Using 2 Do It Yourself to promote writing - year 1

Back in the spring term, we decided to run a parallel project in years 1 and 5 at Becontree Primary School. We wanted to use 2Do It Yourself, from 2Simple, to promote writing.

In year 1, we told the children that for the duration of the project, they were going to be game developers. At the end of the project they would have the chance to share their games with the year 5 children and also to try out the games from year 5.

The children started the project by evaluating different video games using the Cbeebies website. They were able to vocalise their thoughts quite clearly and it was easy to see that they were expanding their thinking. They then moved onto investigating 2DIY software, planning their own game, creating it and testing.  For the duration of the project they kept diaries of their findings, plans and evaluations. These were linked to literacy lessons for a period of two weeks and the children were given plenty of time to complete them.

In the six weeks, not many of the pairs of children managed to finish their games, but there were some interesting ideas and themes developing. There was also some great teamwork developing. Unfortunately we ran out of time to share the games with year 5, and this was disappointing but there was no possibility of extending the project.

As for whether it helped to promote writing, there was no discernible surge in interest in writing, but the project did lead to some very insightful comments from the children during class discussions, and it definitely made the children look more critically at games for which they are the audience. The vocabulary that the children started to use when evaluating games was varied, and for those reasons, the project was very worthwhile for the year 1 children.

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