The pictures

[Episode 7 | 1948 : Jen]

Jen and her friends are at the 'pictures' watching a newsreel that includes an announcement of the birth of Prince Charles. In the cinema foyer the girls steal a movie poster of Prince Philip, the husband of Princess Elizabeth (who would later become Queen Elizabeth II). The girls discuss the importance of 'handsomeness' and Jen tells them the prince looks like her father, who died in the war.


English

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: The newsreel
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Subtheme(s): Entertainment and games; Inventions and electronic media
Discover
  • This clip commences with an old movie newsreel. Ask students to record what they remember about the information in the film reel. What was the most significant information given? Was it the birth of Princess Elizabeth's first child, Prince Charles?
  • Discuss the ways information is relayed to the audience in this newsreel. Examine the images, text on the screen and the voice-over. Have students think about why they know this news story is about the birth of Prince Charles. What's missing here? Ask students to think about the reasons why there are no photos of the baby prince on this newsreel. Ask students to think about what this newsreel would look like if it were made today. What information would today's audience expect to see and hear?
  • Discuss the purpose of the newsreel. Why is it important? Discuss the media technology available at this time in history without TV. How did people acquire their information?

Reflect
  • Ask students to review the main features of the newsreel as a text type and to think of a current news topic of interest. They should plan a short newsreel to share using an electronic media device, adding photos and a voice-over, before presenting it to the class.

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Activity 2: Heroes
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Subtheme(s): Beliefs; Relationships
Discover
  • Jen and her friends spend a lot of time discussing heroes, and they are quite clear about who they think is a hero. As a class, identify the people the girls see as heroes. Do students agree or disagree with the girls' thinking? Ask them to explain why or why not.
  • Discuss the complexities of Jen's situation further with the class, using the following questions as discussion prompts:
  1. Why do you think Jen is comparing her father to Prince Phillip and American movie stars?
  2. How do her feelings tie in with heroes?
  • Discuss the concept of heroes by using a Y-Chart to list the qualities students feel are important in heroes. Ask students to reflect on people seen as heroes in our community today.
  • Ask students to look through newspapers and magazines for ideas about heroes and compile a list of candidates. Students could then write the reasons they consider their selections to be heroes. Once this list is complete, have students review it and compare it to the choices of heroes made by Jen and her friends in the clip. Discuss the idea of celebrities as heroes, and ask students to consider whether people become confused about the difference between celebrities and heroes.

Reflect
  • Have students work individually, or in pairs, to develop a definition of a hero and then provide their criteria. Ask them to list heroes who match the criteria. For example, Lance Armstrong could be classified as determined and Jane McGrath as courageous.
  • Part of the girls' discussion revolves around whether heroes need to be nice or handsome. Ask students to respond to the following questions:
  1. Do you think a hero has to be a good or nice person?
  2. Do you think being handsome is better than good or nice?

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Activity 3: Princes and princesses
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Subtheme(s): Entertainment and games; Inventions and electronic media; Relationships
Discover
  • Discuss the purpose of a film cinema poster. As a class activity, look closely at the 1948 poster in the clip and note its characteristics. Ask students:
  • Who is featured? (You will need to refer back to the film clip for more information. It shows Princess Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Phillip.)
  • Describe how they think Jen and her friends see Princess Elizabeth and Prince Phillip, giving evidence from the text.
  • Have students consider the following questions:
  1. Why do you think Jen and her friends felt like they did about the royal couple?
  2. Why would Australian girls in 1948 think Prince Philip was a hero?
  3. Why do you think people looked up to royalty so much at this time?
  4. Do you think Australians today feel the same way about British royalty?
  • Discuss the role of Prince William and Prince Harry as the some of the youngest members of the British royal family today and whether these princes are viewed as heroes or celebrities like Princess Elizabeth in 1948?

Reflect
  • Have students look for examples of contemporary film posters and compare them with the 1948 version. What are the similarities and differences?
  • Compare the film poster examples and identify the main text features of the film poster genre. Ask students to create individual film posters for a fictional film version of their favourite book. They will need to consider questions such as: What style of film is it? How will that influence the poster design? Who is the star? What is the tag line or slogan?

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