Bouncing Back: An Eastern Barred Bandicoot Story

Exploring the 2019 CBCA Short List: Information Books

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Authors: Rohan Cleave and Coral Tulloch

Publisher: CSIRO Publishing

Themes:  Endangered animals; Australian Animals; conservation; ecosystems

Years:  Australian Curriculum: English, Years 3 and 4; Science, Year 3.

From the publisher’s synopsis: The Eastern Barred Bandicoot is one of Australia's most threatened species. When their existence came under extreme threat from habitat loss, predators and human development, Eastern Barred Bandicoots found refuge in the most unlikely of places — a rubbish tip. This captivating true story details the plight these small, nocturnal marsupials faced, and the outstanding efforts that ensured their protection. Written by Rohan Cleave and illustrated by Coral Tulloch, Bouncing Back shows that even on the brink of extinction, there is hope for the survival of our most vulnerable species.

Unit writer: Amanda Worlley

Field and context

Building field knowledge

  • Use a KWL chart or RAN strategy (see additional resources) to elicit what students know about Bandicoots, and in particular the Eastern Barred Bandicoot. 
  • List the words endangered, vulnerable, threatened, extinct and have students brainstorm the meanings of these terms. Research the meaning of categories used to classify the conservation status of species.  AC9S4I06 AC9S4U01
  • Create a vocabulary word wall in either paper form or online using a tool such as Padlet. Start with the words endangered, vulnerable, threatened and extinct from the previous activity and add new words and definitions as they are encountered in the text.  AC9E4LA11 AC9E3LY02

Exploring the context of the text

  • Use a map of Australia, or use digital one using My Maps feature in Google Maps to mark the location of the bandicoot populations.  AC9S4U01
  • Read  CSIROScope Blog — which details facts behind the text.
  • Prior to reading show students the cover of the text and ask them to identify what type of text they think this might be (informative/narrative).  Flip through the first part of the text showing the narrative structure — have they changed their thinking? Then show the factual pages at the end, including a glossary. AC9E4LA03  

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Responding and creating

Responding to the text

  • Show the cover of the text drawing attention to the title Bouncing back: The Eastern Barred Bandicoot Story. What do students think the story is about? Why has the author used Bouncing back? What are the different meanings for this term?  How has it been used in this context? AC9E4LE02 AC9E3LE01
  • Plickers or Kahoot.  AC9E2LE02  AC9E3LE02
  • Have students classify the collection of texts. Let them choose the way they classify and explain. If they haven’t, ask them to sort books into information and narrative and lead a discussion on the traditional versus contemporary narrative information texts. If there are texts on the same subject discuss how different authors have approached the same subject in different ways. What do they prefer, and why?  AC9E3LE02  AC9E4LE02

Creating texts

  • Use an app such as Publisher or free website such as Canva to generate an infographic to promote saving the Eastern Barred Bandicoot   AC9E4LY06 
  • Identify another threatened Australian species and using the text as a guide, create a class information text using the narrative format. Brainstorm and jointly construct a storyboard, and then assign groups of students a section such as diet, habitat, life cycle, threats, to create their narrative section.  AC9E3LE05 AC9E4LY06 
  • The recovery team was formed in 1989. Imagine the year is now 2039, fifty years after the recovery team commenced their work to save the bilby. Write a newspaper article about the issue and what has happened over the last fifty years. The article can be published using online newspaper generator Fodley   AC9E3LE05  

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Examining text structure and organisation

  • Lead the class in a discussion to identify the different types of texts included in this text (narrative and information) and list how they differ from each other by identifying their usual key features. AC9E4LA03
  • Examine the structure of the text — the narrative, followed by the factual. Compare to other texts that use a similar organisation such as Phasmid: Saving the Lord Howe Island Stick Insect. Ask students why they think the author has decided to present the information in these two different ways, referencing the text purpose and intended audience in their explanation. AC9E4LA03 AC9E4LE01  AC9E3LY03

Examining grammar

  • The narrative section is written in first person past tense. How does that affect the reading experience? Choose a page of the text and rewrite the narrative in third person point of view with students. Have students identify what language choices they needed to make, and what they prefer and why?  AC9E4LE01 
  • Display both parts of the text to compare and contrast the narrative and factual on the interactive whiteboard. Suggest how texts have different purposes (entertain, inform) and how these complement each other. Use a highlight tool to examine with students language aspects such as verb tense, person or voice (first versus third) and technical vocabulary. AC9E4LA03  AC9E3LY04

Examining visual and multimodal features

  • Scan the end papers from front and back of book and display one on top of the other on the interactive whiteboard. Have students examine these closely and identify the changes in the before and after images. What further information has the illustrator given to the reader?  AC9E4LA10  AC9E3LA09 
  • During the reading, point out to students aspects of the visual text such as the bandicoot tracks that lead the viewer into the story, the use of different angles and shots for example high angle close up of the double page where Urgent action was needed showing the bandicoot as vulnerable.  AC9E4LA10  AC9E3LA09 
  • Scan or project the double page image of the dump. Use appropriate interactive whiteboard software and create text boxes with key elements of visual language to build students’ meta-language (for example shot/framing, salient feature, foreground, background). Lead a join discussion with students and identify these aspects, and how they have supported in telling the story.  AC9E4LA10 AC9E3LA09 

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Additional and related resources and links to other texts: Find related units of work from previous PETAA Guides for Phasmid: Saving the Lord Howe Island Stick Insect, Bilby Secrets, and the A to Z of Endangered Animals. The RAN strategy/chart — The Reading and Analysing Non Fiction (RAN) Strategy is an adaption of the popular KWL Strategy by Tony Stead. Five categories are used — what I think I know, confirmed, misconceptions, new information and wonderings. Stead, T (2006) Reality Checks: Teaching Reading Comprehension with Non Fiction, K-5 Stenhouse Publishing, Portland available for purchase through its website. Teachers can preview in Google Books.

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