Both language arts and social studies teachers might consider presenting a “Fantasy Island” assignment to their students. This lesson works well as a cross-curricular activity. Ask the visual arts teacher to participate as well. In this assignment, students have the opportunity to show knowledge of geography and geographical terms, use their creative writing skills, and create a visual presentation based on their imagination. In addition, capitalization, use of apostrophes and other skills can easily be incorporated into the lesson.
How to Create a Fantasy Island Assignment
Explain to students that they will be creating an imaginary island which they will design according to any theme which appeals to them, one which will, of course, also fulfill the requirements of the assignment. Brainstorm ideas for the island. To get the brainstorming session going, you might suggest some of the following: “Basketball Island,” “Fashion Island,” “Video Game Island,” “CD Island,” and other ideas that represent student interests.
Hand out rubrics that you create based on the specific skills you would like to emphasize during this assignment. The rubric will explain in detail what the assignment should look like when it is finished and how many points will be awarded for each correctly executed element of the assignment. Ask each student to decide on an idea and check with you for appropriateness and for suitability to the assignment.
Provide each student with a large sheet of light blue construction paper and a smaller sheet of any light colored paper. The smaller paper will be cut into an irregular island shape and glued onto the center of the light blue “ocean.”
Ask students to set their island in an actual ocean or sea, which they should write on their paper, and to include at least three geographically appropriate details for that particular location. For example, there may be woods or palm trees; there may be mountains or desert. These should be sketched on the island and named.
Instruct students to leave reality behind once they have completed Step #3. Now they may let their imaginations take over, and, incorporating the theme they have come up with, they should design the island to their liking. Using magazine clippings and/or drawings, students will add roads, stores, public buildings, amusement parks, or any other details they wish to their project. Each detail should be labeled, should relate to the theme of their island, and should correctly address the skills on the rubric.
Make sure your model is based on a subject students would be unlikely to choose for themselves (“Writer’s Island” might be a good choice.)
Create a model which you have designed to give students the general idea of the assignment.