Children are inspired to write creatively with computer games

LITERACY From left, Alisha Ware, Lottie Johnson Demi Scott and Mia Megiffen. ''Picture: Paul Jacobs (14617-6)
LITERACY From left, Alisha Ware, Lottie Johnson Demi Scott and Mia Megiffen. ''Picture: Paul Jacobs (14617-6)
Charlie Dickie at the Havant Sixth Form campus of HSDC Picture: Habibur Rahman (171065-43)

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Youngsters at Purbrook Junior School had an amazing week practising their literacy skills as part of our annual Writers’ Week, writes English leader Rob Turner.

Each year we try to create new and interesting ideas to motivate and engage our children. This year was no exception.

As a way of encouraging all of them we decided to base the week around the idea of gaming – something we felt would relate to all 21st century boys.

Using a well-known computer game from a range called Myst, the children were taken on a 3D journey through rich computerised worlds where they encountered different characters and faced a range of dilemmas that needed solving.

They used this as inspiration to write their own adventure stories.

The teachers were astounded by the quality of work that they were producing. The language being used was vivid and adventurous.

The children were completely immersed in the game and often didn’t realise they were actually working.

Year groups then planned further activities during the rest of the week that supported this theme.

Some were using the X-Box or PlayStation to play, review and commentate on games.

Others used photographic applications on our school computers that allowed them to sequence their own stories through drawings and record their voices in a presentation show.

One afternoon we were visited by Mark Eyles, who is the course leader at the University of Portsmouth for computer game design technology.

He spoke to the children about the history of game making and how people actually make money producing computer games – the children were shocked and very enthused.

This led to them designing and making their own computer games in the form of a portfolio that we cannot wait to send off to Mark for his feedback.

We also hope to send some of the game ideas to gaming companies.

If you mix all of this excitement with the daily fitness sessions the children took part in every morning, we certainly enjoyed a full and rewarding few days, all celebrated together in an exciting sharing assembly on the last day.

Representatives from each class were able to share what they had completed during the week and the whole school watched as their teachers battled it out in a Super Mario Cart final on the Wii.