Topic: Planning stories
Writing Focus: Fictional story
Time: 1 hour/ 1.5 hours
This adventure game is great to present to the class in serialised episodes. Links to all eight episodes and their walkthroughs can be found here.
Connected classroom or computer room. One printed copy of the flashcards. One photocopy of the walkthrough for yourself and direct learners to an online copy of the walkthrough (see link above).
The ‘Arcane season’ online game series is a point and click adventure game that the film studio company Warner Bros runs on a website. It is young learner friendly though it’s worth playing yourself first with the help of a walkthrough to evaluate the ‘scarier’ elements that the games contain. Personally, I’d recommend using the game with upper intermediate English language learners and above. The Arcane Season games are visually attractive with a cartoon feel and its audio elements and short action sequences add an engaging dimension to its play.
There are about 8 episodes in this Arcane Season storyline to date.
- You can take screenshots of elements of the game and present them to the class to stimulate predictions of the storyline or brainstorm vocabulary.
- Alternatively you can use multiple images from an online images search of the game.
This can be done in pairs on computers or alternatively in open class on a data projector.
1. Pairs on computers
It’s good practice for learners to take writing material with them to the computer room as it stresses that there is work to do and it’s not just fun and games. Having said that I like to give the learners 3 minutes or so playing the game without guidance from myself or a walkthrough right from the start. Why do I do this? Because it not only helps learners to familiarise themselves with the game but the game is also sufficiently difficult that after a few minutes they are frustrated enough with the difficulty of the game that they are more receptive and motivated to receive guidance. When they are ready the learners can start the game either by reading the walkthrough themselves or listening to you, or a peer, read the walkthrough to them. If you want the walkthrough to be a reading activity, learners can open it on a second internet explorer page. A third internet explorer page could be used to access an online dictionary but the activity can be more fluid and more engaging for the teacher if learners simply ask the teacher any language questions. It is very important that the teacher monitors carefully to make sure that the learners are writing as they play and NOT just playing the game.
2. Open class with a data projector
The advantage of using a data projector is that you have control of the game. Start by placing the learners into pairs or small groups to allow them to work collectively on their writing. It’s a good idea to have a printed copy of the walkthrough to hand. You can then play a short part of the game using the walkthrough for the class to watch. Be sure to stop regularly to allow your learners to discuss and write the the part of the story they’ve just seen. Monitor and distribute dictionaries as support.
Post gaming activity
Learners can swap their stories, read them and discuss which stories they like the most and explain why. If there is any interesting language elements from someone elses story, encourage them to write it down.
You can hand out the walkthrough for another part of the ‘Arcane Season: Miller Estate’ game although part 2 is best avoided as some of the game loses narrative elements in favour of puzzle solving (you have to figure out the correct order to prise a lifeless hands fingers off an amulet).