Language and Literature Unit: Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence

For the last two years my team and I have been developing a Middle Years Programme (MYP) unit of inquiry in Language & Literature based on the novel and film “Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence” by Doris Pilkington and directed by Phillip Noyce.

I was introduced to this inquiry unit by my colleague Andy Peartree ( who had historically taught this unit to Year 6’s in previous years. Paul Huebl and myself enjoyed team teaching this unit in 2013, but this year I have been teaching the subject to all students across the year level on my own.

I have adapted the unit and made some changes and thought it was worth sharing with others. I have attached the following documents:

1. The MYP Unit Planner: Language & Literature T2 RPF 2014

2. The Task (Comparative Essay) and Assessment Rubric: Rabbit Proof Fence Rubric 2014

3. The Novel & Film Study documents:Rabbit Proof Fence Novel & Film Study 2014

4. Essay Planning Document: Individual RPF Essay plan

5. Rabbit Proof Fence Display Posters: Rabbit Proof Fence signs

Within this unit we have been exploring the MYP Statement of Inquiry: Films and novels convey the same message to an audience.

We have been comparing different texts to see if the same messages can be conveyed. I have used the film and novel, “Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence” and the picture book, “The Rabbits” by John Marsden and Shaun Tan, to see if the theme and messages about the Stolen Generations were conveyed similarly and which medium was the most powerful.

We have had some pretty amazing and powerful reactions from students, especially after watching the film and looking at the following clip to anaylse the director’s work about the abduction scene:

My students are now in the process of analysing the film, doing guided reading sessions and making text connections with “The Rabbits” by John Marsden and Shaun Tan.

RPF photo copy

The final assessment and response to this unit will be a written piece (comparative essay) responding to the following questions:

Did the novel or film communicate the story “The Rabbit Proof Fence” better? Why?


         Compare the ways the film and the novel explore your chosen theme.


Explain why you think that one communicated the theme better than the other.

This is the first essay my Year 6 students have written so quite a bit of scaffolding has been required. I’m looking forward to reading their completed responses and final reflections about the inquiry statement after this assignment.

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