The driving question this term for Year 6 students was: How does the global treatment of asylum seekers and refugees impact lives? Throughout Term 2 in their core subjects; Christian Studies, Humanities and English students have considered what empathy really means. Students have been asked to ‘step into someone else's shoes' and consider life from the perspective of a refugee. Core to our human understanding of the world, empathy gives us a view and perspective on life, rather than allowing us to sit in judgement. Students have not only studied, researched and delved into what life is like for the millions of refugees around our world but have also written diary entries and persuasive texts, and are now developing their ‘temporary housing’ ideas using their Mathematics studied this term. Made out of shoe boxes, students had to measure, budget and find sustainable materials to support their building of housing for refugees.
In line with our significant study of refugees was the reading of Boy Overboard and Girl Underground by Morris Gleitzman, one of Australia's funniest and best-loved authors for young people. His books explore serious and sometimes confronting subjects in humourous and unexpected ways. We were able to secure a visit from the 2018 Children’s Lauerate last week and he amazed us with the knowledge he has as an author, advising us that it is okay to make mistakes, rework and draft our writing. But most importantly to always consider life from another person’s perspective – step into someone else’s shoes. He also gave us a true picture of the background to his writing of Boy Overboard and the family fleeing Afghanistan who he was introduced to in real life, and with whom he still has a strong friendship connection. Even though Gleitzman’s book was originally written nearly twenty years ago, the message and plight of refugees is still a worldwide issue which needs attention.
Morris Gleitzman concluded what was an intriguing hour with the open reading of his current novel, still in draft stage, which he physically showed us, red markings and all! We were very privileged to be the first audience of his next book.
Gleitzman then joined the Reader’s Cup participants from Year 6 and 7 in the college restaurant for a luncheon where he signed books and discussed the finer matters of writing and being an author, both of which he loves.
A reflection from one of our Year 6 students:
Our visit from Morris Gleitzman was exciting as he is an amazing author. One of the highlights from this visit was that Morris Gleitzman was able to tell us about his journey in writing his novel Boy Overboard. He told us that he met a refugee family from Afghanistan in Sydney, this family had a similar experience to the main characters in Boy Overboard, Jamal and Bibi. The Year 6 students were also privileged to see the world premiere of Mr Gleitzman’s latest novel, still in draft stages.He read out loud the first couple of pages of his latest novel, and it is sure to be a great read. Another highlight was asking him questions about writing and his life as an author. He told us about how he got into writing, revealing to us where he gets his inspiration for his stories from. He continues to inspire young Australians to get into creative writing and to make lots of mistakes in our writing, as this is how we learn.And to step into another person’s shoes, for to develop a character we need to consider what it is like from another's perspective and experience. Research, research, research!
By Charlotte Year 6-3