Welcome to School by Design. Our task is to find or develop thought-provoking classroom materials for sharing with teachers. Beautiful and interesting, if sometimes uncomfortable materials from the real world, media messages and persuasion are our emphases. This is an open access site.

"I'm in smashing form thanks Charles.. but yes, just cogitating at present.." Photo Chris Charles Upsplash

Best wishes to all teachers but special greetings to Victorians having a particularly trying time.
Our apologies! We wanted to make heaps of progress on daily news examination but Covid events and changes and demands have just overtaken us! We'll get there...just not yet..

Welcome to School by Design. Our task is to find or develop thought-provoking classroom materials for sharing with teachers. Beautiful and interesting, if sometimes uncomfortable materials from the real world, media messages and persuasion are our emphases. This is an open access site.
(Thanks to Chris Charles on Upsplash for beautiful photo.)

  • Creative writing- the language of the senses. Scaffolding the skills and tools for complex, interesting scene setting and characterisation.
  • 'Uluru Statement from the Heart'
    This is not forthcoming in an immediate sense and is a longer term project. The Ularu statement is a significant and powerful development. If you have background material or thoughts on this topic and would like to share, please contact us.

Register to be notified of new resources at most convenient email address.

Disclaimer: We make every effort to ensure we are a solid resource for teachers and operate a student-friendly site. We check all links to ensure the sources are valid but not for all content so teachers will need to carry out their usual testing routines. We do not accept responsibility for the sites of others.
Many thanks to all who supply our beautiful photos. See Sources but currently being upgraded. Apologies.

Recent/popular resources

  • Current or ongoing issues This is a new feature which should give us a more structured way of dealing with items (and persuasive content) in the news. We will compile a list of current media issues which can then be refreshed easily with brief comments, links, additions or deletions. Many issues such as '#blacklivesmatter' are ongoing and we hope that this approach will enable greater depth and breadth over time. If you find an article or comment of particular value, please let us know. NB. this section is being altered frequently. We won't close the site down each time so there will often be works in progress.

"Good refugee story and resources for teaching or political consciousness raising. Please share" - Prof Marie Brennan, Adjunct Professor, Education Futures, University of South Australia

"...The resource package on refugees is the sort of material I would have loved to have had access to when I was teaching in a high school. Really comprehensive. Such clear layout. Good luck with it. I hope teachers have discovered it." - Author Graeme Sparkes ('You Never Knew my Father')

Contents
1. "Lunchtime Under the Frangipani Tree"-(Nauru)- renowned Australian teacher and writer, late Maggie Power's last short story
2. Text study- accompanying resource- School by Design
3. Extended resource- refugee issues- School by Design

Maggie was a highly respected writer and EAL teacher who worked as an upper primary integration aide with detention centre and refugee children on Nauru Island.
Maggie never recovered from the sadness and illness that beset her on her return and she will be enormously missed. Her work ‘Lunchtime under the Frangipani Tree’ is a moving, accessible short story that will give every Australian a deeper understanding of a major issue. We appreciate it at many levels, for its characters, its insight and its understanding of how to tell a dramatic tale.

• Short story and text study-parts 1 &2; language development, personal writing, literature appreciation, issues, thinking skills. Mixed ability, secondary classes

• Refugee issues resource-part 3: background for impact of COVID-19 on Australian refugees; context for various contemporary Australian issues including the role of government and the media; persuasion and analysis skills. Middle to senior students or as teachers consider appropriate

Australia has kept asylum seekers arriving by boat in indefinite detention.

This policy and practice has incurred censure from relevant international bodies and appears extraordinarily inconsistent with centuries of common law upon which much of the Australian legal system is based. Australia detained internees during the Second World War but even these 'enemy aliens' appear to have been treated reasonably well and released after the war.

What were the persuasive arguments, devices and processes that led to this situtation? The resource package above looks at the facts, issues and arguments of recent years and provides an essential background for any current discussion of refugee issues.

The current policies have not been ruled illegal by the High Court of Australia whose judgements in these cases are based on the Australian Constitution. There are many issues however, which are not covered by the Australian Constitution.

Common law, which includes laws on wrongful imprisonment, a fair trial and trial by jury can go back as far as the Magna Carta but all law can be overruled by any Government of the day unless the highest court in the land declares it illegal on the basis of the Constitution.

Disclaimer: PLease note, we are not constitutional lawyers. Please discuss these issues with legal teachers/legal experts.


"A collective work showing the heart, soul and skill of former colleagues of the late Maggie Power. Many thanks to the contributors." SBD.

"While this art project could be a great resource and activity for art students, participants do not have to be artists to participate. Or perhaps they may find that they are just that!" PL (participant)

Former Colleagues of the late Maggie Power (author of Nauru short story above) pay tribute with a classroom project.

This classroom project starts with a photograph which is segmented so that each participant can contribute a section towards a finished portrait. The project began with a collaborative portrait of the late Maggie Power executed by nine former teaching colleagues and friends who had known and worked with Maggie over many years. The portrait was completed as a tribute to Maggie on the first anniversary of her passing.

Maggie was a highly respected writer and EAL teacher who worked as an upper primary integration aide with detention centre and refugee children on Nauru Island.
Maggie never recovered from the sadness and illness that beset her on her return and she will be enormously missed. Her work ‘Lunchtime under the Frangipani Tree’ is a moving, accessible short story that will give every Australian a deeper understanding of a major issue. We appreciate it at many levels, for its characters, its insight and its understanding of how to tell a dramatic tale.


"Well Queen Tootsie looks gorgeous but underneath- what a monster!!"

"Junior secondary classes should love this script. It is great for analysing language, intentions, morals and literary devices, for having fun dashing around, shouting and fleeing or for making gorgeous costumes. The princesses are a pig, a giraffe and a panda and they may need costumes too so an integrated project could also work." SBD

The script has a fairy tale setting that is traditional and familiar and could lead naturally into discussions about bullying, violence or threats of violence but watch out for the message at the end. It is not traditional at all. A (smidgen) of thanks to Lewis Carroll.

(The script has been successfully trialled in some Victoria primary schools but we do not promote our site in the primary sector so very few students would have seen it.)


Persuasive language, #blacklivesmatter and racism Caulfield Grammar classroom resource

(Also see Lindy Stirling J and the Global Learning Programs newsletter below)


"...a great unit and it really engaged the students (Year 7). The focus was all about writers who 'write for change' but the timing of '#blacklivesmatter' really took us a lot of places" -Leigh Abercrombie

"With thanks to Leigh and the team at Caulfield Grammar School (Vic) for sharing this unit via Lindy Stirling and her Global Learning programs newsletter. This newsletter is put out by the Dept. Education and Training Victoria. Contact Lindy (see heading above) if you would like a regular copy." -SBD

  • Persuasive language, #blacklivesmatter and racism-Caulfield Grammar Vic
    This unit of work uses persuasive language as the tool to examine how the language we use makes a difference. Slides 6-9 begin the investigation of #blacklivesmatter. Slides 10-16 showcase texts that investigate different perspectives. Slides 17-19 provide activities for students..

  • Lockdown or not to lockdown
  • Climate change and young people
  • First Dog on the Moon, The Guardian. A different form of persuasion
  • Corona virus and a former teacher at work in India.
  • 18 May 2020 The major issue of these times is the lock-down or not-to lock-down. The banners of many anti-lock down protestors seem highly disturbing but an argument presenting a anti-lockdown view was recently put by a journalist from 'The Australian' Adam Creighton on the ABC's Drum. If time allows, it is worth a study for a variety of persuasive devices.

  1. SBD- Part 1. Australians 'thoughtless', 'stupid', 'mean' or scapegoats?
  2. SBD- Part 2. Stockpiling? Latest information may throw a new light on media stories and the 'selfish public'
  3. Research project for geeks
  4. Anita's bees for world bee day.
  • Persuasive text-disinformation
  • English and politics
  • Mixed ability texts but some more significant for senior studies
  • Can be used for oral and written analysis

NB. Some SBD material is included to stimulate discussion. It may or may not reflect the views of all the team but is based on authentic sources and opinion. Signed articles by individuals are also available.

Part 1 Australians: 'selfish', 'stupid' or scapegoats? Swimming at Bondi, hoarding, bad behaviour in supermarkets but...
Feedback
Comment (Disqus) or send/leave a message

Part 2 Stockpiling? Information throws a different light on media and the 'selfish public'.
New reports, however, are still emerging. See recent media for different slants on these issues.
Feedback
Comment (Disqus) or send/leave a message

Geeks
Calling IT students. Some of our visitors mentioned the need for a fair, consistent rationing system. With imports returning, it may not seem urgent but how would you prepare for another crisis? Could it be done? Part 1, Part 2, Feedback.)

Anita's bees.
On Earth Day 2020, Google looked at bees. Why? What might these bees be thinking? (With love from Anita, our artist chef.)


  1. SBD extended piece on Q&A covering serious issue of a consistent media message
  2. Leunig (short poem)
  3. Boomers (Primary source hard to establish)
  • Use of generalisations about politicians, the public and 'Baby Boomers'
  • Persuasive/analytical text-media issues
  • English, politics
  • Year levels vary with each resource
  • analysis- oral tasks, written essays/video/interviews used to persuade

Mon 17 Feb 2020. Q&A 'All About Trust'.
Was the 'trust' concept all that it seemed? Questions are crucial. They can be neutral, pure misdirection or anywhere in-between. Where does this episode about 'trust' sit? Latest Resources
Photo above. Guest, Jack Manning Bancroft: AIME Mentoring 'most impressive'.

The Age. 22 Feb. Viral by Leunig

'Every man's a virus
Every woman too...'
- What do you think? What does this mean? Are we all 'infectious'? (Poem under 'Viral')

'Thanks for nothing, baby boomers' the headline says. Is the article fact, fiction, persuasive or all?
Are we all just mean? Do we just enjoy having a go at millions of people we have never met or ...?


Last year 2019

Oct. 2019. Greta Thunberg, a 16 year old Swedish climate activist, is our young woman of the month and of our times. She has invigorated world interest in climate action but the enormous public acclaim has been followed by enormous ugliness, hostility and patronizing commentary. Greta's speech to world leaders at UN Climate Action Summit

This is a really good clip of the Swedish interview program Skavlan with film maker Michael Moore and Greta. It starts off slowly but covers some very interesting issues. It adds historical perspective to activism and enables us to reflect on the persuasive power of Greta's presence and skill in slightly different contexts. It is not so much about climate change as persuasion.


Media-continued from above. Some articles added interesting insights to these media/virus themes.

This set of cartoons from the Guardian is about the way big media corporations are moulding us through social media.

Industry Edge
This company says there are no paper supply issues but it also says that 15% of our toilet paper comes from imports. One issue is whether local supplies have been going to to hospitals etc. which formerly used the imports.

The Conversation-How some media are failing us by Stan Grant'in their book Media Power Politics describe how journalists “graft” on drama; they “highlight or concoct conflict” '.

The Conversation 'On Wednesday, the High Court appeared to uphold the principle of press freedom when it ruled that the warrant the Australian Federal Police used to search News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst’s home in 2019 was invalid.'...'A victory for journalism? Not quite.'


See Previous News for past material




Latest Resources


Current or ongoing issues

  Monday 27th July, 2020

This is a new but ongoing project. We refresh a list of current or ongoing issues then add a comment or link as we find them.

Read Item   

Refugee Package (also see Maggie Power art project)

  Saturday 25th July, 2020

UPDT 25/7/20. This refugee curriculum material is inspired by the very moving short story by the late Maggie Power. We wanted to do...

Read Item   

Maggie Power classroom art project

  Thursday 16th July, 2020

Maggie Power Tribute and resulting art project for classroom teachers. 'Grid It and Collaborate' Suit any level art class but not...

Read Item   

'Labor Party Results in Australia lead to Surprising International Comparisons'

  Friday 26th June, 2020
  Author: Bernice Kelly

A 'rout', a 'humiliation'? 'The 2019 Australian May election saw a sitting conservative government returned with a majority of one seat....

Read Item   

Part 2. Stockpiling? Latest information may throw a new light on media stories and the 'selfish public'.

  Friday 3rd April, 2020

See Part 1. Australians: 'thoughtless', 'stupid', 'mean' or scapegoats?

Read Item   

Part 1. Australians: 'thoughtless', 'stupid', 'mean' or scapegoats?

  Sunday 1st March, 2020

Swimming at Bondi, selfish hoarding, raiding country stores, ignoring advice. Thousands of us, it seems, are thoughtless, stupid, mean or...

Read Item   

Q&A 17th Feb 2020 Trust'

  Wednesday 19th February, 2020

Mon 17 Feb 2020. Q&A 'All About Trust'. Was the 'trust' concept behind this episode of Q&A all that it seemed? Questions are crucial....

Read Item   

"Queen Tootsie"- the script

  Wednesday 17th July, 2019
  Author: Allan Goedecke
  Categorised: primary, script, play

Well Queen Tootsie looks gorgeous but underneath- what a monster!

Read Item   

'After Pousao' by Paul Learmonth

  Wednesday 17th July, 2019

See more works by Paul Learmonth

Read Item   

Works by Allan Goedecke

  Wednesday 17th July, 2019

This piece was recently banned in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia as it showed male nipples. This issue has been referred on but the...

Read Item   
View All Resources