Superheros. Dinosaurs. Thomas the Tank Engine. These are often passions of the students we work with, and as Dr Wenn Lawson, an expert on Autism, describes, it is the passionate mind that enables students to engage, learn and thrive.

Using Student Interests in the Classroom.

This Literacy unit of work is all about Superheroes and was designed to engage students in literacy and work towards those key skills of reading and writing, and having fun whilst doing it!

The unit is comprised of two components; the first term involving three core texts (‘Superworm’ by Julia Donaldson, ‘Monty and Sylvester’ by Carly Gledhill and ‘Kungfu Panda’ directed by Mark Osborne and John Stevenson). The key focus of the core texts was to engage students in the topic and develop their comprehension of book conventions, storylines, character development and key vocabulary. Topics like this often lend well into discussions around what makes someone a ‘goody’ or a ‘baddy’ and you might even be able to extend some conversations into social stories relevant to your everyday life.

The second component of the unit is about applying prior knowledge and planning, designing, writing and editing your own story. The teaching sequence is characterised by a step-by-step process of how to create an imaginative text from designing the look and traits of a character, to learning how to create a plot that flows smoothly. The best part is the process is open-ended, and whilst some restrictions are in place to ensure cyber safety etc., the students can apply a lot of their creativity here! Enabling lots of opportunity for choice-making can often motivate students in tasks that might traditionally be considered a paper and pen, tabletop activity. Fine motor tasks can often be a challenge for our students so providing alternatives such as typing at a computer or tablet, or recording a voice or visual being posted, mean the story can be just as effectively communicated. The students complete the unit having created their own e-book and film.

The outcomes for the unit of work have been adjusted to reflect the content of the NSW Australian Curriculum. There are many more activities and variations to the teaching and learning experience that you might wish to develop or adjust based on the learning needs of your child or students.

Woody vs The Clones

Jessica Xi
Giant Steps Sydney
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