Spirited island

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					Spirited island
The isolation of islands makes them ripe for farfetched tales to develop about them. In storytelling 
and folklore there are tales of floating islands, disappearing islands, islands where frightening things 
happen and strange folk live.  
ANALYSIS                                                        Pitcairn Island has an interesting early history. Depict
                                                                this history in a cartoon strip showing the sequence
                                                                of events. http://government.pn/Pitcairnistory.htm

SYNTHESIS                                   Read the ‘Book of Islands Anthology’ (1971). The Anthology covers:
                                            Marvellous Islands; Man Alone; Supernatural Sites; Adventures and
                                            more. Select your favourite extract and make a diorama to illustrate the
                                           Read about the islands of Krakatoa
                                            and Atlantis. Use various sources to
                                            find information and present the
                                            details in an eBook or PowerPoint
PARADOX                                               Read the Dinotopia series by James Gurney set on the fictional
                                                      island of Utopia. The name ‘Dinotopia’ is a combination of
                                                      Dinosaur and Utopia. Ironically, Dinotopia means (in Greek)
                                                      ‘Terrible Place’, as dinosaur means ‘Terrible Lizard’, while utopia
                                                      means ‘good place’ or ‘no place’. Why do you think the island
                                                      was named Dinotopia?
                    Upon the hidden island of Dinotopia humans and dinosaurs live and work together in harmony
                    with one another and with the Earth itself (save for the few predators who roam the land). It is a
                    place of beauty and wonder lost to the rest of the world. The island itself is surrounded by
                    dangerous reefs that prevent safe travel to or from the island.
                    Aside from a highly diverse geography (ranging from deserts to mountains to swamps),
                    Dinotopia also has an extensive system of natural and man-made caves.
                    The dinosaurs, according to their own legends have inhabited the island for millions of years,
                    having sought shelter there during the climate changes that caused the extinction of dinosaurs
                    elsewhere on the planet.
                    The human population, on the other hand, consists of shipwrecked travellers (who are often
                    rescued and brought to shore by dolphins) and the descendants of such arrivals.
                    Both halves of the society share responsibility equally and live under a common set of laws
                    known as the Code of Dinotopia. The society is highly communal, lacking a monetary system
                    or even a concrete concept of ownership. Individuals are educated from youth to be
                    compassionate, cooperative, and generally conscious of others' needs. For example: food on
                    the island is provided at no cost, but citizens take only what they need and leave the rest for
                     Prepare a list of aspects of life on Dinotopia that are:
                         1. like your life on your island
                         2. not like your life on your island
                         3. similar but not exactly alike
                         4. how you might like life to be on your island.
ATTRIBUTE LISTING       See the References for a link to fictional islands; a list of islands that have been created for
                        films, literature, television or other media.
                        Many islands have strong religious traditions and monuments. List the traditions and
                        monuments that are most prominent on your island, now and in the past. Prepare a
                        brochure outlining these.
                        None of the major world religions developed on an island. Why might this be? What unique
                        aspects do island cultures bring to their religions? Shinto Buddhism developed in Japan,
              however; what is the connection between Japan’s island nature and the nature of Shinto?
              List the main religions that are found on islands around the world. Were missionaries of
              Christianity and other faiths common on islands during the 19th century?
              Discuss the impact of missionaries on island, in particular the Pacific islands. One impact
              was that the missionaries were responsible for the discontinuation of cannibalism on many
              islands. Expand your understanding about this area. Read about specific missionaries, e.g.
              Father Damian of Molokai and describe the impact of their lives and work on island people
              and cultures.
ANALOGY       Throughout history and in fiction, islands are seen as places of refuge, places to hide,
              places to escape to or from, places of happiness, places that offer a future or new life.
              Can you add to this list of what islands are seen as?
               Match this list with examples from history or fiction. Ask students from other islands to
               assist you to complete this list.
DISCREPANCY    The movie ‘King Kong’ is set on the mythical Skull Island, somewhere in the Indian Ocean.
               Is the movie pure fantasy or could a creature as large as King Kong develop and live on an
               island? Read scientists’ thoughts on the issue of island laboratories at:
               Although seen as ideal places to live, conflicts have impacted on islands throughout the
               years. Research some conflicts and think about why some islands were involved. Include in
               your reading:
                    o American Civil War
                    o WW11: Pearl Island, Kokoda, Midway, Guam, Guadalcanal, atomic bomb, Japan,
                       Channel Islands, Crete, Malta etc.
                    o The Falklands War
                    o Cold War (some Scandinavian islands, Sakhalin Island)
                    o Taiwan (Cultural Revolution).
                What impact have war related events / conflicts had on your island and continue to have?
                Are there still remnants of a war on your island? Discuss this with students from other
                What impact have war related events had on your island, e.g. nuclear bomb testing?
               Research the warriors and traditional tools of war on your island. Share your research in an
               interesting format with students from other islands. Are there similarities?
PROVOCATIVE                        Read ‘Island of Ogres’ by Linsey Namioka. Do all islands around the world
QUESTION                           have a story/ies about mythical creatures? Can you create an album of
                                   them? Set up a forum to talk to other students around the world about
                                   their island’s mythical creature/s.
                                 Look at the timeline for Islomania and read some of the entries, literature,
                                   and references to islands in history.
                                   http://www.islomania.com/oldsite/timeline/index.html Do the references
                                   reflect a European and romanticised view of islands? Discuss this
                                  Early references to islands in Celtic myth and lore, and legends of islands
               at the ‘edge of the world’ and the continuum of island literature and narratives from early
               times, show that the concept of the island is embedded into human consciousness. What
               does this mean? What is your concept of your island?
               Do a mindmap of all the things that come to mind when you think about your island. Share
               your mindmap with others.
EXAMPLES OF   ‘Virtual Island’ recently sold in 2004 for $US26, 500 Project Entropia's unique selling point
CHANGE         was the ability to convert real money into in game cash and vice versa. Read more at:
              Discuss why islands might be popular in the virtual world and how
               many virtual environments include islands. How are people
               earning money through this new phenomenon of virtual
               environments? Discuss the pros and cons of these environments.
              Read about the island that appeared in the Pacific in 2000 at:
               http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/stories/2000/130607.htm .
               Write the coverage of this event from the point of view and
               dialogue of two circling petrels.

EXAMPLES OF   If you were asked to curate a museum exhibition of 10 items that really reflected the soul of
HABIT         your island, what would you choose? Prepare a catalogue for the exhibition.
              Read ‘The Cay’ by Theodore Taylor; a classic of prejudice, love, and survival. The story is
                                 set in 1942, on the Dutch island of Curaçao, and involves an 11 year old
                                 boy, a deserted island and a change in attitudes. Undertake the activities
                                 at: http://www.ctcinc.org/Study%20Guides/The_Cay_Study_Guide.htm
                                 Read ‘A Pattern of Islands’ by Arthur Grimble and compare some of the
                                 customs and beliefs with those found in other islands.
                                 Select 6 artefacts from your island. Photograph them and see if students
                                 from other islands can guess what island it is.

SKILLS OF       Research some of the key events that have occurred on islands over the years both
SEARCH          fictional and non-fictional and consider whether the events only occurred because it was on
                an island. For example, the ‘Spider Island’ series.
                Research the work of Charles Darwin on the Galapagos Islands. Write a brief report of what
                he found on the island and what conclusions he reached.
                Atlantis is the name of an island first mentioned and described by the
                classical Greek philosopher Plato in his two dialogues, ‘Timaeus and
                Critias’. According to Plato, this island was situated ‘beyond the pillars
                of Hercules’. He said that ‘Atlantis sank in the waves in a single day
                and night of misfortune’ due to a natural catastrophe which happened
                9,000 years before Plato's time.
                  o Research some of the stories that have arisen from the Atlantis mystery. Is Atlantis a
                       myth or a reality?
                  o Can you reach a decision from your research as to where the island of Atlantis was
                       located? Undertake the Atlantis webquests at:
                       http://www.lifestreamcenter.net/DrB/Lessons/Atlantis/cover.htm and
                  o Paint a picture of your image of Atlantis.
                  o If Atlantis existed, how do you think Atlantis disappeared?
                  o Create a time capsule of your island. What would you put in it that would represent
                       your island? Bury the capsule in the school grounds to be opened in 20 years time.
                  o Present a digital image of the contents of the time capsule and share it with students
                       on other islands.
                Has Atlantis been found? Read more at: http://www.atlan.org/ and decide whether the
                island has been found or not.
                Why have islands been chosen for monasteries and
                religious retreats over the centuries? Reflect on your own
                island and that of other islands around the world. Consider
                the following in your research: the monasteries on Skiathos,
                Samos and Dianagat islands, Le Mont-Saint-Michel and
                Lake Tana monasteries.
ADJUSTMENT TO   Research stories and films where the central character/s has been a castaway on an
DEVELOPMENT     island. How have the characters survived? List how they have adapted to their environment
                and used the environment for their survival. Collate their problems and survival strategies.
                Make a booklet on how to survive on an island if you were stranded there.  
                 Include in your reading Robinson Crusoe (Daniel Defoe), Swiss Family Robinson (Johan
                 Wyss), Castaway and Secret of the Island (Jules Vern). Describe how the main characters
                 survived in these stories.

INTUITIVE       Imagine you could live on one of the islands described in a fictional
EXPRESSION      novel. Which one would it be? Why?
                Has every island a mystery?
                What if you were on Black Tom Island? Explore the mysterious
                explosion on Black Tom Island at:
                If you could travel in a time machine to witness an event on any island
                in the world, what would it be? Describe the journey. 
STUDY CREATIVE   ‘No Man Is An Island’. This is an old saying that originates from
PROCESS          a work by the 16th century poet John Donne. The saying                 Sculpture
                                                                                        ‘No Man Is an Island’
                 suggests that every person is interconnected and                       by Clark B. Fitzgerald 
                 interdependent with other people. It suggests that none of us
                 can really live a fulfilling existence without other people. Indeed,
                 it would be impossible for most of us to survive in our modern
                 world without the help of other people.
                 Discuss this saying.
                 View the sculpture titled ‘No Man is an Island’ by Clark
                 Fitzgerald. How well do you think Fitzgerald has captured the
                 saying? Design and make a sculpture that depicts your
                 interpretation of the saying. Create your own sculpture to depict
                 the saying.
TOLERANCE FOR    Read Lord of the Flies by William Golding and /or view the 1990 DVD, which is set on a
AMBIGUITY        fictional unnamed island. http://www.rit.edu/%7esjg2490/lotf/island.html .

                 William Golding presented numerous themes and basic ideas that give the reader
                 something to think about. One of the most basic and obvious themes is that society holds
                 everyone together, and without these conditions, our ideals, values, and the basics of right
                 and wrong are lost. Without society's rigid rules, anarchy and savagery can emerge.
                 Do you think this story could actually happen in the 21st century? Discuss your views with
EVALUATIVE       Can you assess the findings of scientists who tried to unravel the
SITUATIONS       mysteries on Easter Island? One mystery is how the islanders moved a
                 megalith without modern technologies.
                 http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/easter/ Include in your research:
                   o the history of the island -
                   o the chronicles of a team trying to solve the mystery of the Moai
                        http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/easter/ and
                   o the UCLA project aimed at solving the scientific and historical
                        mysteries of the statues - http://www.easterislandstatueproject.org/
                 Undertake the ‘Mystery Island’ activity at:
                 http://www.uen.org/Lessonplan/preview.cgi?LPid=502 where you will work with other
                 students in a committee of four in which you are stranded on an unknown island and have
                 to answer basic survival questions in order to find a settlement. There are four maps of the
                 same island with information on scale, water bodies, vegetation, landforms and climate
                 patterns, to study to help you through Mystery Island. Some key questions are:
                   o Where will your site of settlement be located? On the sea coast? Farther inland? Near
                        a good sea port?
                   o Where is the best place for a signal fire?
                   o What will be the source of your materials for shelter?
                   o Where will your source of fresh water be?
                   o What will be your source of fuel?
                   o Where is the best place to grow crops?
                   o Why is the region you selected a good place?
                   o Who should be the leader of the settlement? Captain of the ship? Leader of the
                        settlers? Someone elected?
                   o How might conflicts be settled? Will there be laws? If yes, give two examples of laws
                        you would want.
                 Complete a paper on the effects of the environment on the island settlement site.
CREATIVE             There are many legends that describe how the Hawaiian
READING SKILLS       Islands were formed. Research some of these. Write your
                     own fables or fairy tales about how the chain of islands was
                     formed or how your island was formed.
                     Explore the mystery of the money pit on Oak Island:
                     and http://www.csicop.org/si/2000-03/i-files.html.
                     Consider the theories and share your thoughts on an online
                     forum at: http://www.oakislandtreasure.co.uk/theo.htm
                     Are there similar mysteries on your island?
                     Read the article ‘The Dance of Islands and Continents, A St. Patrick's Day Parable’ by
                     Connie Barlow at: http://www.thegreatstory.org/IslandsContinents.html where it is
                     suggested that ‘sometimes the rare and the beautiful, can only emerge or survive in
                     isolation’. List examples on your island where this statement is true.
                     Read stories that have a focus on an island. Include:
                      o Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
                      o Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
                      o Floating Island by Elizabeth Haydon
                      o Dinototopia by James Gurney
                      o Dolphin Island by Arthur C. Clarke
                      o The Island of Dr Moreau by H G Wells
                      o Lilliput from the novel Gulliver’s Travels by
                           Jonathan Swift
                      o Anne of the Island by L M Montgomery
                      o The Island by Peter Sheehan
                      o The Little island by Golden MacDonald
                      o Rock of Ages: Life's a blast on Heimaey Island by Helen Gibson
                      o Coral Island by R M Ballantyne
                      List all the things that the islands have in common.
CREATIVE                                         Read Traditional songs and proverbs of the Virgin Islands which
LISTENING SKILLS                                 show us a different island culture. Record some of the traditional
                                                 proverbs, rhymes and songs of your island. Include your favourite
                                                 local fairytales, rhymes and proverbs.
                                                 In your own words, retell the story of
                                                 your island or memorable events
                                                 occurring on your island.
                   ‘Desert Island Discs’ is a long-running BBC Radio program.
                    Guests are invited to imagine themselves as castaways on a
                    desert island and asked to choose the eight pieces of music
                    they would take with them, as well as one book and one
                    luxury item.
                   Share what selection with others and discuss any similarities.
                   Organise your own program at your school and interview people about their choices and
                   play some of their musical choices. Tape the program and share as a podcast.
CREATIVE           Identify locations on your island that have colourful real or imaginary events or characters
WRITING SKILLS      associated with it and compile stories about them.
                   Read about the ‘Ugly Islands’, which were discovered in 1765
                    by Captain James Ugly. Undertake the activities and construct a
                    similar webpage about an island.
                   Create your own myth or mystery stories using your own
                    mysterious island locations.
                   Write some island poetry about a spot that is special to you.
                   Create your own blog, to communicate your island life.
                   Consider plots and narratives that could only occur on an island.
                    Provide examples and explain why an island is needed.
                   Visit a memorable local island place. Complete a series of reflective writing tasks, by
                    focussing upon atmosphere, mood, sensory experiences, change through time and sense
                    of place.
                    View DVDs such as ‘Lost’, ‘Castaway’, Jurassic Park and ‘Gilligan’s Island’. Write your own
                    story that requires an island to be the setting.
                  Use the internet and other sources to research and read about
                  expeditions that were formed and carried out to observe the Transit of
                  Venus during the 18th and 19th centuries. Present information on
                  some of the events that took place during these expeditions; many of
                  which were to islands.
VISUALISATION     Make a film recreating a local myth or your own imaginary one.
                  Design a tour of the ‘mysterious’ parts of your island. Draw a map.
                  Design a stamp or postcard for your island, post it and email it to a partner
                  school, discuss the benefits and problem of the two communication forms.
                  View the video / DVD The Island. Consider the plot and the likelihood of this
                  really occurring. View other DVDs that focus on mysteries on islands, such
                  as King Kong or Jurassic Park. Develop a movie script about a mysterious
                  happening or event occurring on your island. Make a short video clip of the
                  The 10 tonne stone statues on Easter Island are an expression of human creativity and a
                  telling of the past. With these works, island craftsmen preserved details of their ancestry
                  and culture.
                  Using hebel blocks carve an Easter Island – type statue that relates to events on your
                  island. Could you construct a virtual statue with students from other islands all contributing?
                  Play the series of Play Station games titled Escape from Monkey Island. How well have the
                                         game makers captured the essence of being on an island?
                                          Develop a digital map of your ideal island. Name the locations and
                                          hyperlink each location to more detailed information or activities.
                                          View extracts from the TV Series Lost. Use this site
                                          http://www.lostpedia.com/wiki/Island and listen to the clues and
                                          information given by the main characters to try and locate the position
                                          of the fictional island on a world map.

                  Consider the above digital artwork by Khalid of a floating island. Create a story around this
                  island. Design your own image of a floating island.
                  Design greeting cards and postcards that feature a mysterious event or place on your
                  island. Collect and swap postcards with students on other islands.
STUDY OF PEOPLE   Interview someone who practices an island religion. Prepare interview questions that will
                  help you to gain an understanding of the core beliefs of the religion.
                  Read of some real-life castaways at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castaway. Choose one
    castaway for an in-depth study and share your findings
    with others. What difficulties did they encounter on the
    Pirates and islands are closely linked, both historically and
    currently. Map the islands where real and fictional pirates
    have been linked.
     Prepare an online map that hyperlink to the island,
     information about the pirate/s and the island.
     Be involved in ‘Talk like a pirate day’ at:
     Piracy is still a worldwide maritime problem along all
     heavily frequented ship routes. Major regions of recurrent
     armed robberies or even piracy are around the Bay of
     Bengal, the Gulf of Guinea and parts of South America
     and the southeastern Asian seas. In 2001, 150 of the
     worldwide roughly 300 pirate attacks were committed in
     southeastern Asian waters with the Malacca Strait (36 attacks) and the Flores Sea (91
     attacks) being the most dangerous sea routes. Research this modern day piracy and its
     links with islands.
    The United Nations have identified five ‘Island Masterpieces of th Intangible Heritage’:
          1. Cuba: The music of the Oriente Brotherhood
          2. Dominican Republic: The Cultural Space of the Brotherhood of the Holy Spirit of
               the Congos of Villa Mella, - performed principally at religious festivals and funeral
               ceremonies, with the Brotherhood musicians playing hand-drums called ‘congos’.
          3. Dominican Republic: The Maroon Heritage of Moore Town, home to one of the
               island’s few surviving communities of former runaway slaves known as Maroons,
               whose ancestors escaped in the early 1600s’.
          4. Tonga: Lakalaka Dances and Sung
               Speeches, widely considered as the national
               dance of Tonga, performed by entire
               communities to celebrate the coronation of
               the monarch, inauguration ceremonies and
               other significant events.
          5. Vanuatu: Sand Drawings, not just a time-
               honoured artistic expression, but a veritable
               means of communication among the members of some 80 different language
               groups inhabiting the central and northern islands of this archipelagic country.
           What does a ‘masterpiece of the intangible heritage’ mean? Try to explain it to a group
          of students. Research these masterpieces and form a debate as to whether these
          examples are masterpieces or not.
          Do you think your island has a masterpiece/s of intangible heritage that could be
          nominated for consideration by the United Nations? If so, prepare a letter and report
          for the UN, stating your case.
    Who are the religious leaders on your island? Interview leaders to gain understanding of a
    religion that you know little about.
    Read the history of the island of Molokai at:
    http://visitmolokai.com/hist.html, where it is stated that Molokai
    was renowned for the wisdom and power of its religious
    leaders, greatly respected and often feared by others in the
    archipelago, as well as its prophets, sorcery and legends.
    Reflect on your island’s history; is it similar to that of Molokai’s
    or were there different leaders and traditions. Do a
    comparative historical study of your island and Molokai.

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