Deadly Islands (end of a course activity for pre-int+)

In one of the notes I mentioned I wanted to try the ‘island’ project. I got inspired by Mr. Stanley’s presentation, but adjusted the activity to my groups. First of all, it’s the project for the end of our course, so I wanted my students to revise what they’ve learnt in the last couple of months. The project is divided into three stages:

  • Designing an island

Every group (3-4 students) draws their island. It should be quite big (there will be post-its on them!) and colourful. They should also draw some particularly nice places, name and number them (Valley of the Elves, City that Never Sleeps etc.).

  • Describing threats

Naturally, as the project is called Deadly island, all those pretty places must be very dangerous, so the students make the lists of those traps and describe the threat. Valley of the Elves may be a place where the elves kill visitors, City that Never Sleeps may be a zombie-town etc. Children tend to be extremely creative when it comes to such places.

  • Making a list of challenges

The visitors will be in danger on the islands and the only thing that helps would be their knowledge of English, so the students have to make a list of challenges: name 20 animals in English/ explain 2nd conditional etc. Because of how much time would this task take, my students made the previous stages in one lesson (90 minutes), this stage was their homework (every student has to come up with 3-4 challenges) and the next lesson started with group work and making their lists. Naturally, if you don’t want to make it a revision, you may change the challenges to more entertaining ones: sing a song/ jump like a rabbit around the classroom etc.

Now, when all is done, it’s time for the game!

Each student visits every island and decides to investigate one of the numbered places (since they look so inviting). The creator of the place reads its description and tells the visitor that their death is unavoidable unless they take the challenge of answering a question. If the visitor answers it correctly, they survive; if not – they die, the visitor and the creator should make a short description of the event. Then the student makes a short report of what has happened in this place on a post-it and places it on the map, next to the place they visited.

When all the places are explored and post-its are on the maps, I make a huge map of Deadly Islands and it’s a nice poster on a wall, just to remind students, when they’re back in September, how useful English may be when facing zombies or elves.

Just to tell you a couple of examples of dangerous sites:

The most interesting place on this island is a fire breathing llama’s cave. Danger: this llama (Suzy) is fire breathing! (@ Poopland Island)

Rainbow Volcano – if you go there, the Nyan Cat will stuff you with sweets until you explode! (@ Chernobyl Toilet Island)

Dixit – a nice game for the end of a course


I haven’t updated my blog for a while, but I was quite busy passing my driving licence test, enjoying May minibreak (we had a week off!) and now making tests, correcting tests, writing certificates… oh, the joyous time for the teachers!

So, in order to make our life easier I want to share a really nice board game called Dixit. I used to play it with friends, but I decided to try it with my intermediate+ students who apparently fell in love with the game. It’s very easy to play and is perfect as an activity at the end of the course when the students know each other and are used to their specific ways of thinking.

The main point is to decipher people’s connotations – one person (a storyteller) puts a card on a table (without showing it) and says the clue: phrase/ word/ film title/ name etc. The rest of the players try to find a matching card from those 6 they have in hand (still, no showing). Then the cards are shuffled, showed and players must decide which card the storyteller chose. That’s really funny, because the cards are rather bizarre:


I played the game yesterday and I remember clues like ‘Hitler‘ (strangely, that was pictured by the kitty you can see in the picture above), ‘Middle Ages‘, ‘amniotic fluid‘ or ‘Maths’. That is why I recommend Dixit for the students and teachers who have known each other for a while – we all must be prepared for awkward situations (yup, a student went with a clue ‘vagina’ and we had pretty much fun when we saw all the cards, but then again, we’ve known each other for 4 years).

Meanwhile I realised the game is pretty good for the younger and less advanced students, they might use simpler vocabulary and grammar and have just as much fun as the older ones. Plus, for them it’s a real fun to play a real game (not created for educational purposes) in English!

Try the game and have fun! Holidays are almost here!