Paikea: The Whale Rider
Adapted by Linda Scott
|California Language Arts Content Standards|
|Standards Addressed in this Unit|
TEACHING AND LEARNING ACTIVITIESSelect and adapt these learning activities to best meet the needs of your students, and to fit the time available:
Many students will have seen the movie The Whale Rider and you may want to arrange to view it during class. The novel differs from the movie in many aspects which could lead to discussion or a comparison contrast essay. Select and adapt these learning activities to best meet the needs of your students, and to fit the time available:
This unit is designed to promote reading contemporary literature for enjoyment and as an opportunity for in-depth response and analysis. Background reading will also assist students to take part in discussion of literature they have read. Gaining an understanding of New Zealand culture is highlighted in the activities. Reference to legendary accounts as myths and legends should be avoided. These accounts form a very real knowledge base for Maori.
In this unit students will:
- Read a variety of coming-of-age texts including The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera for personal enjoyment
- Respond to their reading, recording impressions in a journal
- Write a literary response essay
- Write and present poetic pieces related to ideas and themes in The Whale Rider
- Discuss and debate ideas raised in the novel with other literature as class discussion
Have students read chapter one of The Whale Rider. They then retell the whale account in the form of a poem or waiata using information from The Journey to Aotearoa and the History of Ngäti Porou. Students then orally present their poems to the class in a storytelling session. They will need to understand the legendary account as the foundation for the actual story.
To view whales, visit Orca Live and click on Highlights 2002 and choose Episode 1 from the drop down menu or visit Sea World’s Shamu Cam to see live footage of whales from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time daily with replayed footage after 5:30 p.m..
Use the Double Entry Journal sheet to respond to the novel individually. This link will give suggestions for introducing this journal to your students. The Double Entry Journal [student sample] will allow students to record their impressions as they read. These notes will be helpful when they plan their literary response essay and as a basis for discussion.
If you plan to read other coming-of-age novels with students or as outside reading, you could plan class discussions or even a comparison contrast essay. Students could also record impressions of their reading in a Double Entry Journal.
Take part in a discussion of ideas generated in the novel and from personal reading of related literature. Students should present ideas in the novel and reflect on other books read to generate discussion about themes and issues.
After viewing the movie Whale Rider, use the Discussion Questions from Whale Rider: A Teacher Resource for Class Cinema Viewing. You may also want to use some of the resources including movie trailer and clips from The Whale Rider film website to prepare for discussion.
After reading the novel, responding in their journals, viewing the film and participating in a class discussion of key ideas; students will write a Literary Response Essay to The Whale Rider on one of the following topics:
- Analyze interactions between two of the characters listed below. Discuss internal and external conflicts, motivations, relationships, and/or influences. Explain the way those interactions affect the plot. Support important ideas and viewpoints through detailed references to the text.
- Pai and Koro
- Pai and Nanny Flowers
- Koro and Nanny Flowers
Choose one character from The Whale Rider and determine the character’s traits by what the character says about himself or herself in narration or dialogue, how the character behaves and what other characters may say about him or her. Support important ideas and viewpoints through detailed references to the text.
Witi Ihimaera uses various literary devices including figurative language, imagery, and symbolism in The Whale Rider. Select a passage from the novel to analyse. Identify some of the literary devices used, discuss their significance and how they contribute to understanding the theme. Support important ideas and viewpoints through detailed references to the text.
The movie Whale Rider differs in many ways from the book. Compare and contrast the two works and provide evidence to support the ideas expressed in each work.
Compare The Whale Rider with another coming-of-age novel that you have read. Compare and contrast the two works and provide evidence to support the ideas expressed in each work.
Use the California High School Exit Exam’s Response to Literary/Expository Text Scoring Guide to assess the essays.