[Episode 7 | 1948 : Jen]

Jen and her friends are fantasising about the attractiveness of movie stars and royalty and rating them between one and ten. The girls only rate Wal as a three or four, which makes Jen feel that her friends would not approve if she told them about her mother's affection for him. She realises the inevitable when she sees her mother's engagement ring.


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: Exploring feelings and relationships
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Subtheme(s): Relationships
  • Discuss the way Jen feels about Wal in this clip and look for reasons. For example, why does Jen tell her friend that Wal is her mother's cousin and he'd recently been in a lunatic asylum? Discuss the term 'lunatic asylum' and what this means. Further discussion questions could include the questions below.
  • Why did Jen misrepresent Wal?
  • What does this scene tell the viewer about Jen's feelings?
  • Why does Jen have such strong feelings about Wal's presence in her life?

  • Ask students to place themselves in Jen's position and write a letter to a friend explaining how they feel. Students can then swap letters with a partner and write a letter back to Jen as the friend, giving Jen some advice and reasons why her mother's relationship with Wal might be a good thing.


Activity 2: '10 out of 10'
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Subtheme(s): Relationships
  • 'Lawrence Olivier is an eight, his nose is too pointy.' Revisit the start of the clip when Jen and her friends rate film stars out of ten. Ask students to consider:
  • What type of rubric are they using?
  • How do they compare and rate Wal when he pulls up in his car?
  • Discuss whether the girls' evaluations are fair or inappropriate. Ask the class what they think makes a great movie star and use a concept map to list all the characteristics of a movie star.

  • Students should use a concept map to create a visual representation of their ideas about what constitutes '10 out of 10' for a favourite movie star. As students complete this task, invite them to publish their work on a placemat graphic organiser as a celebration of student work.

Activity 3: The engagement
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Subtheme(s): Relationships; Customs and traditions
  • As a class, discuss the relationships between the main characters in this clip, Jen and her mother Kath; Jen and Wal; and Wal and Kath. Have students use Student Activity Sheet: E7.8 to describe each of these relationships.
  • View the scene again where Jen comes home to find her mother and Wal behind closed doors. Ask students to consider what they are talking about in private, and what is the significance of the ring. What information does this provide to the viewer and Jen?
  • As a class, discuss the concept of marriage in Western culture. What does it mean? Discuss and list the rituals of marriage in a family like Jen's. Explore the feelings Jen may have experienced with the news of her mother's impending marriage. What is meant by Wal being 'a good catch'?

  • Have students work in pairs to design two wedding invitations. First, they should design a traditional invitation from Kath and Wal inviting friends and family to their wedding, and then one from Jen discouraging people from coming to the wedding.


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