Epic Citadel

Pie Corbett – Story ideas

Explain everything


Using games to inspire writing isn’t a new thing at all. However it is a new thing to some. If you haven’t discovered the power of games in writing then you’re missing out. If you’re one of these people who thinks games shouldn’t be anywhere near education as they are evil and only numb the minds of children, then you obviously haven’t sat with a class of children, played a game and used it to inspire their writing. Their faces are amazing, their writing even better, and it’ll be something they remember for years to come.

Epic Citadel is a fantastic free app (others could be Drawn Painted Tower or Return to Mysterious Island) made just to show what iPad graphics could do. However it opens up great possibilities for literacy in class.

Get children exploring, taking screen grabs (click home button and lock button simultaneously), discussing where they are, how they got there, what they see, feel, hear. The language you’ll get from them will be so much better than asking them to close their eyes and imagine they were in a mysterious world. Now with this app they can actually be there, and then imagine from that point, what might happen next.

Boys! By now if I were a boy (I’m a man now by the way) I’d be thinking would you give us boys a break, with this whole boys can’t read and write thing. Maybe we as teachers need to look at ourselves and change how we engage boys. At the risk of upsetting the more sensitive of readers, I would say generally boys aren’t huge fans of poetry and writing instructions on how to bake biscuits. Boys I’ve taught absolutely love games, and more importantly love writing about games.

Take the screen grabs from Epic, put them in Explain Everything (EE), get the kids to annotate the pics, record audio about them and share these with you and each other.

Get into Pie Corbett’s (simple) app, choose a character, screen grab again, put the image in EE and follow the same process. On the third page of EE get them to create a plot, including landmarks (screen grabs) and detail form Epic Citadel. Within a matter of minutes you have setting, character and plot to their story.

Then you are actually allowed to get the paper and pens out and ask them to write a story in the first person as if they were in this mysterious world. I promise the results will be better than if you hadn’t

That was the world wind tour of Games to inspire writing. Check out Tim Rylands online or on Twitter for an expert guide.




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