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Island Of The Blue Dolphins Book Trailer Assignment

I am biased, I suppose, as I got to be an extra in this movie which was filmed at Anchor Point, California. I was an Airman, stationed at the Point Arena Air Force Station. Us Air Force guys got into the act because the Universal production company was seeking local native Americans to play the part Indians in the movie. They were to play the part of poor, starving people but the local natives were of large stature, and they could not get a full compliment of Indians so they came to the Airbase and enlisted some of us poor,staving G.I.'s to be Indians. We met at Anchor Point, where we went into tents and were sprayed with brown stain, given dark, long haired wigs, and loincloth es. I have a picture standing next to the female lead, Celia Kaye. By gosh, I really looked like a native. I really enjoyed my experience as an extra as the production crew was ever so nice.

When the Aleut ship shot it's cannon and blew up all the Indians, I wanted to be able to see myself from amongst all the other bodies, so I didn't die instantly, as I was supposed to, but rose up on one elbow, before dying. This trick allowed me to see myself when I got to see the movie. I don't think anyone noticed but me.

Many years later I got a chance to be an extra in Fire in the Sky, a story about an alien abduction. In this one I was a Doctor, and got about 15 seconds of film time, plus a 1/2 second full face shot. Another company, but still all very nice people. I have never worked in any job to this day that treated everybody so well and these people from Hollywood.

Don Timmons

Dillingham, Alaska

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Lesson Topic:  Introduction to Island of the Blue Dolphin

Learning Objectives:  What should students be able to do at the end of this lesson?

Students will understand the game that will be played throughout the book and the students will create their own island.


  • Make connections between the story and personal experience

Materials Needed:

  • Team bandana’s for as many Survivor teams as you want in your class.  Team bandanas should be the same color.
  • Create Island handout for each student

Background information: what do I need to know to teach this lesson?

  • Read Island of the Blue Dolphin
  • I put a map up of the Island on my bulletin board outside my room and on either side of the map list my teams competing against each other in Survivor.  Part of their 1st day activities will be to come up with a name for their team.  I have them draw a flag, with their team name on it and hang it on the bulletin board.  Then, as they compete against each other I keep a tally of which team is winning the challenges on the board.  I also post all of their work from day 1 and 2 for their teams on the bulletin board.
  • As we learn about where Karana goes on the island, we fill in the blank map on the bulletin board.  We draw in where she lives, where she gets water, where the caves are, etc.
  • I do not test on this unit, rather I assign a project that serves as a test grade.  The project will be assigned later in the unit.

Instructional Procedures:  How will I…?

…recall prior relevant information?  Make connections to prior learning?

  1. Ask the student’s if they have ever been to the beach.  Ask the student’s to describe what they love about the beach and what they don’t like.  Further, as the student’s if they have ever been to an island and ask them the same questions.
  2. Ask the students if they have every watched the game Survivor.  Have the student’s give a brief overview of the game.

….present new material?

  1. 1.    Hold up the book, Island of the Blue Dolphin, and explain to the class that we will be reading this book.  However, we can’t start reading the book until we have introduced a few rules that we are going to follow while reading the book.
    1. Tell the students that they are going to play the game Survivor while reading the book.  Hand out your bandana’s to the students and go ahead and put them in groups.  I put the student’s in boys vs. girls and give out blue and pink bandanas.  Each day at the start of reading class the student’s put on the bandana’s and get in their groups.
    2. The students will compete against each other in various events (which correlate to what is going on in the book) for points and immunity.  I make an immunity necklace out of noodles for each team (one for each member – you could use beads or something similar).  Because we are playing in class, immunity really means they get a pass from me, like a no homework pass or listen to ipod in class pass.  I have attached my passes to this lesson.  You will probably need to correlate some of the challenges through your PE department so be sure to read ahead.
    3. Explain to the students that the challenges will be throughout the unit, which will span three weeks.
    4. Handout the “Create Island” worksheet.  Read through the activity with the students and explain that they will be creating their own island.  Tell the students they will have today and tomorrow’s class time to complete creating their island.

…assess performance????

…Enhance retention? (homework)

  •  Students will make vocabulary cards using the following words: ravine, leagues, pelts, cormorants, kelp, intruder, Aleuts, mesa, abalones, kelp.
  • A vocabulary card has the word and a picture of the word on the front.  On the back of the card the student has the definition, and a sentence with the word.

What went well and needed improving:

This entire series of lessons are really great.  The student’s are engaged and participating throughout the lesson and their creativity really shines through in the process.  I did take a little extra time in introducing the book this time, in that I allowed the students to make connections between their personal time at the beach and/or an island and relate that to the book they are about to read.  By allowing the students to think about what they do and don’t like about the beach, they will be able to put themselves in Karana’s shoes as she is stranded on the island for so many years.

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