Children Speak Up and Create a Video Response to the Documentary “Blackfish”

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Children often have strong opinions about what goes on in the world around them, and can feel powerless to express their thoughts and to be heard, yet their thoughts can have a powerful effect on us all – two examples that come to mind are The Diary of Ann Frank, and the famous letter “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” .
Teachers must have their work cut out for them in today’s world, where because of media access children are bombarded with information and are witness to events from which they once were sheltered. How to help and empower them so that they can grow up to be contributing adults who work to solve problems may not be every teacher’s task, but it certainly is every teacher’s mission.
One such person is Mr. Parkinson, a computer specialist at a school in Manchester, England, who is focusing on teaching kids how to use ipads as a tool and who found the documentary film “Blackfish” touching and powerful. Because he felt that some of the content would be disturbing, he only has the children watch the trailer (below). The film is not scheduled to be released in Europe so there is no question that the kids would be exposed to the really disturbing events. Mr. Parkinson writes:

In my quest to find a topic that I want to ignite the children’s passion to write and share work through the school blog, I watched a very moving and interesting film over the summer called Blackfish. The documentary exposes the dreadful life of Killer Whales in captivity. Although I don’t feel the film is appropriate for children to watch and have emphasised this point with them (some scenes of the whales attacking trainers etc.) The message that it portrays, however, is one I wanted to share with the class. I wanted to use a real life issue to inspire writing and this is one that the film has really brought into the public eye.

From the children in Mr. Parkinson’s class:

Mr Parkinson told us about a film he watched over the summer called, Blackfish. This documentary explored the effects captivity have on killer whales. After Mr Parkinson told us a little about the film, we wanted to research some of the effects ourselves and were astonished to see how unfair and unnatural it is to keep these very intelligent animals in captivity. Mr Parkinson made it clear that the film wasn’t appropriate to watch however did show us a suitable clip that demonstrated some of the effects captivity has on Orca.
We wanted to start this topic with a bang and raise as much awareness as possible so we decided to make a class advert for this issue. We discussed features we could include to make our advert as effective and really grab people’s attention. We used camera effects and emotive music to set the mood. We used rhetorical questions to make the viewer think and persuade them to agree with our viewpoint.
If you agree with the message in our video, please help us raise awareness by sharing our video with as many people as possible. This will hopefully provide our blog with an audience to showcase the writing we will be producing over the next few weeks. We would also love it if you can comment on our video to let us know what you think. Some of the children have already been writing about this issue and you can read them here.

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