Whale Rider Teaching Resources

A couple of posts ago, I made a call for resources on teaching The Whale Rider, by Witi Imahaera. Unfortunately, my impression is that few people are teaching this novel (not all that surprising), thus don’t have a lot of resources. In fact, in searching, I found many more resources for teaching the film than I did for teaching the novel. I think the sources I’ve found should help spark some ideas as I plan for this unit.

I did notice, however, that several recent hits on my blog came from people looking for resources on this novel, so I thought I’d share what I’ve found, hopefully to provide resources and/or inspiration for others. If you find other resources, please feel free to share them – I’ll gladly post them up here in an edit or follow-up. 

Teaching Resources

  • By far the best resource I found is the Heinemann Teacher’s Guide [pdf] for the novel. Includes teaching strategies, activities, and a few lesson plans. Though I wish it was longer, this is a nice resource.
  • Another great resources for those teaching the novel: Rowan Pita at English Online shares a unit plan for teaching the Whale Rider, including assessments and activities related to the novel.
  • The Trinity College Library has a nice list of resources about the author, the novel, the film, and Maori culture that is worth checking out. Most of the links are to reviews and articles about the book/film, but those could easily be used as additional sources in a unit.
  • Fiona Murray, Winifred Jackson, and Brian Finch at Massey University College of Education [pdf] produced a brief guide to teaching the film. However, this guide discusses themes, motifs, and main plot points that apply to the novel. There are also a couple of additional resources mentioned.
  • Though it focuses on the film, Cambridge Park High School’s Whale Rider Curriculum Unit [doc] is so nice, I had to include it in this list. Focusing on the cultural and gender issues in the film, this unit seems like it could be easily adapted to the novel.
  • Sarah Mornston shared her Antigone/Whale Rider Unit on Curriki, which includes a number of activities and documents she uses in her unit, several of which focus on gender issues in both works.
  • MediaEd – Teaching Whale Rider. Another film resource, this site notes a couple of main themes and images.

Hopefully those of you out there who are teaching this novel will find these resources helpful in trying to build your unit. Best of luck!


9 responses to “Whale Rider Teaching Resources

  • bhang3

    mr. hurt. ^^

    i thought i should tell you: i’ve been hired as a biology teacher at the seattle urban academy.

    any tips for a noob?

  • Edumacation Greatest Hits « Edumacation

    […] Whale Rider Teaching Resources: A collection of links to online and print resources for those who are teaching the novel, The […]

  • Annette V

    I really appreciate his wealth of information. I am about to teach the Whale Rider movie to my students – and these resources are going to be an amazing help!!! Thank you so much for sharing…

  • thehurt

    @Annette V: I’m glad you’re able to use these! It’s an encouragement to know that others are able to benefit. Thanks for reading!

  • Anne Poulsen

    Thank you so much for the collection of teaching resourses for “The Whalr Rider”. I’m teaching english in Denmark and this film is one of my favourite N.Z. films, along with “Once were Warriors” to use as study background for the subject of Maori culture. Thank you very much for all your help. Anne

  • Darren

    Great resources, thanks for all the help. So important to see the interconnection of it all.

  • Mike

    Thanks for your initial query regarding Whale Rider. I will be using the film for the first time today in my class. I’d be happy to send you a copy of the assignment guidelines if you like.

  • Samantha

    Hi there, both times I tried the links for the Heinemann guide and English Online guide I reached a page that said, ‘Page Not Found’. I was wondering if you had downloaded these guides to your own computer and could send them by email? I’m teaching Whale Rider, the novel, but there is very little out there to support creating my own unit.

  • tues

    Hi there,

    I was wondering whether you did eventually teach the whale rider? How did it work with students? I’m considering using it here in the UK?

    Would love to hear from you
    T (feel free to contact me tday31@gmail.com)

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