Myst Revelation in the Classroom 3

Age Range: 7 - 16

Continued from Part One and Part Two.

This week has been our last week exploring Myst IV as part of our Literacy lessons. It's been amazing fun and the children have gained SO much from the experience.

Day 11

Monday was a bank holiday here in the UK, so we all had a day off school!

Day 12

Spire

Today, we explored Spire for the first time. After spending a few days in 'Haven' last week, the visit to Spire was such a contrast. I wanted to try some poetry for the first time, as we hadn't covered this for a while. Having found a 'senses poem' idea on the Kent Myst site, I wanted the children to think about the senses that they experienced during the visit. They were each given a sheet on which they recorded relevant words and phrases as we looked around. We spent most of this lesson exploring and talking about what we found, as I really wanted to give them lots of opportunities to build up useful vocabulary in preparation for the next lesson.

They did have a little time at the end of the session to also use thesauruses to find new words. I then gave them a chance to 'Share or Steal'. This is a quick game that we sometimes play to review what we've discovered during a lesson. After choosing a child, I ask them if they want to 'Share or Steal?' If they say 'Share', they have to share one of their best words / phrases which other children can add to their own collection. If they want to 'Steal', they can nominate a person who then has to tell them one of their own words / phrases. I was surprised that so many wanted to 'Share' during this activity (they normally steal!)... I think they were all so very proud of what they had written and they wanted to tell others!

Day 13

In today's lesson, we looked around Spire a little more, and added some additional vocabulary to the children's sheets. We also looked through Sirrus' journal to see if there were any useful ideas that we could borrow from there. The children then used all of these ideas to create a senses poem, describing what they could see / taste / touch / smell / hear on Spire. I also asked them to add one more verse to say how they felt during the exploration.

Again, the poems were very impressive, and I really want to record some of these to add to a podcast. Unfortunately, I haven't had time yet, but we're going to use Garageband next week to record the children reading their poem and then add some 'Spire' sounds as background audio.

In the afternoon, we also spent a little more time exploring the game. There wasn't any written work involved, but I wanted to move through the game a little more and get ourselves to Serenia in preparation for tomorrow's lesson. Having only four days at school this week meant that we had to work through two Ages and try to complete the game in a short space of time. This session involved looking around some of the other buildings in Tomahna and finding the linking book to Serenia. We also also found a linking book back to the location in Tomahna where Myst III started... it seems a long time ago since we first arrived there!

Day 14

Serenia

The excitement levels of the class were extremely high by now, as they knew they were coming to the end of the game. We looked around Serenia, meeting some of the people who inhabit it. We also saw four flashbacks with Sirrus, Achenar and Yeesha. This led nicely to a drama activity based around hot seating. The children were split into groups of four, with each person taking the role of Atrus, Sirrus, Achenar or Yeesha.

This was also a fantastic way of reviewing the children's knowledge and understanding of the characters and their involvement in the story so far. The children came up with some probing questions to interrogate the other members of their group about what was going on in the story, why these things were occurring and what could be done to help.

They thoroughly enjoyed the activity, and it was great to see them all really engaged (even the less confident who normally don't get so involved during drama work).

Day 15

In today's lesson, we played the game through to closing credits. I didn't ask the children to make any notes as we explored and there wasn't any written work to complete either. After three weeks of working incredibly hard (with some amazing results), I thought that the children deserved to finish the game without necessarily having a lesson objective in mind... well, almost! The final part of the game involves lots of twists and turns, and some difficult puzzles to solve. So, during our journey towards the end of the game, the children were given lots of opportunities to collaborate and talk about what to do next... "Where should we go? Who should we trust? Which lever should we pull?"

They were also required to help with the final puzzle (which is very difficult!). I had 'planted' clues in their trays before the children arrived at school today, and the children had to use these clues to piece together the solution to the puzzle. It worked really well and they all felt involved in the completion of the game, also helping to develop a few problem solving / logic skills.

Serenia 2

Over the past three weeks, we have covered a HUGE range of skills and concepts using this game:

  • Literacy... characters, settings, story plots, alliteration, similes, metaphors, punctuation, comprehension, persuasive writing, recounts, poetry, report writing, drama, speaking and listening, prediction, inference and deduction, empathy...
  • Maths... problem solving (we haven't specifically used all of the puzzles, but the children have been regularly asked to think about how to achieve the various challenges that were presented to us).
  • Science... animals, habitats, food chains, and other related vocabulary.
  • Art... sketching and painting the creatures in Haven
  • and probably a few others that I've forgotten!

Of course, there are many more subjects / concepts that games like this can cover. Looking back over this unit of work, I would have liked to have tried some more drama activities and also used the game's soundtrack for some music lessons (looking back at my blog posts from using Myst III, I said similar things then). Maybe next year, I should spend a whole term using each Myst game... I might be able to do everything that I want to then!

The past three weeks have been amazing. I've had great fun teaching and the children have thoroughly enjoyed the lessons too, producing a considerable amount of top quality work. I want to finish this blog post (and this set of posts about Myst IV) with a question that I was asked by lots of my children today:

"When are we doing Myst V?"

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