I heard the wind above me in the sails. I remember thinking, this is silly, you haven’t got your safety harness on, you haven’t got your lifejacket on. You shouldn’t be doing this… I was in the cold of the sea before I could even open my mouth to scream.
Teaching Ideas and Resources:
- Before reading the story, look at the chapter titles. Can you predict what might happen as the story progresses?
- Read the first sentence of the story: ‘I disappeared on the night before my twelfth birthday’. Why has the author used this as the first sentence? Could you use it as the start of your own story?
- Make a list of reasons for and against going on the sailing trip around the world.
- Imagine that you were joining Michael on the Peggy Sue. What things would you take with you? Why?
- Create a set of instructions to teach people how to stay safe on board the Peggy Sue.
- Imagine that you have just woken up alone on an island. Write a story that explains what happens next.
- Write some instructions to help people survive on a desert island.
- Imagine that you could interview Michael, Kensuke and / or his parents. What would you ask them? How might they respond at different points in the story?
- Imagine that Michael’s log book had floated ashore on the island. Can you write some more entries in it to describe his time there?
- Make a persuasive poster to discourage people from hunting and poaching.
- Discuss how the characters in the story change as time goes by.
- Michael’s entry in the log on his journey home after being discovered by his parents.
- Write some letters between Michael and Kensuke a few years after he returned home.
- Turn the story (or part of it) into a playscript and perform it. Watch this video of a stage version for inspiration:
- If you could ask the author questions about the book or his work, what would you ask? Watch this video in which he shares the answers to his five most asked questions:
- Michael spots a lot of amazing creatures on his adventure. Can you find out more about one (or more) of them?
- Design your own islands using Minecraft. Mr P’s ICT Blog has more information about this activity.
- Listen to the audiobook version of the story. Could you record your own audio version or the story (or part of it)?
- Use Powerpoint / video software to make a book trailer. Here is an example:
- Design a shelter to keep Michael safe on the island.
- Create a plan view of Kensuke’s cave house, using information from the book to include the correct features.
- Michael and Kensuke make a range of objects using materials from the island. Could you make your own clothes / equipment / tools using natural materials found on the ground?
- Design a vessel that could help Michael get away from the island.
- Look at the author’s illustrations in the book. Could you create your own versions?
- Could you create a comic-strip version of the story?
- Draw some sketches of the things that Michael saw during his time on the Peggy Sue, while he was on the island and inside Kensuke’s cave house.
- Choose a chapter (or a few pages) and create a storyboard that shows the main events.
- Imagine that the story was made into a film. Could you compose the soundtrack for different chapters?
- Create your own map of the island, using information in the book (and Michael Morpurgo’s illustrations) to help you (see Resources below).
- Add the locations of the main events in the story to the map.
- Look at the map of the world, as shown in the book. Can you identify the places Michael travelled to? Can you find out more information about each place? Could you calculate the distance that he travelled?
- While on his journey on the Peggy Sue, Michael uses a sextant, takes compass bearings, plots a course and fills in the longitude / latitude in the ship’s log. Can you learn how to do some (or all) of these tasks?
- Create a timeline that shows the main events in the story.
- Find out some of the languages spoken in the places that Michael visited.
- Use the glossary at the back of the book to learn some Japanese. Can you find out any other Japanese words?
- Michael’s father has a dream to sail around the world. Do you have a dream? What steps do you need to take to achieve it?
- Michael kept his promise to Kensuke. What does a promise mean? Has anyone ever asked you to keep a promise?
Washed up on an island in the Pacific, Michael struggles to survive on his own. With no food and no water, he curls up to die. When he wakes, there is a plate beside him of fish, of fruit, and a bowl of fresh water. He is not alone…