Teaching Notes for Bree's Forest Adventure

Teaching notes for Bree's Forest Adventure



Bree's Forest Adventure is a picture book for children aged 3-8 years that engages with the themes of biodiversity, Australian flora and fauna, extended family, cultural difference, and with the values of persistence and enthusiasm.

This book can be used in the classroom or at home
to encourage observation and social inclusion. 


Activity 1: Biodiversity, Australian Flora and Fauna, Description & Narration

Go for a bushwalk. Especially in spring! Bring a guidebook or look up an orchid website on your phone or iPad (details below). Take photos.

Back in the classroom (or at home), try these things to extend learning: 

1. Draw a picture of something you saw on the bushwalk. Use photos as visual prompts. 

2. Use words to describe something you saw on the bushwalk. Describe colour, size, shape, texture, smell and sound (e.g. I saw a white and green orchid. It was small and it looked like a spider.). Describe your feelings when you looked at this object (e.g. I felt amazed - it was so beautiful!).

3. Further extension: narrative. Write or tell your own story about a person or group of people who go for a bushwalk. Anything could happen! Group activity: try a circle story. Seat children in a circle. Explain that you are going to tell a story in sentences around the group. Each person gets one sentence. Start off with something like this: 'Once upon a time, there were three friends, Abdul, Amanda and Jasmine, who went for a big bushwalk in Kings Park.' Encourage the children to describe the characters or to think of something they might do, or something that might happen to them. 



Activity 2: Extended family and Cultural Difference

1. Extended Family

1a. Make a family tree. Ask children to write down the names of everybody in their family they can think of. Try this order: self, siblings, parents/carers, grandparents, uncles and aunts, cousins. Be aware of and sensitive to any children who have different family or care arrangements. Create a visual family tree by freehand drawing, or by downloading one of these family tree templates: 

1b. Strengthening family relationships. Begin by asking children to give examples of how other members of their family care for them (e.g. 'Grandma visits us from Kununurra every year and brings everybody a present', or 'Uncle Shan always cooks noodles for us when we go to his house'). Ask the children to give some examples of how they could show care for other members of their family (e.g. 'When Grandma visits, I can stop playing my game and quickly go and give her a big hug', or 'I can say thank you to Uncle Shan after a meal'.)

2. Recognise cultural difference. 

2a. Names of family members. Explain to the children that in the English language, parents have names like 'Mum/Mother' or 'Dad/Father', grandparents have names like 'Grandma/Nanna' or 'Grandpa/Granddad'. You may want to explain the difference between formal family names (e.g. father/mother) and informal family names (e.g. Mum/Dad). Invite children who have different sort of names for family members to share what these names are. Write them on the board and group them into different languages. Explain that there are many groups of people in the world who speak languages other than English and that they may have different names for their family members. Invite all the children to say these different names with you. 

2b. Case Study: Chinese kinship terms. In Bree's Forest Adventure, Bree has two family members with Chinese names. Her Dad's Mum is called 'Nai Nai' (奶奶)and her Dad's Dad is called 'Ye Ye' (爷爷). These are the informal names for paternal grandparents. Explain that in Chinese culture there are different names for maternal and paternal grandparents.  In fact there are different names for just about every different kind of relative depending not only on generation or gender, but also on relative age, maternal or paternal lineage, and whether the relationship is through blood or by marriage. It gets very complicated!



Activity 3: Persistence and Enthusiasm

3a. Persistence. Have you ever felt like giving up? What were you trying to do? Did you keep trying? Did you eventually succeed? What was that like? Write about these experiences. 

Use concrete descriptions:

Tell us how old you were at the time, and what your surroundings were like (e.g.  I was sitting on Grandma's back step in the early morning sunshine trying to tie up my shoelaces. Fluffy, Grandma's big golden dog was right next to me, breathing hotly in my ear. She kept licking me when I was trying to concentrate. "Stop it, Fluffy!" I yelled in my biggest five-year-old voice.).

What made you feel like giving up? (e.g. My big brother Jason opened the back door. "What's taking you so long, Sarah? I could tie up my shoelaces when I was three.").

3b. Enthusiasm. Have you ever been very excited about something or keen to do something? Tell us a bit more about this. Have you ever had someone else cheer you on when you are trying to do something? How did that make you feel? 

Use concrete descriptions:

What exactly were you trying to do, when and where were you trying to do it? (e.g. I have always wanted to learn how to do a front flip on the trampoline. Now I was bouncing excitedly on Xiao Wei's trampoline in her big back yard. We had the whole afternoon.).

Who cheered you on? (e.g. "It took me three hours to learn how to do a front flip," said Xiao Wei. We'd been best friends since kindergarten. "Keep trying and you'll get the hang of it!" I flipped ... and landed on my bottom. We both laughed. "That's pretty good for a first shot," said Xiao, "do it again!".).