Dossier of Discovery: A Sign of Our Times

article by Anne Renaud , photo Imagine Peace by johnmaschak is licensed under CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0

Learning Intention: 

I am learning how to use new digital tools so that I can plan, draft and publish multimodal texts. 

Success Criteria: 

  • I can read and consider the ideas presented in a text.  
  • I can learn how to use a range of features in a new digital tool (Canva).  
  • I can turn my ideas into a multimodal text that displays a range of judicious design features.  

Essential Knowledge: 

More information on how symbols are a shortcut to a bigger idea can be found in the English Textual Concepts video Connotation, Imagery and Symbol. 

A suggested sequence for introducing symbolism to Stage 3 can be found on the NSW Education webpage Connotation, imagery and symbol Stage 3.   

The NSW DoE has a site license to Canva Premium. Information about using Canva in the classroom can be found on the Canva page of the Digital Learning Selector, Canva for Education on the Technology 4 Learning Page, or the Teacher Resources page in Canva itself. 

Read the article as a class. If you have a digital subscription you may wish to listen to the audio recording on The School Magazine website. After reading, discuss the content of the article. Suggested discussion points include:  

  • What is this article about? (The origin and history of the peace sign.) 
  • What is the main idea of the text? (Prompt students to look at the last paragraph. The article is about the legacy of the peace sign.) 
  • What are some important details from the article? (Answers will vary. Students are likely to identify names, events and dates.) 
  • What are some interesting details from the article? (Again, answers will vary. Some examples are the origins of the sign, use of the semaphore code.) 

Once students have a secure understanding of the article’s content, introduce the task. Explain that students will create a poster for an anti-nuclear protest using the peace sign. The audience is the general public and the purpose of the poster is to convince people to attend the protest.  

Unpack the two model placards that appear in the article’s images. Explain the difference between a poster and a placard: a poster informs people about the protest and persuades them to attend, while a placard conveys a short, generally political, message. Identify the components of these placards: the prominence of the peace symbol, the use of contrasting colours (black and white), strong modality and the organisation’s name.  

Use these features to commence a class success checklist for the poster. Suggested criteria include:  

  • The peace symbol with a prominent size and place 
  • A use of contrasting colours 
  • Different sized fonts 
  • High modality 

Discuss other features that would appear on a poster, but do not appear on a placard. Remind students of the purpose of a poster. Add these features to the success checklist (topic of the protest, a short explanation of the problem, date, time and location).  

Introduce students to the digital tool Canva by unpacking a template of a protest poster (templates are available within Canva itself) and showing students how to utilise a range of features. These include the text function and the elements tab. Explain to students that photos sourced through Canva fit copyright restrictions. You may wish for students to create digital posters, with multimodal features (for examples gifs and sound).  

Allow students to design their posters independently before conducting a gallery walk. Use the success checklist to structure peer feedback.   

Assessment as/of learning:  

Persuasive text rubrics can be found on The School Magazine website. Students can use these rubrics as success criteria in the crafting of their persuasive texts via anchor charts. The rubrics can also be used to provide structure for peer or teacher assessment.