An Island of Despair -Analyzing Video Game Narrative-

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Note: Some of my products have some “out there” ideas. Make sure to look at the preview before purchasing. Everyone's classroom is unique and while these lessons work within my classroom, that may not be the case in another’s room.

"Hey, are you okay? Better luck on another day. This path some weren't meant to follow."
The Right Side of My Mind - Queensryche

The Narrator comes to Hebridean Island (main setting), to die after losing someone close to him in some form of accident. As it’s very ambiguous, it is never clear how often the Narrator has visited the island, nor why he has chosen the island as his final place of rest. From here, your students are off on a journey to explore the mind of a man and his island.

Wake Up Sunshine is proud to bring you An Island of Despair: Analyzing Video Game Narrative, based off the game Dear Esther, by The Chinese Room. If one is truly interested in reaching their students of the digital age, then this may be affordable lesson guide for you.

As with many of my products (especially my video game lesson guides), I strive to embed soft skills (21st Century Skills) to allow students to utilize the highest of thinking skills: synthesis, analysis, and evaluation. These skills are paramount to develop for an ever-changing job market and world.

Each of the five video clips are embedded and are combined with five activities (including a mentor sentence activity at the end.) Additionally, there are Cornell note taking activities and four extension activities to culminate the experience.

As a note to educators, the video game, Dear Esther, is rated at 13+. According to the website, "the story does cover some mature ground, including an accident caused by a drunken driver. There are no overbearing messages, but themes of love, loss, isolation, and the search for meaning permeate the narrative." Therefore, it is up to the teacher to use what they are comfortable with. As for myself, I have no problem teaching this guide with my 8th grade students.

Included in the Guide →
3 Terms of Use
4 - 7 Core Standards Met
8 Suggestions for Teaching
9 An Island of One
10 Characters
11 - 19 Character Cornell Note Sheets
20 - 25 Birth of an Island Video and Activities
26 - 31 Shipwreck Breeze Video and Activities
32 - 37 Tranquility Video and Activities
38 - 43 Flashback Video and Activities
44 - 49 Wings of an Angel Video and Activities
50 - 51 Narrator’s Mind Extension Activity
52 - 53 Ghost Sightings Extension Activity
54 - 61 Solitary Writing (Differentiation) Extension Activity
62 Blissful Silence Extension Activity
63 Inspiration Through Song Extension Activity
64 References

Therefore, if you're interested in taking your students on a beautiful, poetic, and heartbreaking journey, while motivating them to think on high levels, this may be just what you're looking for.

♦ For similar listings or items which work well with this one, please see below.

Link-Sane in the Membrane: Brain Empowering Activities

Link-Carried Off to Rapture - Analyzing Video Game Narrative

Link-Investigate Mental Illness: Creative and Analytical Activities

Link-Playing with Fire: Literary Activities to Inspire Students in the Digital Age

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Total Pages
64 pages
Answer Key
Does not apply
Teaching Duration
2 Weeks
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases by using context clues, analyzing meaningful word parts, and consulting general and specialized reference materials, as appropriate.
Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.


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