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Deserted Island - Writing/Speaking Activity with Practicing Critical Thinking Skills

by Joanna Machinska | 28 May 2021
Resource Description: This activity is designed for practicing writing and speaking with critical thinking skills and teamwork. Students are asked to first work individually, then in small group to cooperate and negotiate. Students have a discussion in a small group, and at the and produce the dialog between all group members.
Audience: Adult, Elementary, Secondary
Audience Language Proficiency: Advanced, Intermediate
Duration: 1 hour
Objective(s): The main objective is to practice writing and speaking with using critical thinking skills. Also, teamwork and negotiating skills will be practiced in this activity.

Students will be able to express their opinions and produce/perform a dialog in front of the classroom.

Some grammar lessons, like using modals, could be also practiced during this activity.

Activity Description:

1. The students are placed in small groups of 4-5 students.

2. The teacher explains the story: "Each group will travel to a desert island. They need to survive there for a couple of weeks." 

3. The group is given the slips of paper with items chosen by the teacher. For example: matches, a toothbrush, a compass, a knife, a rope, antiseptic ointment, chocolate, a book, a magnifying glass, a sewing kit, etc. With the lower level students, a review of the vocabulary might be necessary.

4. Each student is given around 10 minutes to individually write 3 sentences about the 3 items in their opinion should be taken to the island in order to survive there. Alternative: For the lower level students, the teacher might give the students sentences to complete.

"We should bring …………………………………., because ………………………"

5. After each student finishes writing/completing the sentences, students as a group discuss their individual opinions. Each student in the group should participate in the discussion, explaining their selections. At last, students are asked to choose 3 items together as a group and explain this selection.

TIP: Speaking: This activity can be a component of the grammar lesson about modal verbs, where students are asked to use modals: should/could/might/can correctly in the sentences and speaking activity.

6. After selecting 3 items as a group, students write out one dialog per group using the vocabulary and grammar correctly. Students are encouraged by the teacher to support their opinions with details, using informal language. Finally students in groups present their dialogs in front of the class.