Learning Summary

Students will the study the sustainability of the marine environment in an integrated literacy program using the texts ‘Blueback‘ and ‘The Deep‘  written by Western Australian author, Tim Winton.

Book blurb – Blueback:

Abel Jackson has lived by the sea at Longboat Bay ever since he could remember. He helps his mother each day and loves to dive. One day he meets Blueback, the biggest and most beautiful fish he has ever seen.

When Abel’s mother is approached by developers, she decides she must do something to protect their fragile piece of coastline, but can Abel and his mother save Blueback and Longboat Bay in time?

Book Blurb – The Deep:

Alice’s family lives by the sea. Every day they run down to the jetty and jump into the smooth, dark water. They look like a bunch of dolphins leaping and laughing. But Alice misses out. She’s afraid of the deep. She is afraid of what might be down there where the water turns from green to blue and you can’t see the bottom. Then, one day some new friends come into the bay and Alice forgets to be scared.

About the author:

Tim Winton has published 21 books for adults and children, and his work has been translated into 25 languages. Since his first novel, An Open Swimmer, won the Australian/Vogel Award in 1981, he has won the Miles Franklin Award four times (for Shallows, Cloudstreet, Dirt Music and Breath) and twice been shortlisted for the Booker Prize (for The Riders and Dirt Music). He lives in Western Australia.


Teacher preparation:

Background information on the key species in these lessons can be found in the Fact Sheets: Western blue groper and abalone.

You will require –

  • a class set of the book, Blueback by Tim Winton,
  • images of the different book covers of Blueback (there are at least 8 different covers),
  • a copy of The Deep, by Tim Winton.

The Lesson: The Deep introduces the book The Deep, and requires the text in the book to be masked for the first reading.

The following chapters are suggested as shared whole class reading for the purposes of the discussions that may follow:

Western Australian curriculum

English Language Text structure and organisation ACELA1531, ACELA1504
English Language Expressing and developing ideas ACELA1512, ACELA1525
English Literature Literature and context ACELT1613, ACELT1619
English Literature Responding to literature ACELT1620, ACELT1609, ACELT1621, ACELT1614
English Literature Examining literature ACELT1622, ACELT1616
English Literacy Interacting with others ACELY1699, ACELY1709, ACELY1719, ACELY1710, ACELY1720
English Literacy Interpreting, analysing, evaluating ACELY1721, ACELY1701, ACELY1711
The Arts Visual arts Making ACAVAM115, ACAVAM116
Science Science understanding Biological sciences ACSSU112, ACSSU094
Science Science as a human endeavour Use and influence of science ACSHE100
HASS Knowledge and understanding Civics and citizenship ACHASSK117
HASS Knowledge and understanding Geography ACHASSK112
HASS Inquiry and skills Analysing ACHASSI099
HASS Inquiry and skills Communicating and reflecting ACHASSI105

Unit of work

Lesson Lesson summary Outcomes Additional resources required
Introduction to Blueback This lesson is an introduction to the text, Blueback. Students will discuss the author, the different covers of the book and engage in a shared reading of the first chapter.
  • Students will analyse and evaluate similarities and differences in texts.
  • Students will participate in and contribute to discussions, clarifying and interrogating ideas, developing and supporting arguments.
The language of Winton Students will explore the descriptive language used in the text Blueback and the impact that this has on the reader to build meaning.
  • Students will explore the use of vocabulary to build meaning, feeling and opinion.
  • Students will reflect and present a point-of-view about the main characters in the text.
  • Students will participate in and contribute to discussions, clarifying and interrogating ideas, developing and supporting arguments.
Imagery in words Students will use the descriptive language provided to create an image of a setting in the text Blueback.
  • Students will explore how vocabulary choices express shades of meaning and feeling.
  • Students will look at how language and images create character and influence emotion and feeling.
  • Students will develop and apply techniques and processes to create an artwork.
Exposition Students will explore the features for an exposition and create a persuasive poster for a particular marine species or habitat.
  • Students will understand how scientific knowledge is used to inform personal decisions.
  • Students will understand how the structure and language in informative and persuasive texts is more complex.
  • Students will understand that language features shape meaning and vary according to audience and purpose.
Debate Students will plan for and play a part in one side of a debate to either advocate for or argue against Costello’s way of fishing.
  • Students will learn about the structure and purpose of persuasive texts.
  • Students will explore the complex language used to identify viewpoints and express greater precision of meaning in persuasive texts.
  • Students will plan, rehearse and deliver one side of a debate.
  • Students will understand the importance of scientific knowledge in informing personal and community decisions.
Ecological footprint Students will investigate some human impacts on the marine environment and develop informative posters for their school community.
  • Students will identify potential sources of human impact on the marine environment.
  • Students will consider how language choice and imagery build emotional connection.
  • Students will use scientific knowledge to inform personal and community decisions.
The Deep Students will study the Tim Winton picture book, The Deep and compare the style of text to Blueback.
  • Students will analyse similarities and differences between two Tim Winton texts.
  • Students will identify how texts vary in purpose, structure and topic.
Fishing for abalone In this lesson, students will consider the impact of overfishing and investigate the recreational abalone fishing rules.
  • Students will reflect on their own ideas and opinions about characters and events.
  • Students will consider the way that language and images are used to create character and influence emotion.
  • Students will consider the effect of human impacts, in particular overfishing.
  • Students will understand how scientific knowledge is used to solve problems and inform personal and community decisions.
Blueback Students will study the Western blue groper in detail and compare the difference between the fiction text Blueback and their written informative text in terms of structure and language.
  • Students will explore how different texts vary in purpose, structure, topic and formality.
  • Students will deliver an informative presentation – visual or verbal – for a defined audience.
  • Students will research the biological features of a Western blue groper.





blueback, tim winton, the deep, overfishing, sustainability, western blue groper, costello, abel, abalone, debate, exposition, persuasive text, endemic, western australia, fisheries