Getting to Know You: Identity Resources from the ACTF

Getting to Know You: Identity Resources from the ACTF

With the start of the school year, many classroom teachers are seeking resources that explore personal and group identities. We have compiled a list of our top picks for identity units.

A short film centred on identity, A Field Guide to Being a 12-Year Old Girl is an innovative blend of theatre and documentary. Twelve 12-year old girls are given the task of investigating their own ‘species’, covering topics such as appearance, interests, and what makes them happy or sad. This unique film can be used as a contemporary stimulus for ‘All About Me’ units, and is available as a digital download from the ACTF Shop.

The ACTF has recently produced a Teaching Toolkit to accompany the film, just in time for the school year. This resource will support Year 6 and 7 teachers in examining the film’s construction and themes with students. Learning tasks are mapped to the Australian Curriculum, and draw on content from English, Health and Physical Education and Media Arts.

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In the factual entertainment series MY:24, 26 diverse young Australians reflect on the day that changed their lives forever, and how those 24-hours changed fundamentally changed their attitudes and aspirations. These 12-minute episodes are the perfect length for class time viewing, and can be a stimulus for students to share their own stories through the MY:24 App.

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The free app encourages young people to reflect critically on their own experiences, and to share a transformative day of their lives as a visual text. Students create a short documentary using basic templates and the in-built capabilities of an Apple iOS device. By following the prompts, users create a three-minute film that includes: a ‘diary cam’ introduction; an image montage with voiceover; a video re-enactment with filters; an interview with a family member or friend; and film credits.

The fictional short film First Day (2017) follows main character Hannah as she finishes primary school and begins her secondary schooling. Hannah experiences all the excitement and fear associated with this transition, but her first day of high school is even more significant: it’s the first day she will wear a girl’s uniform to school and go by her chosen name, rather than the boy’s name she was given at birth. First Day shows Hannah finding her way around a new school, making new friendships, and getting stuck into her homework. It also reminds us that we are more alike than we are different. First Day is available to purchase through the ACTF Shop.

The ACTF developed the First Day Teaching Toolkit to support Year 6 and 7 teachers and students who are using this important film in the classroom. The resource explores key themes from First Day (2017), and helps students to prepare for, process, and reflect on their own transitions to secondary school. The learning tasks focus on values, identity, resilience, friendships and inclusivity, and reminds students that we are all more alike than we are different.

Finally, the much-loved ACTF series Lockie Leonard and Mortified also explore aspects of identity and change, including coping with the transition from being a child to a teenager, the transition to secondary school, and changes in friendships. Search our website’s Support Materials section for a range of teaching and learning ideas for these classic series.