Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Retired AFL star Adam Goodes is known to many for his resilient journey in the face of detrimental treatment by AFL spectators and the media beginning in 2013.

In this lesson, students are introduced to the role of theme songs and ending credit songs in films. Looking specifically at the award-winning ‘Every Day My Mother’s Voice’, written by Paul Kelly for The Final Quarter, students explore the process of writing songs for film. They then explore the context of the song’s story and analyse its lyric phrases, looking for the use of literary devices.

Using only archival footage aired at the time, The Final Quarter holds a mirror to Australia and is an opportunity to reconsider what happened on and off the football field. Learn more about the film here.

We highly recommend that students view the film in its entirety before participating in subsequent lessons. Our Watching the Film lessons are designed to support you in facilitating this process. Given the content, it is also important for teachers to communicate with parents and guardians of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students before playing the film and/or engaging with the teaching and learning resources. 

Note: This film may not be suitable for viewing by all young people. Teachers are advised to use their discretion when deciding whether to show this film. If teaching in a context with a high proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, it is imperative that guidance is sought from the Principal and Aboriginal Education Officer (or equivalent) prior to screening the film.

Learning intentions:

  • Students understand how theme songs and ending credits songs add to a film.
  • Students understand how songwriters come up with ideas for song lyrics.
  • Students understand the process of developing a song for a film.
  • Students understand that lyrics can have powerful messages and hidden meanings.

21st century skills: 

CommunicatingCreative ThinkingCritical ThinkingCultural UnderstandingEmpathyTeam Work 

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 9 English:

  • Interpret and compare how representations of people and culture in literary texts are drawn from different historical, social and cultural contexts (ACELT1633)
  • Explore and reflect on personal understanding of the world and significant human experience gained from interpreting various representations of life matters in texts (ACELT1635)
  • Investigate and experiment with the use and effect of extended metaphor, metonymy, allegory, icons, myths and symbolism in texts, for example poetry, short films, graphic novels, and plays on similar themes (ACELT1637)

Year 10 English:

  • 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)
  • Evaluate the social, moral and ethical positions represented in texts (ACELT1812)
  • Compare and evaluate how ‘voice’ as a literary device can be used in a range of different types of texts such as poetry to evoke particular emotional responses (ACELT1643)

Years 9 & 10 Music:

  • Evaluate a range of music and compositions to inform and refine their own compositions and performances (ACAMUR104)
  • Analyse a range of music from contemporary and past times to explore differing viewpoints and enrich their music making, starting with Australian music, including music of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, and consider music in international contexts (ACAMUR105)

Syllabus outcomes: EN5-3B, EN5-4B, EN5-7D, EN5-8D, MUS5.7, MUS5.7, MUS5.9, MUS5.10, MUS5.11, MUS5.11

General capabilities: Literacy, Critical and Creative Thinking, Personal and Social Capability, Intercultural Understanding

Cross-curriculum priority: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures (OI.6, OI,9)

Relevant parts of Years 9 & 10 Music achievement standards:
Students analyse different scores and performances aurally and visually. They evaluate the use of elements of music and defining characteristics from different musical styles. They use their understanding of music making in different cultures, times and places to inform and shape their interpretations, performances and compositions.

Relevant parts of Year 9 English achievement standards:
Students analyse the ways that text structures can be manipulated for effect. They analyse and explain how images, vocabulary choices and language features distinguish the work of individual authors. They evaluate and integrate ideas and information from texts to form their own interpretations. They select evidence from texts to analyse and explain how language choices and conventions are used to influence an audience. They listen for ways texts position an audience.

Relevant parts of Year 10 English achievement standards:
Students evaluate how text structures can be used in innovative ways by different authors. They explain how the choice of language features, images and vocabulary contributes to the development of individual style. They listen for ways features within texts can be manipulated to achieve particular effects.

Topic: Learning Through Film, Social Issues, Indigenous Education

This lesson is part of the wider unit of work: The Final Quarter – Composing For Film – Music – Years 7-10

Time required: 60 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate class discussion and support students with activities.

Resources required:

  • Adam Goodes Profile (optional)
  • Device capable of presenting a video to the class
  • Lyric Sheet – single-sided, one copy per group of two-three students
  • Student Worksheets – one copy per student.

Keywords: songwriting, process, compose, theme, song, lyric, lyrics, analysis, Paul Kelly, Dan Sultan, Adam Goodes, The Final Quarter, documentary, film, score, credits, music, pop, folk, Australian.

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


Teacher Worksheet

Teacher Preparation

Learning intentions: Students understand...

  • … how theme songs and ending credits songs add to a film.
  • … how songwriters come up with ideas for song lyrics.
  • … the process of developing a song for a film.
  • … that lyrics can have powerful messages and hidden meanings.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • … structure song lyrics.
  • … analyse song lyrics.
  • … look for meaning in songs and decode literary devices.
  • … explain the value of writing songs for film.

Teacher content information:

This lesson will be centred around the acclaimed 2019 documentary, The Final Quarter. This film explores the detrimental treatment of AFL star Adam Goodes and the media and community responses. An Aboriginal player, and number 37 for the Sydney Swans, Adam Goodes was singled out for verbal abuse, booing and jeering by spectators from a range of clubs during the last three years of his career in 2013 - 2015, until he retired from the game. 

Because he was one of the m

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: “I think song writing is just a matter of keeping your ears open." ~ Paul Kelly

Theme Songs and Ending Credits

1. Compare your lyrics with these original lyrics:

'Every Day My Mother's Voice'
By Paul Kelly

Every day the sun comes up
Like the day before
Every day I fill my cup
Stand up straight and walk through the door

Every day my mother's voice
Talks to me
Every day I make my choice
What to do and how to be

Every day I build my life
On her sacrifice
Every day I face my strife
But I know where to go for advice

Many roads I could have gone down
Many, many ways to disappear
Every day I hear the sound
Of her voice right by my ear
So clear, so clear

She taught me to be strong
I guess I got lucky
Now I've got a dance and I've got a song
They can't take that away from me

Every day
Every day
Every day I hear my mother's voice

Every night the stars come up
Just like the night before
Every night I drain my cup
Lay me down and close the door


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