Connecting to prior knowledge

Connecting with the book

  • Look at the front cover and ask children if the picture reminds them of anywhere they have been. Point out the boat and ask the students if anyone has been on a boat before. Ask the 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?
  • Look through the book with the words covered over. Have children guess what is happening in the pictures and the story line. Ask students if they think the name of the boat is significant.
  • Who has read a Jeannie Baker book before? Does that experience help you predict anything about this book?
  • Read the book through and discuss the predictions. Were the predications correct? What was different? Was the book what they expected?
    (ACELA1469)   (ACELT1591)   (EN1-10C)


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 itself as well as surrounding areas within about half a kilometre. Have students carry a clip board and paper and note down anything significant or of interest. If possible have students take photos, otherwise the teacher will need to takes photos.
  • When the class gets back to the classroom, students engage in a think-pair-share activity about the walk, using the notes they have taken on the walk.
  • Show photos to the class and discuss. Jointly construct a Y chart about what they saw, felt and heard.
    (ACELA1470)   (EN1-11D)

Rain forests and coastal environments

  • Using a digital platform such as Flickr or YouTube clips, show pictures or movie footage, including sound, of coastal environments and rain forest environments. Ask children to reflect on footage and any personal experiences they have had with these environments. Jointly construct Y charts on both environments.
  • With different coloured highlighters, highlight similarities and differences between the coast and the rain forest. Then use different colours to highlight similarities and differences with their school environment.
    (ACELY1670)   (EN1-11D)


Rich assessment task

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

Students should demonstrate an understanding of the features of the different environments, how the characters interact with it.
(ACELY1674)   (EN1-10C)

Responding to the text

Exploring the purpose

  • Read the section in the back of the book about the Daintree Rainforest. Discuss reasons for this section of the book and why the 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’. Prepare four sections of the room with signs that say ‘strongly agree’, ‘strongly disagree’, ‘agree’ and ‘disagree’. Have students go to the corner that reflects their opinions most strongly.
  • After a quick pair-share, choose a student or have a teacher go to each corner and interview people about their choices and why they feel that way. Students can move to a different corner if someone has been persuasive enough to change their opinion.
  • Move onto more complex topics such as ‘our forests are being destroyed’ (link to the last double page in the text).
    (ACELY1668)   (EN1-8B)


Exploring plot, character, setting and theme

My Special Place

  • 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. Students 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 conduct a gallery walk and as a class and discuss the questions ‘What is something you found interesting, surprising, common etc about everybody’s think boards?’
    (ACELT1596)   (EN1-11D)

The Daintree Rainforest

  • Using a variety of non fiction texts, brochures (collected by the teacher prior to starting the unit) and the internet, students in groups of three research the Daintree Rainforest. Each group has their own Graffiti boards where they record interesting facts, post pictures and pose questions that arise during their research.
  • As a group students discuss the Daintree Rainforest and who it is a ‘Special Place’ for and why. They can use a graphic organiser (PDF, 168KB) to write down ideas.
    (ACELY1665)   (EN1-12E)


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

(ACELT1589)   (ACELY1665)   (EN1-8B)


Rich assessment task

Use the same template (PDF, 106KB) in Activity 2 My Special Place. Students complete 3 versions from the perspective 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 the characters relationship to the 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.
(ACELA1469)   (EN1-10)

Examining text structure and organisation

Exploring illustrations

  • Make laminated copies of the pictures in the book with one side blank, punch a hole in the corner and put them on a ring binder. Have the students write down what is happening in the pictures on the blank side using whiteboard markers. As a class go through the group responses and compare to the text on the page. Ask students the question 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 play a barrier game where students sit back to back and Student A must describe what is going on in a picture and Student B must draw the picture. The two pictures are then compared.
  • Watch the Flickr adaptation of the book and discuss what students liked about each representation. Jointly construct a PMI chart (plus, minus, interesting) for illustrations in the book and the photo representation.

Examining grammar and vocabulary

My father says

  • Students 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 make a list of other things the father might say about the Daintree Rainforest to his son. Play an adaptation of the drama game ‘good morning judge’. One student sits with their back to the class and says ‘What does your father say?’ A student is silently selected by the teacher to give an answer, ‘My father says . . .’ but in a disguised voice. The person at the front must guess who is saying it.
  • In a circle students each take turns saying something that their father (or family friend) says.

Oral narrative

  • Discuss other types of narrative that is 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 elder to share some stories. Discuss the difference between an oral narrative and one that is written down.
  • Play Chinese Whispers and discuss how stories that are passed down can be changed and adapted over time.


Rich assessment task

In groups students create three freeze frames (still dramatic representations using students and props) to represent the past, present and future of the Daintree Rainforest. Students take photos of each frozen scene and put them together in a multimedia format using movie maker, power point or Pic Collage app and orally tell the story of their pictures. Alternatively students can choose to put them together in a collage format using written text to accompany their pictures.
Students should be able to portray their point of view and understanding of the text through dramatic portrayal and artistic or multimedia representation and understand the difference between oral and written narrative.

Favourite recipe

  • Have a discussion with students about the pages where the dad is cooking the fish with his son.
  • Revise the purpose and audience for procedural text.  Brainstorm examples of procedural texts. Highlight that recipes are a type of procedural text. Show the class an example of your favourite recipe. Use the text innovation ‘I like cake/biscuits/chicken etc cooked like this.’ Have students deconstruct the recipe and point out the features of a procedural text such as sequence of activities in order, imperative verbs, structure such as goal and aim, equipment and then 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 such as newspaper headlines, travel brochures or placard signs in a protest. Show students the video of save the rain forest and discuss the persuasive devices used i.e short sentences, directive speech such as you, emotive pictures and music, question at the end etc. Watch a second clip.
  • Jointly construct a Venn diagram comparing the two clips.
  • Students look at the pictures on Flickr again and have students think of captions to go with the pictures that are persuasive and will encourage people to be environmentally conscious.

 Persuasive Piece

  • Brainstorm different ways students are able to contribute to the cause of the Daintree Rainforest. In groups students 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.


Rich assessment task

  • Students create a board game about the Daintree Rainforest. Show examples of other board games and if necessary provide students with a basic template. The purpose of the board game is to teach others about the Daintree Rainforest as well as promote the conservation cause. Students will need to follow the basic format of a board game and will need to demonstrate a knowledge of procedural format as well as aspects of persuasive text. Students should also use elements of the text Where the Forest Meets The Sea where possible.
  • If time is an issue get students to plan the board game and what it will contain.