Please support my class with their #StopDirtyPalmOil campaign

In Year 4, we have been inspired by the latest Greenpeace Advert - There's a Rang-Tan in My Bedroom. The advert tells the story of Rang-Tan, a young Indonesian orangutan that has been forced out of her home by humans. It is a beautifully animated video with a very powerful message:

We decided to look at the text used in the advert in more detail:

There's a Rang-tan in my bedroom and I don't know what to do.
She plays with all my teddies and keeps borrowing my shoe.
She destroys all of my house plants and she keeps on shouting 'oo'.
She throws away my chocolate and she howls at my shampoo.
There's a Rang-tan in my bedroom and I don't want her to stay,
So I told the naughty Rang-tan that she had to go away.
Oh, Rang-tan in my bedroom, just before you go,
Why were you in my bedroom? I really want to know.

There's a human in my forest and I don't know what to do.
He destroyed all of our trees for your food and your shampoo.
There's a human in my forest and I don't know what to do.
He took away my mother and I'm scared he'll take me, too.
There are humans in my forest and I don't know what to do.
They're burning it for palm oil so I thought I’d stay with you.

Oh Rang-tan in my bedroom now I do know what to do.
I’ll fight to save your home and I’ll stop you feeling blue.
I’ll share your story far and wide so others can fight too.
Oh Rang-tan in my bedroom I swear it on the stars:
the future's not yet written but I’ll make sure it's ours.

Some questions we explored:

  • What is a Rang-Tan? 
  • Why do you think there is an Orangutan in her bedroom?
  • Why does the young girl not know what to do?
  • What does the word 'destroy' mean?
  • Why does the Rang-Tan howl?
  • Why doesn't the girl want the Orangutan to stay? 
  • What word does the girl use to describe the Rang-Tan?
  • Do you think the Rang-tan is naughty? Why?
  • On a scale of 1-5 how desperate is the girl to know why the Rang-tan is in her room?
  • Where does a the Rang-Tan live?
  • Why are humans there? 
  • Why are humans destroying the forest?
  • Why does the Rang-tan keep repeating the line "There's a human in my forest..."?
  • What do you think happened to the mother?
  • What is the main reason for burning the forest?
  • What is palm oil used for?
  • What clues in the video let us know what palm oil is used for?
  • How does the girl feel about the Rang-tan at the end? 
  • Why do you think her opinion has changed?
  • How will she fight? Why will she fight?
  • How can she share the story far and wide?
  • What would you do if you were the girl?
  • Do you think this advert is effective? Why?
  • How can we help?
The advert certainly empowered the class to explore the issue further. We discussed how terrifying it must be for the orangutans when the diggers and trucks come and demolish their rainforest home. We decided to write stories as Orangutans going through this experience. We considered how to create the most effective story by using different elements:

  • A short, effective hook opening sentence.
  • Describing the weather to create the mood. 
  • Describing how we felt through our actions.
  • Using multi-sensory descriptions to help the reader visualise the horrific scene. 
  • Changing the length of our sentences for effect.
  • How to not use words like diggers/trucks but instead describe them as monsters and beasts. 
Although it was their first draft, I was really impressed with the writing the students produce. The children knew that the work they produce would be shared online for the world to see, which added an authentic purpose:

During afternoon assembly, a group of pupils stayed out of the assembly and recorded some of their writing on the green screen to create this awareness advert:

We would love your support by sharing this video and commenting on it. We are hoping this will help raise awareness of this issue but also inspire year 4 to continue to write and share more about this issue. So far we have received messages from Greenpeace and WWF:

So please show your support and encourage our learning by sharing and commenting on their work. Watch out for more work which will appear on their class blog over the next few weeks!

If you want to support the Greenpeace campaign to #StopDirtyPalmOil,  sign the petition here.


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