Tutorial 1: Herman & Rosie

Principles for developing technology and literacy:

(From Ewing, Callow and Rushton (2016) – referred to throughout blog post)

  • Play & Creativity opportunities – How is play and creativity fostered?
  • Pedagogical choices – How do I involve children in using the technology?
  • Relevant and engaging content and skills – What skills and content need teaching?
  • Literacy is enhanced by technology How is literacy enhanced by the technology?
  • Multimodal features – What communication modes are explored and developed?
  • Access & Technical considerations – How can children access easily and use the technology responsibly?

Herman and Rosie, Gus Gordon:


Herman and Rosie by Gus Gordon is a story that follows Herman the crocodile and Rosie the deer, two neighbours who live in New York City. Whilst strangers to each other for most of the story, themes of loneliness and the unexpected pleasure of shared interests resonate. The connections Herman and Rosie make with each other over their love of jazz, Jacques Cousteau and the devastation of losing their jobs highlight the importance of friendship in times of darkness and is the basis for a bright future together.

Exploring the digital literacy principles utilised within tutorial activities. 

Setting the context:

IWB – uncover images and discuss city and names.

Music – play some jazz using Jazz cats app. Have you heard this type of music before? How does it make you feel?

Principles utlised:

  • Multimodal features – using the two iPad apps, with image and music.
  • Play and creativity – having students experiment with the different instruments and collating them into a soundscape.
  • Pedagogical choice – these activities build the field and is a constructivist approach to learning as students work through the image to gradually build understanding of where the story it is set. Jazz Cats also build on any prior experiences students may have had with jazz (e.g. parents listening at home). In both activities the access to the iPad is shared.
  • Literacy is enhanced by technology – it is essential to build the field, particularly for students in this instance who may never have been to NYC or heard jazz. As such using this technology allows students to get the most from the text by building awareness before reading.
  • Access and technological considerations – all students are encouraged to have a turn both in uncovering the image and creating the jazz sounds. It is scaffolded by the teacher as they demonstrate how each activity works.

Story reading:

Ipad – iBooks – Herman and Rosie by Gus Gordon

Principles utlised:

  • Multimodal features – using iBook / kindle feature where picture and narration of the story occurs. Teacher can also stop and give additional support / information where required e.g. contextual information.
  • Literacy enhanced by technology – whilst teacher story telling is important, having a new narrator may be beneficial for students to hear another good reader (even if the accent is questionable!)

Explore character and theme – comprehension, word level activity, character development:

Explain Everything app

Characters – Read through first pages and find their favourite things – what does this tell about their characters? Similar or different? Create a Venn diagram that identifies the similarities and differences.

Words words words – what do we learn about the city from the words in the beginning of the story? Explore noun groups and list – are they effective?

Herman and Rosie lose their jobs: Explain Everything. How do we know what they are feeling? Words and pictures – same or different? Add some words to Rosie’s page to show what she might hear.

Principles utlised:

  • Pedagogical choices – students are heavily involved in leading the discussion regarding character development e.g. what are their favourite things? What does this tell us about them? etc – teacher’s role is to guide this conversation but allow students to construct knowledge about the characters through discussion.
  • Access and technological considerations – all students are encouraged to be part of the conversation, as well as using the technology to aid this e.g. writing in the Venn Diagram.
  • Literacy is enhanced by technology – e.g. using the Venn diagram to organise thoughts enables students to clarify, justify and explain their reasoning with the class.
  • Multimodal features – by linking words with sounds to describe how Rosie is feeling multimodal features are utilised. This could be taken further to actually create a soundscape of what it might sound like.
  • Relevant and engaging content and skills – using the text to authentically teach about noun groups, for example, is engaging and relevant to students’ learning thus students will get more out of the exercise than a non-related / engaging grammar lesson.

Visual features:

Discovery Chart – keep track of each new discovery every time you read the book e.g. find the treble clef, inclusion of real items in the collage . List under headings

Map – draw lines for labels. Discuss use of collage, map key, angle, media choice.

Principles used:

  • Pedagogical choices – nice cross curricular links here e.g. with geography (maps) and maths (angles)
  • Relevant and engaging content and skills – this links with the above as the book gives an authentic context to teach these skills
  • Literacy enhanced by technology – by having a discovery chart that you can keep coming back to and adding to after each reading or discussion, literacy is enhanced as the list is on hand and can be referred to or expanded on easily – better than having a list on paper that may get lost, for example.

Response activity:

Creating – In pairs – Put yourself in the picture. Using the ipad, take a photo and then put yourself in the cityscape while Herman plays.

Whole class – paper based. Create a map showing Herman and Rosie visiting Sydney.

Principles used:

  • Play and creativity – students will love having the opportunity to put themselves into the story in creative ways e.g. in the window looking towards Herman etc. By giving them control to be in the story they are likely to be more engaged.
  • Relevant and engaging content and skills – by extending the context to be in Sydney, students can relate learning and understanding from the text to where they live.
  • Pedagogical choices – students take control of the activity in both putting a picture of themselves in the text and creating the map, giving students strong agency
  • Multimodal features – while many activities are digitally based, by introducing the map based activity students engage using different modes across the activities.
  • Access and technological considerations – whilst all activities are intended to include all students in having a go, these activities really will ensure all students are involved and could work well in pairs or small groups (resource dependent).


Collecting Herman & Rosie Digital Resources.


Resources to use.

Student made book trailer, example:

Gus Gordon website: Teaching notes, plans and activities for teachers and students of every age group. Units for each primary stage. Links also to videos (e.g. deaf translation videos), interviews, essays and other writing.
This Picture Book Life: Discusses Herman and Rosie and extends it through looking at a second book, Manfish! by Jennifer Berne. Manfish! looks further at Jacques Cousteau which features in Herman and Rosie but is not discussed in detail.
Rosie and Herman e-book: Here is a free online e-book version of Herman and Rosie. An update of Adobe Flash may be required.
Penguin Education Teaching notes: More teaching notes available for the book.


Screen Shot 2017-03-21 at 6.31.19 pm



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: