Teacher Feature on Light Horse Boy

Light Horse Boy Welcome to our first teacher feature! Sarah McNamara teaches literacy to Year 5/6 students at Flinders Park Primary School in Albany. She says she teaches her two classes along a gender split, which she finds a very effective way to teach literacy. Here’s how she used Light Horse Boy in her classroom. Both literacy classes studied the almost final ‘publisher’s draft’ of Light Horse Boy over the whole of Term One, 2013. We read the text on the interactive whiteboard, which was a really great way to study the book. I knew that the students would require support to deeply engage with the text, so we used Light Horse Boy for everything. I used the NAPLAN planning schedule to ensure I kept on track with what I needed to cover each week. LHB TF 3 After spelling practice, a daily literacy block would start with an explicit lesson on either a language convention (Grammar & Punctuation) or specific word study/spelling rules. Students then worked on small group activities to highlight a photocopied page of Light Horse Boy or mark examples of whatever we were studying on the interactive whiteboard. We then read the text of Light Horse Boy aloud as a class, developing individual reading skills. Even the most reluctant reader was keen to have a go. We may only have read two or three pages but this reading was punctuated by hearty discussions based on word meanings, positioning and roles of the reader and author, research forays to Google maps, YouTube and Anzac Day websites (listed below) and analysis of the rich history that is visually represented in the book. In addition, students filled out interesting word charts, recorded questions that they had for author Dianne Wolfer and kept a personal A–Z word list in their literacy books. LHB TF 2 As the term progressed, students brought in everything from horseshoes, news clippings, bullets, medals and woollen socks to their great-grandfather’s Light Horse uniform. During computer lab sessions students researched specific websites in detail. The music teacher happily collaborated and taught the students the song ‘Two Little Boys’ and several T&E sessions were taken up making horses from a pattern I found on the internet. When the book was finished the fun really began, with the classes diving into a variety of literacy based tasks. The first task was a letter. The students tea-stained several sheets of paper then got to work on a draft. The girls’ class was asked to predict what Rose and Jim would have written to each other after the book finished and then present their work in the style of the Light Horse Boy layout. The boys’ class worked with a partner and guided each other on a blindfold walk. When the boys returned to class they recorded what they had heard, smelt and felt. They used this information to write a clear description as if they were Jim, blinded and recovering in an English hospital. They wrote this as a letter home to Alice and Chook. Next, students worked at their own pace on a variety of tasks including acrostic poetry, a book review, an email, an illustration, a timeline of the book, a letter to the editor and a mind map. LHB TF 3 Dianne Wolfer visited and talked to the eager classes about how she researched the story and that was really lovely as all the students were intimate with the book and had many questions. With Anzac Day approaching we also had a guest speaker, Major Chaplain Hoskins, who spoke about his war experiences and showed slides of modern combat zones. Students were able to make many links and comparisons with what they had already learnt from reading Light Horse Boy. With much brainstorming and finetuning we devised a short performance, which was well received as a part of the author’s book launch at the Albany Town Hall. In the wind-down of the term, my classes visited four junior classes in our school and worked with younger students to make poppies. We also made a wreath to lay at our school Anzac ceremony and I am confident that the students’ understanding has deepened by reading Light Horse Boy. Thank you Sarah! This is a great example of how to use the book in the lead-up to the Anzac Centenary. Sarah has generously supplied her materials and resources below. If you’re a teacher or librarian using a Fremantle Press book – please let us know so we can share your experiences. Contact Claire Miller: cmiller@fremantlepress.com.au Additional resources Websites http://annwood.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/horses.pdf http://www.awm.gov.au http://www.awm.gov.au/exhibitions/animals http://www.anzacday.org.au/education/education.html

Download Sarah’s Light Horse Boy Activities Book author for school visit

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One comment

  1. Pingback: July 23rd – Light Horse Boy classroom ideas | diannewolfer

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