book cover Where There's Smoke…
by Robin Lovell and David Miller

Picture book | 32 pp | Years 2–4

Getting Started


[ Responsibility | Doing Your Best | Responding to Text ]


Why is it important for people living in the Australian bush to know and act upon fire safety precautions? Complete the Flow Chart worksheet to show the actions that Bodie and his mother took to help save themselves and their house. Use both the text and illustrations to identify the different tasks they undertook.

Share individual flow charts between the group. Discuss the key actions that have been identified and use these as a starting point to develop a fire safety plan for the classroom. Build on previous experience from school fire drills.

Share the group fire safety plans and record the key ideas presented. Write a class set of procedures to follow in case of fire. Study the school emergency plan and compare it with the class plan. Make adjustments to the class plan if required.

Share your plan with the whole school and request a fire drill to provide an opportunity to practice safety procedures and evaluate the class procedures and the school emergency plan.

What safety procedures are in place for the wider community in case of the threat of fire? Write to your local council, visit the local fire brigade or invite a guest speaker to discuss safety issues for the local community. Write a class summary of the information gathered to share with the school and community through an assembly or the school newsletter.

From the information gathered, discuss the things you have learnt with your family. Develop a fire safety plan for your home and ask family members to take responsibility for identified tasks. As a family, conduct a hazard assessment and work together to minimise risks.

Write a summary of the processes you went through with your family to develop a final fire safety plan. Present this as an oral report to the class.

How do the firefighters demonstrate their commitment to saving Bodie's home? Working in small groups, complete the Flow Chart worksheet to show the different actions they undertook as part of their responsibilities as firefighters. Allocate these actions to individual group members and represent each in a story map using collage and paper cutting techniques in a similar style to David Miller.

How would the actions of the firefighters have differed if the fire had been in the suburbs or city centre? After some background research, prepare a second Flow Chart that would detail possible actions.

Compare each group's flow chart representations and discuss the differences and similarities when fighting different types of fire. Record your thoughts on the Venn Diagram worksheet. What responsibilities are the same for all types of fire?

Doing Your Best

Make a list of the different emergency services represented in the book. Select one of these and conduct some background research to learn about the training they undertake to do their jobs well. Present your information in a recruitment poster aimed at encouraging the viewer to consider working in that area. Display the posters in the classroom.

In what ways do the firefighters demonstrate that they did their best, at all times, in difficult and dangerous conditions to fulfil their responsibilities? Adapt the Story Outline worksheet to plot the major events in the story where firefighters acted to save Bodie's house. Allocate different events to individual group members and write a paragraph that explains why each event shows that the firefighters were working to the best of their ability.

Brainstorm and list the different responsibilities that students within the class have to maintain the class and school environment. Discuss why these are important and why they should be done to the best of each student's ability.

Each of the responsibilities from the class brainstorm is going to be opened up to volunteers. Discuss what processes should be followed to fill the positions, including advertisements that detail the requirements, applications and selection panels.

Working in small groups, take one of the responsibilities identified in the class discussion. Identify as many ways as you can that would guide a person undertaking this responsibility to do it well. Prepare an advertisement for the position and display it for others to read.

Select a volunteer position that you would like to take responsibility for and apply for the job in writing. You need to convince the selectors that you will do your best to ensure that the job is done reliably and to a high standard. Make sure you read the advertisement carefully so that you know the skills that are required.

Prepare selection criteria for the position your small group advertised. Base the selection criteria on the information provided in the advertisement. Read and evaluate applications based on these criteria. Write letters to the applicants to explain why they were or were not successful.

Announce the successful applicants and the positions for which they will be responsible. After a set period of time, allow for an evaluation and the opportunity for others to fill the positions.

Responding to Text

What would Bodie be experiencing when the fire was moving towards his home? Imagine you are in Bodie's position. What would the approaching fire look like, feel like, sound like and smell like? Record your thoughts in an X Chart.

Write a descriptive poem about the fire. Use the thoughts recorded in the X Chart as a starting point. Publish your poem for display and share with the class.

Make a list of fire related words from the text, your own knowledge and research activities. Use these to develop a crossword, writing clues for each word that you use. This could be done with pencil and paper or online.

Imagine you are the policeman who crashed the police car and that you have to write a report explaining why the car was destroyed. Plan your report by completing a Five Ws chart first to ensure you include all the important details.

© Curriculum Corporation 2006