Inspire Innovate 2010: Extras You Asked For :-)

Here are the extra planning and programming bits and pieces that you asked for in the workshop yesterday:

Planning Proformas/ Grids

Backward Mapping Proforma

Blooms MI Matrix

My wiiMusic Worksheets

wiiMusic booklet 1

wiiMusic booklet 2


Final Task Rubric  

My wiiSports Tennis Plan

Tennis Skills + Planning Sheet  

I hope that these  sheets help guide you in  planning and using games consoles in your classroom.  

Please link back here so we can all see what you have tried in your classroom.

Who says that learning is all not all fun and games????

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If you need/want any other info or help or ideas please just leave a comment here 🙂

Inspire Innovate 2010


  1. Games are a shared experience.
  2. Games build community  – they are played socially at school.
  3. Meaning is constructed as a group – individuals contribute to group understandings.
  4. Language is played with – used in different ways to make different meanings.
  5. Language becomes more visible through a game – it has shared context, shared understandings and shared meanings.
  6. The experience, and the consequent language, is like “playdough” – it can be added to, moulded, pulled apart, re-arranged, viewed, discussed, evaluated, improved; first as a group, then individually; first orally and then written.
  7. Immersion in the experience is child-centred, lots of time is spent on student initiated and led exploration of the game and/ or the game world. Students become part of the experience: In the game directly: Participating in the game – manipulating the characters and events – “living the game”: As a springboard for real life, authentic learning.
  8. Learning outcomes are planned in detail – shared explicitly with students to support meta-language and deep knowledge.
  9. Learning indicators are specific and focused: one scene or setting, one character or one object.





Endless Oceans – Tom Barrett



Cooking Mama LTS Consolarium

Nintendogs – LTS Consolarium

Samba De Amigo – LTS Consolarium


  • Authentic, real world tasks
  • Rich tasks
  • Cross-curricula
  • Creative – many ways to fulfill the assessment
  • On and off the computer
  • Expands across KLAs
  • Whole class input
  • Contract work



Dolphin Island HSIE, S&T

wiiSports Maths – Tom Barrett

Drawn to Life English – Writing

Brain Training & Maths Training – LTS Consolarium


  • More focused on one KLA area
  • Individual, pairs, trios, smaller groups


Peter Richardson has a site that features a collaborative list of wii games and associated Year levels and activity focus.




Start with learning outcomes

Identify a game to support intended outcomes

Mind map, backward map, Blooms/Multiple Intelligences matrix.

Real world, authentic tasks.

wii’ve Got The Music 1

Future Directions in Literacy Conference – Sydney University

This term I have been using the wiiMusic Game with my class to develop knowledge and understandings about music. Here are a couple of posts from my class blog – 09AllStars – all about what we’ve been doing.

wii’ve Got the Music

We are studying music for the next few weeks, and we will be using the wii to help us explore and experience a huge range of instruments.

We used our Golden Time today for the intial taste of what the wii can do – everyone had a quick turn at playing an instrument and we all had a bit of a laugh as well.

Stay tuned for more posts on what else we are doing with the wii Music.






















Exploring the wiiMusic

Over the past week we have been playing the wiiMusic in small groups so that we can practise the activities and get better at the games.

We have been playing lots of different instruments and hearing and accompanying many different tunes. Its quite hard at times to play tunes that you haven’t heard before. We have found that you get better – and it becomes easier – the more you practice and the more familiar you are with both the instrument and the tune.

We have found out about “pitch” by playing the “Pitch Perfect” game – you have to listen carefully to match the notes that are the same, or put the notes in ascending order by listening to them. Sometimes this is hard, and the timer is counting down so you have to hurry!


wiiMusic – Perfect Pitch from KimPericles on Vimeo.




Literacy is my home, my comfort zone: I know what to do and what to expect.

So I’ve been a bit uncomfortable for the past few weeks, as our wiiMusic unit develops and grows.

Enabling the students to discover, explore and make connections with what they know and are familiar with about music and what they are learning about music through playing with the wiiMusic game, is a vital part of the learning cycle.

We have been talking our way through the game, the concepts and the terminology, investigating ideas and thoughts more fully through art as well.

We’ve written some informational texts, but I have been uneasy and at a bit of a loose end and I think it’s because I haven’t been able to harness the fun and excitement of the wiiMusic game into the literacy learning of the class.

I have tried to placate myself with thoughts that my students are learning about music – the language, the sounds, the instruments etc – but I was a little apprehensive about the lack of meaningful literacy moments that I could take advantage of.

DSC07402I LOVE creating and crafting texts with my students: of playing around with writing so that it connects to readers and says exactly what you want it to say – but the opportunity had not arisen ……. Until today!

Today we shared ideas –

We built on each others words,

We explored vocab together,

We searched for the appropriate phrases,

We put images into words.

We created together!


This class is different to the classes I’ve had over the last couple of years: as a group they are much more reserved, they are less confident in themselves, there are fewer risk takers, there are more early phase ESL students in the group, and as a group they are less academically engaged in school.

So the strategies I used

⇒ were modified,

⇒ the positive reinforcement more frequent and specific,

⇒ the scaffolding was greater,

⇒ the re-phrasing and modeling more explicit, and

⇒ thinking time was more individual rather than shared

But the results were astounding!

Once the initial shyness was overcome there was much clapping and supporting of the efforts of all!

A shared purpose.

A shared pride.

A shared success.

Writing rocks!

wii Boogie on Down!


We got down and boogied this term!

We used the wii Boogie game to try and get some dance moves happenin’ ready for the Year 6 Farewell Dance at the end of the year. 

I had hoped to integrate a number of areas of the curriculum with this game program, as I thought it would be a fun and motivating way to end the year. And it was fun and motivating but it didn’t pan out exactly the way I had in mind, and I wasn’t able to implement everything I hoped to.  

Rather than imposing all my ideas about the game and how it could fit into our learning, I asked the class for their thoughts and ideas first. They came up with some ideas for science investigations into the heart, lungs and blood, as well as identifying “sound” as another possible area of study. 

We thought that we could set up some sound experiments around the room (modeled on the way the CSIRO set up their school science programs that we took part in earlier in the year). Students would arrange themselves in pairs or groups of three and prepare an experiment for the rest of the class to do.  

The other science ideas involved research  of the heart, blood or lungs and writing up information into their scrap books (interesting that the students volunteered to hand write their work, and that they were concerned because they hadn’t done much work in their scrap books over the year – this is another post in itself I think 😉  ) 

It was at this time though that the network went down, we couldn’t use the computers for much besides word processing – and even then we couldn’t save our work. Time took care of the computer problems, but meant that we didn’t have enough left to get our investigative science work done. 

We also invented some new characters to introduce to the game, students wrote introductory back stories for their character, based on the back stories of the characters already in the game. They also painted a representation of their character, but the best part was using Vokis to make their characters come to life on our blog! The students designed their characters using the available heads, facial features and accessories on the Voki website, they read their character story and added it to their created avatar and VOILA a talking character made by the students for everyone to see and hear. Great fun! Check out some more of our Vokis on our class blog here and here.

celias-voki.jpg         nancys-voki.jpg        emilys-voki.jpg         arenas-voki.jpg         mikhailas-voki.jpg         kesaiais-voki.jpg        

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There was a problem with the Boogie program however, that stifled some of the fun and the ability of the students to interact to a great degree with the game. When we plugged the wii console into the data projector the sound level on the wii was really low, there was no speaker outlet on the data projector. It made it virtually impossible to hear the music on the game, which meant the game was hard to play.

We tried to work around this by using the wii when groups of the class were out of the room, or whilst everyone else was doing quieter work at their desks.  It is not possible to have the wii connected all the time either, as we use our interactive whiteboard for other areas of study during the day as well. This was another work around type problem that we had to overcome – not huge, but just one more thing to get in the way of using the program in the way we had envisioned. 

All in all, even though we ran out of time to complete this project, the parts that were finished were great! We will have to see if we can’t continue on with our science investigations later on this year.

Talk IT

Talking our way into learning …….. I first started to realize the importance and value of computer games when I listened to my own children discussing and playing their favourite game. They would work through the game trying all sorts of problem solving strategies:

  • they would pause the game, 

  • chat about the best way to approach the current problem, 

  • try out their  strategy,       

  • try again,        

  • work out a new way to solve the problem,   

  • swap the controls and let the other player attempt the difficulty,    

  • automatically pass the control when they got to a difficulty that they knew the other player was stronger at,    

  • chat,      

  • discuss,     

  • argue !?!

Even when they were not playing the game (ie away from the PS) they would be working out plans, suggesting new ways of approaching problems, hypothesizing possible strategies to try later.  I was continually surprised, not just at the level of engagement with the game, but the amount of thinking, planning, problem solving and talking that was happening around the game.

The TALK that surrounded the playing of the game was substantial, high quality communication.

I wondered then, when preparing to use the Wii in our PE program, if the TALK in the classroom would be as substantive – there are many more people involved, a bigger age gap between oldest and youngest (it’s a Year 4,5,6 class and ages range between 8/9 years and 12/13 years), and the setting was completely different, as was the type of game being played. 

While we were trying out the controls and progressing through the practice sessions  I tried to I listen to what the students were saying as they went ( difficult: chaotic, loud, hilarious, quick )  

Helps: twist it, aim it

Hints: try this, what about that

Suggestions: just twist the controller

Instructions: move the controller to knock/spin the ball

After just one session with the Wii I noticed that even though the depth of thinking and talking was not great, my class were :

  • focusing on their language, making it specific and understood by the others
  • building a shared understanding of the words they were using
  • working together – sharing, listening, compromising
  • using new language/vocab in a supportive setting
  • problem solving for a shared and important end
  • using new language/vocab in a purposeful way

The purpose, at this early stage of our play with the Wii, was to build common understandings, skills and terminology so that our future use of the Wii could be shared by all the class – and the TALK in the session reflected this.

Unfortunately time ran out without us having the chance to talk about the learning that had taken place in the session – usually I would ask the class, in pairs or small groups or individually, to talk or write about the learning that had taken place using our “Thinking Hats” (De Bono’s 6 Thinking Hats) so I don’t have any comments from the class – I will have to make sure that I leave time for this important reflection next time 🙂

Lots more to do and to explore. Interesting and exciting times!

Practice makes perfect

We’ve spent a few sessions towards the end of the term getting familiar with the wii controls. No-one in the class has a wii at home (yet – but they are all hinting and asking  🙂  ) so we have been working through the “teach yourself” activities/games.

I thought that we would start as a whole class group so that I could hear what they were thinking and saying to each other as we went along. The kids would have a turn at the activity and pass the wii controller on to someone else. This worked well as it gave the more confident kids the chance to show what they could do, and the shyer, less confident students could watch a few times before they were ready to have a go.

The class already had its “pecking order” of the most technologically skilled to less technologically skilled, but this posed a few surprises along the way and it was quite interesting to watch how the class (and the individuals) responded to performing better/worse than was expected.

Generally speaking our skills can only improve (top score of 3 rallies in ping-pong out of a possible 100 – embarrassing isn’t it   🙁   ) but lots of excitement, encouragement and hilarity as personal bests were reached (see above mentioned score of 3!!!!!!).

PE? No, it’s PWii!

My class has just started to work out how we will use our brand new Wii in the classroom this term. The first thing decided upon was to change our regular PE (physical education) lessons to PWii (physical Wii) lessons, as the kids decided that PE was obviously the curriculum area that would be ideal to start with.

We held discussions about which games to play and how to organise sessions and a number of ideas were put forward:

  • Each group of students would tackle a different game and teach the others to play
  • Combining inside games on the Wii with outside games
  • Integrating skills based lessons outside with Wii sessions inside.

After much discussion (using our De Bono’s Thinking Hats) we decided on looking at Tennis first up. This was primarily due to the fact that the skills in tennis fit most closely with NSW Curriculum requirements.

The class group will do some initial research on tennis – history, equipment, terminology and rules – and then smaller groups will research individual skills. Each small group ( of 2 or 3 students) will then take the lead in outdoor skills sessions in our regular PE times.

After some initial reading and sharing, we were able to come up with enough specific tennis skills, and more general movement skills, so that every group would have an area in which they could teach the rest of the class.

Each group is responsible for:

  • Identifying and defining their skill
  • Demonstrating the skill – including correct body placement
  • Prepare basic activities for teaching the skill including:
    • Warm up
    • Activity
    • Cool down

The class also thought it would be interesting to investigate various body systems – skeletal system, muscular system, respiratory system, digestive system, circulatory system – in science to help understand how the body works. We will also be drawing on Maths skills in graphing and data collection on pulse levels as well as skill levels.

The Wii will fit into these plans by being the “real-life” application of the new skills being taught in PE lessons. Students do not have access to tennis courts (either within  or out of school) so the Wii will be set up in the room, with groups in a rotating timetable to use it whenever we have the time, as well as at set times during the week. Not sure how much work will get done by those not on the Wii 🙁  – we will have to see how this goes 🙂  .

We will be doing some basic pre testing of the kids fitness levels before they start and at the end of the unit.

What do you think?

Have we left anything out?

Derek playing Wii tennis Derek playing Wii tennis at the LTS Consolarium
Gail playing a Wii game of tennis at the Consolarium  Gail playing Wii tennis