IN THIS TOGETHER:
Reconciliation Takes Action

National Reconciliation Week is coming up from 27 May – 3 June. Reconciliation Australia’s theme for 2021, ‘More than a word. Reconciliation takes action’, urges the reconciliation movement towards braver and more impactful action.

We have free curriculum-aligned lessons for all levels that are ideal for extending the theme of reconciliation into the classroom.

Each of us has a role to play in reconciliation. The role of teachers is important and unique as we collectively build relationships and communities that value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories and cultures.

Cool Australia focuses on helping students build understanding and broaden their perspectives when engaging with social issues. Our lessons are designed to empower students with information, letting them fully embrace the topic and energising them to create positive change.

#MoreThanAWord #NRW2021

Looking for early learning or lower primary lesson ideas? 

Many of the lessons included on this page are designed for upper primary and secondary students. If you are looking for lessons for younger students we recommend you have a look at Narragunnawali: Reconciliation in Education (Reconciliation Australia) have lessons for all ages.

Learning through documentaries

Film can be an incredible tool to introduce complex social issues and get students engaged in conversation. Many of our lessons are centred around award-winning documentaries as they allow teachers to engage students through storytelling. 

The Final Quarter

Cool Australia has partnered with Shark Island Productions to create curriculum resources for the acclaimed Australian documentary, The Final Quarter. The film focuses on the final years of AFL footballer Adam Goodes’ career, an Indigenous leader and Sydney Swans player who became a lightning rod for an intense public debate and widespread media commentary that divided the country.

The curriculum content includes specialist subjects that investigate racism, privilege, truth-telling, cultural pride, resilience, values, and dignity. In these lessons, students will learn about taking responsibility for their words, actions, and attitudes towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the importance of rejecting racism in all its forms.

They will develop skills in active, conscious, and reflective listening and communication, along with gaining an understanding of the Five Dimensions of Reconciliation.

In My Blood it Runs: Year 9 & 10

In My Blood It Runs is an intimate and compassionate documentary from the perspective of ten-year-old Arrernte and Garrwa child, Dujuan. Dujuan is faced with the challenge of learning how and when his identity as a First Nations child is unseen and undervalued within mainstream state education.

We’ve designed a suite of lessons in partnership with the filmmakers, to help teachers and students safely and meaningfully engage with In My Blood It Runs.

Find out more

Celebrating Culture & Reconciliation in the Classroom

Our lessons are also aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, “the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.”

Take 3 for the Sea

In this series of lessons for Upper Primary and Secondary students, we look at how individual, community and global actions impact our waterways. Using a Project-Based Learning approach allows students to work collaboratively to investigate and respond to an engaging question, problem or challenge that is based on a real-world setting or scenario.

These lessons have been created in partnership with Take 3 who believe in simple actions to address complex problems. They have created a series of short films exploring the issues, drawing on voices from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as well as other experts and public figures from all walks of life. 

Who We Are: A Brave New Clan: Years 4-6

Follow the lives of six exceptional young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as they share stories about their communities, history and cultures in contemporary Australia. The young people in the film reflect with pride on where they came from, the courage they needed to get where they are, and the optimism they have for where they are going.

The teaching resources are divided into three primary school units; People, Culture, and Country/Place.  Lessons cover:  English,  HASS, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures, Arts.

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Primary and Secondary Resources

The Final Quarter – Purposeful Language
Year 8

English, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures

Cool Australia has worked with experts in reconciliation, human rights and psychology to ensure these lessons promote emotional safety and cultural awareness. It is highly recommended that other lessons for The Final Quarter are used in the context of having viewed the full film and that teachers use the Watching the Film lessons to guide that process. 

IMAGI-NATION{TV} – Looking Outward
Years 3-10

Creative Thinking, Social Issues, Indigenous Education

This unit asks students to focus outward, thinking critically and openly about the world they live in and what they can do it make it better. They learn that what happened in the past doesn’t have to define the future and there are always opportunities for growth.

The Final Quarter – Racism, Rights And Reconciliation
Year 10

Social Issues, Learning Through Film, Indigenous Education

These lessons have been prepared to support teachers in exploring the topics of racism, human rights for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and reconciliation, through the lens of The Final Quarter documentary.

Blue Water Empire
Years 7-10

Learning Through Film, Indigenous Education

Blue Water Empire is a 3-part dramatised-documentary series that gives a unique insight into the history of the Torres Strait Islands. Traversing the pre-colonial era through to contemporary times, this compelling history explores how Torres Strait Islanders have sustained their cultural heritage throughout the impact of 200 years of European settlement.

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Research Focus: Teaching Cool Burning in the Classroom

What’s so cool about ‘cool burning’?

For tens of thousands of years Australian Aboriginal peoples have actively managed the savanna using fire. Their knowledge of the seasons and local conditions enable them to produce the most effective cool burns. These cool burns benefit both the environment and the Aboriginal traditional way of life.

Our teacher PD lets you build confidence in teaching Indigenous topics, and lets you make learning relevant by connecting to land management in your local area. These resources allow students to explore the use of cool burns as a way to manage country and how Indigenous Australians are the knowledge keepers of fire.

Education Resources and Professional Development

Cool Burning
– For Primary Students

In this learning unit, your students will investigate the way that Indigenous Australian land managers conduct controlled burns during the cool season of Australia’s tropical savanna regions. These land managers are also sharing their knowledge with scientists so that everyone can care for Country.

Cool Burning
– For Secondary Students

In this fascinating study, students investigate the ancient land management strategy of burning off dangerous fuel loads in Australia’s tropical savanna regions. Students will explore and develop their understanding of new concepts, then use and consolidate their new knowledge to form their own conclusions about cool burning.

Teach Caring for Country Using Fire– PD

Explore Aboriginal Histories and Cultures in Years 3-6 through the stories of traditional owners and the fire-stick techniques they use to care for the land.

Course Length: Two Hours

Teach Indigenous Land Management Using Fire – PD

Incorporate Aboriginal Histories and Cultures in Year 7-10 Geography by exploring how traditional owners are using fire to manage the land.

Course Length: Two Hours

Narragunnawali: Reconciliation in Education (Reconciliation Australia)

Reconciliation in Education is a program for Reconciliation Australia that supports all schools and early learning services in Australia to develop environments that foster a higher level of knowledge and pride in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and contributions. Narragunnawali (pronounced narra-gunna-wally) is a word from the language of the Ngunnawal people, Traditional Owners of the land on which Reconciliation Australia’s Canberra office is located, meaning alive, wellbeing, coming together and peace.

Narragunnawali’s online platform is free to access and provides practical ways to introduce meaningful reconciliation initiatives in the classroom, around the school and with the community. Through the Narragunnawali platform, schools and early learning services can develop a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), and teachers and educators can access professional learning and curriculum resources to support the implementation of reconciliation initiatives.

Cool Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, and to Elders past, present and emerging. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this website may contain images or names of people who have since passed away.

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