We’re Jade and Sam, teachers at Ealdham Primary School, and we had the pleasure of spending the day at Bannockburn Primary School with Tim and Sarah, and know that we learned even more about Myst, and other techniques, and their power to engage children.
We have been using some of the ideas already, and now want to take it even further.
What we’ve learnt from our sessions so far:
• Ensure that you’ve played the game before you introduce it to the children.
• We found it useful to plan some key vocabulary and focus questions before each session.
Although, the sessions are very much child led so be prepared to abandon at any time!
• Create an atmosphere; lighting, sound etc before the children come in.
• At the beginning we gave the children special writing journals and pens for use in the club.
• The children need to feel safe within the group to be able to take risks with their writing and talking.
So you need to be enthusiastic and excited and bring this to the sessions.
• It is essential to slow the game down as the children will want to rush through but it is easy to miss so many speaking and listening opportunities if you do this.
• We sat with the children and wrote with them, this allowed us to drop in the key vocabulary when we shared our writing.
• Initially we shared our writing to build the children’s confidence. Then we ‘stole’ some of the children’s ideas for our journals when they shared. This created a supportive learning environment which encouraged the exchange of ideas and thoughts.
• We made sure that we knew how far the game would advance in each session to encourage anticipation for the next session.
• It lends itself to a range of genres and reinforcement of text features.
• We set homework tasks based on their experience from that session and they used their journals for support.
• We began with a straight forward narrative followed be diary entries and letters.
• Once we had moved through several settings, we created a story map using pictures and words to encourage ownership.
• We’re now looking forward to creating a Myst display to share with the rest of the school and exploring different genres.
BEST PIECE OF ADVICE, GO SLOWLY AND ENJOY IT!
Note of caution- If you, like us , are running more than 1 Myst club or class make sure that the children know that they need to keep the details to themselves so they don’t spoil it for others!
What are we going to do differently now we’ve met Tim and Sarah?
• Myst – Slow down even more, we can’t believe some of the amazing scenery that we’ve myst (sorry, missed).
• Use running commentaries.
• More hot seating and drama.
• Use tactile methods to enhance the experience-buckets of water, sand etc.
• The use of Crazy Talk software to bring characters alive.
• Immerse the children in the game- make films and superimpose photos of the children onto the game.
• We need to ham it up more, we set the tone so we have to be immersed and totally engaged.
• Mix up the writing activities- keep it interesting and fresh.
• Increase the Speaking and Listening-use of translator so children have to summarise and pick out key points in an interesting, child friendly way. We envisage that this will require modelling and practise.
• Use of technology that we already have in school, e,g digital blue.
• The use of the World Wide Web and Tim’s blog (especially as we are now part of the in crowd and have the password to the locked bits!!).
• The use of Powerpoint as an interactive teaching aid.
• Important to remember that ICT doesn’t take over from pen and paper exercises but can be use as well as.
Category: 1) Events and Training days