Different Types of Government (And How We Can Teach Them)

As our students learn more about government, it is vital that they understand the different types of government. This isn’t always easy or straight forward, though. To make it a little easier, here’s some of the main types of governments - and some ways to approach them in the classroom.

 
Different Types of Government and How We Can Teach Them. A look at a range of different types of governments, why it is important to learn about them and how we can teach them in an engaging way for our students. Perfect for social studies and government teachers and students. A Galarious Goods blog post
 

Types of Government

There are a number of different types of government which we can explore in the classroom. These include

Democracy

Democracy has been formally used as a type of government since Ancient Athens. The general premise of democracy is that the ‘people’ (usually restricted to people with citizenship who are over a certain age) get to decide on the rules and laws of the land - or they get to choose who makes the rules and laws of the land.

Democratic principles mean that everyone is seen as equal and everyone is required to follow the laws - however, in practice there have been times when those in power have treated others poorly (and restricted their ability to make decisions) to maintain power.

When we talk democracy in the classroom, we usually talk about voting - either voting for representatives or representatives voting for the laws we have to follow.

Dictatorship

In a dictatorship one person, or a small group of people, control the population and the rules and laws of the land. This is usually done by force, especially with the backing of the military.

Feudalism/Monarchy

A monarchy is a system of government headed by a single person - a monarch - who is usually part of a ruling family. Monarchs might have power to make laws or might be the figurehead of an elected government, but their right to be the head of the government is usually accepted by most of the citizens and they don’t need to use force or restrict the freedoms of the citizens.

In feudalism, there was a system of hierarchy - the person at the top had the most power, a small group of people below them had less power, the bigger group of people below then had less power again - down to the peasants with the smallest amount of power.

Communism

The ideal of communism is equality for everyone - a system which should especially benefit workers who have historically done the work while others have received the rewards.

However, in reality, it is very hard to maintain complete equality and communist leaders have often maintained power - and ‘equality’ - using the same forceful tactics as dictatorships.

Empires

During the 18th and 19th Centuries, many European countries went out of their way to ‘collect’ nations around the world - creating large empires. They might settle their own people in the countries, promote local people to act as leaders or just rule the country from afar, but they always held ultimate control over the countries - even from the other side of the world. Many times the European countries wanted resources from the countries they ‘collected’.

 
Different Types of Government and How We Can Teach Them. A look at a range of different types of governments, why it is important to learn about them and how we can teach them in an engaging way for our students. Perfect for social studies and government teachers and students. A Galarious Goods blog post
 

Why is it important to learn about types of government?

As we learn more history, we begin to understand how important it is to understand different kinds of governments. We can get a better understanding of World War Two when we understand dictatorships. We get a better understanding of the American Revolution and the partition of India and Pakistan when we understand Empires. We understand the suffragette movement better when we understand democracy.

Political history and political background is not always the most interesting part of history and it can be hard to teach. Learning the basics of the types of governments can allow for deeper teaching and make the information more accessible to students.

Understanding types of governments also allows students to understand how decisions are made. As future adults, understanding government allows our students to be better involved in them. Students can approach that part of adulthood with more confidence and will be better informed against misinformation campaigns.

Understanding different types of governments also allows us to move towards better types of governments. It helps us to understand why gerrymandering can lead to uneven representations or to understand why some people have difficulties with the ideas of quotas. For our students, it helps them get an understanding of what fair and unfair might look like when it comes to political systems and helps them to campaign for better representation as they get older.

 
Different Types of Government and How We Can Teach Them. A look at a range of different types of governments, why it is important to learn about them and how we can teach them in an engaging way for our students. Perfect for social studies and government teachers and students. A Galarious Goods blog post
 

How can we teach different types of government?

One of the best ways to teach different types of government is to find the stories that go with them. Students may not remember dry definitions of Ancient Democracy, but they might remember the story of the painted rope being carried through the Athenian Agora to mark the clothing of Athenian men who weren’t quick enough to participate in votes. Stories of life under dictatorships are common and are very helpful in giving students an understanding of that life. Stories of different monarchs through history - and their powers (or the lack of them) can also demonstrate monarchy.

The different types of governments have a direct impact on the people who live in them. That makes the stories more relevant and more powerful to our students.

Another way to teach different types of governments is by going visual. Creating diagrams or 3D representations of the different types of governments requires students to take a deeper look at them and to show a clear understanding of the different kinds of governments.

As a teacher, using diagrams to teach can also be useful. Students can record them in their book next to their writing, observe video versions of diagrams or use markers or figures to move around diagrams to get a better understanding of the types of government.

Finally, students can get a better understanding of the types of government through analogies. Using things which are an everyday part of the lives of students can make the abstract ideas much more real. Students can create ‘what if’ scenarios for classrooms or schools or the playground, experiment with what might happen if different types of governments ruled the classroom or apply different types of government to their favourite books or television shows.

Different types of government might seem like a dry topic at first glance. However, a closer look shows how important it is and how we can help our students understand it in fun and thoughtful ways.

Is Australia a Democracy or a Monarchy? (And How Can We Teach It?)

Civics and Citizenship education is filled with terminology: sometimes it feels like you’re learning a new - very specific - language. So how would you use that terminology to define Australia’s type of government? And how can we teach that in the classroom?

 
Is Australia a Democracy or a Monarchy? And how can we teach this in the classroom? A civics and citizenship, government in Australia blog post exploring ways to teach democracy and monarchy and Australia's system in your classroom. A Galarious Goods post
 

What is Democracy?

We can blame it on the Ancient Greeks.

Well, to be honest, there were probably small communities practicing elements of democracy before the city of Athens, but the Athenians were definitely the ones who made it popular. In Ancient Athens, any male who was a citizen (and over 20) could take part in government. That meant they could be part of the group which came up with new laws, they could vote on new laws, they could speak out about new laws. The power to guide the future of Athens was in the hands of lots of ordinary people (leaving out women, slaves and people whose parents weren’t Athenian).

Democracy is still about sharing power today, although we don’t tend to see democratic systems where citizens vote on everything anymore - that’s just too many votes on topics not too many of us really care about! Instead of that direct form of democracy, most democracies are representative. In a representative government, the citizens vote for people to represent us.

We hope that those representatives will have special talents or gifts or knowledge and will make thoughtful decisions and laws which help to move the country or state or city forward. Citizens still get to have a say - through voting for people who we think will make the laws we want and through being able to speak out about laws and other things - but we don’t make all the decisions ourselves.

How can we explore democracy in the classroom?

There are lots of ways to explore democracy, but a really easy way is just by voting! Students can propose ideas - like whether blue or green is a better colour, or if Baby Shark is really a good song or not - and then vote on them. The majority wins - and there might be a consequence. Like the teacher writing in only blue pen for the rest of the day. Or Baby Shark being played at least three times before the lunch bell.

To extend understanding, though, you can bring more options into the exercise. What if there were three songs for the students to choose from? What if the teacher offered 5 colours to vote on? In a class of 25 students, a majority of 6 students might be enough to decide on which pen colour would be used. Is it fair for only 6 students out of 25 to make that decision? This opens up an avenue for further conversation about democracy and majorities.

What is Monarchy?

A monarchy is - very simply - a government with a monarch at the head.

A monarch is the leader of a group of people - often a family - who symbolise the power and identity of the country. The monarch might have different title - king or queen, sultan, emperor - and they usually rule until they either die or abdicate - step down to hand over power to another member of the group or family.

While many monarchies are hereditary - they are passed down through the family following a set of rules about who gets it next - some monarchies are elected. For example, the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church (who is the head of the Vatican City State) is elected from cardinals before holding the position for life. In Malaysia, the monarch is elected from a group of families and they hold the position for five years.

Absolute monarchy means that the monarch has all the power. However, these days many monarchs hold ceremonial roles or have limited roles in government, with most of the power for making laws and decisions the responsibility of elected governments. This is a constitutional monarchy.

How can we explore monarchy in the classroom?

Because monarchies have been popular throughout history until today, there are many opportunities for researching them in the classroom. One avenue of investigation is to look at the symbols of monarchy in different parts of the world and different times of history. Students can look at what symbols there were for the pharaohs of Ancient Egypt and compare them with the symbols for modern monarchies - such as the British Royal family.

 
Is Australia a Democracy or a Monarchy? And how can we teach this in the classroom? A civics and citizenship, government in Australia blog post exploring ways to teach democracy and monarchy and Australia's system in your classroom. A Galarious Goods post
 

Is Australia a Democracy or a Monarchy?

Australia is both!

In Australia, citizens over the age of 18 participate in representative democracy. We vote for representatives to represent us at the local, state and federal level and trust that they’ll make the laws and decisions which guide the country forward.

However, we’re also a constitutional monarchy. We have a head of state who has restricted (and rarely used) powers.

Who is the head of state? Well, the Queen of Great Britain . . .

Between the 16th Century and the early 20th Century, Great Britain collected countries and states around the world to make the British Empire. Those countries were all ruled by the British monarch - the head of the British Royal family. In the modern era, as the British Empire faded, many of these countries became members of the Commonwealth realm and chose to keep the Monarch of Great Britain as their head of state. Australia is one of those countries.

As Head of State of Australia, the Queen does very little. She has representatives in Australia - the Governor General and the Governors of the states, who swear in leaders and sign laws - but again those representatives do very little (and it causes a bit of an outrage when they do try to test their power). But for many people, the Queen is important as a symbol.

Of course, not everyone feels this way. During the 1990s, more and more people called for a referendum (our way of having a direct vote in Australia) to stop being a monarchy. The referendum was held in 1999 and was unsuccessful - keeping Australia as a monarchy. Many believe this will change after Queen Elizabeth the Second passes away.

 
Is Australia a Democracy or a Monarchy? And how can we teach this in the classroom? A civics and citizenship, government in Australia blog post exploring ways to teach democracy and monarchy and Australia's system in your classroom. A Galarious Goods post
 

How Can We Teach It?

Some people might ask if it matters that Australia is a democracy and a monarchy. This is actually an excellent question to pose to your students - does it matter what type of government we have? What if we changed one kind of government or the other?

Students might also like to explore how we got here. How were decisions made in the different Indigenous Nations before the First Fleet arrived? What did early government look like in the colony of New South Wales? How did government change with Federation in 1901? A timeline activity could be a great way for students to examine how governments change and how they come to look like they are today.

Students can also make predictions about what government might look like in the future. Do they think we will have a monarch from another country as the head of state of Australia in the future? Will we continue to have a representative democracy or will we make changes to that system? How might the types of government change?

Monarchy and democracy might not seem like fascinating topics on the surface. But they are the systems which have shaped our government - and have shaped governments and history in the past. By getting a better understanding of these systems, we can help our students see how they can shape the country going into the future!

Why We Should Explore Compulsory Voting in Our Classrooms

One of the striking parts of election day coverage in Australia is seeing people interrupt their regular Saturday activities to vote. Images of voters in swimmers and towels, sporting uniforms or wedding outfits is not uncommon. It’s one of the side effects of compulsory voting which Senator Herbert Payne probably didn’t consider when he proposed it back in 1924.

So, with compulsory voting just part of life in Australia - why should we worry about exploring it in the classroom. And if you’re teaching outside of Australia, is it a topic which should even come up?

 
Why should we explore compulsory voting in the classroom, what role does it have in Australian history and how could students learn about it from other countries? A government and civics education blog post from Galarious Goods
 

The 1922 Australian election saw a dramatic drop in voter participation - a drop which continued a trend which had occurred over a number of elections since Federation in 1901. This concerned a number of government representatives including Senator Herbert Payne who proposed a private member’s bill to make voting compulsory. Since the passing of the bill, participation in Australian federal elections hasn’t fallen below 90%.

This is a fascinating moment to put into the context of history. World War One had been both a devastating and defining moment for the young nation, with the loss and injury of many, a long way from home. Senator Payne and his supporters were concerned that low participation rates at elections would lead to a deterioration of democracy and the laws which were being made.

If the country hadn’t been so young - still working out how to go forward after only 20 years since Federation; if Australia hadn’t just been through World War One where they were called on to work together for an ideal a long way away from their day to day lives - it’s possible that compulsory voting may not have been embraced.

This is not a moment in history which we often look on in Australian classrooms. We don’t spend a lot of time on electoral history - with the exception of a few referendums. But it’s interesting to contemplate what might have happened if Senator Payne and his colleagues had not passed compulsory voting. How might that have changed future elections? And how might that have changed Australian history?

 
Why should we explore compulsory voting in the classroom, what role does it have in Australian history and how could students learn about it from other countries? A government and civics education blog post from Galarious Goods
 

While compulsory voting is widely supported in Australia, it’s very rare for a democratic country to have, maintain and enforce compulsory voting. For many in countries with voluntary voting, being compelled to vote appears unfair - even undemocratic.

Exploring the benefits and drawbacks of compulsory voting is an excellent classroom activity. Students can look at how compulsory voting encourages governments to set up systems which make it possible for everyone to vote (especially important when you have remote areas like in Australia) and explore some of the systems in place in Australia. Students can debate whether everyone should get a say in elections - whether they’re informed or interested or not. And students can explore some of the reasons people put forward against compulsory voting and debate whether they are robust arguments or not.

What about students and classrooms outside Australia? Exploring the Australian system of compulsory voting gives students a different idea of what voting can look like - this can be expanded with students looking at other kinds of voting around the world and how they contribute to different types of democracies. Older students may also like to explore why compulsory voting works in Australia and what conditions would be required for it to be successful in other countries.

 
Why should we explore compulsory voting in the classroom, what role does it have in Australian history and how could students learn about it from other countries? A government and civics education blog post from Galarious Goods
 

Compulsory voting sounds like a bit of a dry subject on the surface. But a little digging can turn it into a fascinating history or government lesson - the perfect way to stretch your students a little. Have you taught it in your classroom? Let us know in the comments below.

Links to support teaching about compulsory voting

Integrating Civics and Citizenship with Other Subjects

Civics and government are essential subjects to teach, but it can be difficult to fit them into already busy teaching schedules. One way to cover what students need to know is to integrate them with other subjects. Here's a few ways you can do that.

 
Integrating Civics and Citizenship with Other Subjects - blog post by Galarious Goods
 

Mathematics

Maths and civics don't seem like a natural fit, but they can work surprisingly well together. Students can easily look at elections, electorates or voting as well as data and statistics. Students can collect data from websites like the Australian Electoral Commission or from polls published in newspapers. They can use these to create graphs or diagrams showing how numbers are used in politics.

Australia's preferential voting system could be part of a maths investigation. Students can investigate how it works (and how to explain that to voters!) and decide whether there's a fairer or better system.

Students could also use data to look at global issues and how you can represent those issues through numbers.


English

There's some great books which cover issues related to civics and citizenship. These can be read at the beginning of a unit of study as an introduction or used as part of the unit.  Students can compare events in the book with real events and decide whether the book is realistic or not. Books are also a great way for students to gain some understanding of political systems from other parts of the world.

Students can also engage with non-fiction texts related to civics and citizenship - including websites, fact sheets, newspaper and magazine articles and opinion pieces. As well as reading them, students can create their own. One investigation may involve students examining election material from a range of elections and look at what makes them persuasive to audiences. Or they could compare election campaign material from an earlier time with more recent election campaign material.

Art

Students can also use campaign material for art lessons. They can examine how different political parties use colour and shape, then use the information they gain to create their own campaign material.

You can also get creative with art and look at how students could represent something like law making or different types of laws through 2D or 3D arts.

Music

I've talked about using educational songs in the classroom before, and this is a great place to combine music and civics. Students can explain complex issues through their own songs and share them with their classmates.

Students can also look at songs which have political messages. Protest songs and fundraising songs have a fascinating musical and civics history and can be interesting to listen to and analyse.

History and Geography

These are obvious places to learn more about government and civics. Whether it's how the constitution of a country was formed or what political decisions have had big impacts on the history of a country, or how different geography can explain voting decisions. It can take a little work to match together different curriculum needs, but it can be incredibly satisfying when you get it.

Drama

Role play, role play, role play! Students can get so much out of role playing in the classroom and exploring different topics. It's great to focus on smaller parts of a complex topic when you're role playing. Alternately, students can create their own small plays or videos to share what they know about different topics.

Have you got any other ways to integrate civics and other subjects? Leave a comment below.

Find a large range of civics and citizenship resources at Galarious Goods.

 

6 Great Books to Integrate With Australian Social Studies


There are so many different ways to explore Australian social studies (or Humanities and Social Sciences as it is described in the Australian curriculum) in the classroom. One of the best ways is to use books - fiction and non fiction - which relate to the themes, ideas and events our students are exploring. I'm pleased to present six books covering Australian social studies which are perfect for middle grades classrooms.

 
6 Great Books to Integrate With Australian Social Studies - Galarious Goods
 

I'm Australian Too by Mem Fox and Ronojoy Ghosh

While the text seems simple at first, there's a lot in this picture book to explore and discuss when it comes to Australian identity, those who come to Australia and things which represent Australia. Students can look at and research some of the different reasons people come to Australia, comparing and contrasting different stories. They may also like to contribute their own stories or interview someone who has travelled to Australia and become an Australian citizen. It would definitely be a great book to extend ideas when looking at citizenship and modern Australian history. You can also use the book to discuss global citizenship and the responsibilities different countries and individuals have - or should have - to people in other parts of the world.

You can get an I'm Australian Too Book Study resource at the Galarious Goods Shop

 
 

How to Build Your Own Country by Valerie Wyatt and Fred Rix

This is a brilliant non-fiction book for any classroom covering government or economics! What would you do if you had your own country? What would you need to know? How do you stop your country from falling apart? While this book walks you through the process of setting up your own country, it also looks at the knowledge which will help any young country builder make their country an excellent one. You can use it as the foundation of a teaching unit, dig into bits of it for different activities or make it available for those students who want to explore further. It's not an Australian-centric book, but it's a great general look at some really important topics.

 

Book Trailer for How to Build Your Own Country

 

The Mostly True Story of Matthew and Trim by Cassandra Golds and Stephen Axelsen

Australian history told through a graphic novel? Yes please! This graphic novel tells the story of Matthew Flinders who circumnavigated and mapped Australia. You can use this in small groups in the classroom, with students comparing the graphic novel retelling with other histories of Matthew Flinders. Students can discuss why Flinder's story is important and what his achievements meant to Australia and compare him to other explorers and map makers. Students can also look at the geographical challenges of map making and make their own maps - an activity which can also integrate reading and social studies with mathematics!

 

Say Yes: A Story of Friendship, Fairness and a Vote for Hope by Jennifer Castles and Paul Seden

This beautiful book is centred around the friendship between an Aboriginal girl and a non-Aboriginal girl and the 1967 Referendum in Australia. Including images, paper ephemera and newspaper clippings from the time, it explores how many laws at the time were unfair to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia and invites readers to think about how things could be better going forward into the future. It's a perfect social studies book, which can be related to law making and the rule of law, to referendums, to what a census is and how it impacts decision making as well as modern Australian history. Examining the images in the book could also give students inspiration when they're sharing their own history research.

 

News story about the friendship behind Say Yes - A Story of Friendship, Fairness and a Vote for Hope

 

Boy Overboard by Morris Gleitzman

It can be really meaningful to students to link a class novel study with a social studies unit. Morris Gleitzman's Boy Overboard is an excellent book for any class examining why people come to Australia and what it means to be Australian. The story of Jamal and his family who flee the Taliban in Afghanistan for the safety of Australia, readers get to see the difficulties refugees can face and the motivations which can turn people into refugees in the first place. It's a great book to read while looking at modern history, those who have come to Australia over history or global citizenship and one which students can study and read as a class novel or investigate as a teacher read-aloud.

You can get the Boy Overboard Complete Novel Study Bundle at Galarious Goods

 
 

Refuge by Jackie French

Jackie French has so many books which are excellent to tie in with Australian social studies - I could make an entire post containing only her books! Refuge is a really interesting book to read - it went in a totally different direction from what I expected. I think this one would make a particularly good read aloud - particularly if students make predictions about the story before it began. Refuge looks at different people from different time periods who have come to one land as refugees and find themselves in a rather odd place. It is very good to connect to Australian history and I highly recommend it.

You can read more about Refuge at Jackie French's website

Find a wide range of teaching resources at Galarious Goods

 
 

What Was New in June 2017?

We're halfway through 2017! I'm a little amazed at how quickly the last 6 months has gone - I'm pretty sure we only just got through Christmas!

So what happened in June 2017?

 
What was new at Galarious Goods in June 2017
 

June was all about law making in Australia - where do the ideas for them come from and how are they passed through Parliament and applied? As well as the two mini units, there's a lesson excerpt (perfect if you just want to concentrate on the passage of a bill through parliament), a mini-unit bundle, word wall and posters and assessment resources, as well as a complete bundle. It was a real learning experience putting these together - I never thought I'd read a parliamentary handbook before this!

 
Galarious Goods Creating Laws (Year 6 Civics and Citizenship)
 

I also updated the Ranger's Apprentice resources - comprehension and vocabulary, research tasks, character tasks and whole novel activities - as well as the US Bundle and the UK Bundle. These are so much more comprehensive, with a greater range of activities for the classroom. It's also been a great excuse to dip back into the Ranger's Apprentice books.

 
Ranger's Apprentice Novel Study by Galarious Goods
 

Another update was the Classroom Library Explorations Activities. These three activities now have new options, task cards and a cleaner look as well as a US Letter Paper option.

 
 

In the blogging world, I've looked at activities which allow you to explore Nim's Island out of the classroom, 9 books to read if you like Nim's Island, 3 ways to investigate stereotypes using the Nim's Island movie, and I've shared a post about Galarious Goods' first birthday and celebrating learning in the classroom. I've also created my first video talking about fitting in celebrations in the library - I shared it on the Galarious Goods facebook page first, then uploaded it onto YouTube - so it's easy to find! I'm really looking forward to making more videos in the future.

 
 

 

Behind the Scenes

We're enjoying school holidays here at the moment - with park visits and lots of library time. We're also planning for a 5 year old birthday party early next month - with a Go-Jetters, all around the world theme!

I've been working on a book study for Mem Fox's I'm Australian Too - it's a picture book, but there's a huge amount for middle grade students to explore. It also connects nicely with Australian and Global citizenship - the next Year 6 civics and citizenship unit.

Keep an eye on Instagram for more updates!

Hope you have had a great June and you've got a great July on the way!

 
 

What Was New in May 2017?

A new month! New things! New resources! But first let's take a look back at May.

 
What was new in May 2017 at Galarious Goods? A look at new resources, blog posts and behind the scenes
 

May was the month I delved deep into Australian political and electoral systems to produce some Year 6 resources. I started by looking at the three levels of government in Australia - local, state and federal - and their responsibilities. Because all that can be a little fuzzy (roads is just one area where everyone gets involved!) I also looked at how the three levels of government work together. (I loved putting case studies together for this. I feel very informed about the amazing Murray-Darling Basin now!). There are also assessment and word wall and poster resources to support the mini-units or you can get them all in one bundle.

This was followed up with resources covering the responsibilities of voters and elected representatives in Australia, which is a real mouthful, but at the key of our democratic responsibilities. I was especially interested in the potential conflicts between serving a political party, serving a local area and serving a state or Australia - that's a lot of balancing to do! Again, these are available with word wall and posters and assessment pieces and as a complete bundle.

Finally, I released a Nim's Island Sample Pack freebie. This is a great way to have a look at the Nim's Island novel study resources for free.

 
 

I've also been busy blogging. I started off the month collaborating with some other great teacher-authors to produce a blog post about the TeachersPayTeachers sales. I dug deeper into ideas around getting involved by looking at five inspirational young people who've set out to make a change in the world. I also looked at some of the places where students can find information to help them get involved. Finally I introduced Nim's Island as a novel study resource and had a look at some of the ways it can be used in the classroom.

Behind the Scenes

 It's getting cold in Queensland! Well, cold on the Queensland scale! We've been enjoying the beautiful blue skies with trips to see family, park visits and plans to adventure to the city in the coming school holidays. 

I've been working hard on updating some of my old resources, beginning with my Ruins of Gorlan novel study resources. I'm so, so excited about this - my Instagram feed has been getting some sneak peeks. There'll be updated pages, new task cards and totally new activities. The price will go up when the updated resources are released, so it's worth grabbing it now - you'll get the current version at the current price and be able to download the new version when it's released.

 
 

While I've been doing this, I've been looking at other possible novel studies. Do you have any requests? Leave a comment and it might become a real thing!

 
 

Four Ways Students Can Find More Information And Get Involved

Collecting information is an essential part of getting involved with issues which we care about. It's important to look around us to see where and how our students can get information which will help them get involved in creating a better world.

 
Four Ways Students Can Find More Information and Get Involved
 

1. The Media

There are often criticisms about the media and how events are reported. However, the media - both small and large - is often essential in bringing our attention to what is happening in our communities. When our students look at the news they can see what politicians, officials and other residents are doing around them and they can search for ways they can step up or get involved to make a difference.

Students can also use the media to share their knowledge, responses and actions - they can write letters to the editor or even contact local media with their own news stories.


2. Organisations and Advocacy Groups

Almost every time we uncover an issue we're passionate about, there's already a group of committed individuals working on the same goal. These organisations often include a lot of information on their websites or they may have local representatives who are happy to be contacted. 

As well as information about the issue, organisations and groups may have ideas about how students can get involved. They might be fundraising for a particular outcome or contacting political representatives to suggest a change or improvement in the community. Students can also be inspired by looking at what those organisations and groups have done in the past.


3. Interviewing Others

If students are looking to make a difference in their own community, they should begin by looking at what their own community wants the most. They can uncover this information by interviewing local residents, including people their own age, their parents and other adults. They can also talk to political representatives about what they'd like to see in their local community. 

Once they have collected information, they can sort it to see what ideas are most popular. It's important then to decide which of the popular ideas are viable - it might be nice to have more koalas in the local area, but if you don't live in a koala zone, it's not the most practical of ideas!


4. Learning More About Civics and Political Processes

If students are really looking to make a difference in the world around them, it is worthwhile to learn more about civics and political processes. It's important to know who your representatives are, what they are responsible for and what they are able to do to help you. It's also good to know about different ways of contacting representatives and other public figures, as well as other steps you can take as an involved citizen.

As well as researching the political process, you may like to ask one of your local representatives to come and talk to students about the political process. They would be more likely to be able to give the 'behind the scenes' look at how laws are created and how decisions about public money are made. They can also offer more information about how citizens can work with representatives to make a difference in the community.


The more knowledge our students have the better prepared they are to make a real difference - now and into the future!

Looking to get your students involved today? Check out the Getting Involved Lesson Bundle, now available at the Galarious Goods shop. This eight lesson bundle covers reflection, research, sharing information and taking action and includes bonus presentation files!

 
 

Five Times Young People Got Involved and Took Action!

If we look at the world around us, there are some great real-life examples of young people getting involved with causes and issues which matter to them. We can explore these examples with our students - using them to help our students make their own positive mark on the world!

 
Five Times Young People Got Involved and Took Actions
 

1. The New York Newsboys Strike of 1899

In 1899, young boys - often orphans and runaways - used to sell newspapers on the streets of New York. They were required to buy these papers in advance, then hope that they sold enough to cover the costs. In 1899, two newspaper publishers were selling their papers to the newsboys for such a high price that it was nearly impossible to make money.

In July 1899, a large number of newsboys decided to go on strike and not to sell the papers of those two publishers. They used public demonstration and appeals to the public to disrupt newspaper sales. Finally the publishers agreed to buy back unsold papers, which meant the newsboys weren't out of pocket at the end of the day, and the strike ended. 

The newsboys were credited with inspiring other strikes in other parts of the United States.


2. Ruby Bridges

In the 1950s, schools in the southern United States were segregated, with white students and African-American students attending different schools. When the courts insisted that the schools be desegregated, New Orleans schools set a test to decide which African-American children would be allowed to attend 'white' schools. At 6 years old, Ruby Bridges was one of the few students who passed the exam and became the only African-American student enrolled in her local school. 

For her safety, Ruby was escorted to school by federal marshals, but she was still required to walk past protesters yelling at her. She was also the only student in her class, as parents refused to allow their children to be in class with her. Despite the insults which were yelled at her, Ruby continued to attend the school, following the advice of her mother to be strong.

Ruby's example allowed more schools to become desegregated across the United States and was a big part of the civil rights movement of the 1960s.


3. Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai was born in Pakistan, in a region which was increasingly coming under Taliban control as she was growing up. In 2008, at the age of 11, she gave a speech asking why the Taliban was taking away her right to education. In 2009 she began keeping a blog for the BBC, talking about the right to education for girls and women, as the Taliban continued to close girls schools in the region.

As Malala continued to speak out against the Taliban in Pakistan, they began to see her as a threat. In 2012, when she was 15, a gun man boarded her school bus and shot her. She was given medical treatment in Pakistan before being transported to the United Kingdom for further care. She was able to recover there and has been able to return back to school and to continue her advocacy for education for all girls and women.

Through the Malala Fund, she has been able to bring more attention to educational choices for girls, including opening a school for refugee girls near the Syrian border. 


4. Little Miss Flint

In 2014, officials decided to use the local river to provide water to the people of Flint, Michigan in the United States hoping to save money. Unfortunately, the officials didn't require safety regulations to be met and the water was contaminated with lead - a contamination which is particularly dangerous for children.

In 2016, 9 year old Mari Copeny decided to write to the President of the United States, Barack Obama, hoping to lift the spirits of her fellow Flint residents and to bring more attention to the lack of safe drinking water in Flint. Since then, Mari has met with President Obama as well as other politicians, and continues to point out through social media and speeches that water safety for children and other residents in her town still needs to be addressed. 


5. Campbell Remess

Campbell Remess really wanted to buy Christmas presents for the children at his local hospital. When his mother said that wasn't possible, he set out to learn how to sew and started making teddy bears to give away. 

At 12, Campbell had been making bears for three years and had pushed himself to make a bear everyday. He's also been involved in organising fundraisers for local charities. His hard work has encouraged other people to donate to his cause - providing him with the fabric and materials he needs to make his bears.


These stories of young people taking action allow our students to see some of the different ways they can take action - whether it's standing up for what's right, speaking out when something is wrong, looking for ways to take care of others or being strong in the face of adversity. They give our students examples to reflect on and inspiration to make the world a better and kinder place.

Looking for more ways to help your students to take action? Check out the Getting Involved Lesson Bundle at the Galarious Goods shop. This bundle includes eight lessons covering reflection, research, sharing information and taking action.

 
 

What Was New in April 2017?

Welcome to a new type of post at the Galarious Goods blog! Each month I'll give a little round up of what's been going on as well as a little peek behind the scenes. 

 
What was new in April 2017 at Galarious Goods
 

 

The Getting Involved lessons and bundle were unveiled in early April. There are eight lessons in this series, each one examining how students can get involved with local and global issues which matter to them.

The first two lessons - Personal Values and Collecting Information focused on personal reflection and knowledge. Students think about what matters to them - and why - and how they can find out more about those issues. The next three lessons - Why We Share, Sharing Information in the Real World and Sharing Information Online - look at ways of getting other people informed and involved with the issues students care about. The final three lessons - Local Action, Actions in Writing and Protest Action - looks at what students can do to make changes in their community and beyond.

One thing I'm really excited about is the inclusion of presentation files in these resources. These are PDF files which can be expanded to full screen and used with projectors or devices in the classroom. This allows for more flexibility within the resources - especially when you have tight photocopy budgets!

You can find the full Getting Involved Bundle here.

The other collection of resources released in April were centred around the verse novel Pearl Verses the World by Sally Murphy. This wonderful book takes a look at Pearl, whose teacher wants her to write poetry with rhymes at a time when she doesn't have much rhyme in her life. 

The resources available include a Comprehension and Vocabulary resource, which allows students to look at the novel in a chronological order or by themes; a Whole Novel resource which looks at retelling the novel, reacting to the novel and exploring the characters in the novel among other things; and a Poetry Activities resource which examines the poetry in Pearl Verses the World and other poetry related to it. 

As well as these activities focused on the novel, Galarious Goods released a series of poems written around a school theme. These poems are available in different formats for different classroom uses. 

All four of these resources are available as a Pearl Verses the World Novel Study Bundle.  

Behind the Scenes

It's been a busy April here at the Galarious Goods house! We've had lots of excitement with Easter this month, as well as thoughtful reflection for ANZAC Day and my daughter's first birthday. I drew a sketch of a dog's face for her birthday party cake and was immediately thankful for the amazing clip artists! (I am definitely not an artist!)

Things should calm down moving into May, but I'm excited to be getting back into some Year 6 Government resources in the coming month as well as some new resources to celebrate learning in the classroom. 

A great way to have a peek behind the scenes at Galarious Goods is through the Galarious Goods instagram account. Follow along for product announcements, quotes, blog post announcements, photos and occasional really bad sketches!