A Tale of Learning – A “Dolphin Tale” that is…

Over the weekend my wife and I finished watching the 2011 movie “Dolphin Tale” with our children. It is a lovely movie starring one of my favorite actors, Morgan Freeman. The film was inspired by the true story of Winter, a bottlenose dolphin that was rescued in 2005 and taken to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Winter ended up losing her tail and was, in the end, fitted with a prosthetic one.

What does this have to do with learning? Glad you asked. One of the themes in the movie revolves around a boy who was enrolled in summer school due to failing or nearly failing all of his classes during the school year. That kid is sent to summer school where he has an extremely unengaging teacher droning on about grammar and parts of speech…

Through the course of the movie the boy, Sawyer, gets connected and his need for learning gets turned on when he finds this dolphin and works with the aquarium to help Winter recover and then get used to having a prosthetic tail.

The amazing part of this, from a teacher and principal point of view, is that Sawyer gets extremely engaged in the real world work of engineering, biology, animal care, and even the finances of a non-profit organization. He cannot wait to spend time with winter to help her in her rehabilitation.

As a teacher, I loved seeing that a student, who was absolutely hating and dreading sitting in a boring lecture-based classroom, take on project work that was inspiring, authentic, and based in reality. The really powerful part was seeing my own children jumping up-and-down, cheering on Winter the dolphin to take her first swimming strokes with the device attached. Yes, there might have been a tear or two…

When kids hearts and minds are engaged and emotionally attached to their work, we will see wonderful and amazing learning happen. Funny, that seems to work the same for me as an adult and as a professional as well…

By the way, the teacher ended up giving Sawyer credit for the learning that he did in his work with the dolphin. That gave me back some faith that most teachers are educators for the right reasons…

Work hard, learn tons!
D

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5 Responses to A Tale of Learning – A “Dolphin Tale” that is…

  1. Polok & Lunnin says:

    The Grade 5 Team met with Bryden to plan out an inquiry project in Social. Students will be encouraged to choose a group of people that have a unique story/role in Canada’s history, research it (using guiding questions/graphic organizers), and present their learning by sharing a story, in a format of their choice (diary entries, video diary, pop-out poster, monologue). We will be incorporating story elements such as pojnt of view, showing vs. telling, etc.

    We brainstormed some “infer” activities to help students understand, practice and apply this Reading Power Strategy.

    We discussed how we could incorporate technology further, to enhance student learning, especially for our L&L students.

  2. The Grade 6 Team says:

    The Grade 6 team met with Mike to determine how we could help our students with more effectively and independently using their assistive technology. We came up with a schedule that allows a small group of students to get some extra support and coaching in this area through working on story writing enhancements. This will connect well with the story writing project that is being worked on during Literacy time in class.

  3. Grade Two Team says:

    CILO February 12, 2014

    This week the grade 2 team worked on developing unit plans that focus on our next unit of study in Science. We developed learning groups and center ideas for students allowing science to be more interconnected to literacy. We also examined possible art projects that connect to our study of the Arctic region and boats and liquid. We examined some student work and journal writing and discussed how to incorporate Barbara Mariconda’s lessons and work into our literacy program and center activities. As a grade team we examined how to use math games and math visual to assist students in working on building number sense concepts. We are currently working in three small groups. We have been taking time to reflect on how students have shown growth and developed learning by sharing lessons, unit ideas and student work. We also examined possible convention topics that would assist us in building our guided reading lessons.

  4. The Grade 4 Teamsters says:

    Today the Grade 4 teachers were very happy to see each other and work together. We clued up the planning for our “Exciting Writing” unit on Poetry. We set up the assignment expectations, created self evaluations and chose related books from the Keeler commons. We have paired the strengths of Blanche Lamont with our expertise and experience to enable us to reach the different writing abilities within our classroom.

  5. Jen Arruda says:

    We planned the rest of our Science Senses Unit. Looked at the next goal in our Incredible Me book and thought of suggested field trips for upcoming projects. We also looked at the S4 program and how we could implement it into our classroom. Lastly we looked over the Convention Website. We miss the book!

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