The christening

[Episode 6 | 1958 : Michaelis]

Michaelis's father and friends are celebrating the birth of the baby in a traditional Greek way. The boys next door, who had bullied Michaelis and called him a 'wog', apologise and pay him a penny to replace his lost ice-cream. Janice shows her affection for Michaelis.


History

The Australian curriculum: History

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The Australian Curriculum: History aims to ensure that students develop: 

  • interest in, and enjoyment of, historical study for lifelong learning and work, including their capacity and willingness to be informed and active citizens 
  • knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the past and the forces that shape societies, including Australian society 
  • understanding and use of historical concepts, such as evidence, continuity and change, cause and effect, perspectives, empathy, significance and contestability 
  • capacity to undertake historical inquiry, including skills in the analysis and use of sources, and in explanation and communication.

History activities [3]

Activity 1: Family tree
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Subtheme(s): Celebrations; Customs and traditions; Multiculturalism

Christenings, weddings, name days, feasts, fasting, and religious holidays are just a few traditional Greek family celebrations. The celebration of Michaelis's new sister's baptism is one of the most important days in the life of a Greek Orthodox Christian.

Discover
  • Ask students to create a list of all the events their family celebrates. They should also list if this event involves food or fasting. Have all students share their list with the class in order to make a larger and more comprehensive list.

Reflect
  • Create a 12-month events calendar including all the traditional and important events from the families within the classroom. The calendar can be created electronically or on paper. Students create small cards with a description of the celebrations. The small cards can be attached to the corresponding dates on the calendar.

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Activity 2: Celebrations
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Subtheme(s): Celebrations; Customs and traditions; Multiculturalism
Discover
  • As a class, discuss the history of family celebrations. Ask students to respond to the following questions:
  1. Why do families celebrate traditional events?
  2. What is the importance of celebrating these events?

Reflect
  • Ask students to choose one traditional family event that is celebrated. Ask them to write a report on how the event is organised and why it is celebrated within their family. They can include historical facts, food recipes, photos and anything that best depicts this family celebration. Students then share their reports with the class.

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Activity 3: Paying a penny
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Subtheme(s): Culture; Currency

The boys next door who bullied Michaelis repay him a penny for his lost ice block.

Discover
  • As a class, discuss the value of the penny in 1958 and the value of one cent today. Look at what can be purchased in the 1950s, and what is the cost of the equivalent commodity today. Make a comparative list of essential commodities that would be purchased each week by a family such as bread, milk, butter, cheese, meat, Vegemite, jam and soap.

Reflect
  • Ask students to find a promotional flyer from a local supermarket advertising this week's grocery specials. These promotions are usually placed in their letterboxes, or they can find them online.
  • Use the brochures and online websites as a guide to lay out a catalogue. Ask students to design a catalogue for 1958 using images and prices that would be available at that time.
  • Alternatively, they could create a price list for the milk bar that Michaelis visits.

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