Using Myst 3 for Descriptive Writing

It has been about a year since I began writing about using Myst 3 in the classroom. The last literacy unit of the term saw our Year 5 classes make their first forays into using the game and the second time we have used it in support of writing.

I love to use games in the classroom to support and inspire learning – at their best they are richly engaging and hugely motivating. This year we repeated much of the successful ways of introducing the game slowly; hooking the children into the narrative well before we switched on any computers.  Myst 3 has such a rich narrative and back story this is not difficult to achieve.

One of the major differences in our class work this year was that I decided to take the more conventional route of working on descriptive writing. Last year we completed some great transactional text in the form of game guides. This year I began a simple task of improving on some simple sentences shared in a Google Doc for my students. The kids made such a good start to this that I invested the rest of our time on expanding on what we began.

Here is an example of one of my student’s work in Google Docs – you can see that I added a table of key vocabulary from the Myst narrative.

The smiley face and marking is something I added as the child progressed with their work. I used Insert>Comment in Google Docs for this (Shortcut: Control+M) These comments are useful in three ways:

  1. Coloured to stand out and be distinct from the rest of the child’s work.
  2. Timestamped automatically so that commenting and marking can be kept a track of.
  3. Named automatically so that a comment belongs to a particular user.

Have a look at my Marking work in Google Docs blog post for more ideas about common assessment of work in this way.

The second comment as I am sure you have realised is from the student who has responded in kind and let me know the changes she has made since my comments. Additionally she refers to some peer assessment that the class did in pairs to help review and improve their writing.

Alongside this work we helped the Year 2 children with their Myst unit – similar in our approach to last year but with different outcomes. The Year 2 teachers wanted their children to create some poetry based around their seaside curriculum unit. The Year 5s acted as Myst guides and helped the younger children explore the island in more detail, develop vocabulary and language collections and ideas for their seaside poems. Once these poems were completed we supported them in some simple Photostory work as a performance of the poems.

It has once again proven to be a hugely successful and engaging unit both within the remit of our own writing and in the process of supporting the younger children to engage with the game as well.

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