Real-Life News

 'A Good Day: Jandamarra O'Shane celebrates his 18th birthday'

Author -
Sam Davis
Photography - ABC News photographer
Publisher - ABC News Far North Queensland
Date of publication - 5 August 2008

Online news article about Jandamarra O'Shane who suffered burns to 70% of his body at the age of 6, whilst playing in the school playground.  He now celebrates his 18th birthday and says he has forgiven his attacker. 

The online article is available

Text Features
This text is an online news article written by a journalist for ABC News Far North Queensland.  It is written in second person interview format and contains segments of an interview with Jandamarra O'Shane, a young man from North Queensland and his mother. 
This text begins by providing an account of what took place on the day that Jandamarra O'Shane was severely burnt at the age of 6. 
The article then moves on to interview "Janda" and his mum about the attack and how they have coped with it over the years.  The interviewer asks Janda to reflect on the attacker and describe the feelings he has toward the attacker today. 
It contains direct speech. 

Language Features
The text introduction incorporates metaphorical language, e.g. 'collar flicked-up, just like Fonsi from Happy Days', and contains descriptive language which gives the reader an impression of the main character in this news article - Jandamarra. 
It contains adjectives like 'affable, boisterous teenager', and adjectival phrases e.g. 'overcome a cruel attack that nearly killed him'. 
The text includes adverbs and adverbial phrases which express the writers viewpoint and opinion, (e.g. 'perhaps only Jenni realises just how "good" a day it is'), the speaker's attitude, (e.g. 'my knees aren't the best')  and continuum, (e.g. 'in the years since)'.  
Text includes second person pronouns and a variety of punctuation, including quotations marks for direct speech.

Other textual features (illustrations, layout)
The article includes a website for further information and a coloured photograph of Jandamarra.
Year 6 - Year 7


Before Reading Activities

The following activities relate to the QSA Key Learning Area of Health

Activity 1 - Relationship Continuum
Ask students to draw a line across a blank piece of paper - and number it like a timeline from zero to ten.  At one end they write - (0) 'No Relationship', at the other end they write (10) 'Deep or Close Relationship'.

Read out some descriptions of people that the students would come across in their life and ask students to rank each person based on the level of relationship they have with each person.  e.g. shop keeper (no relationship - 0), hairdresser (some relationship - 3), grandparent (close relationship - 7), best friend (deep relationship - 10)

Activity 2 - Introduce the topic of Relationships
Explain  to the students that many people in their lives play an important role, but the level of each relationship is different.  Some people you have very close relationships with (e.g. parents, grandparents) and others you have little or no relationship with (e.g. the person who drives the bus).
Question and discuss:
- why do some people get placed at one end of the continuum and others at the
  opposite end? (know them well, trust them, respect them)
- what makes your relationship with some people special (e.g. they care, family,
  close in age, same/common interests)
- Do you behave differently with different people and why?
(e.g. respect
  differently, different ages, experience of each person- what they expect, more
  comfortable with some people - let your hair down and relax - let your guard

Activity 3 - Identify who you would talk to
Ask students to identify which of the people on their contimuum (activity 1) they would talk to about the following issues:
a) arguing between family members
b) the death of a pet
c) seeing a friend stealing
d) feeling  unwell at school
e) being offered a cigarette or drugs by a friend
f)  their shoe size
g) what they would like for their birthday
h) the weather forecast
I) the cricket score
j) feeling sick and run-down

Ask students to reflect upon their answers for a few moments and think about the reasons they chose the people they did.  Discuss as a class group - exploring the reasons for their choices.

Activity 4 - Talking about Anger
with the class the different experiences that can trigger anger in people. Brainstorm a list and write it on the white board. 
Prompt the brainstorm with questions, e.g. what sort situations cause you, your brother or sister, your mum or dad to be angry?  
Reinforce the universality of anger - i.e. different people can feel angry about different things.
Explain that student will now individually complete a 'Y' chart by recording what anger 'Looks like, Sounds like and Feels like' to them.
Discuss with the class and include discussion around the following points:
- what makes one person angry may not upset another person.
- Anger is often a build up of feelings over time, e.g. worry, fear, uncertainty,
- most people feel uncomfortable about anger, but anger can be a healthy signal
  to take action and do something about the cause of the anger - without hurting
- early warning signs can help you manage anger more effectively.

Activity 5 - Think, Pair, Share
Ask students to pair up, discuss and identify the following:
a) a situation in the past that made them feel angry
b) a situation in the past in which others become angry with them

Ask students to share what each situation 'Looked, Sounded and Felt' like.

Activity 6 - Whole class sharing
Each pair can share their outcomes with the class.  As students share their outcomes from activity 5, categories the results into one of the following categories:
- teasing
- hurting
- not being responsible
- spreading rumours
- taking friends
- taking sides
- taking possessions
- not sharing
- no communicating effectively, i.e. not talking or listening
- add other categories as needed
This list can be kept as a poster to remind students about what causes anger and how they can prevent others from feeling angry
a) what can you do to stop others becoming angry with you?
b) what can you do when you are angry with someone? (e.g. talk about taking responsibility for ones feelings)

Activity 7 - Sharing circle
In a circle - ask students to relate one thing that they have learnt about anger today.

Activity 8 - Individual writing
Ask students to write a response using the following sentence starters.
a) When ________ gets angry with me for _________ I could ____________

b) When I feel angry with ________ for _________ I could handle my anger better by _______________

Model a response to one of the above before asking students to write.
For example:
When I feel angry with my son for breaking his promises I could handle my anger better by calmly explaining to him how I feel when he lets me down.


Build background information and discovery for students on the topics of relationships, how other people can help you in life and dealing with anger.

Students as text participants



Text-users: Y chart



During Reading Activities

Activity 9 - Explain to the students that today we are reading a very sad story about a boy, who was aged 6 when a total stranger walked past him in the school ground, poured petrol over him and set him on fire with a cigarette lighter. 
- Who knows of this boy - his name is Jandamarra?
- Who would like to hear his story?
While you are listening I want you to think about what you would do and how you would feel  if one of your friends was set on fire in the school playground?
Read aloud the article called 'A Good Day: Jandamarra O'Shane celebrates his 18th birthday'


Students as text participants and code-breakers.

After Reading Activities

Activity 10 - Talk about the text
Discuss who has written this article.  Is it fact or fiction?.  Whose opinion has been expressed?.  Is it written in first, second or third person?  Is there any bias present?  Can we trust the source of this article?

Activity 11 - Think, Pair, Share
Ask students to think about Jandamarra's story and imagine they were a young boy of 6 years old playing in the school playground when someone walked up to you and did this.  Discuss this with your partner for a few minutes.
Question the class and discuss:
- How would Jandamarra feel ?(Shock, pain, terror)
- How would the witnesses feel ? (shocked, traumatised, horrified, frightened, helpless)
- What do you think about the person who did this?
- What sort of person do you think he was?
- Would this person be your friend today? Explain
- Do you think its right that he was sentenced to life in prison? (20 years)
- Why do you think he hasn't applied for parole - even though he is eligible to?
- Think about the person who did this - why would someone do this? Can/should they ever
   be forgiven?

Activity 12 - writing in response
Ask students to write about this article as a way of consolidating their thoughts and feelings and demonstrating their ability to analyse and comprehend the text. 
Encourage students to begin writing by responding to the following questions in full sentences. 
1) which character traits do you most admire about Jandamarra? (e.g. brave, resilient,  
    able to forgive)
  Explain and clarify meanings, e.g. resilient.
2) who do you think helped him to be so strong, brave and forgiving or do you think he
    learned this by himself? (e.g. family, friends, doctors, positive habits of mind, support
    from the community, a person with whom he has a special relationship?)
3) do you think it is good or bad that Jandamarra has forgiven his attacker? (e.g. if he
    forgives he doesn't have to carry the burden of hatred for the rest of his life)

Firstly - Model an example of a full sentence response, e.g.
'The character traits I most admire about Jandamarra are his resilience despite the difficulties he has faced, his positive attitude toward life and his ability to forgive his attacker and move on with his life'.

Share and discuss as a class group - focussing on 'relationships' and how others can help you deal with issues, concerns, worries and anger in your life.

Activity 13 - letter writing
Revise letter writing with the class, including the purpose, language used, date, layout of the page and address, the spacing and signatures.
Place all students names into a box.  Explain that each student will select a name and then write a letter to that person, telling them about the qualities you most admire about them. 
Model an example of a letter for the whole class - selecting a teacher at random to write about.
Remind students to look for the positive traits in their fellow classmates and to write a letter that they would be happy to receive themselves.
Conference with students and assist them to edit their work.
Decide on some students work samples to read aloud with the class.

Activity 14 - Letters to Jandamarra
Ask students to write a letter to Jandamarra that will be posted to him in Cairns.
Brainstorm ideas to include in the letters, e.g. 
- tell him about the character traits they most admire, 
- provide encouragement for the surgeries he still has to undergo
- share how inspirational his story is for them.
- wish him a happy 18th birthday
Remind students to edit their work.


Students as text participants and text analysts: discussion about whose opinions, thoughts and feelings have been expressed in this article. 
Is it fact or fiction - how do we know?
Can we trust the source?

Students as code-breakers and text-participants: what information from the text helps them to understand more about the main character - Jandamarra?

Students as text-users: letter writing
The idea for this literacy activity came from Osbourne, J. (2010)