Activity Introduction

dumbo feather 6Quick Summary: Dumbo Feather is a publication that has conversations with extraordinary people. People who are living with passion and purpose, people who take positive action in their communities. Together with Cool Australia, Dumbo Feather has created an exciting literacy learning resource to engage students in the art of storytelling through conversation.


Dumbo Lord Mayor

Teachers can use these resources to teach literacy skills with the outcome being for students to enter the New Conversations Storytelling Competition. This competition is open to Australian students in Year 9 & 10. It encourages them to conduct conversations with people they find extraordinary and invites students to share their story and celebrate heroic qualities through their submission. The competition aims to connect students to the power of storytelling, develop their communication skills and be reminded of the emotional value of face-to-face conversation.


Competition Details: 

1. Use the literacy lessons in the curriculum toolkit to teach your students about the art of of storytelling. You can teach all of the lessons from the collection or just specific parts of the unit. Each lesson lends itself to one of the three mediums in which students can enter their story into the competition. 

2. Students then prepare their final work to submit in the New Conversations Storytelling Competition before 5pm on the 4th September, 2015. There are three mediums in which students can present their final piece:

  • Dumbo Feather conversation
  • Short 1-2 minute visual clip
  • Multi-modal text for example comic strip, illustration or cartoon. 

3. Enter your students into the competition and stay tuned to find out if you and your students have won an iPad, a 1 year subscription to Dumbo Feather, cash prizes and the chance to be published in the Dumbo Feather magazine and website.

Curriculum Toolkit: 

1. Introduction – Dumbo Feather’s Writing Competition

Introduction to the guidelines of the competition, examining the process of storytelling and defining students own stylistic approach.

2. A visual tribute to heroes: cartoons, comics and illustrations 

Celebrating the qualities of heroes through the combined mediums of illustration and words.  

3. The craft of editing

Selecting, refining, polishing students work for submission – embracing the stylistic features of a Dumbo Feather Conversation.

4. Ways with Visuals: A picture can tell 1000 words

Alternate or additional ways for students to share their story with the help of photographic visual elements.



 Learning goals for this curriculum toolkit:
  • Students will develop the understanding and skills necessary to create texts that are imaginative and informative and which mirror the stylistic features of a Dumbo Feather Conversation.
  • Students engage and experiment with a variety of structural, stylistic and formal features of the English language. 
  • Students embrace multimodal forms of storytelling devices to best suit their purposes of storytelling
  • Students will develop their listening and speaking skills through communicating and interacting with others
  • Students interactions with peers, teachers, individuals and/or community members encourages them to build on their communication skills and deepen their understanding of their own contexts. 
Australian Curriculum Links:

While this collection of lessons has been developed for New Conversations Storytelling Competition, solid links have been made towards embracing outcomes of the Australian Curriculum: English. As students explore the art of storytelling through the framework of conversation, they are encouraged to engage with different viewpoints through listening to the perspectives of others. As they create their text for submission, they will borrow stylistic and organizational frameworks, text structures and language features and hone their skills of listening, interacting and editing. Students are also encouraged to embrace a variety of media technologies. 



Teacher Worksheet

cover2Background information:

Outcomes: Students are introduced to the guidelines of New Conversations Storytelling Competition while also examining the process of storytelling “Dumbo Feather Style”. Students are scaffolded through the planning process for their imaginative text in order to create a literary text that draws upon other text structures for a particular effect. Students will share, reflect on, clarify and evaluate opinions and arguments presented in other literary texts. 

Dumbo Feather: a glimpse behind the scenes

What you will need:  

  • Print out or projection of competition details (click here)
  • Print out of the last year's winning entrant by Stephanie Powell.
  • Student planning notes for Lesson One (Printed out or electronic copies)
  • Access to Vimeo - headphone for personal listening
  • A pad of sticky notes (optional)
  • A whiteboard

Part 1: Tune in

Start by asking for two student volunteers to take a seat at the front of the classroom and to engage in a conversation.

- or - to view worksheets

Student Worksheet

Tips for success with Cool Conversations 

Conversation with Mike Bartlett

Conversation with Sofija Stefanovic 

Record some of the aspects that you feel are most significant for a "Cool Conversation - Dumbo Feather Style." Use the DUMBO FEATHER WRITER'S BIBLE to help you.

 From the above list, identify the one point of focus you think is most significant on your list.

What two steps will you take to ensure that you will commit to this focus in your own conversation?



It is important that you focus your attention on talking with someone you admire. Someone who has offered you inspiration, motivation or hope. What is the name of the person you choose to interview?

 Why have you chosen this particular person?

 What is their passion in life?

 What are 3 key things you want to find out more about in your conversation?




Is there anything you feel you want to share with them? Perhaps something that you would l

- or - to view worksheets

Leave your Feedback

We appreciate your feedback. Let us know what you like or don't like about this activity:

Sorry. You must be logged in to view this form.