Lesson 2: Build the field of knowledge by making intertextual links

Links to the Victorian Curriculum – English

Reading and Viewing, Literature: Literature and context

Level 5: 

  • Identify aspects of literary texts that convey details or information about particular social, cultural and historical contexts (Content description VCELT313)

Writing, Language: Expressing and developing ideas

Level 6: 

  • Understand how ideas can be expanded and sharpened through careful choice of verbs, elaborated tenses and a range of adverb groups/phrases (Content description VCELA351)

Speaking and Listening, Literature: Literature and context

Level 6: 

  • Make connections between own experiences and those of characters and events represented in texts drawn from different historical, social and cultural contexts (Content description VCELT365)

Speaking and Listening, Literacy: Interacting with others

Level 6: 

  • Participate in and contribute to discussions, clarifying and interrogating ideas, developing and supporting arguments, sharing and evaluating information, experiences and opinions, and use interaction skills, varying conventions of spoken interactions according to group size, formality of interaction and needs and expertise of the audience (Content description VCELY366)

Links to the Victorian Curriculum – English as an Additional Language (EAL)

Pathway B

Speaking and listening

Level BL:

  • Ask for repetition or ask questions to check meaning or elicit help (VCEALC164)
  • Rely on other speakers to scaffold, interpret, clarify or elaborate short, simple conversations (VCEALC165)

Level B1:

  • Ask for repetition or clarification to confirm understanding or elicit help (VCEALC242)
  • Participate in extended conversations with reliance on other speakers to scaffold, interpret, clarify or elaborate (VCEALC243)

Level B2:

  • Demonstrate independence in extended conversations (VCEALC321)
  • Ask speaker to repeat or speak slowly, or ask what a word means (VCEALC323)
  • Comprehend social English in most familiar contexts, and use conversation partners to support understanding (VCEALC324)

Level B3:

  • Contribute information, express ideas and give reasons for opinions in group tasks or classroom discussions (VCEALC401)
  • Self-correct or reformulate language to convey meaning more clearly (VCEALC403)

Reading and viewing

Level BL:

  • Give a personal response to a text (VCEALC188)
  • Make simple predictions or inferences about a text, with support (VCEALC189)
  • Engage with a small range of picture books in the classroom (VCEALA197)
  • Respond to and engage with an increasing range of texts about familiar and new content (VCEALA193)
  • Make simple connections between personal experience and familiar stories (VCEALA198)

Level B1:

  • Provide responses to texts (VCEALC268)
  • Make simple predictions or inferences about a text (VCEALC350)
  • Engage with a diverse range of picture books that reflect a variety of cultural beliefs, practices and views (VCEALA277)
  • Respond to familiar and new content in texts (VCEALA273)
  • Relate aspects of a narrative to own experience (VCEALA278)

Level B2:

  • Express a personal response to an imaginative text or elements of the text (VCEALC349)
  • Make and substantiate inferences and predictions when reading or listening to a text read aloud (VCEALC350)
  • Engage with a diverse range of texts that reflect a variety of cultural beliefs, practices and views (VCEALA358)
  • Respond to cultural ideas in texts (VCEALA354)
  • Compare own experiences to those represented in texts (VCEALA356)

Level B3:

  • Express a personal response to a small range of imaginative texts (VCEALC428)
  • Discuss texts with some understanding of meaning beyond the literal level, moving towards the inferential level (VCEALC429)
  • Engage with a diverse range of texts reflecting a variety of cultures and perspectives (VCEALA277)
  • Identify unfamiliar cultural references (VCEALA433)
  • Discuss a text by relating ideas in the text to personal experiences or previous learning (VCEALA438)


Level BL:

  • Express imaginative or personal ideas in simple forms of writing (VCEALC218)

Level B1:

  • Write simple imaginative or personal texts modelled on familiar forms and repetitive patterns (VCEALC298)

Level B2:

  • Write creative texts based on models provided or studied in class (VCEALC378)

Level B3:

  • Write creative texts incorporating personal experiences and ideas from other texts (VCEALC457)

Theory/practice connections

Reading visual images involves decoding, comprehending and questioning (Callow, 2012). Teachers can assist students to interpret visual texts and draw inferences, by orchestrating opportunities for close viewing, time for talk and guided discussion.

Helping students make links across texts, highlights that the skills and knowledge used to interpret one text can be transferred and built upon when reading or viewing other texts.

Additional resources

Images from van Gogh's Peasant Series (these are easily obtained through an internet search).

Useful images include:

  • The potato market 1882
  • The sower 1882
  • Potato digging 1883
  • The sower (study) 1883
  • Woman with wheelbarrow 1883
  • Shepherd with a flock of sheep 1884
  • Weaver at the loom 1884
  • Wood gatherers in the snow 1884
  • Peasant digging 1885
  • Peasant making bread 1885
  • Peasant woman daring socks 1885
  • Two peasant women digging 1885

Learning intention

We are learning to use images to infer about people, time and place.

Success criteria

  1. I can generate ideas about an image.
  2. I can label connections between images.
  3. I can contribute to discussions and justify my thinking.

Role of the reader

Text analyst: Considering why a text has been created and the values and ideologies the creator of the text may portray.

Group size

Individual, partner, small group, whole class.

Lesson process

Clearly articulate the learning intention for the lesson.

Provide each student with an image from van Gogh's peasant series. Each student records thoughts that come to mind when viewing the image. Students share their image and list of thoughts with a partner. Discuss which thoughts could relate to both images. Encourage students to consider the setting of the images, who is portrayed and what actions are occurring.

van Gogh's Peasant woman taking her meal, 1885.

The woman sits alone, at the table. We cannot make out her facial expression. The woman's posture shows that she is tired and sad. The farmhouse is sparse. It is dark in the house but outside the window there is light.

Greder's The Island

The foreigner sits alone. His eyes are downcast. His posture and his facial expression,makes him look tired and sad. He is sitting in a place that is sparse.

Students work in small groups to share their images and ideas.  Each group uses the images to create a visual concept map, linked by strips of paper, which have the connections made between each image.

Students negotiate a clause to act as a title for their concept map (i.e. the title must include a noun group and a verb group). For example: People feeling alone. People (noun) feeling (verb) alone (adverb). Share the concept maps with the class.


The teacher can take photos of the concept maps to determine if further teaching is needed with linking ideas.

Lead the class in a discussion to promote critical thinking. Include the questions:

  • What time and place do you think are portrayed in the images?
  • How do the images make you feel?
  • Why do you think van Gogh created these images?
  • What messages might van Gogh have wanted to give?
  • What have we learnt about life in the context of van Gogh's peasant series?

 Look at a few of the images of the peasants in The Island and draw comparisons with van Gogh's peasants.


To support students' thinking, in step 1, students could be provided with conjunctions to extend sentences and assist with close viewing. For example, a student may respond "The farmer is picking potatoes", an idea which could be extended with the use of with, so, because, and, then.

Students requiring extension could juxtapose the peasant series artwork with other van Gogh art, such as the sunflower series or starry night series and consider why the use of colour in these series is so different.