In Indigenous cultures around the world—including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures— storytelling is an important means by which knowledge and histories are shared between people and communicated from one generation to the next.
We are all made up of stories. Stories that family and friends share with us, our own stories, stories that tell us information about who we are, where we come from and what is important to us. Our Voices, Our Future is a celebration of these stories.
These writing activities direct students to research and engage with the words of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through a variety of text types and develop their own creative responses to the content they engage with.
These activities introduce students’ to a range of pre-writing techniques that will enhance their storytelling skills and inspire their creativity and confidence in developing their own piece of creative writing.
All schools in NSW and the ACT are invited to join us for the 2018 Schools Reconciliation Challenge writing workshops, delivered in-classroom via video conference.
The NSW Reconciliation Council is partnering with the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) and Kirli Saunders from Red Room Poetry to provide these workshops to students participating in the Schools Reconciliation Challenge. These workshops will be delivered directly to your classroom via the Powerhouse Museum’s state of the art video conferencing facilities, so no need to travel far to join in the fun!
Kirli Saunders, is a storyteller and poet who founded the Poetry in First Languages project and is passionate about preserving her Aboriginal cultural heritage through writing and works to empower students to do the same.
The Schools Reconciliation Challenge workshops are a great opportunity for students to explore this year’s theme Our Voices, Our Future and develop their skills as writers, storytellers and poets. The writing workshops also introduce students to a range of writing activities, tools and techniques that will inspire their creativity and support them in the creation of their writing entry for Schools Reconciliation Challenge competition.
Places for the Schools Reconciliation Challenge writing workshops are limited so please register as soon as possible by emailing this registration form to firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, 27 August.
In this activity students will research and select three quotes by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. These quotes can be excerpts from interviews, songs, stories, articles or any other text types students wish to engage with. Students will create a collection of short factual, instructive, personal, aspirational and or poetic phrases that include the quotes from their chosen sources and their own brief reflection (1-2 sentences) on what they have learned from engaging with their chosen text. They will then place these in locations around the school for other students to find in a treasure hunt!
The aim of this activity is to:
Either as a class, in small groups or individually students will research, read and comment upon various texts that are relevant to the theme Our Voices, Our Future and to reconciliation. As a starting point why not look at our Resources page.
Each student will highlight 3-4 short phrases that either inspire them, prompt a response and or cause them to reflect on the key themes.
Step 2: write and place
Students will write their chosen quotes on small pieces of coloured paper and stick these in locations around the school. As the students complete the writing component of this activity they can be invited to go and place their three quotes in the designated areas within the school. Teachers may like to give students direction as to what locations they can use for the treasure hunt.
Encourage students to be creative and decorate the pieces of paper that will be displayed around the school!
Step 3: the search
Once all students have completed writing and placing their quotes, the search begins. Individually or in small groups students can be invited to explore the designated areas around the school and playground to find 3-4 quotes each that appeal to them. Each student will need to keep the quotes they have found.
Step 4: share and discuss
When all students have a collection of found quotes they will return to the classroom and take turns to reading aloud and discussing the phrases they have chosen and why they selected them.
Step 5: reflection and writing development
Based on the class discussions encourage students to write a reflection about what they have learned from participating in this activity.
This reflection may form the basis for the development of their own creative writing piece or art submission. Look at Create Art or Create Writing and use the content provided to explore your chosen medium and develop an entry.
There have been many articles, newspaper reports, books, songs and stories written about important events in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples history.
In this activity, students may choose to use the examples provided as a starting point for a piece of Erasure poetry, or source another suitable text.
Erasure is a form of poetry/art created by erasing or blacking out and therefore highlighting words from an existing text in prose or verse and framing the result on the page as a poem. The key thing with an erasure poem is that the text AND redacted text form a visual poem.
See some great examples here.
The aim of this activity is to:
Students can think of an Erasure Poem as a text that is a combination of visual and written text.
Step 1: Select a page of text
Students may choose to use one of the text block samples provided here.
Teachers may also like to choose other examples or provide students with photocopies of relevant newspaper articles or students may wish to find their own. Remember to use as your base, texts written by and about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and events.
Step 2: Scan and select
Students will scan the page and begin to select the words that appeal to them and start to form ideas about the shape and theme of their poem. Use a pencil to lightly circle words initially and to outline the path of the poem.
Step 3: Shade and shape
Students should choose their preferred colours and using markers/textas define the final poem by colouring the unused words. Encourage students to be creative and make an artwork out of the final Erasure poem.
Step 4: Share, read and display
Ask students to share their poems by taking turns to read aloud or swap with others in the classroom. Create a wall display of all the Erasure Poems.
Creating postcards from the future is an excellent way to explore this years theme, and could easily become some students writing and/or art entry.
We encourage students to be brave and imagine their ideal reconciled Australia, via creative imagery and in words.
This activity requires some knowledge of what reconciliation means and should follow at least one of the themed activities or a discussion based on our research and reconciliation pages.
These postcards may become your Art Entry or your Writing Entry.
Even if they don’t, we would love to see and read them.
Send them to us via email or to
Schools Reconciliation Challenge
Level 1, 93 Norton St
Leichhardt NSW 2040
Step 1: Imagine
Imagine you are living in a future Australia that has achieved reconciliation. Send a postcard , write a letter, poem or short story to your friends and family letting them know what it’s like and how it’s different it is from what it used to be. Share your vision for Australia, what does it look like, how does it feel, what’s changed? Feel free to express your vision of Australia in words, colours, images and drawings too.
Narragunnawali: Reconciliation in Schools and Early Learning curriculum resource
Imagine you are living in a future Australia that has achieved reconciliation. Send a postcard to your friends and family letting them know what it’s like and how it’s different it is from what it used to be.
Complete an Artist Statement or Writer’s Reflection found inside the Art Entry Form and Writing Entry Form. Be sure to submit your artwork or creative writing piece by Friday 28 September 2018!
Find out how to enter here.