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Language Arts Lessons and Ideas

Page history last edited by liamodonnell 13 years, 2 months ago


Procedural Writing Activities


[Note: This is just the beginnings of an activity idea. It still needs to be fleshed out and a rubric created,etc. Please feel free to add anything that you think will be helpful.]


Adding to Melanie's Explorer's Journal page, which has great ideas for creative writing, I was thinking of ways we could use the game as a springboard for non-fiction and procedural writing. Understanding and creating non-fiction texts is always a popular unit with Primary learners as it lets them pick an area of interest and create texts around that. These activity ideas could be used for learners engaged and inspired by minecraft.


These activities assume some scaffolding in the mechanics of procedural writing. Teacher created minecraft guides can be used as a model for students too. The activitiy can happen either offline, but most likely students will want to be in game as they write to check their steps, etc. One way to ensure this works is to suggest the students making jot notes (point form), or a rough copy while playing the game. These notes can be refined and fleshed out offline.


Creating How To & Strategy Guides


Building a Structure

Pick a simple structure that you built and create a step by step guide on how you did it. Some things to consider: What materials do you need? How do you get those materials? What tools will you need? Where is the best place to build your structure (ie near water, high on a hill, etc)?


Have a friend follow your step by step guide to see how effective it is. Have you missed any steps? Are your instructions clear and easy to understand?


Finding Minerals

Create a guide that will help players find valuable minerals like coal and iron. Where are the best places to look (ie near water, under gravel?) What tools will you need before you start to dig?


Strategy Guides

 Write your strategies for defeating or avoiding creepers, skeletons and zombies. If you choose to fight, what weapons will you need? What tactics do you need to defeat the monster? (ie running from a creeper when you hear the "hissing" sound.)



A lot more possibilities - will add more coming days. - Liam



Comments (3)

pnplatt@gmail.com said

at 9:18 am on Apr 13, 2011

These are really nice ideas. My strongest suggestion would be to work with your students to create writing for "the real world." So, I might have the kids look at the Minecraft Wiki (http://www.minecraftwiki.net/wiki/Minecraft_Wiki) and see if they would add to or change any of the information or strategies presented there. In order to ensure the quality of what is posted to the Wiki, you could have your writing group collaborate to add content or how-tos to the Wiki, and then you could be the one registered user who actually posts the finalized content. Before your students start writing, be sure to have them do some research about the intended audience (gender, age, nationalities, etc.), and discuss how those audience characteristics will affect their word choice, etc. Also, if you can set up a multi-player server, the "chat" that is possible with multiplayer gaming provides lots of great "real world" writing opportunities. You can also reflect collectively about how they write differently based on who they're chatting with (again, emphasizing considering the audience). A book to look at for more ideas -- it has been enormously helpful for me and my son (a reluctant writer) -- is Ralph Fletcher's "Boy Writers: Reclaiming Their Voices" (http://www.amazon.com/Boy-Writers-Reclaiming-Their-Voices/dp/1571104259). Even though "boys" is in the title, the suggestions for specific actions in the classroom would definitely be helpful for girls, too. Good luck! I can't wait to hear about all the exciting writing outcomes.

liamodonnell said

at 4:00 pm on May 9, 2011

liamodonnell said

at 4:04 pm on May 9, 2011

Thanks for the feedback and I agree about the need to create authentic, "real world" writing for the students. Will keep it in mind as the unit progresses.

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