A Voyage of Endurance

Author: Jill Torrey Emmons

Time: 2 class periods
15 minutes
Materials: Documentary film on Shackleton’s expedition, TV/VCR: The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition (2000)
Handout: Journaling with Shackleton


This lesson wraps up the learning cycle on journal writing, even though the class will continue to write in their class journals throughout the year. Students will apply what they have learned about the three different types of journal writing by composing one of each type on the subject of Shackleton’s expedition to Antarctica. They will do this after watching the film The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition. Before watching the film, students will compose a personal journal entry on the expedition. While watching the film, students will write a dialectical journal summarizing the facts of the expedition and analyzing the ways in which the film presents the expedition. After finishing the video, students will compose a creative journal entry in which they will write a fictional news article about the voyage.

Purpose – This is a second “apply” lesson for this learning cycle. Students will have the chance to apply what they have learned about journal writing not only to practice composing the three types of journal entries, but also to understand the vital role that the journals of the expedition members played in preserving this historical adventure.

Students will be able to:
1. Analyze and evaluate the impact of visual media on the intended audience.
2. Compose 3 distinct types of journal writings which reflect the purposes for which they are designed.

National English Education Standard
Standard 8: Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.

Standard 6: Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and non-print texts.

Teacher Background
The instructor should be familiar with the history of Sir Ernest Shackleton, the events of his 1914 expedition to Antarctica, and the diary entries written by him and members of his expedition. You will need to obtain the film The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition, directed by George Butler II and narrated by Liam Neeson. It is available in most video stores on VHS or DVD, and available for purchase online as well. A wonderfully rendered documentary, approximately 97 minutes long. If you wish, you may use one of the other films available on the expedition, there are several.

Related and Resource Websites



Day 1
1. Have copies of the handout Journaling With Shackleton ready to give to students as they come into class. Instruct them to read over the handout completely before getting started with the activity in part 1, which is their personal journal entry of the day. Give the students a few minutes to look over the handout, and then about 5 minutes to complete part 1.

2. Explain to the class that they will be watching a film about Shackleton’s Antarctic journey. The film will take two days to watch, and they will have to complete three journal entries by the end of the film. The criteria for each journal entry is outlined on the handout. Tell the students to pay careful attention to the film and to write their dialectical journal entry while watching. After finishing the film on the following day, students will write a creative journal entry about the expedition following the directions on their handouts.

3. Begin watching part 1 of the film (about 45 minutes). Students should be listening carefully and writing down facts from the film, while analyzing the director’s presentation of the expedition in a dialectical journal entry. Explain to the class that they will continue their dialectical journals the following day, and these will be collected at the end of the period on that day.

Day 2
1. Due to the length of the film, the class should begin watching part 2 as soon as the bell rings. Remind students to continue working on their dialectical journal entries, paying close attention to the facts as they are presented by the director. This second part of the film may take all of the period (about 50 minutes).

2. If time allows, the students may work on their creative journal entries in class. Otherwise, they may be finished for homework and turned in the following school day.

3. Collect the students’ personal and dialectical journal entries for assessment before they leave.

You may wish to spend a portion of a third class period discussing and analyzing the film.

Creative journal entries from Day Two may be finished as homework.

Embedded Assessment
Students can be assessed during discussions after the film to monitor their comprehension. The teacher should also assess the journal entries to ensure that students understand how to use these tools. The creative journaling project should be collected and assessed for proper use of creative writing conventions.

PULSE is a project of the Community Outreach and Education Program of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center and is funded by:

NIH/NCRR award #16260-01A1
The Community Outreach and Education Program is part of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center: an NIEHS Award


Supported by NIEHS grant # ES06694

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Last update: November 10, 2009
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