Australian Indigenous perspectives and two giveaways

Hi everyone

Kylie here, from Ripper Reading Resources and this week I am going to be blogging about Australian Indigenous perspectives.

My posts on our new Australian Teachers' collaborative blog will mainly focus on supporting teachers and students in the middle and upper primary years.  There are others in the group who blog about ideas for the early years, so that we have a balance for our readers.  We also try to provide a mix of practical classroom ideas and professional development posts.

I believe all Australian teachers, regardless of year level, should be aware of these important issues in Australia's history and embedding Indigenous perspectives within the curriculum.  In today's post I am going to share some practical ideas and resources that I hope will stimulate your thinking.

Recently a colleague was applying for a new teaching job and one of the selection criteria asked how the candidates addressed Indigenous perspectives in their teaching.  I thought I might share some ideas and practical resources with you for embedding Australian Indigenous perspectives across the curriculum.

The 8 Aboriginal Ways of Learning is a pedagogical framework that allows teachers to focus on their core curriculum but still embed Aboriginal perspectives in every lesson, by using Aboriginal learning approaches - that is, to tell a story, make a plan, think and do, draw, try a new way, watch first, then do and share it with others.

A fact sheet on the 8 Aboriginal Ways of Learning can be downloaded here.

Many thanks to Allan Hall from DET NSW for permission to share the 8 ways framework.
It is really important that teachers and schools understand Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander protocols when approaching Indigenous peoples or engaging with Indigenous content in the curriculum.  There are sensitive issues, appropriate terminology to be used and protocols to be followed.  The Queensland School Curriculum Council (formerly QSA) has produced this document to assist teachers and schools. Click on the red hyperlink to download it.  It also includes links to other useful organisations and resources.

Pullenvale State School project
Recently I had the pleasure of speaking with the principal of Pullenvale State School, Mr Evan Willis about a project developed by the school in conjunction with the National Bank of Australia , "Me, My People, My Country" which includes video interviews with notable Indigenous or Torres Strait Islander peoples.  This is an excellent series of videos for embedding Indigenous perspectives within the curriculum.  
Click on the image below to learn more about the project.

Video interviews in the series include:
I will be writing more about this project on my own blog over the next week or so.
A list of recommended Australian Indigenous children's picture books can be found here.
Another list of Australian Aboriginal children's picture books, or picture books with Australian Aboriginal themes is available through Creative Spirits here.

A list of top ten Indigenous-authored children's picture books is available here.  Interestingly, many of these titles are published by Magabala Books and another title by One Day Hill Publishers, which I will be sharing later in this blog post.
"Dust Echoes" is a series of 12 animated Dreamtime stories from Central Arnhem Land. They include stories of love, loyalty, duty to country and Aboriginal culture and law.  Click on the image above or the red hyperlink to find out more.  

There are  free study guides and resources for teachers that can be downloaded and multiple choice quizzes for each story. 

There are also links at the top of each digital animated story that provide information about what the story means, what the original story was and where the story comes from.
Magabala books is one of my favourite publishers of picture books written and illustrated by Australian Indigenous authors and illustrators.  They provide free teacher notes for many of their children's picture book titles.  You can find them here.
The image on the right is from "Fair Skin Black Fella" written and illustrated by Renee Fogorty. It is the story of Mary, a young girl who lives on a cattle station, who is shunned by other girls because of her fair skin.  Old Ned, a community elder, speaks up for Mary and teachers the girls that Aboriginal identity transcends skin colour and that family, community, country and culture is what Aboriginal identity is all about.  
Without doing a separate "isolated" unit of work on Australian Aboriginal peoples, these themes of exclusion, inclusion, identity and culture can be embedded throughout the curriculum. This title could be used to raise issues of difference, friendship, bullying and belonging and help reassure other students from mixed race families who may feel "different".  Students could be encouraged to see individual differences as a strength, by reflecting on their own individual differences (e.g. eye colour, hair colour...) and how no two people are the same.  I just absolutely love this illustration - thank you for letting me share it Renee.

"Two Mates" is such a terrific title from Magabala Books and can be used for many different purposes across the curriculum, not only for learning about Australian Indigenous perspectives. It is a terrific picture book for studying other themes such as disabilities, individual differences and inclusivity.  

"Two Mates" is a true story of the mateship between two young boys who live in Broome, in northern Western Australia.  Jack is Indigenous and Raf is non-Indigenous.  The story follows their adventures as they search for hermit crabs, hunt for barni, fish for salmon, explore the markets, eat satays, dress up as superheroes and explore the rock pools.  It has a real twist at the end (which I will not spoil), so it would be a terrific mentor text for teaching clever closings as well.  It is truly one of my favourite picture books! Free teacher notes for "Two Mates" are available here.

"Two Mates" was the winner of the Speech Pathology Book of the Year Awards and the Best Book for Language and Literacy - Indigenous Children Award.

"Kookoo Kookaburra" has a wonderful theme about kindness being like a boomerang - if you throw it often, it comes back often.  I just love that analogy! What a wonderful title for any classroom and any year level.  It would also fit in very well with themes of friendship, bullying and forgiveness, as Kookoo is well-liked until he starts teasing his friends.  His friends soon abandon him because of this and he learns about loneliness and humility. His friends finally do forgive him and the lesson is learned.  

"Kookoo Kookaburra" is a wonderful story of the Dreamtime, with important messages for all children, even though it is written for children in the early years.  The figurative language in this text would make it suitable for readers beyond the early years, and it could also be a useful text for older readers needing support.

Free teacher notes for "Kookoo Kookaburra" by Gregg Dreise are available here and here.

Many thanks to our friends at Magabala Books for their generosity and for permission to reproduce the picture book covers in this post.

One lucky reader can win a free copy of "Kookoo Kookaburra" by Gregg Dreise by entering the Rafflecopter below.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway
For older readers, I love the series from One Day Hill Publishers that introduce song lyrics through children's picture books around Australian Indigenous issues.  They are fantastic for critical literacy and are based on iconic Australia songs around Indigenous Issues.  

The YouTube clips here feature "From Little Things Big Things Grow."  Students may recognise the tune because it was used in a TV commercial, however, unpacking the historical meaning behind the lyrics is terrific for critical literacy work.                                                   Paul Kelly, Kev Carmody and John Butler               
Paul Kelly: "From Little Things Big Things Grow" This YouTube version of the song includes historical photos to add to the students' understanding.  It includes captions to stimulate further discussion.

The song "From Little Things Big Things Grow" by Paul Kelly commemorates a significant event in Australian history, when in 1966 Vincent Lingiari led 200 Indigenous employees off Wave Hill station in protest over pay and work conditions and they camped at Wattie Creek (Daguragu).  The strike lasted 9 years and led to the Aboriginal Land Rights Act in 1976.  The Gurinjdi were able to negotiate compensation for mining and development on their traditional lands, symbolised by then Prime Minister Gough Whitlam pouring a handful of Daguragi soil into Vincent Lingiari's hand and you can read more about Vincent's legacy and the writing of Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody's song here.

A fact sheet about these events is available here.  

Learn more by watching this short You Tube documentary from the ABC.
Listen to Vincent Lingiari speak about the situation himself, including the lyrics and song of Gurindji Blues by Ted Egan.                  
Images reproduced with the permission of One Day Hill Publishers.

Who could forget "Solid Rock" written by Goanna's Shane Howard?  

YouTube clip of the picture book "Solid Rock" from One Day Hill Publishers may be more appropriate for younger students.  Artwork in the "Solid Rock" picture book is by Queensland artist, Peter Hudson and school children from the Mutijulu, Kaltukajara and Impanpa communities.

For older students, critical literacy questions could prompt discussion using a YouTube clip similar to this.  

Questions could include:  

  • Who wrote this text?  
  • Why do you think they wrote it?  
  • Who is advantaged or disadvantaged in this text? 
  • Whose voices aren't heard?  

Discussion could also compare the images in the YouTube clip to the lyrics of the song and question why the creator of the YouTube clip made the choices they did to represent the lyrics that way?  Students could also contrast the representation of Indigenous Australians in the YouTube clip to some of the other representations included later in this blog post.  

A bit of a caution, however, at the end of the YouTube clip, you see the girl swimming in a rock pool and her bottom is visible, so perhaps stop the clip above just before the ending.

The other two titles in the iconic book series, based on song lyrics and Australian Indigenous themes are "Took the Children Away" by Archie Roach and "My Island Home" by Neil Murray.

Teaching reading comprehension with song lyrics is terrific for all readers, including those needing support. I find that teaching reading comprehension with song lyrics hooks kids in and maximises student engagement (they often don't even realise they are reading).  

Bronywyn Bancroft
Bronwyn Bancroft is a children's book author and illustrator and I have loved her work for years.  "Big Rain Coming" is used by many Queensland schools who follow the C2C or Curriculum into the Classroom materials.  In the clip below, Bronwyn talks about "Big Rain Coming", "Stradbroke Dreamtime"  and the new picture book she is publishing with her son, Jack, "The Eagle Inside".

Click on the image above to hear from Bronwyn Bancroft, with links for teachers to the Australian Curriculum: English for Years 5-9.

Free Teacher Notes for Bronwyn Bancroft's picture book, "Why I Love Australia" are available here.  This picture book showcases Australia's many rich and varied landscapes, in words and images.  

This is a link that explains the Aboriginal symbols in Indigenous artwork and the meanings behind those symbols.
PETAA has a unit of work on "Why I Love Australia" by Bronwyn Bancroft and also a unit of work on "Nanberry: Black Brother White" by Jackie French.  Free teacher notes for Nanberry: Black Brother White are also available through Scholastic.

PETAA is a wonderful professional organisation to be a member of.  To read more about membership benefits and subscriptions, click here.
Did you know that Indigenous Literacy Day is celebrated in Australia on 7 September and is a major day for events and fundraisers for Indigenous literacy in Australia?  These are some of the wonderful results by the Indigenous Literacy Foundation in 2015:
The Indigenous Literacy Foundation aims to improve the literacy opportunities and outcomes for Indigenous children living in some of the most remote areas of Australia.  You can read more about the Indigenous Literacy Foundation here.
This is the powerful story of one Australian athlete's stance to progress racial equality.  I did not know Peter Norman's story, but I think all Australians should read this.  Click on the image below to watch the story on YouTube.
Photo reproduced from: 

Hear PJ's story and view the other clips following by clicking on the images.
PJ's Story - seaofhands 

Sean Choolburra is one of my favourite Australian comedians

Uni and Eddy - cover of Ed Sheeran's Thinking Out Loud
This is just beautiful
You will find other ideas for embedding Australian Indigenous perspectives and other links for other Australian resources here.

Walk the Talk
Michael Long (former Essendon AFL player, Ambassador for AFL Indigenous Programs and anti-bullying advocate) led The Long Walk to Canberra in 2004 to meet the Prime Minister, John Howard.

"Walk the Talk" is a free DVD that shares the story of Michael Long and his walk to Canberra in 2004.  It also introduces issues that Indigenous Australians have faced since white settlement.  It includes powerful historical images and overviews the contributions of Indigenous people to Australia, including Kathy Freeman, Nicky Winmar, Nova Peris, Cyril Rioli, Patrick Mills, Jessica Mauboy, Jimmy Little, Dan Sultan, The Sapphires, Troy Cassar-Daly, Ernie Dingo, Brandon Walters, Emily Kngwarre, Albert Namatjira, Lowitja O'Donaghue, Judge Bob Bellear and David Unaipon. 

The DVD also highlights other famous Aboriginal and Torres Strait walks in Australian history - including the Gurindji and the 2000 Reconciliation walk.

There are two versions of the DVD - a Junior version and a Senior version.  I have viewed both and there is actually no difference in the two DVDs.

So instead of studying Australian Aboriginal culture as an "add on" to the curriculum, if you are studying famous Australians, the "Walk the Talk" DVDs would be an asset in your curriculum programming to include Indigenous perspectives and contributions to Australian society over time.

Check out the "Walk the Talk" website by clicking on the "More Activities" image above to learn more about the initiative and all the additional resources and activities available.

Free teacher notes and online units of work

Free Australian Curriculum: English Units are available through the English for the Australian Curriculum website.  

The Year 6 Unit, "Talk about Rights" explores land rights, "From Little Things Big Things Grow" and "Took the Children Away" from One Day Hill Publishers, Stolen Generations, "Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence" and integrates English and History.
PETAA has some wonderful, comprehensive units of work in its Global Worlds collection with links to all resources.  Click on the images below to find out more.
Year 1/2 - Big Rain Coming by Bronwyn Bancroft

Year 3/4 - Aboriginal Dreamtime Stories Unit of Lesson Plans

Year 3/4 - Aboriginal Images - A Cultural Lesson Plan

Year 3/4 - Aboriginal Culture Investigation Lesson Plan

Year 9 - First Australians - Making a nation history webquest and lesson plan

Year 6/8/9 - The Stolen Generations Lesson Plan - English/History

AC History Units:  Year 7 - Investigating Australia's Ancient Past includes the importance of conserving the heritage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Year 10 - Rights and freedoms in Australia - a spoken presentation about a civil rights event that is significant to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples. 

Another rafflecopter giveaway
One of our collaborative Aussie teachers has created this beaut pack for Australia Day and whilst my blog post is on Indigenous perspectives, this resource explores the impact that has been made on our Indigenous peoples over time, including the impact of Europeans, convicts and Macassans on the environment and the Indigenous peoples, with links to the Australian Curriculum.  To find out more, click on the images below or here.

One lucky reader can win a fee copy of Paula's Australia Day resource by entering the second Rafflecopter below. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

We write these blog posts and we are unsure if they are useful or not.  
Please take a moment or two to leave some feedback and to possibly let us know any topics that you would find useful for future blog posts - thanks so much.

How can you integrate Australian Indigenous perspectives into your curriculum?  From a social critical literacy stance, what can you do, as a teacher, to make a difference?

There is only so much you can share in one blog post, so please share in the comments below any other resources or ideas you have for embedding Indigenous perspectives (not across) but within the curriculum, in all curriculum areas.

Many thanks to Iva from etsy for the digital papers and frames used in the sub-headings in this post (see:


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. This is an excellent cache of free learning materials about the Aborigines. They are like our American Indians. Australian Indigenous are fascinating. Enjoy learning about them.

    1. Thanks so much for the feedback Anne :)

  3. Oh my goodness!! The wealth of resources and practical applications are astounding AND outstanding! I agree with Anne Weaver's comment that the Aboriginal community is akin to our Native Americans here in the States. Fantastic, informative blog!! Thank you for expanding my horizons!

    1. Thanks so much Joy for your feedback. It took quite a bit of research and I was on a learning curve putting it together. Some of the resources are just beaut for critical literacy :)

  4. This post has so many wonderful resources! I also agree with the comments above about the Aboriginal community and Native Americans. WOW! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Thanks so much for your feedback Mary and I hope some of the resources are of use to you :)

  6. On a lighter note - got to love the Deadly Chooky Dancers - so much talent :)

  7. Thank you for your post, I look for such article along time, today i find it finally. this post give me lots of advise it is very useful for me. Headlines


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