Activity Introduction

PK Hero Image 1Quick summary: This lesson continues from Biography – Part 1. Portrayal of character is explored through a brainstorming activity then applied to the sections of the documentary. Students explore the text features of biography and narrative and study the opening scene of the film to investigate how a filmmaker can framed a subject. Using the jigsaw group investigation method, students investigate some of the film techniques used throughout the opening scenes and analyse their effects. A class brainstorm firms up student ideas about framing the subject, which are then further developed through a persuasive writing task.

This lesson uses sections of Shark Island Productions’ Paul Kelly – Stories of Me as learning stimuli. Teachers are required to create an account to view the film and use the supplied code to enable students to access the film.

Key points to explore:

  • A character can be portrayed in a text in a variety of ways.
  • Biographic and narrative text types share similarities and differences.
  • A filmmaker consciously frames their subject using different techniques.
  • Musicians create their own image.

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 9 English

  • Listen to spoken texts constructed for different purposes, for example to entertain and to persuade, and analyse how language features of these texts position listeners to respond in particular ways (ACELY1740)
  • Understand that authors innovate with text structures and language for specific purposes and effects (ACELA1553)
  • Use comprehension strategies to interpret and analyse texts, comparing and evaluating representations of an event, issue, situation or character in different texts (ACELY1744)
  • Create imaginative, informative and persuasive texts that present a point of view and advance or illustrate arguments, including texts that integrate visual, print and/or audio features (ACELY1746)

Year 10 English

  • Analyse and evaluate how people, cultures, places, events, objects and concepts are represented in texts, including media texts, through language, structural and/or visual choices (ACELY1749)
  • Identify and explore the purposes and effects of different text structures and language features of spoken texts, and use this knowledge to create purposeful texts that inform, persuade and engage (ACELY1750)
  • Identify, explain and discuss how narrative viewpoint, structure, characterisation and devices including analogy and satire shape different interpretations and responses to a text (ACELT1642)
  • Create sustained texts, including texts that combine specific digital or media content, for imaginative, informative, or persuasive purposes that reflect upon challenging and complex issues (ACELY1756)

Year 11 English

Unit 1
Investigate the relationships between language, context and meaning by:

  • evaluating the choice of mode and medium in shaping the response of audiences, including digital texts. (ACEEN003)

Examine similarities and differences between imaginative, persuasive and interpretive texts including:

  • explaining the ways language features, text structures and conventions communicate ideas and points of view (ACEEN004)
  • explaining the ways text structures, language features and stylistic choices are used in different types of texts (ACEEN005)

Create a range of texts:

  • using appropriate form, content, style and tone for different purposes and audiences in real and imagined contexts (ACEEN011)
  • drawing on a range of technologies in, for example, research, communication and representation of ideas (ACEEN012)
  • combining visual, spoken and written elements where appropriate (ACEEN013)
  • using evidence-based argument (ACEEN014)
  • using strategies for planning, drafting, editing and proofreading (ACEEN016)
  • using accurate spelling, punctuation, syntax and metalanguage. (ACEEN017)

Unit 2
Compare texts in a variety of contexts, mediums and modes by:

  • analysing the style and structure of texts including digital texts (ACEEN022)

Investigate the representation of ideas, attitudes and voices in texts including:

  • analysing the ways language features, text structures and stylistic choices shape points of view and influence audiences (ACEEN024)

Create a range of texts:

  • selecting and applying appropriate textual evidence to support arguments (ACEEN035)
  • using strategies for planning, drafting, editing and proofreading (ACEEN036)
  • using accurate spelling, punctuation, syntax and metalanguage. (ACEEN037)

General capabilities: Literacy, Critical and Creative Thinking, ICT Capability.

Topic: Social issues


Time required: 180 minutes (or 3x 60 minutes)

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate student discussion, coordinate student movement around classroom.

Resources required: Student Worksheet – one copy per student OR computers/tablets to access the online worksheet. Device capable of presenting a website to the class. Copy of Paul Kelly – Stories of Me (teachers are required to create an account to view and invite students to view the film), Persuasive essay graphic organiser. Sticky notes. Collage making materials or the online collage maker. Printed out and cut up sets of the ‘Biography or Narrative’ Matching Activity (enough for small groups). Mind-map webtools mindmeister or

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities, using ICT to visualise thinking.

Keywords: Biography, text features, Paul Kelly, representation, text creation.

Acknowledgements: This resource has been adapted from ‘Paul Kelly: Portrait of an Artist’ written by Eva Gold, Mel Dixon, Ann Small, Bradley Merrick with Appendix from Victorian teachers by Monika Wagner.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

PK Hero Image 6Teacher preparation

Overarching learning goal: Students will gain a better understanding of how filmmakers portray character. They will be able to discuss and compare the text features of biographical and narrative text types. Through close analysis of the opening scenes of Paul Kelly - Stories of Me, students will be able to explain how the subject of a text can be framed in order to position the audience in a specific way.

Teacher content information: This lesson is based on the film Paul Kelly - Stories of Me, which charts the many lives, loves and losses of Paul Kelly, one of Australia’s most gifted singer-songwriters. His songs have been marking out the Australian landscape and its people through words and music for almost 40 years. The stories and the music of Paul Kelly explore and reflect the Australian experience, life and culture.

The film is a contemporary music documentary that allows students to explore popular culture, storytelling and how people are represented in tex

- or - to view worksheets

Student Worksheet

Thought starter: "All that was once directly lived has become mere representation" - Guy Debord

Access the documentary Paul Kelly - Stories of Me:

Vimeo-look screenshot opening title

Part A: The Portrayal of Character

Consider how Paul Kelly is portrayed throughout the documentary:

What... Shows us...
Paul says:
Paul sings:
Paul does:
Paul has achieved:
Others say about him:
Paul reads:

Part B: Biography and Narrative

What do you think the similarities and differences between stories and real life are? Fill out the table below to show your ideas.

Stories only: Overlapping elements: Real life only:

Part C: Framing the Subject

Note your understandings from your group discussion about framing the subject:

The choice of characters and their placement, costume, movement:

The landscape, soundscape, set contrast and mise-en-scene:

Camera angles, shot length and size, focus, light and lighting:

Draft a persuasive piece that argues fo

- or - to view worksheets

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