Lesson 2: Reading the visual – the context of the text

Links to the Victorian Curriculum – English

Understand that people use different systems of communication to cater to different needs and purposes and that many people may use sign systems to communicate with others (Content description VCELA198)

Understand that language is used in combination with other means of communication (Content description VCELA199)

Explore different ways of expressing emotions, including verbal, visual, body language and facial expressions (Content description VCELA201)

Engage in conversations and discussions, using active listening, showing interest, and contributing ideas, information and questions, taking turns and recognising the contributions of others (Content description VCELY210)

Links to the Victorian Curriculum – English as an Additional Language (EAL)

Pathway A

Speaking and listening

Level A1:

  • Demonstrate attentive listening behaviour (VCEALC001)
  • Understand when a response is required and attempt to respond using either known words or non-verbal language (VCEALA008)
  • Use non-verbal language to sustain interaction with others (VCEALA009)
  • Use acceptable social formulas and gestures to interact appropriately in context (VCEALA010)
  • Use simple strategies to respond to conversation breakdown (VCEALA011)

Level A2:

  • Demonstrate active listening and follow speech (VCEALC083)
  • Negotiate familiar social and learning situations using language appropriate to the situation (VCEALC085)
  • Adjust speech to suit the audience and purpose (VCEALA090)
  • Initiate and maintain simple conversations with others (VCEALA091)

Theory/practice connections

Gesture is a meaning making system used in all cultures, but may be used by cultures in different ways. Gestures, including facial expressions, are part of face-to-face interactions. They can be interpreted and constructed. In the classroom, gestures can be analysed as a meaning making system. Sign language is a form of gesture (Kress, 2009).

Additional resources

Video examples of Auslan found by conducting an internet search.

Learning intentions

We are learning that messages can be passed on in different ways.

Success criteria

I can pass on a message in more than one way.

I can evaluate the effectiveness of my communication.

Role of the reader

Text user: Texts are created and used in a variety of ways. Students need opportunities to evaluate how texts are constructed to suit their purpose.

Group size

Whole class, small group and partner work.

Lesson sequence

  1. Remind students about the previous lesson, which helped us 'read' faces. Talk about other ways messages are passed between people – through writing, advertising, songs, language.
  2. Clearly articulate the learning intention. Today we are going to look at different ways to pass on a message.
  3. Ask children to perform an easy task (eg. walking to the door, patting their heads, placing a book on the shelf etc.). Give similar tasks but use different modes of passing on the message (writing the message on the whiteboard, acting it out, pointing, using a picture or video).
  4. Students work with a partner and present similar tasks to each other.
  5. Conduct a class discussion, to serve as a model for the small group discussion (step 6). Talk about ways messages were conveyed, record these on a poster. Group these according to the senses used to receive the message. Discuss the modes that were easier to give or receive messages, and the modes that were most difficult. Lead a discussion to compare and contrast students' experiences.
  6. Students are given two coloured sticky dots. They place one colour on the poster next to the mode they found easiest for communication, and the other colour on the mode they found most difficult. This will create a pictograph. In order to encourage substantive talk, students form small groups, and share their experiences and discuss the results of the pictograph.
  7. Introduce the language of Auslan. DeafChn Aus have complied a list of videos, which use Auslan and are suitable for early primary school students.
  8. Students learn to finger spell their name, using Auslan
  9. Read for enjoyment Little Beauty and note the gorilla's ability to use sign language.
  10. Find out the Auslan sign for gorilla

Differentiation: Students needing support with small group discussions could use sentence starters to help enter the discussion. For example, "I agree with… " "I think people found it easiest when… ".

Videoing the part of the lesson where students give each other messages using different modes could be used as a revision tool for students needed support with the language or concept.

For an extension activity, students use an iPad to create visual prompts to give important messages in the school (eg. how to return library books).

Links across the curriculum

Mathematics Represent data with objects and drawings where one object or drawing represents one data value. Describe the displays (Content description VCMSP102)

Create displays of data using lists, table and picture graphs and interpret them (Content description VCMSP128)

Consider concrete and pictorial models to facilitate thinking, including a range of visualisation strategies (Content description VCCCTM018)