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Many of us will identify with the idea of the “castaway” marooned on an island at this time. Being stuck in unfamiliar territory, the struggle with solitude, being separated from loved ones and unable to get on with “normal” life. However, the materials I’m sharing today are not directly about the challenges of COVID lockdown, and they focus on the positives rather than negatives, so perhaps more of an escape than a trap (hence the cartoon above)!

The first part is a speaking activity looking at four fictional accounts of castaways: The Lord of the Flies, Cast Away, Lost and Robinson Crusoe. This is supported with summaries of each story (mainly for the teacher, but can be made into a hand out). All of this is preparation for the reading activity “The Real Lord of the Flies” taken from a recent Guardian book review on Rutger Bregman’s Humankind which tells the story of six Tongan school boys who were marooned and survived for 15 months on an inhospitable Pacific Island before being rescued.

The ever popular BBC radio interview programme “Desert Island Discs”, where well known guests have to select their favourite recordings along with a book and a luxury item that they would take with them when they were stranded on a desert island, make for a great speaking activity for learners to be both interviewers and guests.

Finally, focusing on the practicalities of survival on a desert island, there are some picture cards of useful tools and equipment and a selection of activities and games to use them with to practice using a variety of language.

As always, I’d love to hear what you think of these materials. You can post something in the comments section below or send a message. All feedback is most welcome!

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