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3 — Analysing multiple journals and creating a timeline

The students will compare and analyse journal entries from One Small Island to identify exemplary models of journal entries and others that demonstrate fewer features. They will then use the journal entries to create a timeline for Macquarie Island. 

Activity 1: Multi-text analysis

Modelled experience: Select two journal entries from One Small Island to analyse in a modelled experience. Ensure that the list created in Sequence 2 (the responses recorded under the headings Text purpose, Grammatical features and Literary resources) is in a location where all students can see it (either enlarged on paper or displayed on an interactive whiteboard). Read the first journal entry and then model how to complete the checklist (ticking each item) by unpacking the organisational framework and language features listed. Repeat the process for the second sample, ensuring that a blank list is displayed ready to be completed. The students then rank the two samples as more or less effective based on the criteria in the list. Discuss why one sample was stronger or, if they have received equal weighting, what the author could have used to further improve the text.

Shared experience: Select a further two journal entries to analyse in a shared experience. Again there should be a blank list displayed. Read the text to the class and then ask the students to identify whether the features listed on the list are apparent in the samples. The students are required to justify their decisions with evidence from the text. They rank the two samples in terms of effectiveness and share their justifications with the class.

Independent group experience: Form the students into several small heterogeneous groups to allow them to analyse a further selection of journal entries. Each group is given three or four different samples and asked to complete a list for each sample. They rank the samples, justify their rankings and record their reasoning for the rankings. Each group then relays this information to the class.

The four samples deemed to be most effective based on their organisational framework and language features should be displayed for all students to view, along with the completed lists. (This could include the samples used in the modelled and shared experiences.) The students then complete a list of rules or success criteria within their small groups. The groups then share their work and generate a class agreement. This should be displayed in the classroom, with refinements and replacements made throughout the learning sequences as the students develop and deepen their understanding of this text form. ACELY1701

Activity 2: Timeline

In small groups, the students construct a timeline using the journal entries. Ensure the lists the students used in Activity 1 are attached to each of the journal entries so they are able to compare samples. Key events on Macquarie Island should also be included on the timeline (for example, ‘The sealers killed more than one hundred thousand fur seals, and after ten years there were none left’, page 8). This will enable the students to link the literary and informational texts. ACELA1501ACELA1500


The students should be encouraged to share their timelines with the whole class. Facilitate a discussion about the changes in the journal entries over time (for example, language use and visual aspects such as font and paper). The timelines can now be displayed on the working wall for future reference.

Activity 3: Function of complex sentences

Before undertaking this activity it may be necessary to revise the types of sentences – simple, compound and complex – and their purposes and structures. Using the journal samples from One Small Island (and displayed in the class timeline), the students will recognise that complex sentences make connections between ideas. The functions of complex sentences include:

Using the journal entries on the timeline, the students are asked to highlight complex sentences and use a sticky note to annotate their function. For example:

Information on complex sentences and their functions can be found in ACELA1507. There is also a range of related resources available on Scootle.


Encourage all of the groups to share the complex sentences they found in the journal entries and to identify what additional information is given in the dependent clauses. Sentences can be added to the timelines and displayed on the working wall.