View Full Version : DS games in private lessons

December 28th, 2009, 12:01
I know not many people look down here but here's a question.

You may remember that I have a private student who is 8 with a JHS level, but no motivation. I've recently found that playing English DS games in classes is very useful. I've started with "100 favourites" or whatever it's called. We play darts, bowling etc and he actually speaks English, like "one more time!" "oh no! I lost!" It's the most successful thing I have done with him so far.

So my question is; what other DS games can you think of that are 2 player and will get him to do a bit of basic reading? I'm wondering maybe Animal Crossing? Does it have a 2 player function?

December 28th, 2009, 17:41

December 28th, 2009, 17:44
You could try scribblenauts - have him enter English vocab words, especially in the opening sandbox type phase and then play around with them.

December 28th, 2009, 17:51
You could try scribblenauts - have him enter English vocab words, especially in the opening sandbox type phase and then play around with them.

Hmm I think I downloaded that one this morning. What's the concept of the game?

December 28th, 2009, 19:03
It's basically just simple action or puzzle games where you want to get from point a to point b, but there are obstacles. You write words in the little game keyboard and the thing you write (pretty much anything) appears. So, for instance, you have to get to an island, but there's a shark in the water. You ask for a toaster, put it in the water to kill the shark, then ask for a boat and sail across.

There are structured levels, but the title screen of the game just has your guy on an open expanse, where you can type anything and have it appear.

December 28th, 2009, 19:09
That's cool. I'll give it a go but I'm wondering if he is up to writing yet. I try to get him to do spellings and stuff but his attention is elsewhere. But thank you, I'll give it a go

December 31st, 2009, 09:52
This might help if you've never played Scribblenauts. Yes, this is where my sig quote is from. :)

The Escapist : Video Galleries : Zero Punctuation : Scribblenauts (http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/zero-punctuation/969-Scribblenauts)

January 4th, 2010, 03:05
Scribblenauts is absolutely great for teaching English.

I have a Japanese son, age 10, who speaks little to no English and we use Scribblenauts constantly for fun and entertainment.

It works not just as a game that rewards correct English usage, but teaches lateral and creative thinking which is conducive to language learning. Even with no language skills, context-wise it's simple to look at and know exactly what the goal is (e.g., a farmer is standing in a field thinking about "food", requiring you to write the word corn, carrot, hay, etc.) and there are something like 130 simple levels which can be played repeatedly to earn multiple stars (so, you can write "cat," "dog" and "pet" to solve the same puzzle three times differently) and complexity gives bonus medals (so, solving that puzzle with something unusual like "elephant" or "snake" earns you a "zookeeper" medal, and "dragon" gives you a "monster hunter" medal).

Not only does every action have a reward (correct spelling = object appears, which is loads of experimental fun by itself, and repetition makes for great confidence), but you can make custom levels. Custom levels! You choose the words and how the stars are earned. Think of the massive vocabulary correlations you can make with in-class material!

I consider two qualities when choosing DS games for students, both adults and kids:

1) Little to no orientation necessary.
2) Instant results.

While character-driven and involved story games are tempting for various reasons, they require too long to get into as well as a considerable investment before seeing results, meaning the teacher ends up compromising very large, often back-to-back blocks of time. Having said that, if you want English games that aren't too heavy on the reading and are two-player (but require separate DSs and separate cartridges), the LEGO games (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Batman) are excellent good fun and, at the beginning at least, will encourage verbal communication and cooperation to "get" the game. They are fun enough that it will be okay to simply turn it off at any time -- unlike character-driven games or stories that might require a good 15- to 30-minute investment each go. Also excellent, and requiring only one cartridge for up to 4 separate DSs: Mario Party DS. It has many, many minigames which are intuitive regardless of language ability and you can access and play these in instant, 30-second bursts or extensively in board game mode. Love it.

I love brain-training games the most for kids and adults (download English versions of Yawaraka Atama, et al). They include more maths and shape challenges than language, but are the most complementary to class structure and again, require zero orientation and provide results constantly with each tap of the screen. Also excellent are translation games such as (can you believe it) the Nova Usagi English game. (It's no longer in arcades, but you can pick up the DS game online or download it.)

Let Me Google That For You (http://lmgtfy.com/?q=nova+usagi+no+game+de+ryuugaku+ds+bittorrent)

Email me anytime for more info, and congrats on using the DS in class! Great idea that actual Japanese schools are using, you know -- and publishers of English textbooks have gone DS as well. You can get JHS books in DS form through all levels, with many (often better) competing academic-plus-fun companies releasing software every few months.

rfillingh at hotmail dot com

January 4th, 2010, 08:03
Thank you so much!! I downloaded it and will be using it in the next class!

February 19th, 2010, 14:31
Can I just say, I played Scibblenaughts (or whatever it's called) with the kid last night (it was late since we've not had lessons for a few weeks). It was a big success... even if he did keep playing it wrong by writing "tank" "gun" and so on to kill the people wanting food and shields...

Thank you!