Lesson 1: Introducing Colonial Australia

  • As a whole class, students brainstorm what colonisation is, based on their prior knowledge from Year 3. Teacher writes the name of six significant people from the Colonial era on the board, and a picture of each of those people. As a class students match the names with the picture of the person.

  • Teacher displays information about Arthur Phillip on the interactive whiteboard. Teacher then scaffolds for the class how to effectively scan the text for key information.

  • Teacher then models how to use this information to fill in the table that students will need to complete in groups.

  • Students are split into groups and given information on an important person during the Colonial period. They then, as a group, scan and highlight key information needed to fill in the table. They also underline any words they don't understand, and use a dictionary to look up their meaning.

  • When groups are finished they return to the floor with their completed tables. Each group presents their information to the rest of the class, and fill in the class retriever chart at the end of the presentation. Students then look at their retriever chart and in pairs, discuss two new pieces of information they discovered.


  • Teacher then introduces the multimodal task that students will complete in this unit based on Colonial Australia. Teacher discusses that in the next lesson students will be looking at literary recounts from the Colonial period.



Lesson 2: Literary Recounts
  • As a whole class, students listen to a few short literary recounts from 'My Place' written by Nadia Wheatley and Donna Rawlins. They then discuss the purpose of these texts, before going back to the first recount they read to examine the structure of the text.

  • As a whole class students are then read a section of 'My Story - Surviving Sydney Cove' written by Goldie Alexander. They then once again discuss the structure, identifying the Orientation, Record of Events and the Re-orientation. After that they discuss key grammatical features of the text, including the use of certain nouns, adjectives, verbs etc, and their effect on the text.

  • Students are then asked to individually recall a past even and using a scaffold start planning their own literary recount. When this is done they use the points on their scaffold to write a literary recount on this event in their English books.

  • Once students have finished they share their recount with a partner. Each pair comments on something they liked in the other persons recount.

  • Students are then informed that for their multi-modal task, they will be required to write a literary recount like this, but based on a character living during the colonial era. Teacher reflects on 'My Story' once more, and students discuss what it would have been like for children living in that era.



Lesson 3: Examining paintings of colonial Australia - Visual grammar
  • Students are familiarised with representations of people in colonial Australian Society. The teacher facilitates a game of ‘Dinner Parties’ to engage students with six artworks by colonial Australian artists.

  • The class discusses and identifies key elements of artworks. They then interpret and annotate one of the artworks used in the introductory activity according to these criteria.

  • In small groups, students are given another chance to examine and annotate an artwork with less teacher guidance. Groups then present this information to the class. The teacher will use supportive questioning to encourage deeper analysis of the works and help students expand their interpretations.

  • Students do the drama activity ‘Role Walk’ as a way of exploring the artworks at a deeper level. In this activity, students must walk around the room acting as a character from one of the artworks. This character will be created both from students’ imaginations and information that can be drawn from the images. This helps students comprehend visual image’s ability to represent extensive information about a character.



Lesson 4: How multimodal texts work- Video
  • As a whole class, students view the Youtube clip ‘Pixels’ by Patrick Jean and discuss their interpretation of the clip in regards to the techniques used. The teacher then introduces the concept of visual multimodal texts.

  • Students are to then watch the short documentary extract ‘They have come to stay’ from the SBS series ‘First Australians’. After a short discussion on the similarities between the techniques used in the initial clip to those used in this documentary, students are to re-watch the introductory 3 minutes of the extract without the sound.

  • As a class, discuss the effect of removing the voice over on the meaning of the images.

  • Students will then break off into small groups of 5 to create two tableaus representing one of the consequences of British colonisation on Indigenous culture examined within the documentary. Students will be required to script a short voice over piece describing the scene being depicted and include a form of transition between the two stills.

  • As a class, view all of the tableaus, once without the scripted voice over and once with it. Discuss the differences between the two tableaus and how meaning was increased/decreased in regards to the inclusion of an accompanying voice over.


Lesson 5: Scaffolding the use of Microsoft PowerPoint
  • In the computer rooms, students watch 'Example Presentation' by the Pixel House on the interactive whiteboard to introduce them to PowerPoint and some of its features. Students identify some of the techniques such as sound, image, text etc.

  • The teacher then, on the interactive whiteboard, goes through all of the main features of a PowerPoint, eg. headings, text, background, themes, images, sound, layout, transitions. As the teacher does this they create a sample PowerPoint.

  • Students are then chosen one by one and given a task (eg. change the font, add an image etc) which they have to come up and do on the interactive whiteboard for the class to see. This is done until every student has had a turn.

  • Students are the given a 'Making a PowerPoint' worksheet with a series of steps that they follow individually on their computers to create a 3 slide PowerPoint. When each student has completed this the teacher cuts and pastes all of their PowerPoints into one file and saves on a USB.

  • As a class, students then watch the play through off all of their PowerPoints on the interactive whiteboard. The discuss and evaluate each others PowerPoints. They then discuss features of the PowerPoint that may change to suit the theme of Colonisation when creating their multi-modal texts (eg. colour, images etc).


Lesson 6: Writing Diary Entry: Lesson A
  • Students will work within their project groups to plan and begin writing their diary entry. Students are advised that each group will receive an image which they are to use as a stimulus to base their recount on. Students are to take on the persona of the character (or one of the characters) within the image and jointly construct a diary entry describing the events of a typical day for this person.

  • Each group receives a recount planning sheet (See Appendix 6).

  • Groups will be instructed to carefully look at the stimulus image on their group’s sheet and spend some time brainstorming ideas about the character and what events occurred during their day. Students should be prompted to consider aspects such as daily chores, family members, living arrangements, lifestyle factors (food, clothing, recreational activities) etc.

  • These ideas are to be recorded into the ‘Notes’ part of the planning sheet.

  • Once this has been completed, students need to collaboratively decide at what time of the day these events would occur and fill out the ‘Events of the Day’ table at the bottom of the planning sheet.

  • Students are then to select ONE time of the day and individually write a recount depicting this event.

  • Prior to the students beginning their segment of the recount, the teacher will conduct a brief class brainstorm of the different elements of recounts examined within lesson two of this unit that students should include within their piece of writing. As students recall different elements of a literary recount, the teacher records these on the board for student reference.


Appendix 1
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Appendix 2

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Appendix 3

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Appendix 4


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Appendix 5

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Lesson 7: Writing Diary Entry: Lesson B

  • During this lesson students will continue writing their segment of the recount.

  • As students are writing, remind them that presentation is not the focus of the writing exercise as the recount will become the script for their voice recording, therefore, it is more important that they concentrate on getting their ideas down and segment finished rather than on neatness.

  • Once students have finished their individual segment, the project groups are to re-form and work collaboratively to put the individual parts together to create a chronologically ordered single piece of text which smoothly flows between events.

  • To assist student in putting the recount segments together, highlight the importance of using text connectives and complex sentences.

  • Note: If students are struggling to put together their recount within the timeframe of the lesson, a subsequent lesson can be allocated to ensure that students have adequate time to finalise their text.



Lesson 8: Making paintings: Lesson A

  • After examining artworks by colonial artists, students will begin individually creating their own paintings that will be used in their group’s final multimodal text. This painting will be focussed on the section of the day that each student was allocated to write about.

  • The teacher will encourage groups to discuss each painting, reminding students that there should be a clear progression seen between the works (for example, the group may want to decide what their character is wearing on this day).

  • To begin, students will be lightly drawing the outlines of their work in pencil. This will allow them more carefully to compose their works.

  • Once students finish drawing the outlines of their work, some may also have time to start painting.



Lesson 9: Making paintings: Lesson B

  • Students continue making their artworks, painting according to the outlines they drew in the previous lesson.

  • The teacher will move around the room providing assistance when required, but also encouraging students, when possible, to come up with solutions themselves or with the help of the peers in their groups.



Lesson 10: Recording the written literary recounts

  • The teacher will show students how to record audio using voice recorders.

  • In this lesson, groups record the audio for their multimodal text. This involves, each group selecting one student to read aloud all the text that their group has written, so there is a full recount of their character’s day. The teacher will also ensure that groups are given an opportunity to discuss how their character will sound and how to ensure the recording is of a high quality. This will involve discussing techniques such as tone, pace, voice, remaining in character and recording in an otherwise quiet area.



Lesson 11: Putting together the multimodal text: Lesson A

  • Students finish adding details to their paintings with permanent markers. The teacher photographs the paintings and helps students upload these and the audio recording to the computer.

  • Students use Microsoft PowerPoint to create their multimodal texts. These will consist of students combing the recorded audio, the photographed paintings and written text in the form of captions for the images and titles.

  • The teacher will move between groups, providing required assistance. It is expected that each group’s presentation will look quite different, and this should be embraced. The teacher should encourage students to be creative in the slideshow layout.



Lesson 12: Putting together the multimodal text: Lesson B

  • Students continue and finish making their multimodal texts.

  • In their groups students discuss how they will present their multimodal text to the class. In the presentation they need to outline how the text was made and how their character developed.



Lesson 13: Presenting the multimodal texts

  • The teacher allocates a day in advance on which students will present their multimodal texts to the class.


Presentation Night

  • The final multimodal texts will also be displayed at a presentation night, which students bring their parents or carers along to. Students will be encouraged to dress up as children in colonial Australia. Damper, which students make in a mathematics-cooking lesson (dealing with volume and mass) earlier that day, will be served along with tea.