During our in-class work, Penrith PS students will be studying rainforests in HSIE and endangered animals in science & technology. When we come to the library each week, we will be researching endangered animals. We can look at rainforest wildlife in greater depth, or we can choose other endangered animals and consider the different conditions that have put them in danger of extinction. Terms in GREEN refer to instructional planning based on the stages of Carol Kuhlthau‘s Information Search Process (ISP).


Science & Technology – Ecosystems

LT S3.3: Identifies, describes and evaluates the interactions between living things and their effects on the environment.

INV S3.7: Conducts their own investigations and makes judgements based on the results of observing, questioning, planning, predicting, testing, collecting, recording and analysing data, and drawing conclusions.

DM S3.8: Develops and resolves a design task by planning, implementing, managing and evaluating design processes.

UT S3.9: Evaluates, selects and uses a range of equipment, computer based technology, materials and other resources to meet the requirements and constraints of investigation and design tasks.

English – Exposition type of text

R S3.8: Identifies the text structure of a wider range of more complex text types and discusses how the characteristic grammatical features work to influence readers’ and viewers’ understanding of texts.

Text structure: Identifies the structure of a persuasive text and features such as modal words and connectives.

W S3.14: Critically evaluates how own texts have been structured to achieve their purpose and discusses ways of using related grammatical features and conventions of written language to shape readers’ and viewers’ understanding of texts.

Learning about writing:

Language structures and features: Assist students to identify the techniques used in argumentative and persuasive texts to influence the reader, and apply these to writing where appropriate.

Associated outcomes: HSIE – Global Environments: Rainforests

EN S3.5: Demonstrates an understanding of the interconnectedness between Australia and global environments and how individuals and groups can act in an ecologically responsible manner.

EN S3.6: Explains how various beliefs and practices influences the ways in which people interact with, change and value their environment.

Program: TERM 1



Week 2: Pretest using Reflection Sheet 1 from the S*L*I*M (School Library Impact Measure) toolkit for Guided Inquiry.

Week 3: Introduction to this blog site. In small groups, fill out a PMI matrix – Plus, Minus, Interesting facts: using a range of teacher-selected, rainforest-themed video clips from Youtube at: (Explicit teaching: deconstruction of PMI matrixes.)

Week 4: Contribute best PMI points in own words on a class matrix to publish on the blog. Compose introductory class messages to upload to the “Endangered animals: beyond the rainforest” blog. (Explicit teaching: deconstruction of an introductory message – see back to   for examples of previous student introductory messages and .) The teacher librarian demonstrates some of the range of possibilities of the Web 2.0 slideshow site, Photo Peach.

Week 5: Complete introductory blog messages and summarising of Plus, Minus, Interesting facts. Brainstorm four possible aspects or extinction factors for the Mauritian dodo, on a proforma, then watch the episode of “Extinct” entitled “The dodo”.

Week 6: Complete watching “The dodo”. Each student adds new factors about the species’ extinction to the proforma. How well did your group anticipate what information you found out?



Week 7: In pairs, students examine a range of fiction and non fiction books on endangered animals. Teacher librarian introduces steps of the Guided Inquiry process and the Research River images.



Week 8: In groups, students examine information as presented on the website, Save the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus. What elements of this site indicate that it is an example of persuasive text? (Leading to: How reliable is the information?) Brainstorm ways to tell if a website is trustworthy.

Tree Octopus website



Weeks 9-10: Students reexamine a range of non fiction books on endangered animals and formulate their research question. Teacher librarian reintroduces steps of the Guided Inquiry process. Where are we on the Research River?

Week 11: Reflection Sheet 2 from the S*L*I*M (School Library Impact Measure) toolkit for Guided Inquiry.

Program: TERM 2



Week 2: Discuss persuasive elements in the picture book, “The dream of  the thylacine” by Margaret Wild and Ron Brooks, and view the “Extinct” episode, “Tasmanian tiger”.

Week 3-4: New research cover sheet requiring new dot point facts about chosen endangered animals from a range of resources: books, diagrams, CD-ROMs (“Encarta”) and the Internet. (Explicit teaching: how to refine a search on Google with inverted comments and a useful, additional descriptor, such as “diagram” or “endangered”.)

Week 5: After viewing the information book, “Count them while you can: a book of endangered animals” by Anne Bowman, and noting the consistency of the fact boxes for each animal, students are sorted into related groups so they can combine their individual research on an endangered animal. As a group, the students brainstorm and negotiate a storyboard (proforma supplied) per group for a promotional Web 2.0 product which pleads the case (with much persuasion) for funding for attempting  to save their animals.

Storyboarding in the library, 2011

Week 6: Group work commences on storyboards and captions. (Explicit teaching: Discuss negotiation skills needed for a successful joint construction of text.)

Storyboarding with puppets, 2011



Week 7-8: Assembling of final product. (Explicit teaching: Deconstruct recent, successfully persuasive, digital slideshows created at the school, eg. Clifford and Phoebe visit Penrith PS and All Black Day: Christchurch Earthquake Appeal, 2011 and list the persuasive elements.)



Week 9-10: Completion/uploading of final products and assessing. Post-test using Reflection Sheet 3 from the S*L*I*M (School Library Impact Measure) toolkit for Guided Inquiry. You might like to check out the completed Photo Peach slideshows, which are listed under each class tab.


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