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Using Hidden Object Games to Teach Literacy

A presentation for the TAIR Conference in Denton-2011 where I present a lesson plan that uses a hidden object video game to support descriptive writing.
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Joy Blackwell

on 17 September 2011

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Transcript of Using Hidden Object Games to Teach Literacy

How Can I Use a Hidden Object Video Game to Support My Students' Descriptive Writing?

Joy Blackwell
TAIR Conference 2011
NSTWP Teacher Consultant
English, Speech, and Reading Teacher- Alvord high School Apps Teachers Can Use Where’s Waldo books are present in every elementary library. Children who pick up the books are greeted by a colorful landscape, and are delighted with the challenge to search for Waldo. As they are doing this, students develop their ability to pay attention to detail, a skill that can then be transferred to descriptive writing. When browsing the I-Tunes store, this one popped out at me because of the Einstein look-alike character. I was rewarded with a game that showed a screen-shot of the theory of evolution, and another about dinosaurs. I could see a science teacher at any level using screens from this game. Alice in Wonderland is a book that is so enmeshed in our culture that most Americans, even if they haven’t read Lewis Carroll’s version, know the storyline. It is engaging, captivating the audience into the secret world through the rabbit-hole. Students playing this game can not only draw inspiration from the scenery and vocabulary, but they can be hooked into wanting to read the book. This game is wonderful for early readers. Each board features items that all begin with the same letter. For older readers, this could be paired with a study on alliteration, consonance, and assonance. You could pair this game with non-fiction articles about people who have climbed Mt. Everest, or perhaps you could teach it in conjunction with a Gary Paulsen story. This history-based hidden object app could be paired with a unit about the Civil War in American Literature. Perhaps it would be a good entry point to discuss who Stonewall Jackson was, or what happened at Manassas. I would also consider pairing this with one of the most influential novels ever written, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” Who wouldn’t want to teach Shelley’s Frankenstein? What I like about this game is that the various levels have beautiful scenes that can be a fantastic way to discuss mood. The use of color in this particular shot make a clear picture of doom, students can experiment with describing the scene to do it justice. Sherlock Holmes stories are sometimes taught in English I or IV, and this is the best one I’ve found. Not only does it include free ebooks of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories, but it also has scenes that build high school student’s vocabulary. There are cut scenes that are set up as comic books, which may open a whole genre to struggling readers. I love fairy tales, especially when they are rewritten and reworked. This is a post-apocalyptic version of the classic story, that I would not recommend for elementary students, but would offer to high school students. This game could be part of a game on fractured fairy tales, bringing in Jon Sciezka’s “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs” and David Fischer’s "Legally Correct Fairy Tales." Of course, having students writing their own fractured fairy tales is always a fun and engaging unit. Video Games and Reading Novelizations Games Gone Wild Professional Manuals “One very important thing for you, as a parent or teacher, to realize about today’s computer and video games is that they don’t exist in a vacuum, but are part of a huge learning and social system, in which your game-playing kid is typically deeply enmeshed.” (Prensky, 2006, p. 96) MMORPG- World of Warcraft The second largest wiki in the world is the WoWWiki. "And in the same way that we invested in the science and research that led to the breakthroughs like the Internet, I'm calling for investments in educational technology that will help create digital tutors that are as effective as personal tutors, and educational software that's as compelling as the best video game. I want you guys to be stuck on a video game that's teaching you something other than just blowing something up." President Obama, March 8, 2011. BUT WHY? President Obama announced his plans to continue the Race to the Top challenge, requesting $1.35 billion for the program in his FY 2011 budget. The Kaiser Family Foundation, in association with researchers from Standford University conducted a survey between October 2008 and May 2009
with children 8-18. Sample Size: 2002. Boys spend more time than girls playing console video games (:56 vs.: 14), computer games (:25 vs. :08) Half (50%) have a console video game player in their room. Only about three in ten young people say they have rules about playing video games (30%), and 36% say the same about using the computer. AN HOUR A NIGHT! What if we could get this level of engagement in schools? A personal story about engagement How do we get them to write? Give me a lesson plan! Step One: Hidden Object Games Try to think of games as a mentor text. Writing- Fan Fiction They are writing on their own too! Step Two: Literature Based Games WritingStories Based Off Games Games that were inspired by literature Released 2010-2011 Talk To Them! Give them access to articles that debate whether schools should include gaming. Stage a debate where they compare and contrast two games. Ask them to describe how they learned to master a game. This is metacognition! Journaling, Reader Response Design Warning- for experts only! Some kids are talented. They can put together their own games using free online software. They can also "mod" existing games right from their console. Blogging about games
Commenting on other people's thoughts about games
Making game trading cards
Writing Character Sketches
Writing summaries that market the game
Making a website
Drawing a game map
Poetry about games. http://screwattack.com/blogs/Written-poems-about-Video-Games-D-1/Video-Game-Poems Non-Traditional Writing-Multigenre Stagecast Creator, Mindrover, 3D Studio Max, Maya, Squeakland Teaching possibility with modding: What if we allowed them to present us a game that has been modded to mirror the events in a novel? That certainly shows comprehension, doesn't it? “If educators are smart, they will figure out how to deliver their product in a way that fits into their students’ digital lives- and their cell phones.” (Prensky, 2006, 136). Ask questions. This can draw some kids out. For example, you might ask, "What is your favorite game?", "Why do you like it?", and "Do you think you learn anything from playing it?" "Anybody who makes a distinction between education and entertainment doesn't know the first thing about either one." ~Marshall McLuhan "Designing good games is one of the hardest tasks a man can do." ~Carl Jung Game choice matters. A huge element here is that students need to have the option to choose their own games. Although we love the idea of games based off literature as a connection, there doesn't have to be that connection for learning to happen. If you have a student who is really into The Rise of Nations, a "god game", they could complete writing assignments that show their journey through the game. Allow the student to tell you what they learned. www.socialimpactgames.com Education and Learning Games

Games that are intended to be used in an educational process, which may or may not be in school. George Lucas' education company supplies lesson plans at www.lucaslearning.com Can anybody make a connection between what we are discussing in class and a game you've played? In the end, what matters most is that you are showing kids that you are willing to listen to what they value. By using THEIR games, you are showing them that what they are learning in school can be applied outside of school. By playing games, kids are learning skills valued in business, science, medicine, military, and hundreds of other professions. So, lets support something they are already doing, and incorporate it. The Army's Game: http://www.americasarmy.com Sim Health- http://free-game-downloads.mosw.com Do you think this is true? What is a game anyway? Jesper Juul- "A game is a rule-based formal system with a variable and quantifiable outcome, where different outcomes are assigned different values, the player exerts effort in order to influence the outcome, the player feels attached to the outcome, and the consequences of the activity are optional and negotiable. Sid Meier (designer of Civilization) says it is a "series of meaningful choices." Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman (Rules of Play) say a game is "A system in which players engage in articifical conflict, defined by rules, that results in a quantifiable outcome." Raph Koster-"...the human brain is mostly voracious consumer of patterns, a soft pudgy gray Pac-Man of concepts. Games are just exceptionally tasty patterns to eat up." Raph Koster-"Fun from games arise out of mastery. It arises out of comprehension. It is the act of solving puzzles that make games fun. In other words, with games, learning is a drug." If learning were addictive, and engaging, and fun, our students would want to do it more. How do we use games AS A TOOL to get them there? A hidden object video game is a puzzle game in which players look at a picture that is jumbled with hidden things. The task of the gamer is to find the object. Once all objects are found on a board, the player may advance. Activate prior knowledge: Write a one paragraph description of what you believe the setting will be if I give you the words: Arabian Nights, Aladdin, Middle East, Genie. Interact: Lets play the first board of the video game Treasure Seekers: The Enchanted Canvases for 5-10 minutes. Two student volunteers can come up and find the objects, everyone else help them find it. Write: In more detail, tell me about this setting. You can start a new paragraph, or you can add to your current one. You may revise as you go. What do you think the setting of this story is going to look like? Consider: Did the game help you? Do you need more? Collaborate: What new details do you notice? Make an anchor chart. Discussion: Did you notice an improvement when you zoomed in on the details? Is your second paragraph stronger than the first? Why? Choosing the Game View the game first. Make sure it will help you fulfill your goals. Think about technology. Do you want to download a game onto the computers? Will an online version do? Don't assume that because the title relates to literature, that the game does too. Consider using cell phone apps. http://sandradodd.com/game/poem View: Watch the Arabian Nights video clip from Disney's Aladdin. Now, what do you think the setting will look like? Koster, R. (2005). A theory of fun. Paraglyph Press: Scottsdale, AZ.

Obama, B. March 2011 Address at TechBoston Academy. Retrieved on June 18, 2011 at http://www.boston.com/news/politics/articles/2011/03/08/text_of_president_obamas_speech_at_techboston_academy/

Markva. (2011). Interesting World of Warcraft Facts. Retrieved on June 18, 2011 at http://www.wowwiki.com/User_blog:MarkvA/Interesting_World_of_Warcraft_Facts

Prensky, M. (2006). “Don’t bother me mom-I’m learning!” Paragon House” St. Paul, MN.

Rylands, T. (2007) Children getting verbal. Retrieved on June 20, 2011 at http://www.timrylands.com/html/media.html.

The Kaiser Family Foundation. (2011). Daily media use among children and teens up dramatically from five years ago. Retrieved on June 18, 2011 at http://www.kff.org/entmedia/entmedia012010nr.cfm References Recommended Reading Gee, J. (2007). What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy. Palgrave McMillan: New York, NY.

Gee, J. (2009). Deep learning properties of good digital games: How far can they go? Theories and mechanisms: serious games for learning. Routledge: New York, NY.

Harushimana, I. (2008). Literacy through gaming: The influence of videogames on the writings of high school freshman males. Journal of Literacy & Technology, 9(2), 35-56.

McGonigal, J. (2011). Reality is broken: Why games make us better and how they can change the world. Penguin Press: New York, NY.

Squire, K.. 2005. Changing the game: What happens when video games enter the classroom?.
Innovate 1 (6). http://www.innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=82 (accessed
December 13, 2007).

Yee, N. (2006). The labor of fun: How video games blur the boundaries of work and play. Games and Culture. 1(1). Pages 68-71. TEKS:
English II: 14,17,18,19
ELAR Grade 6:15A, 19,20,21
Elementary Grade 4: 16, 20, 21, 22 What's Next: We will read a selection from Arabian Nights called, "Aladdin and the Magic Lamp". Then, students will view the movie Aladdin. While viewing the movie, they will make a T-Chart showing the differences between the story and the movie. Last, they'll be writing a compare/contrast essay. Try low-tech paper game design for the majority of your students. This unit took two weeks to complete. The purpose of this lesson is to help students to compare texts through various media. Lesson one, where I used a video game, was with the smaller goal to help students with descriptive writing. Share: Pick out your favorite sentence to share. Treatment 1- Games Treatment 2- Picture http://www.doublegames.com/play/treasure-seekers-the-enchanted-canvases.html Alternative
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