Tutorial 1 – Herman & Rosie by Gus Gordon

Principles for developing technology and literacy

  • 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?

Building the field

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?

  • Relevant and engaging content and skills: Using both of of these activities in the classroom assists in revealing prior student knowledge and promotes discussion about students connections to the book. Through this dialogue, some students may reveal that they have visited New York before, or perhaps some students in the class may play a Jazz instrument.

During reading 

Story Reading

Ipad – ibooks – Herman and Rosie by Gus Gordon

  • Technology to enhance literacy: By displaying the picture book on the IWB, students would be able to easily follow along and listen to the narrator (a form of modelled reading). Furthermore, the  use of the IWB allowed the picture book to be displayed large enough so that all students could see the book in detail, which could be utilised to enhance visual literacy skills.

After reading 

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.

  • Pedagogical choices: All of the activities above allow for collaborative use of the digital resource. Students are given the opportunity to be deeply involved with the literature as well as the technology.
  • Multimodal features: When using the Explain Everything app, students are given the opportunity to directly write on the page of the book, draw on it or add images. This allows for a multi-sensory engagement with the text, and allows students to visually represent their thinking.

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.

  • Pedagogical choices: All of the activities above allow for collaborative use of the digital resource. Students are given the opportunity to be deeply involved with the literature as well as the technology.
  • Access and technical considerations: Both of these activities can be completed at a whole class level. This means that students can still engage meaningfully with the text, even if there is limited technological resources in the classroom. Moreover, the tasks are flexible enough for teachers to easily scaffold for students with varying degrees of technological understanding.

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.

  • Play and creativity opportunities: Students are given the opportunity to play with the iPad and add images of themselves to the story. Students are given the freedom to experiment, to produce something on their own and use their knowledge and skills to respond creatively to the text.
  • Literacy enhanced by technology: By photographing and embedding their images into the picture book, students are encouraged to utilise their comprehension and and critical thinking skills in response to the picture book.

Collecting Digital Resources


Herman and Rosie, written by Gus Gordon, is a beautiful children’s picture book about two characters, Herman & Rosie, who live in the big city of New York. After both losing their jobs, they build a great friendship after discovering each others shared love for Jazz music.

Below is a student-made book trailer. This video provides an exciting and intriguing overview of the story line. This trailer could be used in the classroom in a number of ways. For example, before reading, the video could be used to make predictions about what the story might be about. The trailer could be used as a resource to analyse and encourage  visual literary thinking. Lastly, students could view the trailer as a model to make their own trailer response as a form of group work.

Gus Gordon website

This website provides teaching notes from the author himself. The materials link to the Australian Curriculum, and provide great teaching and learning activities for students in Kindergarten through to High School.

This Picture Book Life

This is a link to a blog that is all about quality picture books for all ages. What is great about this site is that it gives an example of another story that could be read in conjunction with Herman and Rosie, being Manfish by Jennifer Berne. The blogger believes that these picture books pair nicely together because of their common theme of Jacques Cousteau.


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