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Unit of Work - Visual Literacy

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Rosie Unsworth

on 10 July 2015

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Transcript of Unit of Work - Visual Literacy

This unit of work has been developed for my Professional Experience class, a 5/6 composite class with students of varying ability levels. Approximately two thirds of the students have a Non-English Speaking Background, however none of the students require EAL/D support.

This year the school implemented a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program for Stage 3, meaning each student has one-to-one access to an iPad in class.

During my last placement on this class, students were reading The Invention of Hugo Cabret, a graphic novel by Brian Selznick. Students were able to make predictions based on the illustrations in the book, however their responses indicated that they were not aware of the metalanguage associated with reading images.

Background information
Unit organisation
This unit of work will take place over approximately four weeks. The final activity may extend beyond this time frame. There will be two-three lessons per week, which will take place during the scheduled literacy time slot.

The unit will begin with scaffolded, whole class activities. Students will then work in pairs, before moving on to individual activities.

Due to the intricate details featured in Baker's books, for whole class viewings it would be beneficial to use a document projector or to scan the pages of the books into a Notebook to be displayed on the Interactive Whiteboard.
Lesson one
The first lesson will introduce students to the metalanguage that they will be using over the course of the unit. This will be done using images on the IWB which clearly represent each concept.

Students will be given a selection of picture books and will be asked to find examples of different concepts. In this lesson students will be looking at picture books by different authors, not just Jeannie Baker.

The class will develop a Word Wall (including definitions and images) that will remain on display throughout the unit.
Unit aim
Students will develop their knowledge of the metalanguage associated with reading visual texts and use this language to communicate their understanding of visual texts.

Specifically, students will learn about:
Social distance
The reading path
The compositional axes
As well as artistic elements such as line, shape, colour, lighting and space ( Secondary English LIG, 2002)

This will be done through an author study of Jeannie Baker.
Unit of Work - Visual Literacy
Lesson two: Where The Forest Meets the Sea
As a whole class, students will read 'Where the Forest Meets the Sea' twice. This book has words as well as images, however for the first reading the words would be covered over.

I would give the students time to take in the details on each page, occasionally asking guiding questions.

The class would then have a discussion about what they thought the book was about.

This would be followed by a second reading, this time with the text. In this reading I would draw the students' attention to the different techniques Baker uses to tell the story through pictures.
Lessons three and four: Mirror
'Mirror' is a book which tells parallel stories of the daily lives of two families, one in Sydney and one in Morocco. For lesson three, students will be partnered with someone else in their reading group. Students would take turns describing what they can see on their side of the book. They would then have a chance to see if they pick up on anything their partner didn't see. Students would then compare and contrast the pages, developing their cultural literacy.

Reading groups are split into ability levels, allowing this task to be differentiated - different groups could focus on different pages, or be given a different number of pages to focus on.

Lesson four would be a whole class discussion to bring everyone's ideas together and reinforce the visual techniques used.
(Baker, 1988)
(Baker, 2010)
Lessons five and six: Window
The task based around 'Window' will be an individual task. Students will read 'Window' and then write a story based on what they see in the book.

It is anticipated that the this activity will take two lessons to complete.
(Baker, 1991)
Students would be required to justify why they wrote the story that way - I would ask questions such as 'What techniques did Baker use to communicate that story to you?', 'Who are the characters?' and 'What makes some details more important than others?' to assess their understanding.

Lessons seven-ten
As the final activity for this unit, students will construct their own wordless story.

Throughout the term, Stage 3 will be completing an integrated unit on environmental sustainability, a theme visited in many of Jeannie Baker's books. Students will develop their own stories based on what they have learnt in their environmental sustainability unit.

Students will begin by writing a draft of their story. This will then be converted into a storyboard. After students have completed their storyboard, they will develop a short e-book on their iPads using a free trial of the Book Creator app (Red Jumper Limited, 2015). This app will allow students to create collages, similar to those created by Jeannie Baker, using digital images. This activity will help students develop their digital literacy skills.

In order to achieve the unit aim, students should be able to explain why they have composed their e-book the way that they have, using metalanguage to reinforce how their choices communicate their message to the audience.
Extension opportunity
Jeannie Baker's website provides a great deal of information about her storytelling technique and her motivation for creating each book.

This website can be used to extend students' understanding of each text by drawing links between what Baker says on her website and the way that it is portrayed in her books.
Baker, J. (1988). Where the Forest Meets the Sea book cover [image]. Retrieved from: http://www.jeanniebaker.com/picture_books_index.htm

Baker, J. (1991). Window book cover [image]. Retrieved from: http://www.jeanniebaker.com/picture_books_index.htm

Baker, J. (2010). Mirror book cover [image]. Retrieved from: Retrieved from: http://www.jeanniebaker.com/picture_books_index.htm

Secondary English LIG. (2002). An introduction to thegrammar of visual design. Retrieved from: http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw.gov.au/secondary/english/assets/pdf/grammar.pdf
Rosemary Unsworth
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