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Jillian Dodd has a Year1/2 class. Her interest is in values education through story response. Jill’s focus is on children constructing their own meaning from dreaming stories by examining the story elements: the spiritual world, rules for living and the environment. Children were read stories The Rainbow Serpent, How the birds got their colours and Rainbow Bird. The class also visited the art gallery and museum. Children’s own art work reflected what they had learnt about Aboriginal symbolism and the messages of the stories. The themes: journeying of the creator spirits, the environmental context and lifestyle of traditional Aboriginal people are reflected in the children’s own narratives.




Diversity- world views, heritage, environment

Cooperation- rules for living, social skills

Dreaming stories

Essential learnings

  • Identity Dreaming stories shared by group
  • Interdependence sustainability
  • Futures messages for living
  • Thinking critical literacy skills
  • Communication expression through story and art.

Key idea

Children identify what can be learnt from particular stories that explain: * rules for living * diversity of environments * spiritual worlds.

In the dreaming time there was a kangaroo. He jumped through the desert. When he stopped he made a water hole and a tree. He hopped along some mountains and hills. He made plants. He made people. The people followed the kangaroo. The kangaroo taught them how to speak and paint.

This story used The Rainbow Serpent as a text model. Kangaroo is a creator spirit who formed the landscape and taught the people their language and rituals.


Once upon a time a woman was sitting at the campfire and one man was throwing his boomerang. Two more women were sitting and talking to each other. Then a possum came running past them. The man with the boomerang saw the possum running so he started chasing after it. The possum led him to a water hole so beautiful he couldn’t go away from it. Back at the camp the others were worried about him so they followed the possums foot prints. It took a thousand days. When they got there they couldn’t go away either so they decided to camp there for ever.

This journeying story is modelled on the quest for the creator spirit’s precious home territory and its own people.


Once upon a time there was a snake. It travelled across the land looking for something he had never seen in his life. So he went past the desert to the beach. He went swimming deep down into the coral. He just found something. It was a lovely star shaped diamond but inside it there were worms and witchetty grubs. So he went back to find something else, but then a swimming kangaroo was running around it to protect it and the snake looked back and thought it things are trying to protect it it must be pretty good for something. So when the snake scared the swimming kangaroo it got the diamond and took it away.

This story reflects the spiritual symbolism of seeking “the pearl beyond price” where the creator spirit is seeking the perfect totem in its travels across the landscape.


Comparing stories

Three stories about how the lorikeets got their colours.

Rainbow Serpent: The parrots got their colours when they flew out of the rainbow snake after he was cut open. We thought the message was about creation of the land and how the people should dance.

Rainbow Bird: The plain bird woman became a lorikeet after she stole the firesticks from the greedy crocodile and put them in her tail.We thought the story message was about how people first got fire and the message for living was not to be greedy.

How the birds got their colours. The blood from the dove splashed colours on the birds who helped, but the uncaring crow stayed black. We though the story message was that it is good to help others.

Our class liked the story message about helping others best.