Wondering Why????

We all had a great time working with and through the Samorost games over this last month. What I found myself wondering though, was why it had such an impact on the students’ writing. Was it just a case of grabbing their collective imagination, was it that they worked on the game as a class – problem solving together and collectively solving the game, or was it the fact that it was a game that the students found so engaging?

The class and I used De Bono’s thinking hats to organize our thoughts about the games (see previous post and individual student posts) but this didn’t really answer my questions.

I have explored narratives with many age groups over the years: we’ve used stories and texts to inspire, we’ve looked at paintings and pictures to set scenes and watched movies to see characters and explore story lines. I have always tried to share whatever was available to help my students “put pictures and experiences in their heads” to use in their writing. Sometimes results were encouraging, but never has the quality of ALL student writing been as high as it was this month, using Samorost.

Tim Rylands’ blog and website are inspirational, and  his success with using MYST with students to help their creative writing encouraged me to have a go at using some form of game to try out his ideas – albeit in a small and isolated way.

So I knew that this had been tried before, that success had been documented before, but still no real why was this so?

What often happens when I’m unsure about things: I ask my class what they think.

This is what they came up with:

  • the scenes and environments are out of the ordinary – they appeal to you because they are different/ unexpected
    • the environments show great detail which you can describe
    • you are within the scene, not static, there are hidden things that you don’t expect
    • it is surprising – keeps you active
  • the game aspects – you think differently in a game rather than in a book – you are actually DOING IT
    • it could really be happening to you
    • you are part of what is happening
    • you control where you go – in a picture or book you have to stay where the character is
    • you choose what happens to you – you make the adventure
    • the sounds give you the mood and the atmosphere
    • it’s interactive – you use all of your senses

Interesting, don’t you think?

Games are very important to these students.  They like being the centre of the game, in control, and making decisions. It gives them the experiences that they could possibly write about. They have sensory experiences to recall, they have scenery to describe, choices they’ve made, places they have explored. Experiences ready and waiting to be articulated, discussed, expanded upon, labelled, thought about, talked about, shared and finally written about. Cool!

Do it!

Talk it!

Read it!

Write it!





6 thoughts on “Wondering Why????

  1. Hi Mrs P,
    Thanks for fixing my blog up. Maybe e could write about mission maker? After we do it again though.
    Are you having a good holiday? I am I’m going to Canberra for 5 days.

    Hello Naomi!
    Glad I could help 🙂
    I am going to Melbourne tomorrow for 4 days.
    I am reading a great book about Shakespeare at the moment, and have another one to take to Melbourne with me as well.
    I love reading in the holidays – how about you?
    Have a great time in Canberra – are you visiting Cockington Green (real life small world!)
    Have fun.

  2. Hi,
    I really enjoyed doing samorost. We had so much fun trying to make a name for the little gnome in the white pyjamas. Hope we can do more things like that.
    Toooooooooodles 😆

  3. Hi Mrs P! I love your blog! I love reading Shakespeare in our classroom! I can’t wait to go to camp! Wish You could go to. Bye for now, not forever! 😀

  4. Have really enjoyed reading your reviews and the individual stories from your class.

    How do you think Samorost can be used with reluctant writers or writers who have poor ability?

    Some of the descriptions that your class have come up with are fantastic.

    Did you work through the programme together or just let them go one screen/puzzle at a time – then write a bit about it?

  5. Richard,
    I have some non-writers in my room who were able to draw amazingly detailed pictures. These kids were then able to dictate their sentences to an adult scribe – the results from theses kids were promising as well 🙂
    When we were writing about the scenes, we all worked on the one screen at the same time. It was on the interactive whiteboard so everyone could see what was going on. We had all played the game previously (altogether on the whiteboard, and individually later and at home). There was lots of talk before during and after the writing – coming up with ideas, sharing, changing the order of the words to find the most appealing/effective way to get your message across.
    Hope this helps 🙂

  6. Hi Kim,

    I just wanted to congratulate you on this blog (particularly this series of posts on Samorost 2) and encourage you to share further. Using a blog in your quest to become a reflective practitioner is a wonderful model for both your students and fellow colleagues.

    With your permission, I would like to share your example with teachers involved in the IB programmes worldwide.

    Thank you,


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