Literature unit of work: F - level 2, Little Beauty by Anthony Browne

​​Text: Little Beauty
Anthony Browne, Brun Limited, 2008

F – Level 2

About the text

This is a warm story of friendship. A gorilla learns to communicate using sign language. Although he appears happy, he signs to his keepers that he is sad. The keepers bring him a tiny kitten. The gorilla and the kitten become the best of friends.

The text contains:

  • sensing verbs in past tense – wanted, needed
  • adjectives to describe feelings – happy, sad, angry
  • ellipsis to indicate pause
  • dialogue
  • fairy tale beginning and ending – Once upon a time… happily ever after
  • use of different sized font
  • visual elements – gaze (offer and demand), size and framing of illustrations, colour to indicate emotions, close up.
Lesson 1 Reading the visual – preparing to read the text - I can 'read' faces

Links to the English curriculum

Discuss how authors create characters using language and images (Content description VCELT205)

Understand the use of vocabulary about familiar and new topics and experiment with and begin to make conscious choices of vocabulary to suit audience and purpose (Content description VCELA237)

Identify visual representations of characters' actions, reactions, speech and thought processes in narratives, and consider how these images add to or contradict or multiply the meaning of accompanying words (Content description VCELA215)

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

Theory/practice connections

The interplay between image and word helps us to make meaning. Teachers need to make explicit the meaning making strategies used to understand visual texts (Callow, 2012). Lesson 1 prepares students for the relationship they will build with the gorilla, in Little Beauty, through the use of the gorilla's gaze and the emotions shown in the gorilla's facial expressions.

Additional resources

An internet search on feeling words and images.

The book Faces, by Zoe Miller and David Goodman, can be used to inspire creative designs of faces.

Learning intentions

We are learning that the pictures in picture storybooks can give us information about a character's feelings.

We are learning that faces can tell us about feelings.

Success criteria

I can name a feeling to match a facial expression.

Role of the reader

Text decoder – reading visual cues in faces.

Group size

Whole class, paired activity, and opportunity for teacher to work one-to-one with students.

Lesson sequence

  1. Clearly articulate the learning intention. Today we are going to learn about reading expressions on faces. There are different ways that we can find out how people feel. They can tell us or we can find out by using the messages their faces tell us. Today we will all show feelings using our faces, and we will 'read' the messages other people's faces give us. Reading faces is an important skill for reading picture books, as these pictures give us information about the story.
  2. Show students a box and ask them to think about the expression on the teacher's face, when the box is opened. Model facial expressions including happy, disappointed, excited, angry.
  3. Ask students what might be in the box to make you feel happy, disappointed, excited, angry, scared, or shocked. Model and recycle a complex sentence structure – If a snake was in the box, I would feel scared.
  4. Collate feeling words, with the students and write these on flashcards, to display on the pin board.
  5. Children work in pairs to show each other emotions. Encourage them to look at the shape of the eyes, the eyebrows, the position of the head and the shape of the mouth. Using small cards, students sketch what they see.
  6. Assessment during the partner task, take photos of students' faces to add to the flashcard display. This will provide the opportunity to individually assess students and determine their vocabulary range about feelings.
  7. Students work in small groups finding evidence of different emotions in picture storybooks. They may use the flashcard with feeling vocabulary listed. Books by Anthony Browne would be suitable. Remind students about the learning intention and success criteria. Students can self-check the success criteria.
  8. Look at the front cover of Little Beauty, what can we read on the faces of the gorilla and kitten.

Differentiation

Students will require different levels of support around nuances in language. Microscaffolding (helping students at their point of need) can occur during step 6 and 7, where students can be introduced and encouraged to use more complex feeling words. An internet search on feeling words will provide illustrated posters of feelings, these can be used to reference feelings and reinforce vocabulary.

Links across the curriculum

Personal and Social Capability Develop a vocabulary and practise the expression of emotions to describe how they feel in different familiar situations (Content description VCPSCSE001)

Visual Arts Explore ideas, experiences, observations and imagination and express them through subject matter in visual artworks they create (Content description VCAVAE021)

Lesson 2 Reading the visual – the context of the text

Links to the English curriculum

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)

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)

Lesson 3 Justifying our inferences using words and images

Links to the English curriculum

Use comprehension strategies to understand and discuss texts listened to, viewed or read independently (Content description VCELY153)

Identify some features of texts including events and characters and retell events from a text (Content description VCELT150)

Identify the parts of a simple sentence that represent 'What's happening?', 'Who or what is involved?' and the surrounding circumstances (Content description VCELA178)

Understand that simple connections can be made between ideas by using a compound sentence with two or more clauses usually linked by a coordinating conjunction (Content description VCELA214)

Theory/practice connections

Language forms a set of resources from which we can draw when making meaning around texts. We organise these resources into sentences to tell us: who or what the text is about, the process with which they are involved, and the surrounding circumstances (Derewianka, 2016). Teachers teaching students in the first few years of primary school can make conscious choices to make these resources explicit to their students.

Additional resources

Colour coding sentences may help students identify sentence level grammar. Red for participants (who/what), green for the processes and blue for the circumstances.

Learning intentions

Today we are learning to give reasons for our thinking, by referring to the text.

Success criteria

I can identify who the story is about, and why and how they are feeling, by using evidence in the word's texts and pictures.

I can explain my reasons in extended sentences.

Role of the reader

Text participant – How am I making meaning from this text? What inferences do I draw in order to identify the character's feelings?

Group size

Small focus group – strategy small group discussion

Lesson sequence

Clearly articulate learning intentions. Today we are learning to give a reason for our thinking, by referring to the text. We will think about the words of the text, and also the facial expressions and gestures of the characters.

Conduct a picture-walk of Little Beauty, to recap the storyline already introduced to students. Remind students of the analysis of facial features and the information we 'read' from a face. Use the flashcards from Lesson 1 to name the feelings that the gorilla expressed throughout the story. Place these on a feelings continuum, which ranges from positive to negative feelings.

Students each take an image from the text of either the gorilla, the kitten or the zookeepers. They discuss the feelings of the character(s) and use the text and the visuals to justify their reasons for nominating the feeling. To help students organise their thoughts, present a proforma (see Proforma 1 Analysing Texts).

  • Who is involved?
  • What is happening?
  • How are they feeling?
  • How do you know?

Assessment: The teacher listens for language structures that include the conjunction because, or complex sentences that help link the identified feeling to the reasoning.
Helpful hint: It is sometimes easier to analyse students' use of grammatical patterns after the lesson. Students voices could be recorded on a digital device or the teacher could transcribe students' oral responses for later analysis.

Differentiation

Students will have different degrees of oral language proficiency. Model sentence structures to show cause and effect. Include sentences with the conjunction because (e.g. The gorilla was pleased because she had a friend). Include sentences with adverbials (e.g. When the gorilla saw the kitten, she held out her hand).

Flashcards with colour coded words may be used to support students' understanding of sentence level grammar.

Links across the curriculum

Health and Physical Education Practise personal and social skills to interact with others (Content description VCHPEP060)

Personal and Social Capability Extend their vocabulary through which to recognise and describe emotions and when, how and with whom it is appropriate to share emotions (Content description VCPSCSE008)

Critical and Creative Thinking Capability Examine words that show reasons and words that show conclusions (Content description VCCCTR004)

Compare and contrast information and ideas in own and others reasoning (Content description VCCCTR005)

Consider how reasons and examples are used to support a point of view and illustrate meaning (Content description VCCCTR006)

Lesson 4 Exploring the visual elements

Links to the English curriculum

Discuss the characters and settings of different texts and explore how language is used to present these features in different ways (Content description VCELT219)

Identify visual representations of characters' actions, reactions, speech and thought processes in narratives, and consider how these images add to or contradict or multiply the meaning of accompanying words (Content description VCELA215)

Recreate texts imaginatively using drawing, writing, performance and digital forms of communication (Content description VCELT192)

Create short imaginative and informative texts that show emerging use of appropriate text structure, sentence-level grammar, word choice, spelling, punctuation and appropriate multimodal elements (Content description VCELY194)

Listen to and respond orally to texts and to the communication of others in informal and structured classroom situations using interaction skills, including listening, while others speak (Content description VCELY174)

Theory/practice connections

A number of semiotic resources can be used to construct visual texts. These include, the use of colour, the framing of the images, shot distance, and the way a character's gaze is designed to engage the reader (Callow, 2012).

Additional resources

A number of Anthony Browne's picture story books.

Learning intentions

Today we are learning to identify visual elements, which help us make meaning.

Success criteria

I can name and describe different visual elements used in picture story books.

Role of the reader

Text decoder: What are the codes I can read in this visual text?

Text analyst: Why has the author/illustrator used this codes and what effect do the use of these codes have on me?

Group size

Small focus group.

Lesson sequence

  1. Articulate the learning intention. Today we are learning to identify visual elements that help us make meaning.
  2. Locate all the sentences where the font size is bigger than the rest of the text. Some of these sentences also include ellipses. Students discuss what effect the varying font size has on the reader? Students may associate font size with reading the text louder. In Little Beauty the larger font size emphasises the emotion felt by the gorilla or Beauty.

    “I…want…a…friend,”
    They did everything together.
    And then very angry?
    “It…was…ME! I broke the television!”
    Everyone laughed.

    Compare and contrast the illustrations on these pages.

    Why has the author/illustrator chosen red to colour the page when the gorilla becomes angry. Look at the zig-zag positioning of the font.

    Find the other example of where the colour red has been used. It is for a rose depicted in the title page and at the end of the book. Students discuss the significance of the rose.
  3. Students consider what colours the author/illustrator could have used on the other highlighted pages. How could sadness, friendliness, happiness etc. be represented through colour and font? Students use Paint or a similar program on a digital device to re-create one of the pages, including colour and font changes.










  4. Explore with children other devices that draw the reader's attention to a significant aspect of the text.

    Framing: Three frames are used in the illustrations that depict the gorilla signing. This sequence of images allow a process to be shown. Discuss the shot distance in these frames.  What effect does the close up have on the reader? Students create a series of three illustrations for a familiar process (e.g. brushing teeth, opening a cereal box, tying shoelaces). What will feature in the close up shot?

    Gaze: Offer/demand. Identify the pages where the characters look directly at the reader.  Students discuss why the author/illustrator selected these pages. Students use the illustrations in a range of Anthony Browne’s texts to use as models for their own drawings of eyes with the offer or demand gaze.

Assessment: Anecdotal and ongoing. The teacher looks for evidence of students naming and explaining the visual elements, used in the context of the texts.

Differentiation

This lesson requires much use of the metalanguage of visual literacy. Some students will need more support negotiating the new terms. Visual cues placed around the room, to which students can refer would be beneficial.

Links across the curriculum

Visual Arts Respond to visual artworks by describing subject matter and ideas (Content description VCAVAR024)

Lesson 5 Using visual mentor texts

Note: The next four lessons are structured around the teaching and learning cycle.

Links to the English curriculum

Discuss different texts on a similar topic, identifying similarities and differences between the texts (Content description VCELY220)

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

Discuss how authors create characters using language and images (Content description VCELT205)

Theory/practice connections

Texts are organised in ways to meet their social purpose. The organisation of the text includes its structure and the language and/or multimodal features used. A scaffolded teaching sequence can help students understand the social purpose of texts and use the features to best meet the purpose. Use of the teaching and learning cycle can help teachers construct a scaffolded teaching sequence, which results in students independently constructing texts. Although the emphasis in on writing (creating), reading, viewing, speaking and listening are included in the teaching sequence capturing the reciprocal relationship which exists between all modes of language. The teaching and learning cycle has distinct stages. However, a teacher can move students backwards and forwards between the stages. The stages of the teaching and learning cycle are as follows:

  • Building the context or field
  • Modelling the text (or deconstruction)
  • Guided practice (or joint construction)
  • Independent construction

The amount of time spent building the context or field will depend upon the students' existing knowledge and experience. Lessons 1 – 4 all serve to build students' field of knowledge.

Additional resources

A collection of books about friendship, such as:

  • Pearl Barley and Charlie Parsley, by Aaron Blabey
  • Sunday Chutney, by Aaron Blabey
  • Friends, by Eric Carle
  • Amy and Louis, by Libby Gleeson & Freya Blackwood
  • Clancy and Millie and the very fine house, by Libby Gleeson & Freya Blackwood
  • Frog and Toad books, by Arnold Lobel
  • Bear and Chook, by Lisa Shanahan

Learning intentions

We are learning to identify how authors/illustrators show friendship through the pictures.

Success criteria

I will be able to name the visual elements that help to show the theme of friendship in picture storybooks.

Role of the reader

Text participant: How have the visual elements been used to create meaning?

Group size

Small groups

Lesson Sequence: Building the context or field

  1. Clearly articulate learning intention. We are learning to identify how authors/illustrators show friendship through the pictures.
  2. Students work in friendship groups and discuss the sorts of things they do together. Refer to the friendship words generated in Lesson 1.
  3. In their groups, students prepare a tableau (this is a drama strategy, where students create a living picture) to show the class an element of their friendship. Lead students in a discussion about what we can see and what we can infer about friendship. Assessment: Anecdotal observations about students' references to facial expression and body language to indicate their understanding of meaning made through the visual. Take photos of the students' tableaus.
  4. Students work with a partner to peruse picture storybooks, which include the theme of friendship and draw comparisons between their friendship and what they see presented in the texts.
  5. Students share their findings with the class group.
  6. Revisit the picture storybooks and examine how the illustrators have shown the elements of friendship through the illustrations. Focus particularly on the use of colour, gaze and framing.

Assessment: Formal assessment - Record these observations.

Differentiation

Teacher guidance for students who have yet to develop the social skills for co-operative group work may be needed. At Step 2, the teacher could remind students of classroom tasks that students complete together and help students articulate the elements of friendship in these tasks. For students who have not yet developed writing skills, proforma 2 could be completed through drawing.

For able students, a digital device could be used to photograph the tableau before presenting it to the class. Teacher or peer feedback could be provided and students could act on this to improve their tableau.

Lesson 6 (a) Using words to recount

Links to the English Curriculum

Explore differences in words that represent people, places and things (nouns, including pronouns), happenings and states (verbs), qualities (adjectives) and details such as when, where and how (adverbs) (Content description VCELA179)

Understand how to spell one and two syllable words with common letter patterns (Content description VCELA182)

Recognise and know how to use simple grammatical morphemes in word families (Content description VCELA191)

Understand how to use visual memory to write high-frequency words, and that some high-frequency words have regular and irregular spelling components (Content description VCELA184)

Create short imaginative and informative texts that show emerging use of appropriate text structure, sentence-level grammar, word choice, spelling, punctuation and appropriate multimodal elements (Content description VCELY194)

Theory/practice connections

Deconstructing texts allows students to see authors and illustrators' strategies and techniques. Teacher modelling makes explicit the choices that authors and illustrators make when creating texts. By deconstructing and modelling, the teacher is able to highlight the success criteria making clear to students the expectations for their own text construction.

Learning intentions

We are learning to plan and compose a recount.

Success criteria

I can follow a recount structure.

I can use past tense verbs.

I can use adjectives to describe feelings.

I can create a plan for my recount.

Group size

Whole class and small groups/partners

Lesson sequence

  1. Modelling the text (or deconstruction) – recount writing My friend and I. Reinforce with students that the purpose of a recount is to retell an experience or event. Clearly state the learning intention. We are learning to recount using pictures and words. Today we will focus on the words. Provide students with an outline of a simple recount, as a scaffold for their planning. The teacher will model the process of creating a written and pictorial recount.
    Model the planning of the words. Focus on past tense processes and on adjectives to describe feelings. It can be highlighted that many of the past tense words end with the morpheme ed. The letter/sound patterns can be highlighted as the teacher models how to stretch the sounds in words and reinforce the spelling of known common words.
    RecountWordsVisuals
    IntroductionRory and I are friends
    Events in sequence

    Played football

    Won game

    Cheered

    Hugged

    Conclusion

    Excited and tired

    (feeling words)

Joint construction Students work in partners or in small groups to discuss the words that could be included in their recount.

Assessment Use of past tense verbs and adjectives to describe feelings.

Students complete a cloze activity to insert past tense verbs.

Students match feelings to pictures.

Lesson 6 (b) Using visuals to recount

Lesson sequence

  1. Modelling the visual text (or deconstruction) Lessons 1 – 5 have drawn students' attention to particular elements of visual texts, including gaze, framing and colour. Refer to Little Beauty and other picture storybooks to remind students about these elements and how they are used.
  2. Modelling the text (or deconstruction) – recount writing My friend and I. Reinforce with students that the purpose of a recount is to retell an experience or event. Clearly state the learning intention. We are learning to recount using pictures and words.
  3. The teacher will model the process of creating a written and pictorial recount.
    Model the planning of the visuals. Draw from the picture story book inquiry to highlight the visual features to be included.
    RecountWordsVisuals
    Introduction
    Events in sequence
    Conclusion
  4. Guided practice (or joint construction) Students work in partners or in small groups to discuss the visuals that could accompany the writing, in their joint recount.
    Assessment: Anecdotal – matching the visuals and the written text and including some aspect of visual literacy. For example, "I want my picture to have a demanding​ gaze, to show I am excited".
    Students draw a picture of two friends engaging together. With a partner use a magnifying glass to see if part of the image would be appropriate as a close up.
    Use a student's illustration, which has been photocopied on multiple pieces of different coloured paper. Students work with a partner to write a feeling description for the piece.

Differentiation

The proformas and plans used can be tailored to suit the individual needs of the students. Students requiring additional support can be given more scaffolded proformas, sentence starters and guided instruction by the teacher. These students could also participate in a teacher focus group and engage in the process of guided writing.

Lesson 7 Recounting using words and pictures

Links to the English Curriculum

Reread and edit text for spelling, sentence-boundary punctuation and text structure (Content description VCELY231)

Reread student's own texts and discuss possible changes to improve meaning, spelling and punctuation (Content description VCELY195)

Explore differences in words that represent people, places and things (nouns, including pronouns), happenings and states (verbs), qualities (adjectives) and details such as when, where and how (adverbs) (Content description VCELA179)

Understand the use of vocabulary about familiar and new topics and experiment with and begin to make conscious choices of vocabulary to suit audience and purpose (Content description VCELA237)

Discuss how authors create characters using language and images (Content description VCELT205)

Additional resources

Teacher created exemplar text

Learning intentions

We are learning to combine pictures and words to create texts.

Success criteria

I can explain the choices I make when composing a written and pictorial recount.

I can use criteria to self-assess my writing.

Group size

Whole class, small group and individual

Lesson sequence

  1. Modelling the text (or deconstruction) Use the plan completed over lessons 6(a) and 6(b) to create an exemplar text. Engage the students through a think aloud, so that they are aware of what writers do when they are moving from a plan to their writing. Reinforce the written elements (recount structure and past tense) and visual elements (colour, framing and gaze), as the exemplar text is created. Once complete,​ model the editing process.
  2. Guided practice (or joint construction) Students are provided with the exemplar text, where both the written elements and the illustrations are cut up and presented out of sequence. Students work with a partner to sequence the text and match the pictures.
  3. Independent construction Students complete a plan, as modelled in lessons 6(a) and 6(b) to compose their own written and visual recount, based upon the topic My friend and I.
    Students engage independently and collectively in an editing process.
  4. Self-assessment Students can self-assess based on the language and visual elements included in the recount. This is an assessment activity.

    For example: I have used the words played, hugged and cheered (past tense action verbs to show process).
    I have the words excited and exhausted (adjectives to show feelings).
    I used framing to show a close up of a foot kicking a football.
    I used a yellow background to show we were excited when we played football.

Differentiation

Sentence starters for the self-assessment.

The pacing of these lessons can vary according to students' experiences.

Links across the curriculum

Visual Arts Explore ideas, experiences, observations and imagination and express them through subject matter in visual artworks they create (Content description VCAVAE021)

Personal and Social Capability Use appropriate language to describe what happens and how they feel when experiencing positive interactions or conflict (Content description VCPSCSO007)

Name and practise basic skills required to work collaboratively with peers (Content description VCPSCSO006)

References

Callow, J. (2012). The shape of texts to come. Primary English Teachers Association of Australia (PETAA). Newton, NSW.

Kress, GR. & van Leeuwen, T (2006), Reading images: The grammar of visual design, 2nd edition, Routledge, London; New York.

Vygotsky, L.S, (1978) Mind in Society, Cambridge, Harvard University Press

Proformas

Proforma 1: Analysing Texts (docx - 206.52kb)

Proforma 2: Comparing Picture Storybooks (docx - 207.95kb)