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The First Nations History resource you will have wished you had known about.

Updated: Sep 7, 2020

Australian History and the way it has been taught over the years has failed to paint an accurate picture of First Nations peoples, cultures and histories. Today, the Australian Curriculum is far different to the one that our teachers at school had and really encourages and gives teachers an opportunity to paint a more accurate picture of First Nations peoples, cultures and histories. In saying this, there are still textbooks, resources and other materials out there that are inaccurate and it can be difficult for teachers to identify these.

Today, I want to share with you an incredible resource that I have used time and time again in my classroom, it is an absolutely massive resource! It is a book, an online resource and activity centre, a visual literacy resource, and a series of films and scripts covering a huge range of topics from the Australian Curriculum, including; pre-invasion, invasion and all the way through to the 2008 Apology.

This resource is called My Place.

My Place has so many incredible sections to it which I will touch on but for the most part I am going to focus on a the short film and script named 'Laura - The Apology" which is about the 2008 Apology by Kevin Rudd written by Leah Purcell.

The short film series that I am talking about in this blog post is based on the book My Place book which was written by Nardia Wheatley and Illustrated by Donna Rawlins but because I love celebrating and sharing with your First Nations authors and writers, this blog post will be focusing on the film and script for the short film "Laura - The Apology" in the ABC My Place series which is written by Leah Purcell.

Leah is an extremely talented First Nations, author, writer, actor, singer and director, who you may have seen in Redfern Now, The Drover's Wife, Wentworth and Jindabyne, to mention just a few and she has not only written the script for this film but she also plays the character Ellen, who is the mother of Laura. Oh so talented!

The specific clip for Laura is called "The Apology" and focuses on the 2008 Apology given by Kevin Rudd. This short film really does a great job of depicting how important the 2008 Apology was for First Nations peoples, families and communities and the acknowledgment of the continued suffering and trauma inflicted upon families and communities as a result of the Stolen Generations through the eyes of Laura, her family and her community.

As teachers, we know the importance of exposing our students to different text types and the script for "Laura - The Apology" is an incredible way to blend; the various use of text types (The script of Laura and the Apology itself) while embedding First Nations perspectives. The ABC has done this by creating an entire website named My Place for Teachers. Yes, that's right, there is a whole site made by the ABC, dedicated completely to analysing each and every section of the My Place short film series, all the way from pre-invasion to 2008 decade by decade, with curriculum links as well as classroom activities broken down into year groups from years 3 - 6. See, I told you this resource was amazing right!

The beauty of this film is not just the quality and the depth of understanding that is portrayed through the characters and the storyline but the detailed lesson plans and resources that accompany this resource, to really allow all teachers to embed the film straight into their teaching. These 6 English and 4 History lesson plans are explicit and contain all of the writing templates you need to complete each activity in one simple word document. I will attach all of the links at the bottom of this post.

Now, if you thought all of that was amazing then listen to this!

The ABC has also designed an interactive website to explore each character and every facet of their life, to give students a clear vision of each character. I love this so much because this short film and resource really do work so well together to show Community as we are today, in preference to some other resources which are outdated in the way they represent First Nations peoples.

The way the Nardia Wheatly and the ABC have collaborated to achieve this, is very cleaver! Just as in the book, they have broken it up into sections decade by decade and associated a character to go with each decade. Each of these characters are children, which makes it so much more relatable for students. With each character you can explore different sections of "Their World".

The first section is a special place for each character and for Laura, this is The Canal. Once you click on this section it will take you to The Canal and there will be highlighted items that you can click. When you click on it, another box will appear with historical information about this item or area which will relate back to the decade and the character you have chosen. The lesson possibilities with this section are incredible particularly around place and historical locations.

The second section is "Meet Laura". Here you will find a diary where Laura introduces herself surrounded by items that are meaningful to her. If you click on each item the page in the diary will turn and you will be able to read why this item is special to Laura. There are 7 items in total that are special to Laura and honestly this section alone has so much content and lesson possibilities that it hurts my brain. It is truly incredible!

The third section is Laura's Community Tree. I love how this tree shows students a visual representation of how different people are connected through one person. This links characters from other decades to Laura through one person. The Community Tree has images of each community member, which are images taken from the short films they are in, which again, makes it easy for the students, helping them to identify each community member and where they fit into the Character's life.

The fourth and final section of the character's world is where they live. For Laura, your students can take a tour of Laura's bedroom, kitchen and backyard. This is an important feature for a couple of reasons; for one, by showing students how First Nations peoples live today, and by identifying the similarities between Laura's house and your students' houses, this will naturally give your students an opportunity to gain a more accurate understanding of how we live today, and to undo some of the stereotypical portrayals shared in outdated and inaccurate resources. Another reason this tour is so important is because of the items that you can discover around Laura's house, there are so many objects that are important to her and when you click on each of them they will give you information about the significance of this item to Laura or to the decade, again making this section so valuable for students!

Overall, My Place is hands down, one of the best and most popular resources I have used in my classroom over the years for not just students but teachers. Please remember though, that this resource covers every decade through to 2008, and just as with different decades, Australia has been shaped by different influences from around the world and these are explored through each character in the series. I really encourage you to get on to the My Place website and just have a look around to really get familiar with its content and how you could use it in your program. There is so much information in this resource and I have tried my best to include everything but I apologise, as I am sure to have missed something, simply due to the INSANE size of it. Just as a side note though you will need to access the My Place website using a computer which has Flash Player (Which is FREE) for the interactive features to work but this works really well anyway, when you use it on the interactive White Board as a class. Lastly, please don't forget to check out the "Before Time" section and all of the stories that accompany it, you will love it, I promise!

Please remember, if you are looking for ways to celebrate First Nations Authors and writers in your classroom then remember to check out my First Nations Author Study Bulletin Board which you can customise to suit any First Nations Author you are studying at any time. This Author Study covers the Who, What, When, Where and Why of your chosen author and their work and also gives you a dedicated space in your classroom to celebrate First Nations authors surrounded by contemporary Aboriginal art making this space in your classroom purposeful and meaningful. To view this resource click the image to your left.

I hope you have loved reading this blog post as much as I have enjoyed sharing it with you!

Enjoy My Place!

Links are listed below:

My Place for Teachers site ( go to the downloads section on the right of your page and select Scripts series 1)

If you are interested in the book there are also a set of classroom notes provided by Walker Books

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