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1788: Was life the same for everyone?

Illustration of people from colonial times: the Governor, an Aboriginal man, a European child, a female and male, an Aboriginal woman in European dress and a soldier

Image from back cover of Fair Dinkum Histories: Grim Crims and Convicts by Jackie French and Peter Sheehan, Scholastic Press, reproduced with permission

About this unit:

This unit closely examines a range of texts, to help the students develop an understanding of how texts, including multimodal texts, are created using linguistic, visual, audio, gestural and spatial design systems to create meaning. The unit complements a historical inquiry around the experiences of the early settlers and contact with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Island peoples. More

Duration and sequence pathways:

The unit is divided into 12 sequences that can either be undertaken consecutively or on a discrete basis. More information

Resources used:

See a list of resources used in each sequence, plus additional teaching resources.

Unit writer:

Amanda Worlley

Australian Curriculum: English Year 4

Sequence 1: Finding out what we know

Sequence 2: Exploring an informative text: Avoid Being a Convict

Sequence 3: Exploring the text: Captain Arthur Phillip and the First Fleet

Sequence 4: Exploring the text: Grim Crims and Convicts

Sequence 5: Analysing and comparing literary and informative texts

Sequence 6: Looking at the language: Nanberry

Sequence 7: Creating our own informative text

Sequence 8: Viewing texts from the past

Sequence 9: How history can be presented in film

Sequence 10: Examining online informative text

Sequence 11: Exploring historical narrative in multimodal texts

Sequence 12: Creating our own historical narrative

Australian Curriculum: English Year 4

How Cross-curriculum priorities relate to this unit

This unit of work is closely linked to the Cross-curriculum priority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures. The aim is for the students to continue to develop respectful critical understandings of the social, cultural and historical contexts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures. This will be facilitated as they examine a range of texts and consider missing or limited points of view presented in texts in Sequences 2 and 3; how stories can be changed and how we must question and examine our history closely in Sequence 8; and learn about early contact and its consequences in Sequences 4, 10 and 11. In Sequence 10, the students will specifically examine an online text that presents an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspective of events before and after the First Fleet arrived.

The unit does not explicitly link to the Cross-curriculum priority of Sustainability, but this can be examined and questioned with the students as they examine texts that discuss the impact of the early settlement. Because of the focused historical time that this unit examines, the Cross-curriculum priority of Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia is not relevant. However, all activities could be adapted to texts that engage with both these priorities.

Australian Curriculum: English Year 4

How General Capabilities relate to this unit

This unit has a strong focus on Literacy, as texts are critically assessed and writers’ bias and intent are questioned in Sequences 2, 3, 4 and 5; historical records are examined in Sequence 8; and writers’ design choices are explicitly identified in Sequence 5, 6, 9, 10 and 11.

The Numeracy capability is highlighted through the students’ use of graphic organisers throughout the unit to examine relationships between different components of multimodal texts.

Critical and creative thinking is integral to activities in Sequences 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10 and 11 as students closely examine texts to identify points of view, opinions and unstated assumptions.

Opportunities to develop Personal and social capability are presented through group activities in the unit, particularly in Sequences 7 and 12. The students’ Ethical understanding and Intercultural understanding are developed over the unit as they study texts that explore the events and consequences of the past.

In Sequences 8, 9, 10 and 11 the students will interpret digital texts and in Sequences 7 and 12 they will use Information and communication technology as they create multimodal texts, through digital publishing.

Curriculum summary for this unit:

This summary table provides links to the Australian Curriculum: English Year 4 content descriptions across the three strands of literature, literacy and language and sub-strands, with links to relevant elaborations, sequences and activities. It also links to the Australian Curriculum: History.

Rich assessment tasks:

The students will work in small groups to complete Assessment task 1: Creating an informative text and Assessment task 2: Creating a historical narrative excerpt, using the design elements of multimodal texts.