Good Reading : August 2010
AUGUST 2010 ı goodreading 33 up close Classroom Activities The themes and images explored in Mir ror are great for classroom discussion. Here are some teaching notes and creative activities to get you started.You can go to our website www.goodreadingmagazine.com.au/schoolshome.cfm to check out more teaching notes for Mir ror and lots of other titles. 1. Imagine the two boys in the book, Mir ror, are penpals. They became penpals before the family in Morocco bought their computer, and so sent each other letters the old- fashioned way: through the post or by 'snail mail'. Write the first letter each boy sends to each other, telling his new penpal about his everyday life. Then, write the first email the boy in Morocco sends his Australian penpal, and the email the Australian boy sends in reply. 2. Imagine you owned and cared for a donkey and had to ride it to school or the local shops. How would it change your daily routine? Write a story about you and your donkey. 3. Which objects do you think reflect the values of the family in Morocco? How are the objects, and the family's values, similar to your family's, and how are they different? Prepare a speech to explain your findings. 4. Go to the library and find other books by Jeannie Baker. Choose your favourite book and prepare a talk for the rest of your group or class on what you like about it. Think about things like: the way Jeannie Baker makes her pictures, the stories she tells with pictures, how the book makes you feel. 5. On a rectangle of calico, create a rug design. First create the background. Use the 'spice colours of Morocco' as inspiration. Then paint a design, using symbols and iconography, across the calico. Use the rug designs in Mir ror as inspiration. Mirror by Jeannie Baker is published by Walker Books, rrp $39.95. From Jeannie Baker’s Morocco Diary Saturday 26 February It was like a dream ... We were woken at about 3am by one of the girls shouting to us from outside Fadma’s window. We jumped up and into our clothes. Hammou led us to our mule and we joined the girls who were waiting on their donkeys … Hada, Abbe, Rhadija and Soumia. First I climbed a large rock, a good vantage point from which to fling myself up and across the mule’s back. We dumped our bags inside the large baskets straddled either side of the mule. Mohammed sat in front. It was almost full moon. We were both still half asleep and with the motion of the mule pushing us onward and sitting motionless astride its back, it felt as though we were being propelled through a dream. It was bitterly cold, though I was wearing three thick jumpers, a long sleeve thermal top, Fadma’s dress (a bright pink dressing gown which I later found out was her most cherished dress) and my Goretex. I’d been unable to find my gloves in our haste to leave and my hands quickly froze. Mohammed let me put them in his pockets. I was rapidly losing my body heat through my legs (I only wore a thin pair of trousers), so Mohammed put my feet into the mule bags and stuffed a blanket around them; I felt much better. The girls were very cheerful, joking and singing. We rode for perhaps three hours. At about 6am, just as dawn was starting, we stopped, tethered our mules or donkeys and the girls had soon made a blazing grass fire. It was wonderfully warm. We shared the boiled eggs and bread Fadma had given us. I had expected to be working alongside the girls but it was now obvious that was not what they expected at all. They each had a pickaxe with which to chop near the roots of bundles of grasses. There was no pickaxe for me or for Mohammed. I insisted on having a go. I grabbed hold of a clump of grass, ready to cut at it with the pickaxe but instantly gave a yelp. The grasses had thorns! The girls rolled around in laughter. I grabbed one of the girls’ hands and looked at it, her palms were as hard and tough as nails! We left the girls chopping at the grasses and went mountain climbing and were soon surrounded by snow. By the time we’d climbed down, the girls had cut and collected huge bundles of grasses. Mohammed rekindled the fire and soon we sat around it sharing food and drinking tea. The girls packed their donkeys high with grass bundles and we made our way back to Idlerson village: the girls walking this time, though occasionally taking a ride on our mule. We arrived back about 3pm: it had taken 12 hours of work for the girls to collect a supply of grasses for fuel. I understand that in the future they will need to walk even further to find grass, as the closest grasses are depleted.