Activity Introduction

PK Hero Image 8Quick summary: Students examine the relationship between story and storyteller through the exploration of the documentary Paul Kelly – Stories of Me. Students choose a Paul Kelly song, and explore how it connects to his life. They consider three different perspectives on the relationship between the story and the storyteller. They then plan, draft and publish a report exploring different points of view around the question, “Exactly whose story does Paul Kelly tell?”

This lesson uses sections of Shark Island Production’s Paul Kelly – Stories of Me as learning stimuli. Teachers are required to create an account to view the film and use the supplied code to enable students to access the film.

Key points to explore:

  • Events in a musician’s life can have an influence over their songs.
  • Storytelling is representational in nature.

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 9 English

  • Understand that authors innovate with text structures and language for specific purposes and effects (ACELA1553)
  • Explain how authors creatively use the structures of sentences and clauses for particular effects (ACELA1557)
  • Identify how vocabulary choices contribute to specificity, abstraction and stylistic effectiveness (ACELA1561)
  • Create literary texts, including hybrid texts, that innovate on aspects of other texts, for example by using parody,allusion and appropriation (ACELT1773)
  • Use interaction skills to present and discuss an idea and to influence and engage an audience by selecting persuasive language, varying voice tone, pitch, and pace, and using elements such as music and sound effects (ACELY1811)
  • Interpret, analyse and evaluate how different perspectives of issue, event, situation, individuals or groups are constructed to serve specific purposes in texts (ACELY1742)
  • Review and edit students’ own and others’ texts to improve clarity and control over content, organisation, paragraphing, sentence structure, vocabulary and audio/visual features (ACELY1747)

Year 10 English

  • Understand that people’s evaluations of texts are influenced by their value systems, the context and the purpose and mode of communication (ACELA1565)
  • Reflect on, extend, endorse or refute others’ interpretations of and responses to literature (ACELT1640)
  • Analyse and explain how text structures, language features and visual features of texts and the context in which texts are experienced may influence audience response (ACELT1641)
  • Analyse and evaluate how people, cultures, places, events, objects and concepts are represented in texts, including media texts, through language, structural and/or visual choices (ACELY1749)
  • Identify and analyse implicit or explicit values, beliefs and assumptions in texts and how these are influenced by purposes and likely audiences (ACELY1752)
  • Create sustained texts, including texts that combine specific digital or media content, for imaginative, informative, or persuasive purposes that reflect upon challenging and complex issues (ACELY1756)
  • Review, edit and refine students’ own and others’ texts for control of content, organisation, sentence structure, vocabulary, and/or visual features to achieve particular purposes and effects (ACELY1757)

Year 11 English

Unit 1
Investigate the relationships between language, context and meaning by:

  • explaining how texts are created in and for different contexts (ACEEN001)

Examine similarities and differences between imaginative, persuasive and interpretive texts including:

  • evaluating the impact of description and imagery, including figurative language, and still and moving images in digital and multimodal texts. (ACEEN007)

Analyse and evaluate how responses to texts, including students’ own responses, are influenced by:

  • purpose, taking into account that a text’s purpose is often open to debate (ACEEN008)

Create a range of texts:

  • using appropriate form, content, style and tone for different purposes and audiences in real and imagined contexts (ACEEN011)
  • using evidence-based argument (ACEEN014)
  • using strategies for planning, drafting, editing and proofreading (ACEEN016)
  • using accurate spelling, punctuation, syntax and metalanguage. (ACEEN017)

Unit 2
Investigate the representation of ideas, attitudes and voices in texts including:

  • analysing the ways language features, text structures and stylistic choices shape points of view and influence audiences (ACEEN024)
  • analysing how attitude and mood are created, for example, through the use of humour in satire and parody. (ACEEN027)

Analyse and evaluate how and why responses to texts vary through:

  • the ways ideas, attitudes and voices are represented, for example, how events are reported differently in the media (ACEEN029)

Create a range of texts:

  • using imaginative, interpretive and persuasive elements for different purposes, contexts and audiences (ACEEN032)
  • selecting and applying appropriate textual evidence to support arguments (ACEEN035)
  • using strategies for planning, drafting, editing and proofreading (ACEEN036)
  • using accurate spelling, punctuation, syntax and metalanguage. (ACEEN037)

General capabilities: Literacy, Critical and Creative Thinking, Personal and Social Capability, ICT Capability.

Topic: Social issues.


Time required: 120 minutes (or 2 x 60 minutes)

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate student discussion, coordinate student movement around classroom.

Resources required: Student Worksheet – one copy per student OR computers/tablets to access the online worksheet. Device capable of presenting a website to the class. Copy of Paul Kelly – Stories of Me (teachers are required to create an account to view and invite students to view the film). Blu-Tack, Interviewee quote print-outs: John Kingsmill, Deborah Conway, Archie Roach

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities, using ICT to visualise thinking.

Keywords: Story, storyteller, song, life, influences, Paul Kelly.

Acknowledgements: This resource has been adapted from ‘Paul Kelly: Portrait of an Artist’ written by Eva Gold, Mel Dixon, Ann Small, Bradley Merrick with Appendix from Victorian teachers by Monika Wagner.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

PK Hero Image 5Teacher preparation

Overarching learning goal: Students gain a better understanding of how a storyteller's life can be related to the stories they tell. They will establish the relationship between events in the life of musician Paul Kelly and the meaning behind his songs. They will be able to evaluate other's opinions around the relationship between the story and the storyteller, and will develop a better understanding of informative texts when they plan draft and create a report that details a variety of viewpoints around the prompt: "Exactly whose story does Paul Kelly tell?"

Teacher content information: This lesson is based on the film Paul Kelly - Stories of Me, which charts the many lives, loves and losses of Paul Kelly, one of Australia’s most gifted singer-songwriters. His songs have been marking out the Australian landscape and its people through words and music for almost 40 years. The stories and the music of Paul Kelly explore and reflect the Australian experience, life a

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Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: "The shortest distance between a human being and truth is a story" - Anthony de Mello

1. After watching the documentary film, choose one song from Paul Kelly - Stories of Me to focus on and note its title here:

What are your thoughts about the meaning of the song you're focusing on? Do you think the song relates to Paul Kelly's Life? Expand on your response a little:

2. Create a written report that explores the different viewpoints around the prompt: "Exactly whose story does Paul Kelly tell?"

In your report, you should include three different ideas - those ideas could be based on the opinions of people interviewed in the documentary. Your report could quote what was said in the documentary, then explain your thoughts about the person's opinion about whose stories Paul Kelly tells in his songs.
Here's some space for you to plan your ideas:

When you're drafting your report, consider the information about the text type below:

The form
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