INTERLINKS: ANNOTATED LEARNING
Glenda Shopen & Tony
Monitoring and Assessment
First Steps Reading
Four Resources Guideposts
Engagement: Empowering Teachers with Successful Strategies
Interlinks: Annotated Learning provides opportunities for students
to link school curriculum with their own interests, goals and purposes
Through Interlinks: Annotated Learning students practise the
skills and strategies of literacy to solve problems in the cognitive,
social and physical worlds. Students also produce their own texts which
link prior learning, new understandings and possible future annotations.
Interlinks: Annotated Learning attempts to use what we know
about how students actively engage with problem-solving tasks outside
of school in the real, imagined and virtual worlds. It introduces these
skills into the school setting in order to enrich current teaching practices
and improve motivation and outcomes for students.
It supports the idea that learning should be exciting, challenging and
engaging for individuals and related to issues, interests or problems
that are part of their experiences. In addition, it demonstrates the way
that new technologies can play a critical role in the transformation of
teaching and learning.
Engagement: Engaging Students in Purposeful Social Practices
Interlinks: Annotated Learning
Multiple texts such as print, screen, images, events,
music and artefacts related to the theme of ‘Towers’
- draws on students’ contemporary personal, scientific,
social, emotional and cultural knowledge and interests
- involves students and teachers in making links between personal
and/or community interests and school curriculum
- involves students and teachers in a critical review of the
links they have made in relation to the learning they want to
- engages students and teachers in multiliterate behaviours as
they inquire into the way meanings are constructed in their world
- allows students to set and review their own goals for learning
- engages students in constructing annotations linking their
own interests and understanding with those suggested or required
by the curriculum
- excite, interest or challenge students to think more deeply
about a concept or to address a problem or issue
- are the personal, local and global texts available to students
in their learning communities
- are multimedia texts selected to challenge understanding of
concepts, problems or issues
- are linked for reasons that are made explicit and which include
personal and community perspectives
- are considered critically in order to build understanding of
a concept and its relevance for personal, local and global communities
- scaffold the creation of new texts that link explicitly with
stimulus texts and with possible future texts
Four Roles/Resources of the Reader
Based on the Four Roles/Resources of the Reader
developed by Freebody and Luke (1990), Interlinks: Annotated Learning
involves the following repertoire of purposeful social practices:
Decoding the codes and conventions of written,
spoken and visual texts, eg:
- critically decodes texts reflecting on the way they are influenced
by other texts
- focuses on particular words, phrases, statements, images, music,
graphics, style and other text and code conventions and their
personal and social effects
- identifies and interprets links between literal and symbolic
codes and images
Understanding the purposes of different
written, spoken and visual texts for different cultural and social
- uses knowledge of the codes and conventions to produce texts
for specific audiences and for personal and social purposes and
- reflects on and analyses links between own experiences with
texts and the development of personal and social practices
- makes interpretive links within and between texts to produce
a storyboard or hypertext
Comprehending written, spoken and visual
- identifies the texts which stimulate own interests
- draws on own background knowledge to synthesise information
from a range of text inputs
- develops explicit links among a variety of texts to construct
a web of meanings
- sees their own interests as vital to their learning and as
contributing significantly to the production and meaning of texts
Understanding how texts position readers,
viewers and listeners, eg:
- understands how social and personal perspective is constructed
- constructs own positions on texts
- links texts as a way of presenting texts and positioning audiences
- acknowledges the perspectives of others in responding to texts
Four Resources Guideposts
Learning Guideposts provide a useful assessment tool.
Implementing the Strategy
- Teacher provides the task and the stimulus for the task
a stimulus is a way of making a link between the text and the
- Teacher models choosing an interest from stimulus text(s)
| Modelling: the teacher
supports the students in developing their own perspectives
- Teacher models making an annotation
- Student chooses an interest (ie a link to the stimulus)
|Task: students make
links between the stimulus and their own interests and develop
- Student develops an annotation
| Iteration: each annotation
becomes a platform for proceeding to a further annotation
- Student makes another link to the stimulus
- Student makes a link to the annotation
Teacher provides the task and the stimulus for the task
Present students with a problem to be solved, an issue to be investigated
or a concept to be explored, eg What makes a tower a tower?
The problem, issue or concept should involve opinion, consideration
of different perspectives and argument.
Collect stimulus materials related to ‘towers’ for your
When providing resource material consider a range of multimodal texts:
- a novel or short story or an excerpt from these
- newspaper articles
- information texts or reports
- videos and DVDs
- television programs
- computer games
- music videos
- CDs and tapes
- music videos
- radio programs
Teacher models choosing an interest from the stimulus.
- Identify key elements and interests from the stimulus materials.
Consider what is important, puzzling and interesting. Generate own questions.
Work in small groups to scaffold the discussion. The key elements may
include words, images, concepts, people/characters, information, events
- Make appropriate links to increase understanding and develop own
The links students make with the stimulus materials may be recorded
on a mindmap which is a form of annotation. The links connect the stimulus
material to new questions, understandings and future annotations. The
following mindmap uses some of the stimulus material on ‘towers’,
eg an image of the Twin Towers, an image and text of Minas Morgul from
The Two Towers, a definition of towers or a photo of a castle.
(click on mindmap for a Word version)
|Example of the teacher selecting an interest and goal setting:
In relation to the stimulus texts, I keep coming back to the
idea that the Twin Towers were a symbol of strength just as fortresses
were in medieval times. I decide to write a short article using
images and printed text to suggest similarities between army fortresses
and the Twin Towers in New York. I think that other people of my
generation might be interested in this too, so I choose to write
a serious article about how our use of towers has changed over time.
Teacher models for making an annotation
- In order to extend and construct understanding when writing a text
to accompany an image or text, ask:
(click on mindmap for a Word version)
The annotations focus the students on goal setting and linking the task
to specific audiences, and personal and social purposes and goals.
Student chooses an interest (ie a link to the stimulus)
Ask students to make links between the stimulus and their own interests
and develop these. Record these links on a mindmap.
Student develops an annotation
Ask students to produce their own text linked to the stimulus text/s,
interacting with the teacher and/or peers as they follow the process of
annotation. Students should also reflect on the text and the link with
the stimulus text(s).
Student makes another link to the stimulus
Students may construct a new link that extends, reinforces, provides
further applications of the concept, or develops a new problem or platform.
Student makes a link to the annotation
By asking ‘what other link do I want to make with the stimulus,
with my text or with the texts of others in the group/class?’, students
reflect on the links they have made and may proceed to make further links
(annotations) of the stimulus text(s) or their own annotation or the annotations
|For example, in relation to the ‘towers’ theme, the
Again I review my article with reference to the stimulus texts
and this time I am struck by the lack of any towering structure
in my community of Cairns.
- What would students who had grown up in Cairns know about
- Could they imagine them as menacing or welcoming images
- What films would they have seen?
Perhaps I could prepare a Powerpoint presentation of ‘Towers
in Literature and Film’ as my next link.
Constructing a storyboard or hypertext
Students may construct a storyboard or hypertext, making explicit (visible)
the links between the stimulus text(s) and their annotations.
A storyboard or hypertext is a structure which allows the process of annotation
to be graphically represented. Links may be represented by hotspots or
hyperlinks (underlined) as platforms to further investigations. The stimulus
may be a print or screen text, an image, music or event.
A storyboard on Towers using a definition of a tower (print text) as
a stimulus. It may be represented electronically or using paper resources.
(click on storyboard for a Word version)
PowerPoint presentation: images
of towers [3.8MB]
Excerpt from The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien, from The
Lord of the Rings trilogy, describing the tower at Minas Morgul.
This passage occurs near the beginning of Chapter 8, Book 4.
A long-tilted valley, a deep gulf of shadow, ran back far into the
mountains. Upon the further side, some way within the valley’s
arms, high on a rocky seat upon the black knees of the Ephel Duath,
stood the walls and tower of Minas Morgul. All was dark about it, earth
and sky, but it was lit with light. Not the imprisoned moonlight
welling through the marble walls of Minas Ithil long ago, Tower of
the Moon, fair and radiant in the hollow of the hills. Paler indeed
the moon ailing in some slow eclipse was the light of it now, wavering
and blowing like a noisome exhalation of decay, a corpse-light, a light
that illuminated nothing. In the walls and tower windows showed, like
countless black holes looking inward into emptiness; but the topmost
course of the tower revolved slowly, first one way and then another,
a huge ghostly head leering.
What is a tower?
Some examples of print texts, written by workshop participants, addressing
the question ‘What
is a Tower?’
tower is a tall narrow, accessible structure built for tower-like purposes,
for example, for defence, to look over distances, to transmit radio signals,
to imprison or to be clearly visible. Tower is also a description of
structure, for example a rock tower, a CD tower, based on its shape.’
‘A tower is a tower if it is called a tower. If it is called a flagpole,
it is a flagpole, a crane is a crane, a pyramid is a pyramid. Other
such as rocks can be described as towers but they remain rocks –
just as iron men are not actually made of iron.’
‘A tower is a tall man-made structure which, although perhaps made
for another purpose such as defence or communication, frequently becomes
focus point for locals or tourists. It will be taller than its girth
frequently dwarfing surrounding landforms or structures and will often
tapering shape, especially if it is particularly high or modern.’
‘The following are not towers: watchtower, clocktower, mobile phone
tower. The following are towers: Telstra, Centrepoint, Eiffel, Pisa,
in Leeton or Bermagui.’
‘A tower is a tall object that either offers a panoramic view or is
visible from afar. The stereotype is the tower with a specific function
eg castle tower, clock tower, watch tower or Telstra Tower, Eiffel Tower,
Leaning Tower of Pisa. We escape the stereotype by describing things
towering, eg a tree, a cliff, a building, a person (eg a towering figure
in 19th Century literature.’
Cope, B. & Kalantzis, M. (Eds.). (2000). Multiliteracies: Literacy
Learning and the Design of Social Futures. South Yarra: Macmillan.
Shopen, G. & Liddicoat, A.J. (2000). Integrating Home and School
Practices: Professional Development Module for Teachers, Facilitator Handbook.
Canberra: ACT DECS.
Tolkien, J.R.R. (1954). The Two Towers. London: George Allen
Thanks also to Dr Ruth Hickey, School of Education, James Cook University,
Cairns, for the images of towers.