Landmark resource for schools: Our Land, Our Stories

The Australian Publishers Association’s Alex Christopher talks to Cengage publisher, Simone Calderwood, to learn more about the landmark series Our Land, Our Stories, how it was developed and its reception in the classroom.  

Perspectives from Australian Indigenous peoples on topics such as the Stolen Generations, the Frontier Wars and racial stereotyping are now available to be experienced in primary school classrooms across the country through a new resource — developed in partnership with Nelson Cengage and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS). The resource, titled Our Land, Our Stories, features contributions from leading Indigenous writers such as Bruce Pascoe and Lisa Fuller and incorporates stories written by children and their families from communities across Australia.

“Our Land, Our Stories is a whole-school, primary school series that explores Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories and cultures.  It includes rare and historically important photographs, artwork and audio-visual resources from AIATSIS’s vast collection. It comprises three sets of resources for lower, middle and upper primary. All components link explicitly to the Australian Curriculum and the Cross-Curriculum priority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories and more specifically, to Country/Place, Culture and Peoples.

Components of the landmark resource package, Our Land, Our Stories
Components of the landmark resource package, Our Land, Our Stories

“The series components include: three teacher resource books, nine big books and 45 cards for each stage of lower, middle and upper primary. QR codes are included and these enable both students and educators to watch videos, see photographs and most importantly, hear language that further extends students’ understanding of a specific topic. Each teacher resource book also includes a copy of The Little Red Yellow Black book written by Bruce Pascoe and AIATSIS.

“Our Land, Our Stories was in development for about three and a half years and the idea for the series came about through AIATSIS reaching out to Nelson Cengage as they wanted to have a visible presence in the primary educational space. Nelson Cengage were thrilled to work in partnership with AIATSIS as we knew that this government organisation is the caretaker of an amazing database of significant photographs, artworks and audio visual materials that we could include in the series. We also knew that the partnership with AIATSIS would also lend authenticity to the series as they were involved in every element of its production, checking every work for accuracy and ensuring that the content was culturally appropriate and persons depicted were represented accurately.

“We wanted to create a resource that aligned with the Australian Curriculum but also enabled educators to see how the cross-curriculum priority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures could be applied to every learning area in the Australian Curriculum, not just Humanities and Social Sciences. The intention of the series is to represent the voices of First Nations peoples from all across Australia, from remote, regional and urban areas, to celebrate contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and address prevailing misconceptions.

The resource is aimed at both Indigenous and non-indigenous students – for indigenous students, they can read these books and cards and see themselves reflected in the stories. For non-indigenous students, it is an opportunity for them to read about the importance of Country and cultures to First Nations peoples and to find out about the significant achievements and contributions of many Indigenous people. The teacher’s books empower educators to teach about First Nations peoples, cultures and histories with confidence and throughout the teacher’s books, the various protocols and discussion points are outlined and explored. And we haven’t shied away from those topics at the upper primary level that some educators may wish to explore with students but may not know how to do so – the books and cards look at our history from an Indigenous perspective and explore many sensitive topics.

“The writing process was an interesting one! As the publisher, I really wanted to ensure that we had a vast range of authors from all over Australia as traditionally many resources such as this have tended to focus on stories from peoples from the Northern Territory – but I wanted this series to be broader. For the lower primary big book stories, we commissioned three children and their families to write the stories and these three children come from very different places. Josie and her family are from Thursday Island in the Torres Strait and myself and an AIATSIS photographer, spent a week with Josie and her family. We then travelled to a remote area in Western Australia to Yilka Country to hear Orlando’s story and finally we travelled to the Sunshine Coast and spent time with Shae and her community to hear her story.

“I also reached out to a number of different writers around the country and was thrilled that writers such as Bruce Pascoe, Professor Gary Foley, Shelley Ware, Lisa Fuller, Elder Carolyn Briggs, Professor John Maynard. Nayuka Gorrie and so many more were able to contribute to the series.

“Our Land, Our Stories has now been available for about a year and educators have embraced it wholeheartedly and often exclaim that there is nothing like it in the educational marketplace. It has been very successful as educators realise the many ways that it can be used in the classroom and the components can be used from lower to upper primary, even in secondary school classrooms.

“I feel immensely proud to have been part of this series as I truly believe it has the potential to change how people think about our history. It also enables students to understand that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are diverse, rich and multi-faceted. “The winning of the two EPAA awards was a wonderful acknowledgment of Our Land, Our Stories by the Australian Educational Publishing Industry!”

Organised by the Australian Publishers Association (APA), the prestigious annual Educational Publishing Awards reward excellence and innovation in the industry. The event offers colleagues and industry professionals the opportunity to network and celebrate achievements. Awards are judged by a panel of peers, and each year teachers and booksellers vote for the coveted Publisher of the Year award.

Books, pets and prizes: introducing the SPCA Reading Challenge

Kiwi kids love animals and this year the SPCA Reading Challenge brings together books and creatures in a fun summer competition. Melissa Wastney, Read NZ Te Pou Muramura, introduces New Zealand school libraries to the SPCA Reading Challenge.

Read NZ Te Pou Muramura (formerly NZ Book Council) has joined forces with SPCA to get kids reading more books over the holidays.

The SPCA Reading Challenge is an interactive website. Children aged 5 and up are invited to register for free and choose an animal team to ‘play’ for. Players log the books they read over the summer, along with a star rating and short review. A leader board keeps track of the teams as they move up and down the rankings accordingly.

Launching on December 14, the SPCA Reading Challenge will run until January 22.

SPCA Reading Challenge logo

The initiative follows two previous competitions – the Super Smash Reading Challenge in 2019, which teamed T20 cricket and books, and the Stay Home Book Club which ran over the national lockdown period in 2020.

Guided by children’s feedback, the SPCA Reading Challenge features an improved book logging system and teams arranged by age groups.

Paper Plus gift cards are up for grabs every day of the competition. There are lots of books to be won too, thanks to the support of Wellington publisher Gecko Press. To win a specially-curated bundle of books about animals, children can send in a picture of themselves reading to a pet, farm, or wildlife animal, or even a stuffed animal friend. The top readers in each team will also win Paper Plus gift cards at the end of the competition.

Read NZ Te Pou Muramura CEO Juliet Blyth says the reading challenge is a fun new way to address the well-documented ‘summer slide’ in learning over the holidays.

“We’re so excited to be running the Reading Challenge again this summer. We want more children to read more, to experience the joy of reading and hopefully encourage other whānau members to pick up a book too,” she says.

“Research tells us over and over again that reading for pleasure is the single most important factor in a child’s educational success, and our competition is a great way to support reading over summer so that when children return to school in the new year, their learning hasn’t suffered as a result of the long break.”

“At Read NZ we think it’s really important that children find reading fun, and our partnerships with the SPCA, Paper Plus and Gecko provide plenty of opportunities to read and learn about animal welfare and win cool prizes.”

SPCA National Education Manager Nicole Peddie welcomes the initiative and says SPCA feel fortunate to be involved in the exciting challenge for Kiwi kids.

“With the right books summer reading can be a fun and enjoyable activity for children to sustain the reading levels they’ve worked so hard to achieve over the school year and we think animals, be them companion, farmed, wild, even prehistoric or mythical, are a cool topic to read about!”

“Animals are not only interesting to read about, but they also make wonderful, supportive reading buddies. We know that practice makes perfect. However, many children dislike reading aloud in front of their classmates, even their family sometimes. However, an animal companion won’t judge a child’s mistakes and will calmly listen to and enjoy their company.”

“As such, practising reading with an animal companion, even a toy version, can help children associate reading with pleasure. When reading becomes enjoyable, children are likely to do it more often, improving both their skill and confidence along the way. Plus, most animals enjoy this calm and relaxing interaction too,” says Nicole.

Read NZ is grateful for the generous support of Paper Plus and Gecko Press for the prizes on offer.

The SPCA Reading Challenge site can be found here. 

Find more detailed information.

Download an A4 poster to print by clicking here.

Find more downloadable resources to print.

SCIS celebrates the joy of reading with Australia Reads

SCIS READS

Louise Sherwin-Stark, CEO of Hachette Australia and the Chair of the Australian Reads Committee, invites Australians of all ages and from all walks of life to share and celebrate the joys of reading. And together we say a big thank you to Australia Reads authors Danielle Binks, Jacqueline Harvey, and Virginia Trioli for their amazing support of the school library community!

#AustraliaReadsAtHome

There’s no denying that this year has been a challenging one. But, despite the hardships, it is encouraging to discover that reading has been a source of escapism, entertainment and comfort for many Australians during this time. 

A July 2020 report into the impacts of COVID 19 showed that:

  • 20% of Australians say they are reading more books due to lockdowns.
  • Gen Z are reading more books than pre-COVID and their reading has increased more than older generations.
  • This increased engagement with reading has been fairly steady since March.
  • In terms of reading more on a permanent basis post COVID, 12% of Australian say they will. Interesting, as the waves of isolation continue, the habit forming is increasing.

Rediscovering books and reading is what Australia Reads is all about. Its an important campaign supported by the whole book industry, running from the 1st to the 12th November. Our aim is to encourage all Australians to pick up a book and enjoy the benefits of reading.

Australia Reads logo

This year we are excited to be hosting three virtual events that will highlight the need to stop and read on Thursday 12th November for Australian Reading Hour

Ambassadors Peter Helliar, Dervla McTiernan and Will Kostakis will join a stellar line up of amazing Australian authors who are contributing to an incredible three programs for kids, teens and adults each of which you will all be able to screen directly into your classroom or library. 

The three programs and their scheduled times are:

Australia Reads Kids – Sydney Opera House Stream

Monday 9th November – 10.30am AEDT

Featuring: Ursula Dubosarsky, Andy Griffiths, Bluey, Sami Bayly, Anna Fienberg, Osher Gunsberg, Peter Helliar, Jacqueline Harvey, Beck Fiener and more.

One lucky school will also have the chance to win a prize pack of special edition Australia Reads books!

To register for the program, head to the Sydney Opera House Digital Events pages HERE. This program is available free of charge to all Australian schools.

Australia Reads Teens – Sydney Opera House Stream

Monday 9th November – 12.30pm AEDT

Featuring: Will Kostakis, Rawah Arja, Cath Moore, Amie Kaufman, Danielle Binks, Garth Nix, Alex Dyson, Lisa Fuller and more.

Each author will give students an insight into their writing process, character development and how reading encourages emphathy and increases connection.

One lucky school will also have the chance to win a prize pack of special edition Australia Reads books!

To register for the program, head to the Sydney Opera House Digital Events pages HERE. This program is available free of charge to all Australian schools.

Australia Reads Main Event – YouTube Live Premiere Event

Wednesday 11th November – 12.30pm AEDT 

Featuring: Judy Nunn, Peter Fitzsimons, Peter Helliar, Michael Robotham, Dervla McTiernan, Tanya Plibersek, Andy Griffiths, Nikki Gemmell, Anita Heiss, Kevin Sheedy, Virginia Trioli and more.

To watch the Main Event broadcast simply log on to the Australia Reads YouTube Channel HERE, subscribe and click on the bell to set a reminder for the program.

Of course, school library staff understand that books – in whatever shape, size, or form – are a great way to unwind, to learn new things, discover new stories, and feel all kinds of emotions. Please take the time to watch this incredible video of Australia Reads authors Danielle Binks, Jacqueline Harvey, and Virginia Trioli celebrating the value of school libraries!

WATCH: Australia Reads 2020. The importance of libraries.

Author Jacqueline Harvey speaking about Australia Reads 2020

Join us and unwind, get inspired and find joy in books! From islands, blue shores, bushland to red heart – Australia Reads.

Louise Sherwin-Stark
CEO of Hachette Australia and the Chair of the Australian Reads Committee

australiareads.org.au

Teaching a bright future

World Teacher Day 2020

Today Australia will celebrate and thank the teaching profession on World Teachers’ Day – Friday 30 October.

Teachers (with support from parents and carers) have ensured education continues across the country this year, despite major challenges. It’s reinforced the significant role teachers play in the lives of children and students, their families and communities.

Say a big thank you to teachers and celebrate the bright future of teaching. Post a photo in your sunglasses on social media, either on your own or with family or friends. Use these tags on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn: #thankteachers #brightfuture @aitsl

World Teachers’ Day is held internationally in early October. As it falls during the school holidays for many parts of Australia, we celebrate a little later.

Of course, the SCIS team would like to extend a very special thank you to all of the excellent teacher librarians in the SCIS community!

Enjoy!

The Australian Reading Hour – a perfect fit for school libraries

Anita McMillan
Knowledge and Learning Resources Manager
West Moreton Anglican College

It is exciting to be involved in a process where different industries band together to create a whole that is worth far more than the sum of its parts. It is both professionally and personally exciting when it’s all about what we love best – reading.

I’ve had the honour of working with the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and a number of other book industry giants to take the Australian Reading Hour campaign to new heights. This year on Thursday 14 September we are asking all Australians to set aside one hour to read. Libraries, bookshops, publishers, authors, illustrators, politicians and corporations will all be involved.

As school library staff, we are in the perfect position to organise, facilitate (or at the very least encourage) such a reading activity for our entire school community – staff, students, parents and supporters.

Continue reading The Australian Reading Hour – a perfect fit for school libraries

Mackay libraries unite for award-winning Anzac project

In 2016, the ANZAC 100 Mackay Remembers: Field of Poppies Project received the Queensland School Library Association's Brian Bahnisch Award. The facilitator of the project, Margaret Spillman, shares her story, and how the community worked together to commemorate the ongoing Anzac centenary in a meaningful way.

Margaret Spillman
Teacher librarian
Mackay West State School

During the lead-up to the Anzac Centenary I wondered how we as a school community might honour the memory of those who served. In particular, I wanted a way for our students to be actively involved, as the future of the Anzac traditions lies in the hands of our young people. I was inspired by the Sea of Poppies outside the Tower of London. While the poppy might commonly be used for Remembrance Day, I decided to use it for our project as well because it is such a strong visual symbol for all those who served.

My concept was that students would create a poppy using a red plastic plate. This would have a soldier’s name written across the front. It would be attached to a bamboo stake and ‘planted’ on the front lawn of the Mackay Regional Council building in the week before Anzac Day 2015.

Continue reading Mackay libraries unite for award-winning Anzac project

SCIS is heading to NZ in March

It’s been five months since SCIS was last in NZ, and we’re getting ready to come back.

We’re hosting professional learning workshops in Auckland (15 March), Wellington (18 March) and Christchurch (21 March). These workshops – hosted by SCIS Manager Ben Chadwick and Director of Metadata and Library Services Rachel Elliott – are suitable for SCIS subscribers and non-subscribers, and are a great way to learn how to make the most of SCIS while catching up with other school library staff.

Not a subscriber? If you would like to check out what SCIS offers before heading to one of our open workshops, register for a free trial. You can browse through the SCIS catalogue, download records in SCISWeb, and check out how we can assist with your resource management and collection development. We’d love to have a chat and answer any questions at the workshop.

At each location, we will host two workshops: a free one-hour information session, as well as a three-hour workshop aimed for subscribers, Making the Most of SCIS. Places are limited for all sessions, so register here to secure your spot.

  • Making the Most of SCIS workshop ($55.00AUD)
    These workshops are open to all school library staff. The workshop offers an in-depth understanding of how SCIS can assist to provide a more effective library service for school libraries. Participants will enhance their understanding of SCIS as a database of consistent catalogue records for educational resources, created to international standards.This workshop includes materials and light catering.
  • SCIS Information Session (FREE)
    In each location, we are also hosting a one-hour session for non-subscribers who wish to know more about SCIS and the services we provide.

To register for our NZ workshops, click here.

For more information about our professional learning sessions, including our upcoming webinar series that will begin 16 February, click here.

If you have any questions, pop them in an email to our customer service team at scisinfo@esa.edu.au.

We hope to see you while we’re in New Zealand.

Webinars Term 1 2016

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Would you like to participate in SCIS training from the comfort of your own desk?

Over three Tuesdays, beginning February 16 and ending March 1, SCIS will be hosting professional learning webinar sessions to teach you how to make the most out of SCIS products and services. Webinars are open to all school library staff, and are a great way to learn more about how SCIS can assist your library’s collection development, with the opportunity to chat with fellow library staff in Australia and New Zealand throughout the session.

Sessions are approximately 45-60 minutes, and we are always happy to answer questions about SCIS products and services at the end of each session. Registration is essential.

Tune into the following webinars to find out how you can use SCIS not only as a resource management tool, but as a form of content curation to direct you  and your users to useful, educational resources for the library and the classroom.

Introduction to SCIS (FREE)
Tuesday 16 February 2016, 2-3pm AEST, 5-6pm NZST
A free overview of SCIS products and services and how they can help to organise resources in schools. This webinar includes an overview of how SCIS subscribers can request and download records.

Downloading SCIS records ($25.00)
Tuesday 23 February 2016, 2-3pm AEST, 5-6pm NZST
This webinar looks at how you can turn a set of resources, whether they are digital or physical items, into catalogue records that your students and staff can find and use for teaching and learning outcomes.

Search and selection on the SCIS catalogue ($25.00)
Tuesday 1 March 2016, 2-3pm AEST, 5-6pm NZST
This webinar looks at providing techniques for searching on the SCIS catalogue, and using SCIS as a resource identification tool.

How do I register?

Click here to register your interest, and join us on Tuesday 16 February for the first webinar in the series, Introduction to SCIS. As webinar participants will be tuning in from a number of different time zones, please check the registration link for your particular session time.

If you cannot make it to your session time, we will email a recording of the webinar to all registered participants within three working days.

For more information about upcoming professional learning sessions including workshops in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Melbourne, and Brisbane, please visit our Professional learning page.

Hope to catch you there.

The SCIS team

(CC0 image supplied by www.pexels.com)

Australia Day

Australia Day, January 26, is considered to be a commemoration of nationhood by many Australians. For other Australians, however, it marks a deep loss – of sovereignty, family and culture. Here are some titles from the SCIS catalogue which look at the clash between European settlers and the Aboriginal peoples:

1788 to 1809 : from First Fleet to Rum Rebellion by Victoria MacLeay ; [edited by Lynn Brodie].(SCIS No. 1552979).  The first 22 years of the colonisation of Australia began with the arrival of the First Fleet and ended with the aftermath of the only military insurrection Australia has ever experienced. This book covers the major events: the arrival at Botany Bay, the settlement at Sydney Cove, the battle to survive, heroic explorations, and tensions between the new arrivals and indigenous peoples. ISBN 9780864271136

A commonwealth of thieves: the improbable birth of Australia by Thomas Keneally. (SCIS No. 1627531)
The history of the first four years of the convict settlement of Australia. Using personal journals and documents, Keneally re-creates the overseas voyage and the challenges Governor Arthur Phillips faced upon arrival: unruly convicts, disgruntled officers, bewildered and hostile natives, food shortages and disease. He also offers portrayals of Aborigines and convict settler. ISBN 9781400079568

That deadman dance by Kim Scott.(SCIS No. 1595239)
Told through the eyes of black and white, this is a story about a fledgling Western Australian community in the early 1800s, known as the “friendly frontier”. It shows that the first contact did not have to lead to war. ISBN 9781408829288

Rethinking settler colonialism : history and memory in Australia, Canada, Aotearoa New Zealand and South Africa  edited by Annie E. Coombes (SCIS No. 1638689)
Focuses on the long history of contact between indigenous peoples and the white colonial communities who settled in Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand, Canada, and South Africa. Looks at how histories of colonial settlement have been mythologised, narrated, and embodied in these countries in the twentieth century. ISBN 9780719071690

A failure to understand: early colonialism and the indigenous peoples by Margaret McPhee. (SCIS No. 1659262).  A look at the monumental clash between European colonalism and the Aboriginal peoples; from the first tentative and difficult interactions of the early explorers to the arrival of the First Fleet. ISBN 9781742455136

The Australian frontier wars 1788-1838 by John Connor  (SCIS No 1112716).  From the Swan River to the Hawkesbury, and from the sticky Arnhem Land mangrove to the soft green hills of Tasmania, this book describes the major conflicts fought on the Australian frontier to 1838.  ISBN 0868407569

The other side of the frontier: Aboriginal resistance to the European invasion of Australia by Henry Reynolds (SCIS No. 1311253). The publication of this book in 1981 profoundly changed the way in which we understand the history of relations between indigenous Australians and European settlers. ISBN 0868408921

Forgotten war by Henry Reynolds (SCIS No. 1623535).  Australia is dotted with memorials to soldiers who fought in wars overseas, but there are no official commemorations of the battles fought on Australian soil between Aborigines and white colonists. ISBN 9781742233925

The Black War : fear, sex and resistance in Tasmania by Nicholas Clements (SCIS No. 1659002)
Between 1825 and 1831 close to 200 Britons and 1000 Aborigines died violently in Tasmania’s Black War. It was by far the most intense frontier conflict in Australia’s history, yet many Australians know little about it. ISBN 9780702250064

All images and summaries provided by SCIS Syndetics

The Australian frontier wars
The Australian frontier wars
That deadman dance
That deadman dance
Commonwealth of thieves
Commonwealth of thieves
The other side of the frontier
The other side of the frontier

‘We remember ANZAC’

‘We remember ANZAC’ resource kits were sent to all schools in Australia this week.
They have been produced by the Department of Veteran Affairs in preparation for the upcoming 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing.
The kits themselves do not have ISBN’s but can be downloaded using their SCIS record numbers or by title.

  • Primary resource 1689387
  • Secondary resource 1689388

There are three books over the two  kits that do have ISBN’s. Bibliographic records have been created for them in case schools wish to split up the kit.

 

We remember ANZAC