Connecting to prior knowledge

Before Reading 

Before beginning, the teacher might like to prepare for the unit by reading about cultural understanding. Show students the cover of The Patchwork Bike and explain this book represents another culture. Turn the pages of the book, only showing the illustrations and ask:

  • What culture is it?
  • How do you see that?
  • What might this mean for understanding the story?

Record the responses to return to later when the book has been read and discussed.

Re-show the students the front cover of The Patchwork Bike, bringing attention to the word ‘Patchwork’ in the title. Ask your students questions such as:

  • What do we know about the word ‘patchwork’?
  • Where have you seen it before?
  • What might it mean?

To support contextual understanding, take some time to explore different types of patchwork including quilts, stained glass windows and if possible read Elmer the Patchwork Elephant by David McKee as a visual reference to support learners. At this stage it would be also beneficial to search images of patchwork on Google and have a discussion around the two parts of the word, patch + work.

Ask: how could a bike be patchwork?

Accept any answers and refer back to the comments later when the bike is explored further.

Using your imagination/innovation

Ask the students:

  • Have you ever got a present in a big box and had a lot of fun making something out of the box? Perhaps a rocket ship or police car?
  • Have you ever made a cubby house or fort out of things you found around the house or backyard?

In groups of three have children use one mini whiteboard or piece of paper to draw a representation of what their creation looked like. Prompt students to use labels. Encourage students to explain their illustrations as they go, each taking a turn to share. For any student without an experience to share, being in a group of three should give them an opportunity to ask questions of the other group members.
(ACELY1788)   (EN1-1A)

During Reading 

Read The Patchwork Bike aloud to the class. After reading invite students to discuss the brothers in the story. Jot down the ideas, words and phrases the students use to refer to later. It is likely someone will comment on how happy the boys are on their bike. This was one of the many things the brothers did together to entertain themselves and make fun.

Return to the comments and ideas that were written down during the earlier discussion on how a bike might be ‘patchwork’.

Create an ideas wall of things that students like to do with their siblings or family when they have to make their own fun on holidays or days off.

Play the reading by Maxine Beneba Clarke to conclude. Return to the comments about culture and invite students to change or add to their comments.
(ACELY1655)   (EN1-11D)   (EN1-10C)


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

What’s in a home?

People live in all types of homes and villages all over the world. The brothers lived in a ‘mud-for-walls home’ (page 2). Begin by using a series of viewing experiences:

Invite students to compare and contrast the similarities and differences between these homes and the home of the brothers using the Making Text-to-world Connections worksheet (PDF, 94KB). Some students will also want to talk about their own home to add to the discussion.

Finish by asking students to suggest where the boys in The Patchwork Bike might live.


Rich assessment task

Refer back to the vocabulary chart of things the children enjoy doing for fun with siblings and others. Use a video platform such as Flipgrid and have students record a statement about what brings them happiness in times of making fun (holidays, weekends, adventures, play dates).

Videos can be shared in small groups where other children can then provide feedback to the creator of the video and offer a word to summarise their statement e.g. cheeky, fun, silly, cuddly.
(ACELY1664)   (EN1-11D)

Responding to the text 

Invite students to reread the book in groups and list the things the bike is made from.

List all of the items and ask the students to suggest where the boys got them.

Item  Where might it have come from? 
bucket seat
handlebar branches
tin can handles
wood-cut wheels
flag from a flour sack
a bell Mum’s milk pot
bark numberplate

Exploring feelings

After another reading of The Patchwork Bike, refer students to the page with the illustration of the mum looking out the window with her hands on her hips (page 6). The illustration is very simple and the words say ‘and this is our fed-up mum’. Ask students to turn and talk to their partner to discuss these points:

  • What is their mum thinking in this illustration?
  • Why do you think she is fed-up?
  • Why do you say that?

Have students use post-its to record words or phrases that they have identified during the turn and talk. Encourage students to sort their labels into things that a fed-up mum might be thinking and choose the ones they think fit best. With students in pairs, provide a copy of the illustration only (no text) and ask students to place their thought labels or post-it notes around mum to show her thinking. This can also be done using an app such as Balloon Stickies to narrate the illustrations digitally.

Now draw attention to the page with the milk pot. Ask students to look carefully. Ask:

  • Do you think their mum gave the children the milk pot?
  • Why/why not?
  • Now ask again why Mum might be fed up.

To conclude the short sequence of lessons, students could develop a 30-second skit where they act out the role of mum and voice their inner thoughts demonstrating what is making her feel so fed up.
(ACELT1582)   (EN1-11D)   (EN1-8B)


Exploring setting and theme

Introduce the book Ride, Ricardo, Ride! by Phil Cummings by sharing the blurb:

Ricardo loved to ride his bike through the village.

He rode under endless skies, quiet and clear.

He rode every day… But then the shadows came.

Now compare this with the blurb offered by Maxine Beneba Clarke for The Patchwork Bike:

What’s the best fun in the whole village?

Riding the patchwork bike we made!

As a class discuss what might be some of the common themes between the two texts based on the blurbs.  

Reread The Patchwork Bike. After reading, use a visual representation such as the example provided here (PDF, 92KB) to track the emotion levels of the story from start to finish. When the emotions or mood are happy or high, plot this on the tracker or chart and when the emotions change, depict this by moving the line similar to the way a thermometer shows hot and cold. Encourage children to reflect on the events linked to the emotions in preparation for the next learning task. What do we notice from start to finish?

Using an activity structure such as Think and Share (PDF, 93KB), have the class break into two groups each with smaller groups of two to three. One half will use Ride, Ricardo, Ride!, the other, The Patchwork Bike. Encourage the small groups to record the key events or what might be happening in each of the books and how that impacts the mood/emotion of the character or their actions. This task provides opportunities for differentiation as the two books differ in complexity of emotion.
(ACELT1582)   (ACELT1581)   (ACELA1453)   (EN1-8B)   (EN1-11D)


Rich assessment task

Following the series of lessons identifying feelings, emotional responses and the author’s use of emotion to create characters in both books (and others if you choose to expand on this section), ask the students:

  • Which characters did you feel connected to? Why?
  • Have you ever had similar feelings to the characters in these stories? What happened?

Conversations with the students in small groups or individually may elicit further evidence of the depth of their connection to the themes and characters in the text.

Using a Venn Diagram (PDF, 138KB) or similar, ask students to use their connections with the characters to compare how each of their thoughts, feelings and actions were similar or different in the texts. The character comparisons can be shared in pairs or small groups encouraging questions and discussions.
(ACELY1660)   (ACELT1584)   (ACELT1582)   (EN1-12E)   (EN1-10C)

Examining text structure and organisation 

Colour and medium 

Elicit what students have noticed about the illustrator’s use of colour and materials/mediums through a whole group discussion. Note the use of key features to guide the conversation, including:

  • Browns
  • Reds
  • Long black shadows

In small groups ask students to consider the following questions:

  • What has the illustrator painted each of the pictures of this book on? Why do you think this was?
  • How has he used paint to give the reader a sense of time and an idea of what the children are getting up to that day?

(ACELT1581)   (EN1-8B)

Visual Literacy

Provide students with illustrations from the text or the whole book. Ask them to examine each illustration and ask students to consider the following questions. For each new question, pairs can turn and talk about their ideas and record using mini whiteboards or notes to collate for a whole group discussion in the future.

  • What is happening in this illustration? Where is it from in the sequence of the story?
  • What does the picture make you think about?
  • What might be missing from this picture? Why?
  • Could the illustrator have chosen to make this picture another way? What difference would that make?

(ACELT1581)   (ACELY1656)   (EN1-8B)


Examining grammar and vocabulary

Words that paint a picture

The author draws on a range of vocabulary to provide more detail to the simple text. As a whole group discuss the use of wording such as:

  • bumpetty bump
  • winketty wonk
  • shicketty shake

Ask the students what the words bump, wonk and shake mean. Investigate their function in each of the sentences, what does it mean to bump, wonk and shake? Let’s act it out. How do the words add meaning to the way the bike is moving?

Maxine Beneba Clarke has added an extra word to each of the actions to add more detail (bumpetty, winketty and shicketty). Encourage students to share how they think the vocabulary choices impact the images they get inside their heads as they listen to the story. Ask the group why the author has used this extra detail to describe the way the bike moves. Can you think of other words Maxine might be able to use to show how the bike is moving? (jumpetty jump, wobbly wobble, tumbly tumble etc).

Follow up with a turn and talk or think-pair-share before bringing some ideas back to the group.
(ACELA1452)   (ACELA1448)   (EN1-9B)

In small groups, have students use strips of paper or card broken into sections showing words from the text with the added descriptive details and then without, see example (PDF, 111KB). In this task, groups are required to provide an illustration to represent the base word e.g. desert, followed by another illustration demonstrating what happens to the image when we build the vocabulary and add more detail e.g. no-go desert. Small groups can complete two to three examples of what the language does to the image before sharing back with the larger group, explaining why they feel the meaning changes when we use particular language.
(ACELA1454)   (ACELT1581)   (EN1-7B)


Rich assessment task

Map a story 

Demonstrate to the students how to create a story map outlining the key information and how to sequence events. Provide a selection of images or sentences from the text to differentiate the task for diverse groups. The map should show key events and settings within the story, as well as significant characters. Next ask students to make a map of The Patchwork Bike, utilising the images or sentences if required. Students are encouraged to discuss and retell their story map, this can be done in small groups, in a teacher conference or by using technology to record their response.
(ACELT1586)   (EN1-11D)


Story Play

For this section the teacher will need a selection of different types, sizes and sources of cardboard with varying markings similar to those used by the illustrator in the book. Using the collection of cardboard, have students consider how they would create characters and features from the story using the illustrator’s style as inspiration.

In groups, students can create story sets to represent key elements of the story. These sets can be used to act out and retell the story in their own words and using the illustrations in their own way. Video the groups to play back later.
(ACELT1586)   (ACELY1657)   (EN1-10C)   (EN1-11D)

Create the next scene

Following on from the story sets, students continue to use the cardboard illustrations to depict what might happen next in the story. Encourage them to turn and talk about how the story is left off and what they think will happen after that. Prompt:

  • What will the children do next?

Students can use the methods inspired by the illustrator to create the next scene, providing an explanation for why they have made that prediction.

As a whole group, each student’s next scene can be shared and discussed. Encourage group members to ask questions of each other’s ideas such as:

  • How likely do you think this is to happen?
  • What words would you use to support this illustration?
  • How will you describe the actions?
  • How will things end?

(ACELT1586)  (ACELT1832)  (EN1-11D)  (EN1-9B)

Text Innovation 

Use the language of the text to connect to student’s own experience and provide an opportunity to explore story and vocabulary elements. Model the use of language choices and features made by the author by breaking down a sentence from the text.

Author’s words 
The best thing of all to play with under the stretching-out sky at the edge of the no-go desert… is me and my brother’s bike.
Our words
The best thing of all to play with submerged in the warm soapy tub in the steamy bathroom is my yellow rubber duck.

Follow with a series of lessons modelling how to innovate on the language, creating sentences as a group and recording the sentences for reference. Create a class book or shared text where each student has a page to showcase their innovated sentence. Publish the book and share.
(ACELT1832)   (ACELA1451)   (EN1-2A)   (EN1-4A)


Rich assessment task

Character Interview 

After sharing the text and learning experiences with the group, ask the students to identify a favourite part or character in the book to discuss in a hot seat. Encourage students to provide an explanation about why they like that scene or character.

The teacher may like to watch this video for some ideas on character development.

Prompt students to create a list of questions they could ask their character from the text. In pairs or small groups have students take turns to play the role of the ‘character’ and ‘interviewer’. Encourage the characters being interviewed to consider how they might respond to the questions based on what they know from the text.
(ACELT1582)   (EN1-7B)   (EN1-11D)   (EN1-8B)