- "You are dropped off at the top of a ski resort's steepest run when you've only had experience on the beginner slopes.
- You have to spend your day on the bunny hill when you're an expert skier."
Unfortunately, our writers workshop is often like one of these scenarios. (Most likely the first scenario where you are on the double black diamond ski run) We ask a student who struggles with English or with writing complete sentences to write an essay, or write a story, or write quietly and independently for 20 minutes.
They start with good intentions, and 3 minutes later are talking with a neighbor. They sit staring out the window. They say, "I just don't know what to write about." They ask about the spelling of every other word to avoid making mistakes and avoid writing.
How can we use video games to help our writing time?
One thing I do as a class is create a graph of how long we are able to write. The Stamina Graph (from The Daily Five book) gives students positive, immediate feedback. Yesterday we lasted five minutes, but today we wrote for 7 minutes. Wow - you improved by 2 minutes. Slowly, students move from 3 minutes to 45 minutes of focused writing and conferencing time. Every step along the way, students get positive feedback on how they are doing better.
Here are the three key ideas from video games!
- Start small
- Celebrate success
- Reach challenging levels