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What Matters? Classroom Resources

The What Matters? writing competition is a ‘catalyst for young thinkers and young writers to develop a perspective, a point of view, on where we’re heading as a society.’

The competition receives thousands of entries covering a wide range of subjects, putting paid to the idea that young Australians are disengaged and disaffected. Year after year we are reminded how passionate, observant and articulate young people are, and how deeply driven they are by a sense of social justice as they offer us a window into not just what concerns them, but what inspires them. 

What Matters? has been inspiring Young Australians for more than a decade, and in that time it has become a popular classroom activity. Here you’ll find a number of handy classroom resources with inspiration, links to the Australian Curriculum and thought starters for your students that could form the basis of a What Matters? classroom activity.

Inspiring Entries

SCARLETT YORK
Hunter Valley Grammar School
2018 Year 5/6 Runner Up
Chances Blow With the Wind
“The blood, sweat and tears slowly fade as the top of the mountain picks its tired eyes over the ombre horizon. The splashes of…”more

ALISON HWANG
Fort Street High School
Petersham, 2018 Year 11/12 Winner
 The Colours of Words
You are in a room. I stand before you, fixed in one position. In your hands, you hold a large brush and a wooden…”more

MARKUS BARRIE
Castle Hill High School
2017 Year 9/10 Runner Up
We Are Human Too
”The world is brimming with social issues – but to someone thought of as ordinary, this mightn’t be so obvious. But those of us who were born different…”more

MATTI SCHWARZ
Hobart College
2017 Year 11/12 Winner, Joint Overall Competition Winner
Simple Things
It’s summer, so we leave the city behind and head for the beach. We drive for hours…”more

 

 

Classroom Activity: Conversation Starters

Get your students thinking about what matters to others, and what matters to them with these conversation starters:

SECONDARY STUDENTS

PRIMARY STUDENTS


Australian Curriculum

Both the premise and the format of the competition directly support a number of student outcomes in the Australian Curriculum.

ENGLISH

The What Matters? writing competition provides an opportunity for students to plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive texts and develop their use of language to convey ideas.

Humanities and Social Sciences Civics and Citizenship

The What Matters? writing competition gives students the opportunity to examine and express their point of view on contemporary social, political, cultural and environmental issues in their local, national or global community.

General Learning Capabilities
Critical and Creative thinking

What Matters? encourages students to think critically and creatively about a range of social, political, economic, cultural, environmental or civic issues. Students think about the impact of such issues and how these issues might be addressed.


What Matters? Curriculum Links

Year 5

ENGLISH

ACELY1704 Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive print and multimodal texts, choosing text structures, language features, images and sound appropriate to purpose and audience 

ACELY1705 Re-read and edit student’s own and others’ work using agreed criteria for text structures and language features

ACELY1707 Use a range of software including word processing programs with fluency to construct, edit and publish written text, and select, edit and place visual, print and audio elements

HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES

ACHASSI094 Develop appropriate questions to guide an inquiry about people, events, developments, places, systems and challenges 

ACHASSI101 Evaluate evidence to draw conclusions 

ACHASSI103 Use criteria to make decisions and judgements and consider advantages and disadvantages of preferring one decision over others 

ACHASSI105 Present ideas, findings, viewpoints and conclusions in a range of texts and modes that incorporate source materials, digital and non-digital representations and discipline-specific terms and conventions 

Year 6

ENGLISH

ACELY1714 Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive texts, choosing and experimenting with text structures, language features, images and digital resources appropriate to purpose and audience

ACELY1715 Re-read and edit students’ own and others’ work using agreed criteria and explaining editing choices

HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES

ACHASSI122 Develop appropriate questions to guide an inquiry about people, events, developments, places, systems and challenges 

ACHASSI132 Reflect on learning to propose personal and/or collective action in response to an issue or challenge, and predict the probable effects 

ACHASSI133 Present ideas, findings, viewpoints and conclusions in a range of texts and modes that incorporate source materials, digital and non-digital representations and discipline-specific terms and conventions

Year 7

ENGLISH

ACELY1725 Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive texts, selecting aspects of subject matter and particular language, visual, and audio features to convey information and ideas

 ACELY1726 Edit for meaning by removing repetition, refining ideas, reordering sentences and adding or substituting words for impact

HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES

ACHASSI162 Reflect on learning to propose personal and/or collective action in response to an issue or challenge, taking into account different perspectives, and describe the expected effects 

 ACHASSI163 Present ideas, findings, viewpoints, explanations and conclusions in a range of texts and modes that incorporate source materials, citations, graphic representations and discipline-specific terms, conventions and concepts

Year 8

ENGLISH

ACELY1736 Create imaginative, informative and persuasive texts that raise issues, report events and advance opinions, using deliberate language and textual choices, and including digital elements as appropriate

 ACELY1810 Experiment with text structures and language features to refine and clarify ideas to improve the effectiveness of students’ own texts 

 ACELA1547 Recognise that vocabulary choices contribute to the specificity, abstraction and style of texts

HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES

ACHCS074   Reflect on their role as a citizen in Australia’s democracy

Year 9

ENGLISH

ACELY1746 Create imaginative, informative and persuasive texts that present a point of view and advance or illustrate arguments, including texts that integrate visual, print and/or audio features

 ACELY1747 Review and edit students’ own and others’ texts to improve clarity and control over content, organisation, paragraphing, sentence structure, vocabulary and audio/visual features

HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES

ACHCS085  Account for different interpretations and points of view

 ACHCS089 Reflect on their role as a citizen in Australian, regional and global contexts 

Year 10

ENGLISH

ACELY1756 Create sustained texts, including texts that combine specific digital or media content, for imaginative, informative, or persuasive purposes that reflect upon challenging and complex issues 

 ACELY1757 Review, edit and refine students’ own and others’ texts for control of content, organisation, sentence structure, vocabulary, and/or visual features to achieve particular purposes and effects

HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES

ACHCS102 Reflect on their role as a citizen in Australian, regional and global contexts 

Essential English

ACEEE025 Using persuasive, visual and literary techniques to engage audiences in a range of modes, mediums and contexts

 ACEEE026 Selecting text structures, language features and visual techniques to communicate and represent ideas and information

 ACEEE039 Using personal voice and adopting different points of view to influence audiences in a range of mediums and digital technologies 

English

ACEEN032 Using imaginative, interpretive and persuasive elements for different purposes, contexts and audiences

 ACEEN034 Developing and sustaining voice, tone and style 

ACEEN051 Making innovative and imaginative use of language features

 ACEEN052 Using and experimenting with text structures and language features related to specific genres for particular effects

 ACEEN069 Using appropriate language and stylistic features to sustain a personal voice and point of view