As part of our work around video game design, my sixth grade students were also assigned to play and review a video game. The game could be on any platform (and there was a wide range — from iPods to Wii to Xbox Live to web-based games) and the criteria for the review would be along lines of design, challenge, media and other elements that we have been discussing. What they didn’t know was that they were learning persuasive writing techniques, and use of rhetorical stance. They just thought they were able to play and write about video games.
This assignment was inspired by an online friend, Julie, who shared with me her own graphic organizer around game reviews. I adapted her organizer for my own needs, but I was grateful to have a starting point. If you need a starting point, here is the link to my own graphic organizer.
I wanted to give my students some voice, too, and so we used our iPod Touches and Cinch to record podcast versions of their video game reviews. I was impressed with how they came out, and have now pulled them together into a single folder of game review podcasts. Feel free to share with your own students, and let me know if you do a similar assignment. For me, this was yet another writing component to our video game design project.
Oh, and something interesting emerged, too, as the owner of a website called Gametrender kindly offered to provide publishing space on his website to feature our young writers. (He later told me he is a former teacher and sees the opportunity to nurture future journalists. You can read his post about it here.) I told my students this was an opportunity to publish to the world (the site gets a lot of traffic) in a meaningful way, with authentic readers. They were pretty excited about it, and I sent forward about a dozen reviews to be published there in the coming days and weeks.
Take a listen:
Peace (in the review),