moves from a narrative to a newspaper report. Brainstorm and list the precise word choices that have been made throughout the four articles that try to persuade the reader to believe that Ned Kelly is a villain. Students could also study some newspaper reports of the time.

Ask students to choose one of the other events from the story (such as saving the boy) and rewrite this in the format of a newspaper article, remembering that a newspaper report covers who, what, where, when, why and how, includes a catchy heading and an illustration.

Is their newspaper report going to just give facts or also an opinion from a witness?

Direct students to the word list that was created earlier, emphasising the vocabulary that they may wish to include in their own report.  Students may like to publish the article and use wet tea bags to create an old looking piece of newspaper.
(ACELA1504)   (EN3-3A)   (ACELA1512)   (EN3-6B)

Ned Kelly’s Last Words

Display the first page of the story which shows Ned Kelly in the prison cell and the 5th last page where Ned Kelly is also in the prison cell. Read through both of these pages. Provide both passages to students working in pairs. Allow time to share opinions and then ask students to individually write a paragraph on what they believe Ned is trying to tell people about his life and choices in both of these statements. Encourage students to adopt Ned’s ‘voice’ and idiomatic vocabulary.
(ACELY1698)   (EN3-6B)

The Green Sash

The last two pages of the book Ned Kelly and the Green Sash are dedicated to factual information on the green sash. It states that Ned Kelly wore the green sash under his armour on the day of the shooting at Glenrowan. Direct students to write a short soliloquy from the point of view of the green sash, starting from the day Ned received the sash to where it is now, including feelings of being given for bravery and worn during the battle. Discuss what a soliloquy is and how it differs from a play or a story.

  • How did the sash feel seeing Ned change from the boy who received the sash for bravery to becoming a bushranger?
  • What did the green sash see during the Stringybark shooting?
  • Where has the green sash ended up and how?

Allow students time to share their soliloquies with each other. This could be published in a digital comic book format.
(ACELT1609)   (EN3-2A)


Rich assessment task

Many Australian’s have strong view points on whether Ned Kelly was a hero or a villain. In the story Ned Kelly and the Green Sash, the author presents factual information on Ned’s life as a child before he was a bushranger as well as the historical ‘bushranger’ events that in many ways have become folklore. Discuss the term ‘folklore’. As a class brainstorm the events from the story that have ‘heroic’ connotations and events that depict him as a ‘villain’. Prior to this you may wish to examine the meaning of hero and villain and agree on a definition for both words.

Invite students to complete a think-pair-share on whether they believe Ned Kelly was a hero, villain or both and why.

Students independently record their opinion on the template (PDF, 95KB) provided, focusing on the factual information as supporting evidence. This task will include a paragraph explaining their personal view on his hero/villain status and then three to four events to support their opinion, including illustrations.
(ACELA1502)   (EN3-8D)