I like assigning my students story prompts with built in problems. Otherwise, it can be a whole lot of pages of characters stretching as the sun comes up, brushing their teeth, going to breakfast, running to school, hearing the school bell ring go BRIIIIIING! and onwards and onwards. (If you’ve ever taught creative writing for any length of time, then you know this story all too well).
The Danger Island story idea revolves around the idea of a constrained location that has experienced an overpopulation of . . . something. So, imagine an island that has been infested with the creature you fear the most—snake, spider, lizard, etc. Then imagine that you’ve just been shipwrecked on it!
For this activity, I actually don’t assign the students the critter they are the most afraid of (though that would certainly be one way of doing it). What I normally do is bring in a bag of rubber creatures and have the students blindly pick. This is not only rather a fun moment, but also makes the danger seem that much more real to the students.
With their creature beside them for inspiration, the students then craft their maps, which gives them their basic settings and inspiration for the story. How will their characters survive?
Below are some of the photos of the activity in progress and then some final maps.