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Essay About Island Of The Blue Dolphins

Lesson Topic:  Day 14, Island of the Blue Dolphin

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

  •   Students will develop an opinion about Karana’s actions in the book.


  •  Identifying a literary genre
  • recalling events in a novel
  • noting details
  • analyze and evaluate story elements
  • Make connections between the story and personal experience
  • Develop opinions and express personal point of view
  • make predictions about the story
  • identify main idea and provide supporting evidence
  • Use figures of speech
  • Recording in a response journal
  • Explain how personal beliefs and values influence the interpretation of text.

Materials Needed:

  1. Bandanas for each student

Instructional Procedures:  How will I…?

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

  1. Have students put final details on the map in the hall.

….present new material?

  1. Explain to the students that they are going to write an opinion essay. Students will begin working on a paragraph where they will choose the most outrageous thing that they think Karana did as a result of living on the island alone.  The students will develop their opinion as to why this was outrageous and they will defend their opinion with evidence from the book.  Final should be four paragraphs typed.
  2. Give students rubric and graphic organizer that are attached to use in developing their paragraphs.  The students should have an introduction and a conclusion.  Students will have two days to complete this essay. 
  3. Remind the students that their CD cases are due tomorrow.

…assess performance????

  1. essay

…Enhance retention? (homework)

  1. None (work on CD case)

What went well and needed improving:

I added in a graphic organizer to help the students organize their thoughts clearly.  Also, I changed from two paragraphs to four.  I think the two paragraphs confuse the students once they have been taught to have an introduction and a conclusion.

When Karana is left alone on Ghalas-at, she is only twelve years old. As the novel progresses, she grows and changes in many ways, but in many ways stays the same. Discuss how Karana grows throughout Island of the Blue Dolphins.

The author's note at the end of Island of the Blue Dolphins explains that Karana's story is actually based on true events. Research the history of The Lost Woman of San Nicholas and discuss the novel within this historical context.

Several scenes in Island of the Blue Dolphins are repeated or mimicked later in the story. Choose one or two of these scenes and discuss its significance. How are the two scenes connected? How does O'Dell's use of repetition add to the meaning of the scene? What does this repetition imply in regards to plot development?

Karans is very wary of outsiders and intruders to her island. Discuss the idea of trust in Island of the Blue Dolphins. Is Karana trusting? Does she become more trusting later in the novel, or less so? What incidents show her trust or lack thereof?

Island of the Blue Dolphins chronicles the extraordinary story of one girl's survival. Karana must fend and provide for herself totally on her own. Describe and discuss her survival techniques. How is a twelve-year-old girl able to alone? What are her defeats and triumphs, her successes and sacrifices?

Discuss dolphins as a symbol in Island of the Blue Dolphins. What does the title of the novel suggest in light of this symbolism?

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