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

Drawing of Captain Arthur Phillip

Above: Captain Arthur Phillip, source Project Gutenberg, public domain image, no copyright

In this sequence the students will examine the informative text Captain Arthur Phillip and the First Fleet by Melanie Guile (from the Stories of Australia’s History series). This text can be purchased as a single title hardcover or as part of a set. The set is available in digital format that comes with a site licence, so the title can be displayed on an interactive whiteboard or by projector, and each student can view their own copy of the book on a device. If this text is unavailable, you could use another junior non-fiction text that covers the First Fleet and the early days of the colony. The purpose of this sequence is a close study of the semiotic features of the text and a comparison to the text Avoid Being a Convict Sent to Australia examined in Sequence 2. Comparisons may also be made to Nanberry: Black Brother White.

Class novel

Continue reading the class novel Nanberry: Black Brother White by Jackie French to the students. Make explicit your thinking as a reader, monitoring for meaning, re-reading passages to make sense and predicting. The students should continue adding to the word bank of historical vocabulary, which can be drawn upon for their own writing. They also identify words used in Australian English that have been derived from Aboriginal languages. A simple chart on the classroom wall or a digital tool such as Padlet (formerly Wallwisher) could be used. ACELA1487

Activity 1: Shared reading

In this activity, the students will be doing a shared reading of Captain Arthur Phillip and the First Fleet by Melanie Guile.

Before reading: Show the cover of the book: what type of text do the students think it is? Skim and scan the book to locate the contents, glossary and index, to confirm their choice. Orient the students to the purpose of reading this text: to interpret the possible meanings of the different design elements that have been used.

During reading: Read the book from the beginning and examine its features with the students. You may elect not to read every page and just examine the features, or you may decide to discuss and study some areas in more depth. Use the Semiotic systems worksheet on the interactive whiteboard to jointly construct a list of design elements of the semiotic systems as they are identified. You will need to ensure that the students are familiar with these semiotic systems before beginning this activity. ACELA1496ACELA1492ACELA1490ACELA1491ACHASSK085ACHASSK086ACHASSI077

The Worked example: Semiotic systems at work in the text examines some of the semiotic elements in the book.

Ask the students what the similarities and differences are between this text and the text discussed in Sequence 2, such as explicit use of primary sources in the text, written in the third person as opposed to the second person, use of graphic novel and cartoon features including call-out boxes and thought bubbles, visually cohesive elements on each page, and an exploration of all viewpoints. Model and jointly construct a visual representation of this discussion, using a Venn diagram or another appropriate graphic organiser. The students might also consider how Jackie French engages the reader in Nanberry: Black Brother White without having visuals in the text. ACELT1602

Continue to add to the class word banks and to the RAN chart.