Unravelling riddles, practicing sword skills, defeating monsters, working as a team to solve problems, and skyping a fantasy author – these were just some of the activities a group of Year 8s were involved in last week as they traversed The Land of Remorse, one of the Middle School Signature Programs. Each group of five was assigned a colour, a character trait and a team (Atreyu, Gandalf, Dumbledore or Excalibur) and then sent on a quest to physically experience some of the challenges characters in a fantasy story might encounter. They then used the notes from their journals and ideas suggested by author Dawn Meredith to craft a group story where members wrote a section from the perspective of a different character. The final task for the band of heroes was to create a video presentation of their story to share with younger students.
Not only was this a fantastic writing experience for the boys, but it’s value extended to a whole set of other skills important to the development of young grammar men:
- Collaborating with people who are not close friends,
- Inclusivity and respecting differences,
- Actively listening to others,
- Following instructions,
- Being prepared,
- Thinking creatively,
- Solving problems,
- Taking the initiative,
- Being persistent but resilient,
- Reflecting on character strengths,
- Reflecting on their successes and how to improve.