Lesson 6: Using the visual to create a counter text: Modelling, joint construction and independent construction

Links to the Victorian Curriculum – English

Writing, Literature: Creating literature

Level 5: 

  • Create literary texts that experiment with structures, ideas and stylistic features of selected authors (Content description VCELT327)
  • Create literary texts using realistic and fantasy settings and characters that draw on the worlds represented in texts students have experienced (Content description VCELT328)

Level 6: 

Writing, Literacy: Creating texts

Level 5: 

Level 6: 

  • Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive texts, choosing and experimenting with text structures, language features, images and digital resources appropriate to purpose and audience (Content description VCELY358)
  • Reread and edit own and others' work using agreed criteria and explaining editing choices (Content description VCELY359)

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

Pathway B


Level BL:

  • Contribute ideas to shared writing activities (VCEALA221)
  • Create basic texts, with support and modelling (VCEALA220)
  • Express imaginative or personal ideas in simple forms of writing (VCEALC218)
  • Use home language and/or mime to seek assistance from teachers or peers with writing English words or phrases (VCEALA223)
  • Rewrite following explicit correction (VCEALA222)

Level B1:

  • Contribute to shared simple brainstorming of ideas and identify relevant vocabulary to be incorporated into the written work (VCEALA301)
  • Create short, simple texts for particular purposes, with some support and modelling (VCEALA300)
  • Write simple imaginative or personal texts modelled on familiar forms and repetitive patterns (VCEALC298)
  • Ask how to write certain home language words in English (VCEALA303)
  • Rewrite after correction, discussion or prompting (VCEALA302)

Level B2:

  • Plan, with support, the format of a text according to its communicative purpose (VCEALA381)
  • Create a small range of texts based on modelling (VCEALA380)
  • Write creative texts based on models provided or studied in class (VCEALC378)
  • Share ideas and feedback in home language (VCEALA383)
  • Draft a piece of writing focusing on meaning, and revise after rereading or discussion (VCEALA382)

Level B3:

  • Plan individually and review own writing (VCEALA460)
  • Use own experience and perspectives to elaborate and support a viewpoint (VCEALA459)
  • Write creative texts incorporating personal experiences and ideas from other texts (VCEALC457)
  • Confer and cooperate in groups or pairs when planning, writing or reviewing (VCEALA462)
  • Follow a simple planning, drafting and revision process when writing (VCEALA461)

Theory/practice connections

The reading and writing of visual and written texts can be supported in the classroom, through careful and sequential planning. It is important for teachers to consider the affordances texts have to offer, as mentor texts. Teachers can then match the affordances the texts offer with lesson planning to suit the needs of their students.

The Victorian curriculum is a cumulative one. It builds upon the concepts, skills and strategies gained in earlier years.  It is important for schools to map out a sequence for the teaching of visual literacy, what metalanguage will be used and at what stage it will be introduced (Callow, 2012).

Learning intention

We are learning to apply our knowledge of visual elements to our own texts.

Success criteria

I can use visual elements to create my own texts, and explain the effect these have on the viewer.

Group size

Whole class, small group.

Lesson process

Brainstorm with students different responses that the islanders could have demonstrated, when the strangers arrived. Think of what they could have done and said:

  • Possible action by the islanders (action verbs)
  • Possible dialogue: Direct speech-language of affect (happy, good, lucky, trustworthy)
  • Possible reaction from the stranger (action verbs)

Compose a class created wall story (joint construction), based on The Island but with a positive response from the islanders, one which puts the stranger in the position of power. Use the first paragraph as a mentor paragraph, keeping the clause structure but changing the content.

Original text: One morning, the people of the island found a man on the beach, where fate and ocean currents had washed his raft ashore. When he saw them coming, he stood up.

Innovated text: Late in the afternoon, the islanders welcomed a man on the sand, where luck and hope had delivered his boat. When he heard them running, he waved.

Complete the text and divide it into sections, and hand out a section to partners or small groups.

Students take their section of the text and engage in an editing process. Examine the text for secretarial elements, such as spelling and punctuation; and for authorial elements, does the composition sound right? Do we need to change any words to achieve greater accuracy of meaning?

The teacher models the illustration of one section of the innovated text, drawing upon the glossary of visual literacy elements created in the previous lesson. Using pencil and charcoal the teacher participates in a think-aloud to explain what elements will be used in the illustration and why.

Students plan a rough sketch of an illustration for their section of the text. They name the visual elements used and list why they are used and what effect they are trying to achieve.

Each partner meets with another set of partners and shares their sketch. The students offer each other feedback based on the desired effect. Students choose to act upon the feedback before completing their final piece, which will be used to create a class made book.


Peer-to-peer assessment is undertaken in a formal feedback session.


Students jointly constructing text will serve as a support to those who need additional assistance. Highly able students may not need the structure of the mentor text. These students may consider a different purpose for their text creation, based upon the work studied to date.  For example, students may create a digital text or an information text about migration.