Tag Archives: Violent Video Games

Good Game Reads: 8 YA Books for MetaGames & Gamers

Video games are their own literary genre driven by narrative and story. As my colleague and friend Katie Egan Cunningham states, “Stories surround us, support us, and sustain us.” Whether you are gamer in search of a good story or books to hook your gamer -students, here are 8 young adult books worth reading that tap into gaming, puzzles, ciphers, quests, and LARPs.

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It’s All Fun and Games by Dave Barrett (Nerdist, 2016) is about two friends who get caught in a LARP (Live Action Role Play) gone wrong. Not long after the adventure begins, the friends find themselves transported from Earth to a world filled with both magic and danger. Suddenly, what Alison expected to be a weekend being geeky turns into a fight for survival against brigands, kobolds, and other nasty characters as the group tries to finish their mission or at least get back home.

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In Click Here to Start by Denis Markell (Delacorte Press, 2016) twelve-year-old Ted Gerson has spent most of his summer playing video games. So when his great-uncle dies and bequeaths him the all so-called treasure in his overstuffed junk shop of an apartment, Ted explores it like it’s another level to beat. And to his shock, he finds that eccentric Great-Uncle Ted actually has set the place up like a real-life escape-the-room game.

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Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (Random House, 2012) has popped up on many high school summer reading lists and my students would tell you this book does not disappoint. Set in the year 2044, where reality is an ugly place, teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s in the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines–puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win–and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

Steven Spielberg is directing a film version of this book that has a release date of March 2018.

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Laura Ruby’s book new series York: Book One the Shadow Cipher (Walden Pond Press, 2017) takes readers on an exciting treasure hunt through a city’s past to save the future. The protagonists, two twin siblings and their neighbor journey around New York and into the city’s past, both real and fantastical, as they encounter a henchman, delve into the bowels of the Old York Cipherist Society (a group of either learned scholars or paranoid cranks), and try to decide whom they can trust. Along the way, there’s action and peril, including a scene involving a giant mechanical insect that eats dirt and sometimes people; but at key junctures, it’s each child’s individual talents that lead him or her to solve a particular element of the puzzle.

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Looking for more adventure and games? Caraval by Stephanie Garber (Flatiron Books, 2017) mentions the game of life and love throughout this story about a dark carnival organized by the notorious Legend. Protagonist Scarlet and her sister sneak away from their father and their home to attend and play at the Caraval. Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find her sister Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

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The Reader: Sea of Ink and Gold by Traci Chee (Penguin Random House, 2016), my FAVORITE book this year, is exploding with puzzles and adventure. After Sefia’s father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive. The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed—and punish the people responsible. This November the next installment is out, The Speaker: Book Two of Sea of Ink and Gold — I cannot wait!!

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Tetris: The Games People Play by Box Brown (First Second Books, 2016) is a graphic novel that explores the history of Tetris and unravels the complex history to dive into the role games play in art, culture, and commerce.

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Another graphic novel, Level Up (First Second Books,2016) by Gene Luen Yang presents a coming of age story of the dilemma of personal goals verses parental approval. More specifically, video games vs. medical school!

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Beneficial or Bogus? Seeking Valid & Reliable Supporting Evidence: Lesson Plan

I am beginning a scientific investigative journalism inquiry project with my students this month and the final project will be an annotated bibliography and feature article. As we embark on the features of a nonfiction investigative journalism piece, the topic of valid and reliable supporting evidence is at the forefront.

Essential Questions:

  1. How can you tell if a resource contains valid information?
  2. How can you determine the saliency of information?

Objectives (KUDoS) By the end of this lesson, students should:

KNOW:

  • Saliency = the most important, relevant information
  • Self-reliance = depending on one’s self
  • The steps to composing a persuasive speech (Prior Lesson)
  • Types of supporting evidence include: testimony, statisitic, fact, and example (Prior lesson reinforced in this lesson)

UNDERSTAND:

  • The importance of supporting an idea with ample examples of valid evidence
  • The importance of skimming information to filter the most important facts
  • How to check the validity of a source

DO:

  • Analyze the saliency of information
  • Skim articles to identify relevant details to support a thesis
  • Locate a valid resource from the internet

 

PROCEDURES

Anticipatory Set: DO NOW

How do you know if information you’ve been told is valid? How do you know what to believe?

Write your response on the post-it notes and post your response on the SmartBoard.

Teacher will read some of student responses with the large class. Questions to further discussion and student thinking: “When researching a topic, how do you know if the information you find is valid?”

Instructional Activity: Station Activity

I. Students will travel to three different QR Codes in order to find evidence to support the supplied thesis/claim. Each QR Code links to an article, video or website for the students to draw out support material (evidence, testimony, statistics, etc). Students will complete a support material research chart as they evaluate each piece of evidence. In addition, students will assess the validity and benefits of QR Code. The articles of information have already been selected by the teacher to assess students’ abilities to judge reliable and valid research documents.

Students will use the 2-D graphic organizer to record their findings from the QR Codes they visit.

Selected Articles, Videos & Websites:

Source 1 – Does Video Game Violence Make Teens Aggressive?

Source 2 – Could Violent Video Games Reduce Rather Than Increase Violence?

Souce 3 – 10 Ways Video Games Can Help or Harm Your Brain from the Huffington Post

Source 4 – Video Game Revolution – The two computers in the classroom will post this website for students to read through the myths about video games. The article was written by a MIT professor debunking the myths about video game violence

Source 5 – This article has no specific information on video game violence but is about the teenage brain. This article is being used to see if students can decifer that this article has no specific connection to the thesis.

Source 6 – The pros and cons of video games. There are many statistics and additional links on the website from this debate website.

Source 7 – Onion Network Video “Are Violent Videos Preparing Adolescents for Apocalypse”

II. After students have had the opportunity to find support material examples from the various stations, students will find a partner who utilized the same sources to discuss and confirm their findings.

III. In large class discussion reflect on student findings.

Questions to ask:

Which research sources were beneficial to finding support material? How do you know?
Did any one find invalid research? What lead you to conclude it was invalid?

IV. One the back of students’ research charts they are to list three ways to validate a resource (exit slip).

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