Sunday, September 26

How to Use Minecraft to Teach Creative Writing to Kids

Several days ago, I wrote a blog post about making Halloween pixel art in Minecraft. A few weeks before that, I described how to practice finding the area of objects in Minecraft. In this blog post, I'm going to write about how you can use Minecraft during your language arts lessons as an inspiration for creative writing. Keep reading to learn more!

Children practice their writing skills with this Minecraft inspired journal writing lesson plan. Creative writing, technology, Minecraft learning, ELA

Disclosure: Affiliate links to Amazon are included in this post.



Journaling + Minecraft

Minecraft is an open-ended video game that encourages children to explore biomes, build structures, create electrical circuits and other inventions, grow gardens, raise animals, and more. There is no one right way to play Minecraft... the options are limitless! 

When logging into Minecraft for this activity, your students will start as defenseless characters with no food, shelter, or means of protection. The objective is for them to avoid monsters that come out at night in order to keep their characters alive for as long as they can. 

In this creative writing activity, your students will be writing journal entries from their characters' perspectives. What did they do? Why did they do it? What problems did they run into? How did they fix the problems? What are they going to do next?

There is a day-night cycle in Minecraft. At the end of each day, students can pause the game and make quick journal entries with pen and paper or on the computer. By simply adding this journaling component to their gameplay, what is 'just a video game' can be elevated to an educational experience.

Here is an example of one student's Minecraft adventure. 

My Minecraft Adventures: a creative writing and journaling project

The Minecraft settings for this activity were set to survival mode-peaceful with the do daylight cycle, immediate respawn, and keep loot settings enabled.
 


My Minecraft Adventure


Day One
I woke up and don’t know where I am or how I got here. I see mountains in the distance and I’m near a river. There are some sheep and horses here too. I don’t have anything and need to find food and make a shelter. Night will be here soon.

Hills and mountains in Minecraft

Day Two
I climbed to the top of a hill today to look around and figure out where I am. I saw a village nearby so I walked there. I met some villagers there. They were nice and let me stay in the village for as long as I want.

Minecraft Village

Day Three
I don’t want to stay here anymore. This village is haunted! I heard monsters outside while I was sleeping! I went hunting today and got lots of beef. I made pickaxes and a sword. The villagers gave me a bed, apples, torches, and bread. I will find a new place to live tomorrow.

Hunting Cows in Minecraft

Day Four
I found a spot to live near the village. I built a shelter, a workbench, and a furnace. I cooked some beef and planted seeds. I have some food, shelter, and water. I caught a wild horse. I will be OK!

Small Shelter in Minecraft



Before you let your students loose on the computers to play Minecraft, it's important for you to establish clear expectations for learning. Yes, your students will be playing a video game... but there is a purpose to why they are playing it now. Take some time to review and discuss these and other important concepts ahead of time:

🍎 What is a journal? Why do people keep journals? A journal is a brief record of daily happenings. It is a record of experiences, ideas, or reflections kept regularly for private use. For example, there are diaries, reader response journals, learning journals, questioning journals, and doodle journals.

🍎 What do living things need to survive? Living things need food, shelter, and water to survive.

🍎 What are natural resources? Natural resources are the items we can get from nature to make the things we need and want. For example, water, minerals, ore, animals, and plants are natural resources.

🍎 What is a biome? A biome is a large region or geographical area where the plants and animals have adapted to a certain climate. The five major types of biomes are aquatic, grassland, forest, desert, and tundra.

🍎 Where does our food come from? Before our food gets to the grocery stores, it was raised on a farm. Farmers grow fruits and vegetables in orchards and gardens and they raise livestock in the barns and fields. After the food is harvested, it is shipped to the stores for us to consume.


Did you enjoy reading about journaling while playing Minecraft? If so, check out these blog posts about more ways to use Minecraft while teaching:


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