Unit Topic: Colonial Australia
Curriculum Link: HSIE, English
Stage: Two, Year Four
Lesson Number: Four
Lesson Topic: How multimodal texts work
Timing: 1 hour
Lesson Outcomes:
CCS2.1- Describes events and actions related to the British colonisation of Australia and assesses changes and consequences.
· Describes some of the consequences of British settlement for Indigenous people as explored within the video ‘They have come to stay’. E.g. Displacement, disease.
TS2.1- Communicates in informal and formal classroom activities in school and social situations for an increasing range of purposes on a variety of topics across the curriculum.
· Participates in class discussions on the different features of a multimodal text.

RS2.7- Discusses how writers relate to their readers in different ways, how they create a variety of worlds through language and how they use language to achieve a wide range of purposes.
· Identifies use of voice style, image and text within a visual multimodal text (video)
· Discusses how images, voice and written text enhance meaning within a visual multimodal text.
Creative Arts (Drama):
DRAS2.3- Sequences the action of the drama to create meaning for an audience.
· Incorporates dramatic elements into their tableau to convey meaning
*Youtube clip ‘Pixels’ by Patrick Jean (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ou8vRWTSsJo)
*Episode 1 'They have come to stay' of SBS documentary series 'First Australians (http://www.sbs.com.au/firstaustralians/)
*Interactive Whiteboard
Lesson Aims:
This lesson aims to have students explore how a multimodal text works by watching two examples of multimodal texts and indentifying and discussing the effect of the different linguistic (text), audio (voice over commentary) and visual (images, transitions) features evident. Students will further examine how voice over contributes to meaning making by creating their own tableau with includes a short script identifying what is being depicted and discussing its effect.
Lesson Outline
Introduction: (10 mins)
The Teacher…
1. Introduce the concept of a multimodal text by uploading the Youtube clip ‘Pixels’ by Patrick Jean onto the IWB and asking students to simply watch the clip.
2. When finished, have a brief discussion on what they saw within the clip. What was it about? How do you know this? Was there a message in this clip? How was this shown? Did you like the clip? Why or why not?
3. Explain to students that this short clip is an example of a visual multimodal text because it creates meaning by using a variety of different techniques. Ask students to brainstorm what some of the techniques used were (sound, image, transitions, text) and how they were used in the text. Eg. There was the use of text at the beginning which provided us with the title of the clip. Record the suggestions in a ‘Techniques’ mind-map. Support the discussion by providing technical terminology as students offer responses.
If further support is required, replay the clip and provide a running commentary, prompting students to take not of particular techniques. What sounds can you hear? Is there text you can read? What is it telling you? How are the images changing? Then return to the mind-map and complete.
The Students…
1. Watch the clip ‘Pixels’ as a whole class.

2. Engage in a general class discussion based on the clip.

3. Contribute to class brainstorm of techniques evident in the clip.
Body: (40 mins)
The Teacher…
1. Explain to students that as they have been studying Colonial Australia, they are now going to watch a short documentary video on the First Fleet (10 minutes) which, like the clip they just saw, is an example of a multimodal text. Ask students to watch the video and, as it is playing, mentally take note of some of the techniques it uses to help present the information. Remind students that they can use the mind-map as a guide to some of the techniques they should be looking out for.
2. Play the video ‘They have come to stay’ through without stopping.
3. Conduct a class discussion based on the techniques of the video and how these were used. Add extra detail to the ‘Techniques’ mind-map on the board.
4. Highlight that one of the techniques used in the video was voiceover. Explain to students that they are going to watch a small extract from the video again, but this time, the voiceover will be muted so that they can only watch the images. Have students predict what effect having no voice will have on their interpretation/understanding of the information being presented in the video.
5. Replay the first 3 minutes of video.
Allow students to discuss whether they thought meaning was enhances/detracted when only image was used. Why do you think that is? What is the relationship between what is being said and what is being shown? How does the voiceover help create meaning for the images?
6. Have students form groups of 5 and find their own space within the classroom. Once groups are formed and listening, explain that each group is going to create two tableaus representing one of the consequences of British colonisation for Indigenous people as shown in the video as well as script a short voice over piece (2-3 lines) for each explaining what is being depicted. Explain that the voiceover is going to be read out by one member of the group (the commentator) whist the remaining four students recreate the scene.
7. As a class, identify a few examples of some of the effects discussed within the video which could be used as stimulus for their tableaus. E.g. Displacement, illness, resistance, confusion, fear.
8. Remind students that the voice over should directly support the image being depicted within the tableau and that as each group is creating two tableaus, there needs to be a form of transition between them, much like the transitions used between scenes within the video.
9. Allow students 20 minutes to create their pieces. Rotate around to each group as they work and ensure all students are on task.
The Students…
1. Watch the video 'They have come to stay’ whilst taking note of the techniques used (voice, transitions, text, image)

2. Discuss the techniques within the video and their effect on meaning making.

3. Re-watch a segment of the video again in mute whist considering the effect a lack of voiceover has on meaning making.

4. Form groups of 5 and find an individual space within the classroom to create their tableau.

5. Select a consequence of British colonisation for Indigenous people explored in the video.

6. Collaboratively create two tableaus representing the selected consequence as well as script a short (2-3 lines) voice over commentary on what is being depicted in each still image and determine the transition sequence between the two images.
Conclusion: (10 mins)
The Teacher…
1. Bring the class back together and allow each group one by one to come to the front and present. As each group presents, have the students first present their two tableaus without the voice over. Ask the students in the audience to suggest what they think is being depicted. Once a few suggestions have been made, have the group present their tableaus again, this time with the voice over.
Scaffold a brief discussion, asking students: Were we correct with what we predicted? How did the use of the voice over bring meaning to the images?
2. Once all groups have presented, tie together all aspects of the lesson by making connections between the group activity and the effects seen within the two clips (‘Pixels’ and ‘First Fleet Arrives-1788’). Reinforce the idea that the way in which multimodal texts create meaning is through incorporating a range of techniques (such as the clip’s and video’s use of transitions, voice/sound, text and image) which work together to build meaning.
3. Link to future leaning by explaining that students will be using these techniques to create their own multimodal text by making a power point which will incorporate images, voice, text and transitions.
The Students…
1. Present their tableaus to peers; first without the voiceover, then with the voiceover.

2. Watch each of the tableaus and suggest possibilities of what each one is depicting.

3. Discuss the effect of voice over in creating meaning for the images. Identify how the voiceover is directly linked to what is being depicted and acts as a supplementary meaning making mode.
Evaluation *
Was the use of the clip ‘Pixels’ effective in engaging students with the concept of visual multimodal texts? Were students able to identify how meaning was created? If not, how could this introduction be altered to better support student learning?
Were students engaged when watching the ‘They have come to stay’ video? If not, how could student engagement be enhanced for future lessons?
Did students work successfully in groups when creating their tableau? Did the groups need to be changed, i.e. in size or student combination?
Were students provided with adequate opportunity to express/discuss their understanding of how a multimodal text works? If not, how could the activities be more supportive of discussion?
*Did students achieve the identified HSIE, English and Creative Arts outcomes? If not, how could this lesson be adapted to allow students to engage with the key concepts on a deeper level?


Jean, P. (2010). Pixels. Retrieved September 26, 2010 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ou8vRWTSsJo .

Panckhurst, H. (2009, April 18). First Australians. Episode 1. [Television Broadcast]. Sydney: Special Broadcasting Service.