Connecting to prior knowledge

Connecting with the book

  • Look at the front cover and ask students if the picture reminds them of anywhere they have been. Point out the boat and ask if anyone has been on a boat before. Ask students to predict the importance of the boat and its occupants, i.e. ‘Do you think the boat will be important to the story? Who do you think the people in the boat are?’
  • Turn through the pages of the book without displaying any of the words. Have students guess what is happening in the pictures and the story. Ask whether they think the name of the boat is significant.
  • Ask students if they have read a Jeannie Baker book before. If so, does that experience help them predict anything about this book?
  • Read the book as a class and discuss students’ predictions. Were they correct? What was different? Was the book what they expected?

(AC9E2LA08)   (EN1-RECOM-01)

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

Community walk

  • Take the class for a walk around the school community, including the school grounds and the surrounding areas within approximately half a kilometre. Have students carry a clipboard with paper to note down anything significant or of interest. If possible, have students take photos; if not, you will need to take some photos for them.
  • When students get back to the classroom, they can engage in a think-pair-share activity about their experience, using the notes they took on the walk.
  • Share and discuss some photos from the walk as a class. Jointly construct a Y chart about what students saw, felt and heard.

(AC9E2LA09)   (EN1-CWT-01)

Rainforests and coastal environments

  • Using a digital platform such as Flickr or YouTube, show students pictures or footage (including sound) of coastal and rainforest environments. Ask them to reflect on these images and any personal experiences they have had with these environments. Jointly construct Y charts on both environments.
  • Using different coloured markers, highlight the similarities and differences between the coast and the rainforest. Then use different colours to highlight the similarities and differences with their school environment.

(AC9E2LY05)   (EN1-RECOM-01)

Rich assessment task

Have students create pictures of themselves with the characters from the book in each of the three environments, i.e. a rainforest environment, a coastal environment and their school environment. Students can incorporate drawing, painting or other types of artistic mediums. Students will also create speech bubbles and written dialogue for one or more of the characters and place them in an appropriate spot on the pictures.

Through a short oral presentation, students should demonstrate an understanding of the features of the different environments, and how the characters interact with it.

(AC9E2LY07)   (ENE-OLC-01)

Responding to the text

Exploring the purpose

  • Read the section at the back of the book about the Daintree Rainforest. Discuss possible reasons for including this section and why the author may have chosen to write about this particular rainforest.
  • Present students with a statement along the lines of: ‘The Daintree Rainforest is a good topic for a children’s book.’ Around the room place four signs that say ‘strongly agree’, ‘strongly disagree’, ‘agree’ and ‘disagree’. Have students stand next to the sign that reflects their opinions most strongly.
  • After a quick pair-share, choose a student to go around the room (or go yourself) and interview others about their choices and why they feel that way. Students can move to a different sign if someone has been persuasive enough to change their opinion.
  • Repeat this activity with some more complex topics, such as ‘our forests are being destroyed’ (link this to the last double page spread in the text).

(AC9E2LY02)   (EN1-UARL-01)

Exploring plot, character, setting and theme

My special place

  • Have students think of a place that is special to them. It could be a place they go to on holiday, somewhere in their home or back yard, or maybe a community park. Have them complete the think board (PDF, 105KB) exploring the elements of the place and what makes it special.
  • Once students have finished their worksheets, display them around the room. Students are to conduct a gallery walk and, as a class, discuss the question: ‘What is something you found interesting, surprising, common, etc. about everybody’s think boards?’

(AC9E2LE02)   (EN1-UARL-01)

The Daintree Rainforest

  • Using a variety of non-fiction texts, brochures (collected prior to the start of this unit) and the Internet, direct students to research the Daintree Rainforest in groups of three. Each group will have their own graffiti board to record interesting facts, post pictures and pose questions that arise during their research.
  • In their groups, students are to discuss the Daintree Rainforest and why and for whom it is a ‘special place’. They can use a graphic organiser (PDF, 168KB) to write down ideas.

(AC9E2LY01)   (EN1-UARL-01)


  • Read Jeannie Baker’s book Window. Discuss both books and how they are similar and different. Have students complete a table (template below) comparing the two books. As an alternative, groups of students could each take a Jeannie Baker book and do their own comparison.
Different: Where the Forest Meets the Sea  Same Different: Window









(AC9E2LE01)   (EN1-UARL-01)

Rich assessment task

Reuse the think board template (PDF, 105KB) from the My Special Place activity. Students are to complete three versions of this worksheet imagining the perspectives of the little boy in the book, the Aboriginal children, and one of the children on the last page of the book.

Students should demonstrate an understanding of each character’s relationship to place and how it has different meaning for different characters over the passage of time. They should also show an awareness of the themes that the author is trying to portray in the book.

(AC9E2LA08)   (EN1-RECOM-01)

Examining text structure and organisation

Exploring illustrations

  • Provide copies of the book to small groups of students and allocate each group an illustration. Using paper or a whiteboard, have students write down what is happening in their allocated illustration. Share responses as a class and compare them to the text on the page. Ask students whether or not the pictures are important in telling the story and why. Why do they think the author chose to illustrate the book in this way? Follow up by exploring Jeannie Baker’s website where she describes the techniques she uses.
  • In pairs, students can play a barrier game in which they sit back to back with a partner. Student A must describe what is going on in a picture and Student B must draw the picture. The two pictures are then compared.
  • Jointly construct a PMI chart (plus, minus, interesting) for the illustrations in the book.

(AC9E2LA08)   (EN1-RECOM-01)

Examining grammar and vocabulary

My father says

  • Look at the repetition of the phrase ‘my father says’. Ask why the author has used this phrase so much; perhaps the father is the wise adult passing down knowledge? Students can make a list of other things the father might say to his son about the Daintree Rainforest. Play an adaptation of the drama game ‘good morning judge’. One student sits with their back to the class and asks, ‘What does your father say?’ Another student is silently selected to give an answer (‘My father says …’) in a disguised voice. The student at the front must guess who is speaking.
  • In a circle, students can take turns saying something that their father (or other extended family member) says.

(AC9E2LE03)   (EN1-UARL-01)

Oral narrative

  • Discuss other types of narratives that are passed down through generations to help people learn, i.e. fables, Dreaming stories, campfire yarns. Read a variety of Dreaming stories or invite a local Aboriginal Elder to share some of their own stories. Discuss the difference between an oral narrative and one that is written down.
  • Play a game of telephone and discuss how stories that are passed down can be changed and adapted over time.

(AC9E2LA02)   (EN1-UARL-01)

Rich assessment task

In groups, students are to create three freeze frames (still dramatic representations using students and props) to represent the past, present and future of the Daintree Rainforest. Students will take photos of each frozen scene and put them together in a multimedia format using Microsoft PowerPoint, Pic Collage or another app. They can then orally tell the story of their pictures. Alternatively, students may assemble their pictures in a collage accompanied by written text.

Students should be able to portray their point of view and understanding of the text through dramatic portrayal and artistic/multimedia representation, and understand the difference between oral and written narrative.

(AC9E2LE05)   (EN1-CWT-01)

Favourite recipe

  • Have a discussion about the pages where the father is cooking fish with his son.
  • Revise the purpose and audience for a procedural text. Brainstorm examples. Highlight that recipes are a type of procedural text. Show the class an example of your favourite recipe using the sentence starter: ‘I like … cooked like this’. Have students deconstruct the recipe and point out the features of a procedural text, such as a sequence of activities in order, imperative verbs, structure (e.g. goal and aim), equipment and then a sequence of directives.
  • Have students bring in their favourite recipe from home and orally present it to the class starting with the phrase: ‘I like my … cooked like …’.

Picture captions

  • Show students some examples of persuasive titles from newspaper articles, travel brochures or protest placard signs. Show them the video ‘How can we help protect the rainforests?‘ and discuss the persuasive devices used, i.e. short sentences, emotive pictures and music, high modality, etc. Watch a second clip.
  • Jointly construct a Venn diagram comparing the two clips.
  • Look at pictures of the Daintree Rainforest and brainstorm some captions that would be persuasive and encourage people to be environmentally conscious.

Persuasive piece

  • Brainstorm different ways students can contribute to the conservation of the Daintree Rainforest. In groups, students are to plan a presentation of a persuasive piece to raise awareness of the plight of the rainforest. Students can use any format they wish, such as a multimedia project, a play, a persuasive letter, a speech, a poster, etc.

(AC9E2LY06)   (EN1-CWT-01)

Rich assessment task

Students are to create a board game about the Daintree Rainforest. Show them examples of other board games and, if necessary, provide them with a basic template. The purpose of the game is to teach others about the Daintree Rainforest, as well as promote its conservation. Students will need to follow the basic format of a board game and demonstrate knowledge of the procedural format, as well as aspects of persuasive texts. They should also use elements of the text Where the Forest Meets The Sea where possible.

If time is an issue, get students to simply plan the board game and what it will contain.