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Island of the Blue Dolphins
Transcript of Island of the Blue Dolphins
By Scott O'Dell
Island of the Blue Dolphins
By Scott O'Dell
Laurel-Leaf Newbery Book
Grades 3, 4, or 5
*Grade level depends on class reading level
The story takes place on an island called San Nicolas that was not discovered until 1602. The island is the outermost of the eight Channel islands and is located seventy-five miles southwest of Los Angeles. The Native American tribe on the island is the only tribe located on the island. The climate is similar to California, it is very sunny in the summer and the wind picks up in the fall and winter.
Alone on the island, Ramo quickly is attacked by the wild dogs and dies. From then on, Karana vows to kill the dogs that killed her brother. Karana burns the old village of her tribe and makes a new home on a large rock. She decides to disobey the old tribal laws to make weapons so that she can defend herself from the wild dogs of the island. While living alone on the island, she is still hoping that the ship of white men will come back for her. In frustration of living alone on the island and be threatened by the wild dogs, Karana decides to leave the island on a canoe. The canoe is leaking and falls apart so she decides to paddle back to the island for safety.
On the headland, Karana has decided to build a home and gathers many resources to help build her new home and for survival, like the teeth of the sea elephants for spear points. She believes that the leader of the pack of wild dogs killed her brother and wounds him with the spear. Karana does not end up killing him but instead nursing him back to health, which makes the dog want to stay with Karana. She names him Rontu, which means fox eyes in her language. Rontu stays by Karan’s side throughout the book until his death. He goes with her to explore the caves on the island and to hunt giant devilfish.
With many years passing between the time of Ramo’s death, Karana still looks out in the ocean hoping to see the ship of white men. One day she see’s a ship coming, the one with the Aleuts. Karana hides in a cave shelter and also spies on the men who have come to her island. She spots a girl among the men, who she quickly meets, becomes friends with, and converses with daily. Karana describes feelings of loneliness after the Aleut ship leaves the island. The Aleuts again hunted sea otter and after they left, Karana see’s an injured one that she nurses back to health. At this point in the story, she has had many encounters with the animals of the island. After saving the sea otter, she decides to never kill any of the animals, like the otter, cormorants, seal, dog or sea elephants ever again. Soon Rontu dies of old age.
Karana catches and tames another dog, which she believes is Rontu’s son, so she names him Rontu-Aru. She experiences an earthquake on the island and also a ship of men that passed by in a storm. The storm, and Karana’s fear of visitors, prevented her from realizing they were rescuers until they had left the island. The ship of rescuers eventually return to the island and Karana, a woman now, prepares her finest clothing and things to take with her. She is going to leave the island, with her little bird pets and Rontu-Aru. While sailing away, she looks back on the island and see’s what she has left behind, the animals and her happy days. A group of dolphins swim far out around the ship as it leaves the Island of the Blue Dolphins.
Karana is a young girl that lives in the village of Ghalas-at with her tribe of Native Americans. Throughout the story, the readers learn of their way of living and surviving on the island. One day, Karana and her brother spot a ship headed towards one of their beaches that they referred to as Coral Cove. A group of men, called the Aleuts, came onto their island and approach the chief of Ghalas-at, Chief Chowig, which is also Karana’s father. The Aleuts and the tribe of Ghalas-at make a deal of trade to hunt sea otters in exchange of jewelry and metal spearheads for the villagers. At the time of payment, the Aleuts argue their former deal and a fight breaks out on the beach, leaving most of the islander men dead. A new chief from the tribe emerges.
A year later, another ship sailed into their harbor, between the two rocks, at Coral Cove. A former Ghalas-at member, who traveled the sea, sent the ship of white men to take away the tribe. A strong storm approaches and the islanders are gathered on the ship. As it sails away from the island, Karana see’s her younger brother Ramo alone on the island and begs the ship to save him. Upon refusal to her demand, she jumps into the sea and swims towards the island to be with her brother in hopes that the tribe on the ship will keep their promise and rescue them another day.
Karana is the main character presented throughout the whole story. She starts off as a twelve year old girl and ends the story as a woman.
Ramo is Karana’s brother who dies after an attack of the wild dogs after they are alone on the island for a short time after their tribe left.
The Aleuts are the men that have come to hunt for sea otters on the island. They kill many of the men in Karana’s tribe.
Tutok is a girl who Karana makes friends with the second time the Aluet’s come to kill sea otter.
The men that come to the island to take away Karana’s tribe are referred to as the white men.
Rontu is the dog that killed Karana’s brother. She tames him and they become best friends.
Mon-a-nee is the sea otter that Karana helps after the Aleuts have injured it.
Rontu-Aru is Rontu’s son whom Karana tames to be her new friend dog.
The teacher would inform the students that they are going to read a new story and that he/she has a box of objects that relate to the story. The teacher would instruct the students to get in small groups or individually identify the object and then use the object to generate predictions about the content of the book. The teacher could then guide a class discussion that could help the students extend or revise their predictions.
For The Island of the Blue Dolphins, the objects in the box could be: a bird's feather, a stuffed animal dog, large sea animal teeth, a toy dolphin, a ship, or a map of an island.
The teacher identifies a theme related to two contrasting categories. For example, Good Day vs. Bad Day, Difficult vs. Easy, or Advantages of Being Invisible vs. Disadvantages of Being Invisible. When students engage in two sides of an issue, they engage in higher order thinking. This activity can be done in small groups, individually or as a whole class. The students would supply lists under each column relating to that topic. Depending on the grade level, the students can be advised to list words or complete sentences.
In regards to this book, the students could address the advantages of living alone versus the disadvantages of living alone. They could also address the advantages to sharing a room to the disadvantages of sharing a room to make it more personal with them.
Common Core Standards
RI.7. Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.
RI.9. Compare and contrast the treatment of similar themes
and topics (e.g., opposition of good and evil) and
patterns of events (e.g., the quest) in stories, myths,
and traditional literature from different cultures
W.1. Write opinion pieces on topics or texts,
supporting a point of view with reasons and
Quickwrites promote personal connections with the text, tap into prior knowledge, and stimulate thinking about a topic. All of these advantages help the reader connect to the text to better understand and remember the story. The teacher gives the student a writing prompt and the students are instructed to write an predetermined amount on the topic. The prompt could even be a reference frame. For this book, the teacher could ask the following:
Having a pet, makes me feel...
Write a paragraph about how having a pet makes you feel. If you have never had a pet, maybe you have been around a family member who has, a class pet, or a favorite toy. Think about some of these questions: Do you feel lonely or happy to have a pet? Was there a time where you have lost a close friendly animal you loved? What if your pet was the only person you could talk to?
The teacher distributes index cards with specific roles and brief definitions individually on each card. The students would form groups based on their cards. The teacher would then model how to do each role. While reading a section of the story aloud, the students would think about their role in relation to the text. The students discuss their roles after the reading and then share with the class. The teacher would have the students switch roles depending on grade level and timing. The roles include: Summarizer, Questioner, Predictor, Connector, Visualizer, and Key Idea Identifier.
Graphic organizers allow students to organize information as they read text. There are many events in this story that may be easily mixed up, an organized pattern like the sequence of events text pattern would be useful to use during The Island of the Blue Dolphins. The students could also be encouraged to use signal words like first, second, then, next, after, and finally. The students can also use this chart to help them identify the relationships among ideas in a text.
RL.1. Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
RL.2. Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.
RI.1. Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text
RI.5. Describe the overall structure (e.g., chronology,
comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of
events, ideas, concepts, or information in a text
or part of a text.
RI.8. Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence
to support particular points in a text.
Each student chooses a part of the literature that appeals to them. They spend a few moments reading and thinking about that passage before they get into pairs. In the pairs, the students read their passages and discuss their reason for their choices. The activity allows for students to re-experience passages together and the social interacts enrich students' reflection and responses to the book. This activity can be done orally, written, or electronically.
In small groups, students list the big ideas, events, themes, human interest elements, or other important information from the text. They are to make a magazine cover, from the perspective of a journalist, to help them summarize and visualize the text's key content. The teacher could provide magazines to cut out pictures and words or this can be done electronically on websites like Glogster. Conduct this in a few weeks through planning, revising, and editing.
Common Core Standards
RI.1. Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
W.5. With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.
W.6. With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of one page in a single sitting.
I had an aesthetic experience while reading this story. While reading a few chapters a night, I found that I was sad to close the book for the night. I enjoyed imagining the scenes and characters of the story and also predicting what would come next; the predictions that I would make would usually be revised. I also imagined what it would be like to be Karana and experience the loneliness, the wild animals, the foreign peoples, and the weather changes. One detail that I really enjoyed reading about was her techniques of keeping track of time. Karana always referred to the passing of years by mentioning that many seasons had gone by. She also kept track for a portion of her life by making marks on wooden poles.
This story is a great read, especially for children who need help visualizing the story they read. While I was reading the book, I thought of many instructional activities and benefits to reading this story. It can help all readers expand throughout its reading, including EL's and GATE students. I would recommend this book for teacher's to implement in their classroom, for not only is it well written, it is also a great story that stimulates the imagination.
What a wonderful world.