Activity Introduction

blue_shark_slp_0062-copy-2_photoframeQuick Summary: This lesson incorporates clips from Blue The Film as learning inspiration. In this finding out lesson, students will examine reflective language and reflective text structures. They will connect these with the experiences of people who’ve worked to make a difference, with a specific focus on Valerie Taylor. Using a selection of thinking, planning and writing tools, students will conduct an analysis of the role of biographical and reflective language in communicating experience to audiences in a way that can inspire others to take action. They will then create their own texts using reflective language.

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 understand the multi-faceted nature of reflection and how language and narrative choices contribute to meaning in reflective texts.
  • Students will apply their knowledge and understanding of reflective language and texts to analyse and evaluate the reflection and experience of Valerie Taylor.

21st century skills:


Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 8 English

  • Analyse and evaluate the ways that text structures and language features vary according to the purpose of the text and the ways that referenced sources add authority to a text (ACELY1732)
  • Recognise that vocabulary choices contribute to the specificity, abstraction and style of texts (ACELA1547)

Syllabus outcomes: EN4-3B

General capabilities: Literacy, Critical and Creative Thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability.

Relevant parts of Year 8 English achievement standards: Students explain how language features, images and vocabulary are used to represent different ideas and issues in texts. They listen for and identify different emphases in texts, using that understanding to elaborate on discussions. Students understand how the selection of language features can be used for particular purposes and effects. They explain the effectiveness of language choices they make to influence the audience. Students create texts for different purposes, selecting language to influence audience response. They take into account intended purposes and the needs and interests of audiences. Students demonstrate understanding of grammar, select vocabulary for effect and use 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 website, clip and digital worksheet to the class. Turtles FactsheetSeabirds FactsheetSharks FactsheetBiographical Writing FactsheetReflective Writing Factsheet.

Keywords: Blue The Film, ocean conservation, marine ecosystems, reflection, language, ocean, biographies, sharks.

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_valerie-taylor-and-shark_photoframeTeacher preparation

Learning intentions: Students will understand the multi-faceted nature of reflection and how language and narrative choices contribute to meaning in reflective texts. Students will apply their knowledge and understanding of reflective language and texts to analyse and evaluate the reflection and experience of Valerie Taylor.

Success criteria:

  • Students can describe, with examples, features of reflective writing and language and the impact these can have on audience engagement.
  • Students can articulate some of the experiences and contributions of Valerie Taylor and evaluate her use of reflective language to communicate these experiences.


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 occurred in the oceans over the last century mirrors the events that trigg

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: Are sharks misunderstood?

Part A: Shark Bits and Bites

Watch the following video about sharks, and complete the 'See-Think-Wonder' routine below. A 'See-Think-Wonder' routine is a visible thinking strategy that encourages you to make thoughtful observations and interpretations about what you see and can help you establish goals for further learning.

What do you SEE? What do you THINK about that? What does it make you WONDER?

Your teacher might ask you to share your responses or discuss them with the class. The following questions might help prompt you:

  • What was something in the footage that made you think that way?
  • Did the footage bring back memories of a particular experience you’ve had or heard about?
  • Did anybody think of feel something different about this footage?
  • What might that be able to tell you about sharks and the ocean?

Part B: Analysing Reflective Language

1. After brainstorming the concept of ‘REFLECTION’ with the

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