I found using a game such as this, made the world of difference to the pupils: both on engagement and achievement. Tapping into the pupil’s popular culture is fundamental and this example highlighted this clearly.
We started off submerging the pupils in the app. I allowed them to play the game (and did throughout to engage and refresh) and then asked them to produce a mindmap on the topic. For this, I used a great app called Popplet. In an essence, this is an online version of spider diagrams: it’s great for linking and gathering ideas.
Here’s some of the examples which they produced:
From this, I planned a sequence of lessons, focusing on areas on which my class needed to work on, all based around the game:
- First we looked at ambitious vocabulary, aiming to up-level- our verbs for how Guy was running out of the temple and adjectives for the setting
- Next we focused on withholding information. For this, we wrote a story opener starting with Guy running away from the temple. I set them some rules of which information they could not tell the reader, merely prompt ambiguity in these areas. This challenged the way in which they used their vocabulary
‘Out of the blue, sharp claws cut my shoulder: I was running for my life. I could feel my heart skipping a beat, the tune loomed over me, protecting me from the luminous sun. It felt like the rest of the woods were against me. The wind targeted my ear and it seemed the plants wouldn’t stop taunting me. All that kept me from the end was an old rickety bridge’
- The next lesson was on a Show not Tell lesson, i.e. SNOT. This was to develop children to extend their descriptions by implying and showing actions. For example rather than saying the character was nervous, we would show that he was sweating or trembling, etc. A great resource for emotion prompt sheets can be found here.
‘Sweat ran down my bright red face, my heart skipped a beat. Gloom overshadowed me. In the distance I saw a bright light. I took a deep breath as the light pulled me closer towards it. I hesitated and thought to myself, ‘what if it is a trap?’ As I released my breath, I knew it was the only way in.’
- The next session was on character descriptions. For this we tied in Indiana Jones as our character, a good link to temple run. We looked at four key areas, focusing on movement, appearance, feelings and speech to improve our descriptions.
‘The sweat ran down his face as he cautiously crept through the damp, dark tunnels of the temple. His shirt was blackened: stained with the stories of adventures that led him to where he stood. His brave face masked the unknown fears running through his mind. Dr Jones took small steps as his feet trembled, where did the tunnels lead? With a suspicious frown take over his forehead, he cleared his throat, “This way, stay close” he softly murmured, trying not to attract attention.’
- Lastly we focused on linking paragraphs, highlighting the importance of repetition, and connections using time and place. This lesson wasn’t specific to Temple Run but we used the story of Indiana Jones stealing the golden idol as a stimulus. I used a great video from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the lost ark, as suggested by Literacy Shed
Again some great work was produced. I asked the children to read and share a few extracts of their work which can be seen here:
These reflect only a handful of the amazing work produced by the pupils. It was extremely evident that using Temple Run as a stimulus had an amazing effect.