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A Special Gift

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Writers:Chris Walsh & Evelyn Mann

This drama demonstrates how a Ready to Read reader (A Quilt for Kiri) can be explored in more depth using process drama as a teaching tool, incorporating other Ministry of Education resources as appropriate. It is an example of collaboration between arts disciplines.

Key Question: What responsibilities might be attached to loving someone?

Key Understandings:

  • Curiosity, intrigue, and expectation surround the giving of a gift.
  • There are many ways people share cultural traditions.
  • Many New Zealand people are separated from their immediate family and cultural base.
  • People value other cultural values and traditions.
  • Grandparents often share a special bond with their grandchildren.

Connected Curriculum Areas: Music, Visual Art and Social Studies. Key Competencies - Relating to Others, Participating and Contributing, Using language, Symbols and Texts.

Possible Learning Intentions and indicators are offered for this drama. We acknowledge that there are many other possible learning intentions and that you might prefer to write your own in response to the needs of your students. The learning intentions offered are examples to choose from and to guide teachers new to drama in writing learning intentions. There is a variety of ways for collecting evidence to support learning.

Level One/Two

Possible Drama Learning Intentions:
The students will be able to:

  • Explore a situation by creating and interpreting dialogue to use in an improvisation. PK DI CI
  • Accept and interact with teacher in role as the mother of Kiri. PK DI
  • Discuss the significance of ceremony within our lives. UC

Develop possible Indicators with the Students for Learning Intentions. Here is an example of possible indicators, which will also help to focus assessment tasks for the learning intention: Discuss the significance of ceremony within our lives. UC Indicators: Students can

  • Identify ceremonies in their day to day lives e.g. school assembly, wedding, church services, baptism, powhiri.
  • Contribute to a discussion about why we have ceremonies.
  • Identify the reasons for having a ceremony in the drama.

Teacher In Role (TIR):
As the mother of Kiri.

Drama Resources available in New Zealand Schools
It is important that you refer to these resources to support the content in these plans.

  • Ministry of Education. 2001. Drama in the Classroom. Wellington: Learning Media. (Book and Video)
  • Ministry of Education. 2007. Drama Posters, 2007. Wellington: Learning Media,
  • Ministry of Education. 2006. Playing Our Stories. Wellington: Learning Media. (Book and DVD)
  • Ministry of Education. 2004. Telling Our Stories, Wellington: Learning Media. (Book and Video)
  • Ministry of Education. 2003. The New Zealand Curriculum Exemplars - The Arts. Wellington: Learning Media and the Learning Centre Trust of New Zealand.
Resources applicable to this drama:


  • Don Long, 1991. A Quilt For Kiri. Ready to Read, Learning Media, Ministry of Education, NZ
  • Ester Alama, 1992. Le 'Aute - Kiwi Kids Songs 3, Learning Media, NZ


  • Fabric and Fibre: Exploring the Visual Arts in Years 1 - 6, 2001 Ministry of Education, Learning Media, New Zealand.
  • Fatuga Fa'asamoa I Aotearoa, Samoan Songs, Ministry of Education, 2000 Learning Media
  • Print Making - Exploring the Visual Arts in Years 1 - 6, 2001 Ministry of Education, Learning Media, New Zealand.

Other: Bulky brown paper wrapped parcel (similar to that in the text). You might acquire some used Samoan stamps to add to the parcel and address it to Kiri.

Learning Experiences Teaching Notes

Forming Links to Our Own Lives, Motivating the Work, and Setting the Context

The students sit in a large circle, in the centre of the circle place the brown paper parcel.Discuss the parcel. (Play Le 'Aute softly in the background)

Questions you might ask the students:What might be in the parcel? Who might have sent it? Why? Have you been sent a parcel? Who by? Why?Why do people send parcels?The parcel should remain out during the unit as a symbol.

Show the students the illustrations on p. 6, p.8, and p.9. Discuss what is happening in the pictures.

Teacher In Role: as the Mum doing the three tasks from the illustrations with the quilt.Teacher stays in role while students question her about the quilt.Return to the book and read from p.5, 6, 8 and 9. (Miss p.7)Discuss.

Explain to the students you will be working in role as the mother and that they can ask questions about the quilt.In portraying the role of the mother emphasise the value she gives to her husband's culture during the time in role speaking overheard thoughts. She needs to be focused on the importance of the quilt justifying the actions she is doing to ensure the quilt remains a treasured possession.Why is the quilt so special? (Emphasise that the quilt is old and torn)What do we do with things that are old and torn?

Building the Narrative

Display the illustration on p.4. Discuss.Each student writes on a strip of paper one line that one of these people might be saying in this moment.

Freeze Frames: In groups of three create a frozen image similar to that in the illustration.

Negotiated Text: Randomly hand out the written lines (so students don't get what they wrote).Students prepare a short scene from the Frozen Image which is the beginning of an improvisation using these lines.Share the improvisations.Read the text to end of p.5. Discuss.

Who might these people be? What is happening to these people? Having seen this picture how do you think they are feeling?How do you know?Collect in the lines.Hold the lines until the Frozen Images in the next step have been created.See Playing Our Stories, p.71 And Drama Posters: Poster 1, Images 3 & 11. Poster 3, Images 4 & 7 And Drama Poster Notes.The students are required to decide which person has which line, how the lines will be spoken and how people will move when speaking. (Discuss gesture) They begin with the Frozen Image.Questions you might ask in reflection:Having seen the drama work what do you know now about this family?What do you think might be in the parcel? Where has the parcel come from? Who sent the parcel?Why do you think the parcel has been sent?Why would someone go to the trouble of packing it up and sending it to another country?
Draw attention to the illustration on p.7.Discuss Who do you think made the quilt? Why have they chosen this pattern?Why haven't they used a sewing machine to make it?At this point it would be a good opportunity to invite a quilter in to the class to talk about why quilts are traditionally hand sewn, how patterns are chosen, and how they are made.You could also invite a member of the Samoan community to talk about the way they choose the patterns, and how they make their quilts.
Read the text on p. 7 and read on to end of p.14. Teach the song Te 'Aute from Kiwi Kids Songs 3. This isn't the song Kiri sings in the text but might be one like the song Dad would sing.
Visual Art:The students might be asked to bring or draw things precious to their lives. Discuss their place and importance in their lives.Use these items to inspire patterns to create a personal contribution to a class quilt. Refer to Resources for Ministry of Education Resources to support Visual Art teaching at this point.

Reflecting on the issues and bringing the drama to conclusion

Ceremony: Plan a ceremony where each student presents their panel for the quilt, explaining the significance of their pattern. This should end with all panels being displayed together as a whole.


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