Children's chores

[Episode 9 | 1928 : Bridie]

Bridie's family is having breakfast and discussing what they will do that day. Her father and brother are going to work at the brickworks, her mother will be cleaning floors for neighbours, and Bridie and her older sister Kath are expected to look after baby Colum and do chores around the house. Bridie spies on Kath and her friend Lorna as they plan to get away from their responsibilities and have a picnic by the river.


English

The Australian curriculum: English

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The Australian Curriculum: English aims to ensure that students:

  • learn to listen to, read, view, speak, write, create and reflect on increasingly complex and sophisticated spoken, written and multimodal texts across a growing range of contexts with accuracy, fluency and purpose
  • appreciate, enjoy and use the English language in all its variations and develop a sense of its richness and power to evoke feelings, convey information, form ideas, facilitate interaction with others, entertain, persuade and argue
  • understand how Standard Australian English works in its spoken and written forms and in combination with non-linguistic forms of communication to create meaning
  • develop interest and skills in inquiring into the aesthetic aspects of texts, and develop an informed appreciation of literature.

English activities [5]

Activity 1: Bridie and Kath
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Subtheme(s): Relationships
Discover
  • As a class discuss what this clip tells us about the characters. Focus attention on the relationship between the two girls.
  • Ask students to discuss the following questions:
  1. Are these two characters sisters and/or friends?
  2. How has the filmmaker provided us with clues about their relationship?

Reflect
  • Have students work independently or in pairs and use Student Activity Sheet E9.1 to record as much information from the clip as possible.

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Activity 2: Point of view (POV)
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Subtheme(s): Relationships
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  • Discuss the ways in which a filmmaker or author aligns the audience with one key character. For example, one character is given more attention than the others, and we see things from that character's point of view.
  • Ask students to discuss the following questions:
  1. Who does the filmmaker align the viewer with in this clip?
  2. What filmmaking techniques are used to do this?
  3. Why is the character Bridie the most significant character in this story?
  4. How might this scene be different if it was shown from Kath's point of view?

Reflect
  • Plan a retelling of this scene from Kath's point of view.
  • Ask the students to think about how Kath feels about her younger sister and how the filmmaker would show this. Have the groups write a monologue by Kath to tell her mother about the events of the day. Each group should select someone to present the monologue.

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Activity 3: The family
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Subtheme(s): Multiculturalism; Relationships
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  • Discuss the family's circumstances. Ask students to respond to the following questions:
  1. How would you describe this family?
  2. For example, are they rich or poor?
  3. How do you know?
  4. How does the filmmaker give us the information we need to know about the family? For example, the mother is going out to clean flats; the father and brother are both working; Dad is going to the pub; the girls have to look after the baby and do the chores around the house.

Reflect
  • Have students use Student Activity Sheet E9.3 to guide the discussion on what they think the filmmaker wants the audience to know about this family from this clip.

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Activity 4: Adapting text to screen
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Subtheme(s): Culture; Relationships
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  • Discuss the family's ethnic origin. How do we know the family is Irish?
  • Replay the clip and have students look carefully at all the information in the setting for clues that help build up a picture of this family and their background. Freeze the frame occasionally to examine sets in more detail.
  • Then have students look at the pages about Bridie (1928) in the picture book My Place.

Reflect
  • Ask students to list the clues they can gather about the family's cultural and religious practices from the illustrations and text in the book, and then to do the same with the film clip.
  • Students should compare the list of clues from the clip and from the book and evaluate how the television adaptation has borrowed from the original book source.

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Activity 5: Chores
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Subtheme(s): Chores, business and employment
Discover
  • Kath and Bridie have an extensive list of chores to perform while their mother leaves the house for paid work.
  • As a class, list the tasks the girls complete and discuss them. Might anything about these chores constitute a danger to the children?

Reflect
  • Discuss the following questions with the students:
  1. Do these children have too much responsibility?
  2. Are these tasks age-appropriate?
  3. Are the responsibilities different to what children of the same age would be expected to have in the 21st century?
  • Watch a selection of the other My Place episodes and ask students to complete a list of chores that Rowley (Episode 12), Evelyn (Episode 11), Michaelis (Episode 6) and Lily (Episode 3) are expected to complete for their families. Compare these and discuss how they differ and why.
  • Organise a class debate on the topic 'Children should not have to do chores'.

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