Sky: Focus Area 3
- Sky by Ondine Sherman
- Focus Area 3 – Student Handout – Extended Response Sample
- Glossary (selected words appear in bold)
- David Ian Howe, A Brief History of Dogs, TED-Ed
- Jane Goodall, How humans and animals can live together, TED Talk
Suggested Learning Activities
This focus area refers to a range of chapters.
- How do we determine what a healthy friendship looks like?
- How do we view our relationships with the non-human animals who share our world?
Mind Mapping Relationships
Students to create a mind map of Sky’s relationships in the novel.
If students have access to laptops/computers then instruct them to use Mindmup to create their maps. If not, students can complete this task in their books.
Students should consider the following categories as a starting point:
- Other adults (teachers/parents/heroes)
- What words/phrases would you use to describe Sky’s relationship with this person/animal?
- Does the relationship change or develop over the course of the novel?
- Can you provide a quotation/s to support your ideas?
One of the central concerns in the novel is the relationship humans have with other animals.
Sky adopts Bella and shares her love of dogs with Oliver. The intimate relationship humans have with dogs is based on many factors, including a long history of coevolution, but the main factor is our knowledge of them and their habits.
Students watch the short TED-Ed film ‘A Brief History of Dogs’ by David Ian Howe.
- What do you think? Do you see dogs as individuals, or are they all the same?
- Why do you think society generally treats dogs one way and chickens another?
- Many people may think chickens are all the same and would not consider them to be intelligent. Why might these misconceptions be problematic?
From page 133: “Chirp. He totally adores me…
To page 134: “The video only shows his eye so no one will recognise Chirp as a stolen chicken from the local farm.”
- Identify the metaphor used by Sherman to describe the relationship between Sky and Chirp.
- Find the example of alliteration used in the first paragraph. What is the effect of this sound device and what do these words reveal about Chirp’s personality?
- In what ways are Bella and Chirp similar?
- “Chirp pecks about looking for insects and then climbs onto my lap where I stroke his feathers like he’s a cat?” Identify the language technique used here. What image does it create?
- What else does the reader learn about Chirp from this passage?
- From reading this passage, would you describe Chirp as an individual? Why/Why not?
Finding your Tribe
Ask students to re-read Chapters 7-8
This is a good opportunity for students to read aloud to one another in a small, safe environment.
In groups of 3-4 students then find evidence/quotations from the text to support the following statements. Follow with a class discussion on the nature of friendships.
- Making friends is not always easy.
- Sky is determined to be part of the group.
- Sky feels alienated.
- It is easy to lose sight of who we really are.
- Sky sacrifices her morals/values.
- Sky feels as though her world has been turned upside down.
- Stereotypes are often incorrect and can be hurtful.
Composing Extended Responses
Students take ONE of the statements above and compose an extended response or PEEL paragraph (Point/Evidence/Explanation/Link).
Sample – See student Handout – Extended Response Sample.
- Sky sacrifices her morals/values.
In the novel Sky, by Ondine Sherman, the protagonist sacrifices her values to become popular. At Marissa’s birthday party, Sky is desperate to fit in and will do almost anything to be part of the group. This can be observed during the dinner scene, where Sky does not divulge to her new friends that she is a vegan and instead decides to eat the roast chicken served up by Marissa’s mother. Sky reassures herself that this decision is because her “world has changed, [her] globe has fallen off its axis.” (pg. 65) Sherman uses a metaphor here to compare the upheaval in Sky’s life to a planet which is spinning aimlessly in the universe, with nothing to anchor it. Furthermore, the connotations of the word ‘fallen’ suggest some sort of decline. In this case, Sky has metaphorically fallen from a place where she once felt stability and was assured in her values and beliefs. Her desperation to be part of a group can be seen when she declares; “I am certain and clear. I need, want, and must have this group.” (pg. 65) Sherman’s use of the words ‘need’, ‘want’ and ‘must’ convey a tone of absolute conviction and suggest to the reader that Sky is willing to forgo her values to be popular. Therefore, the novel explores the difficulties of finding true friends whilst retaining one’s values.
Ask students to critically examine the sample above. What improvements can be made? Implement these suggestions.
4. SHARE AND REFELCT
Direct students back to the inquiry questions:
- How do you determine what a healthy friendship looks like?
- How do you view your relationship with animals?
From what has been discussed during this lesson/s, consider your own responses to the questions above. Write down your reflections/opinions in dot points.
Visual Literacy – Designing a Front Cover
Now, choose ONE of these themes (friendship or human and animal relationships) and design a new front cover for the novel based on your understanding of this theme.
Students should consider the following:
- Font design;
- Colour and symbolism;
- Salient image;
- A quote from the novel (or your own) which helps a reader to understand this theme.
Rationale: Students to write a 250-word rationale which explains the stylistic choices they made in designing the front cover.
5. TAKING IT FURTHER / EXTENSION
Learn more about humanity’s long relationship with animals in Jane Goodall’s TED Talk ‘How humans and animals can live together’.
- Summarise Jane Goodall’s talk in less than 200 words.
- What other social justice issues does Goodall discuss?
- To what extent does conservation play a role in developing our relationship with animals?
- What do you take away from this talk? How do you think we can live more harmoniously with the non-human animals who also share our world?
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