We were doing narrative writing, lot of structure analysis and basically I had a lot of kids who found it too difficult. They couldn't come up with ideas and when they did they got jumbled everywhere because they couldn't sequence their actual ideas. So we would play the game and then we would use the game as a text and as a story, and then we'd duplicate that story and write it. So we did a lot of character descriptions, we also used it as a text in the sense that we pulled it apart for grammar, we found verbs and nouns and thought of adverbs et cetera.
It was wonderful because it was so clearly narrative episodes. Sometimes it would take us a few days to get through because we had to get from a beginning to an end except sometimes if we found that we couldn't get to the end we would finish our stories by to be continued. The kids liked that anyway, but it was good because there was a very clear carriage and it was always the same carriages, so that was good too. So that once we'd done his description we could always use him again in all of our stories and every now and then a new character would actually be introduced. It was good for setting because the settings were so vivid and so bright and we talked about them and we tried to increase our vocab and talked about what words we could use. There always a problem as soon as we identified the bomb we would stop the game and go right, so what's the problem in this story, where's it set, who's the character, now let's see how he's going to solve the problem. Then of course as in all narratives the problem isn't solved straight away.
What is the time frame of the project?
We played the game for hour long periods once or sometimes twice a week as a class. The children sat in front of the Play Station and passed around the control, taking turns.
What are the outcomes and achievements for this project?
The boy’s writing. Boys who wrote maybe one sentence were writing full pages of descriptive text and were able to follow the narrative structure. Its also hard to find texts that engage of the children, girls get bored or the boys get bored. With this no one got bored but they knew at the end we would be writing. They knew the game was a text and they knew that it had a purpose and it worked great, it was good.
Testimonials about the benefits of this project.
"I think it worked really well at this age level but I am not sure if it would work in the upper grade."
What is next for this project?
I am interested in using games with all grades so I think that I just need to find the right one for the class that I am working with. I have tried to use Temple Run app with year 7 also.