"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 Commonsensemedia.org, "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.
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.
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