Sky: Focus Area 2
- Sky by Ondine Sherman
- Focus Area 2 – Character Profile Worksheet
- Focus Area 2 – Character Development Worksheet
- Glossary (selected words appear in bold)
Suggested Learning Activities
This focus area refers to chapters 1-4.
- To what extent does place impact one’s identity?
- How do experiences shape one’s identity?
Students complete a character profile of Sky – use the Character Profile Worksheet.
Students should try to support their ideas with relevant evidence/quotations from the text.
Setting and Character Development
Sky grows up in the city of Sydney, but after the tragic death of her mother; Eleanor, she must go to live with her aunt Paula in a small rural town of NSW called West Creek. As well as adjusting to living with her relatives, she must also start at a new school. Both of these changes have a significant impact on Sky’s identity.
- Consider how the two settings are presented in the novel by using a Venn diagram to chart the similarities and differences.
Key term: Provincialism
Ask students to spend a few minutes researching this term, and then ask them to write a definition of it. Cross reference the Glossary here.
- Can this term be applied to West Creek? Why? Can you support your ideas with evidence from the text?
- Sky is initially hesitant about living in West Creek, however, as the novel progresses, she begins to change her perspective.
Ask students to track the development of Sky throughout the novel? Use the Character Development Worksheet.
The following points can be used to assist your students:
- Sky’s personal experiences – Her mother’s death / The absence of her father
- Sky’s experiences at school – Friendships / Landcare group
- Sky’s social experiences – Marissa’s pool party / Oliver
- Sky’s actions – Keeping secrets – Breaking into the Chicken Farm / Her school project/ Presentation day/ Any others you can find.
Forging an Identity
Ask students to form pairs to discuss and note down some responses for the following points. Students may draw on their knowledge of the whole text to respond to the questions. Then discuss as a whole class or in groups of 4.
- At her new school, Sky feels like an outsider. Find evidence to support this statement.
- How is her new school different to her old one?
- In what ways does Sky try to fit in at her new school?
- Sky says, ‘The appeal of popularity is pulling at me like a rip-tide’ (pp. 27-28) – What language feature does Sherman use here and what effect does it create?
- Sky is labelled a ‘tree hugger’ (pg. 32) when she introduces herself to the class. What is your understanding of this stereotype? Is it hurtful? Why/why not?
- There are a number of stereotypes used in the novel. Can you think of any others? List them.
- Throughout the novel, Sky compromises her integrity to be popular. Why do you think Sky does not tell the truth when it comes to her mother, her lifestyle choices and her beliefs?
4. SHARE AND REFLECT
Who Am I? Creative Writing Task
In the novel, Sky is coming to terms with a new life, trying to making sense of who she is and what she stands for. Sky is passionate about animals, is a vegan, enjoys blogging about her interests, and shows a genuine concern for the environment. Like all people, she is a complex being and, at times, struggles with her identity.
Ask students the following questions and give them time to compile notes (this could also be done as a homework task).
Have you ever stopped to think about who you are? What makes you uniquely you?
- Write down 5-10 adjectives which describe your personality.
- Write down 2-3 things you like to do in your spare time.
- What colour/s do you think symbolise you? Think about how colours can be symbolic – i.e. green for nature or envy.
- What do you often wonder about?
- What kind of relationship do you have with your friends/family/animals or your pets?
- What’s your greatest attribute?
- What language/s do you speak?
- What is your heritage? Who are your family?
Poetry is a useful tool to help uncover who you are.
Students use their responses to the questions above to assist them in composing a short poem or bio-poem about themselves, or inspired by the concept of ‘identity’.
If students get stuck – here’s some writing prompts to get them started:
- Most days I can be found…
- I am…/ I am…/ I am…
- Sometimes I think I am../But then I remember…
- I never thought…
- When I see my reflection…
5. TAKING IT FURTHER / EXTENSION
Watch and Apply
Students watch the TED-Ed talk: ‘The poet who painted with his words’
- Students re-read their poem and make edits to their work.
- The challenge is to transform their poem into a Calligramme, like those of Guillaume Apollinaire; creating both a poetic and visual expression of themselves.
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