Activity Introduction

blue_coral-bleaching_untitled_1-627_photoframe-1Quick Summary: This lesson incorporates clips from Blue The Film as learning inspiration. In this finding out lesson, students will use visible thinking routines to respond to a clip from Blue The Film that explores the state of the reef, coral bleaching and the impact of pollution, overfishing, and ocean acidification. They will enhance their understanding of creative writing and meaning communicated through creative writing techniques. Using visual images and information about the state of the reef as stimulus, students will develop their creative writing and editing skills. They will select language and creative writing techniques to create their own descriptive passages about coral reefs.

blue-white-logo-120pxBlue is a feature documentary film charting the drastic decline in the health of our oceans. With more than half of all marine life lost and the expansion of the industrialization of the seas, the film sets out the challenges we are facing and the opportunities for positive change. Blue changes the way we think about our liquid world and inspires the audience to action. Find out how to screen or download the film here. Along with the film is an ambitious global campaign to create advocacy and behaviour change through the #oceanguardian movement. To become an ocean guardian, see the website.

Learning intentions:

  • Students will learn about how language can be used powerfully through creative modality and the concept of ‘show, don’t tell’.
  • Students will  learn about the state of the reef and how language can be used to communicate this condition and potential.

21st century skills:


Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 7 English

  • Understand how modality is achieved through discriminating choices in modal verbs, adverbs, adjectives and nouns (ACELA1536)
  • Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive texts, selecting aspects of subject matter and particular language, visual, and audio features to convey information and ideas (ACELY1725)
  • Edit for meaning by removing repetition, refining ideas, reordering sentences and adding or substituting words for impact (ACELY1726)

Syllabus outcomes: EN4-2A, EN4-3B, EN4-4B

General capabilities: Literacy, Critical and Creative Thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability.

Relevant parts of Year 7 English achievement standards: Students demonstrate understanding of how the choice of language features, images and vocabulary affects meaning.They understand how the selection of a variety of language features can influence an audience.They create structured and coherent texts for a range of purposes and audiences. Students demonstrate understanding of grammar, use a variety of more specialised vocabulary and accurate spelling and punctuation.

Topic: Blue The Film, Ocean Conservation, Water, Sustainability.

Unit of work: Blue The Film – English – Year 7 & 8.

Time required: 90 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Low – lead students in discussion.

Resources required: Student Worksheet – one per student. Device capable of presenting a clip to the class. Coral Bleaching Stimulus ImagesCoral Reefs FactsheetCreative Writing Tips FactsheetEditing Checklist.

Keywords: Blue The Film, ocean conservation, marine ecosystems, wildlife, creative writing.

Cool Australia and Northern Pictures would like to acknowledge the generous contributions of GoodPitch² AustraliaShark Island InstituteDocumentary Australia FoundationThe Caledonia Foundation and Screen Australia in the development of these teaching resources.

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

© 2017 Northern Pictures and Cool Australia


Teacher Worksheet

blue_coral-reef_lotr_0080_photoframeTeacher preparation

Learning intentions: Students will learn about how language can be used powerfully through creative modality and the concept of ‘show, don’t tell’. Students will  learn about the state of the reef and how language can be used to communicate this condition and potential.

Success criteria:

  • Students can articulate facts about coral reefs and the issues contributing to their current status on Australian coastlines.
  • Students can demonstrate the use of creative writing techniques in short descriptive passages about coral reefs, applying the principle of ‘show, don’t tell’ to their writing.
  • Students demonstrate editing skills in identifying grammatical errors and providing constructive feedback to their peers.


Teacher content information: From space, our planet appears as a tiny blue dot in the vastness of the universe. No matter where you live on our blue planet – you’re connected to the sea.

But the seas are under threat. The industrialisation that has oc

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: What happens if we lose the Great Barrier Reef?

Part A: State of the Reef

1. Watch the following video and then, with the guidance of your teacher, write a news headline for one of the issues raised in the video. This thinking routine draws on the idea of newspaper-type headlines as a way to sum up and capture the essence of an event, idea, concept, or topic.

State of the reef (

2. If you were to write a headline for this topic or issue that captures its most important aspect, what would that headline be?

Part B: What is Coral Bleaching?

1. Watch the following video about coral bleaching and visual footage of what this looks like.

coral bleaching (

2. Now, complete a combined 3-2-1/'Think-Pair-Share' routine about the topic/issue of coral bleaching. This will require you to think about and reflect on 3 things you have learnt, 2 things you find interesting, and 1 analogy/metaphor or symbol f

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