The Literary Elements Come to Life

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TSWBAT draw comparisons and contrasting information between the novel and the movie of Island of the Blue Dolphins.

Big Idea

Student experts spot the Elements of Literature on the big screen!

Warm Up

10 minutes

The students will watch the movie, Island of the Blue Dolphins with an eye toward the Literary Elements.  I'm excited to introduce them to the movie version.  They'll appreciate seeing the book come to life, and will utilize skills of comparing and contrasting between the two mediums. They improve their comprehension of what is taking place as they practice these skills

The Focused Reading and Viewing Guide worksheet is the perfect way to help them concentrate on specific areas as they view the movie.  The kids look for similarities and differences between the settings, characters, plot, and the resolution, so the objective of watching the movie is far more than sitting back and being entertained. 

Before we begin, they take another look at the books they created in Elements of a Finished Product, as a refresher.



Viewing Island of the Blue Dolphins

93 minutes

The wonderful 1964 adaptation of Island of the Blue Dolphins is the only one I'm aware of.  Despite its lack of special effects, after reading the novel, the kids love watching it.  It's relatively short at 93 minutes, but it's not a bad idea to stop periodically and have the kids compare the notes they're taking on the Focused Reading and Viewing Guide.

Before I begin the movie, I let the kids know that it was released in 1964 and is quite different than the movies of today.  What's nice is that even if they haven't read the novel, as happened to me when I recieved a new student one year, it's still captivating in its own way.

A note about obtaining a copy...with the closing of Blockbuster stores, it became a real hassle to get a copy of this old movie because Netflix doesn't carry it.  Using it each year as I do, and ever the problem solver, I took that obvious step of buying a copy online.  There are numerous vendors and prices.  I actually had to buy a second copy this year because my original was lost in the transit of sharing, and it was still easy to find online. 

Slideshow of images and student examples Unmute by dragging mouse over bottom of slideshow.  Clicking on slideshow takes you to


25 minutes

With their notes, they have data to use in a number of different ways.  As a follow-up, the tried and true Venn Diagram can be used to compare and contrast the novel and the film.  Something a little different, however, is the Book and Movie Comparison/Contrast Guide resource.  This is a more direct correlation with the elements of literature and a change from the Venn.  Using the Focused Reading and Viewing Guide, this could actually be completed as a homework assignment. 

Another resource to consider is Thinking Critically About the Movie.  This resource is a wonderful one to gauge kids' response to the movie.  First they identify an effect that was changed, or kept the same.  They must then determine the effect it had on the film, and then how that difference affected their enjoyment of what they watched. 

An additional resource that approaches the activity a bit differently is the Novel and Movie Comparisons worksheet with direct questions.  This worksheet must be downloaded directly from the TeachersPayTeachers website .


Student Example of Thinking Critically About the Movie

Homework Example