Cracker nights

[Episode 11 | 1908 : Evelyn]

Evelyn's family joins the other families in their community to celebrate cracker night with fireworks purchased from Mr Wong's Emporium.


The Australian curriculum: English

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The Australian Curriculum: English aims to ensure that students:

  • learn to listen to, read, view, speak, write, create and reflect on increasingly complex and sophisticated spoken, written and multimodal texts across a growing range of contexts with accuracy, fluency and purpose
  • appreciate, enjoy and use the English language in all its variations and develop a sense of its richness and power to evoke feelings, convey information, form ideas, facilitate interaction with others, entertain, persuade and argue
  • understand how Standard Australian English works in its spoken and written forms and in combination with non-linguistic forms of communication to create meaning
  • develop interest and skills in inquiring into the aesthetic aspects of texts, and develop an informed appreciation of literature.

English activities [3]

Activity 1: A happy ending
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Subtheme(s): Celebrations; Relationships
  • Divide the class into small groups and ask them to discuss Evelyn's demeanour in this clip. Compare this with the way Evelyn was portrayed by the filmmaker in the earlier clips, particularly in 'Chores and punishment'. She has changed considerably.
  • Ask students to record what they think has caused this change. Encourage them to look carefully at the evidence in the clip to work out how her problem might have been solved. For example, ask these questions:
  1. Who is the other important character in this clip?
  2. Who does the filmmaker keep drawing our attention to?
  3. Why might Miss Müller be of interest in the story at this point?
  4. Who is she connected to?
  5. Look at the editing of shots between Miss Müller and Evelyn. What effect does this have?
  6. What is the filmmaker trying to tell the audience here?

  • The faces of those at cracker night (especially the children) express awe, wonder, excitement and anticipation. Ask students how they would feel if they attended a cracker night. Ask students to create song lyrics about a cracker night celebration, to be sung to the music of 'Waltzing Matilda'.


Activity 2: Making news
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Subtheme(s): Celebrations; Character; Customs and traditions
  • Ask students to write a newspaper report describing the atmosphere of the cracker night celebrations and including an interview with Evelyn or Edward. Students should 'ask' the characters to describe the highlight of the night for them. Include some quotes from the character to conclude the story.

  • Draw a picture of the cracker night to include with the article.
  • Ask students to design an advertisement for Mr Wong's store and his fireworks, to be included as part of the newspaper page. The advertisement needs to have a slogan, an image and some details of the products.


Activity 3: Cracker night
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Subtheme(s): Celebrations; Customs and traditions
  • Until the late 1970s the ritual called Guy Fawkes Night, was celebrated each year on 5 November in backyards and vacant blocks of land all over Australia. Children could buy fireworks at variety stores, and old tree branches and dry wood would be gathered to build the bonfire. At the event an effigy built from hay, straw and hessian bags, called a guy, might be put on the bonfire and set alight. Have students research the Gunpowder Plot and find out who Guy Fawkes was.

  • Some cultures still practise letting off fireworks to celebrate certain events. Ask students to find out about some of these celebrations. Collect images of fireworks from your research and use them to create a photomontage.


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