Instructional Routines for Tyto Online

We have created some routines to help you implement Tyto Online. You probably use routines in your daily life as well as your instruction. Routines make our lives a little easier because they are predictable and dependable. Being able to anticipate tasks and events promotes a feeling of safety for children. This is especially important during times of uncertainty. Equally important, routines make your life easier because they will eventually run with little effort from you. 

In this post, we’ll start with the big picture flow of a storyline, then we’ll explain the routines and how they differ from the extra activities.

Storyline Flow with Routines

Suggested Storyline Flow with Routines and Optional Activities

Teachers new to digital game-based learning tend to be uncertain about how to use games effectively. Many times, they assign the game for students to play and that’s it. However, the game doesn’t replace the teacher. While the game engages students in three-dimensional learning, it’s the teacher’s role to solidify their understanding and to connect the gameplay to your core science curriculum. The diagram shows a suggested flow for progressing through a storyline. It might look like a lot, but each routine relies on the same tool that’s revisited for each routine.

The main tool that you will use for each of the instructional routines is the Observe-Wonder-Learn (O-W-L) board. As an educator that’s been around for 20-some years, I’ve seen many variations of graphic organizer. You may be familiar with Know-Want to Know-Learn Board/Chart (KWL), Driving Question Board/Chart, and when I taught reading, it was the Concept/Question Board. You might be using something similar that goes by a different name. Regardless of the version you use, it’s important to have a place to generate and keep track of shared ideas that you can return to as students progress through the storyline.

While the game engages students in three-dimensional learning, it’s the teacher’s role to solidify their understanding and to connect the gameplay to your core science curriculum.

This storyline flow is generally the same for all of the storylines. First, the students play Quest 1, followed by the Anchoring Routine (This is where students complete the Observe and Wonder columns of the O-W-L chart). Then they continue through the storyline, completing some of the Optional Extra Activities such as the Summary Table or Argument Reasoning Prompts. About halfway through the Storyline, you facilitate a Putting-Pieces-Together Routine (revisiting the O-W-L chart to add to all three columns), then students continue to play the rest of the quests, with the Optional Activities. Finally, after the last quest, another Putting-Pieces-Together Routine (with a final visit to the O-W-L chart) rounds out the storyline. You can find an overview of the storyline flow with routines and optional activities here.

The Routines

Anchoring Routine

The first quest of every storyline introduces the anchoring phenomenon, a key feature of NGSS three-dimensional learning and Tyto’s pre-built Storylines. The Anchoring Routine allows students to engage with the phenomenon making observations and asking questions about it. You may also want to tie the anchoring phenomenon from the game to the anchoring phenomenon in your core curriculum. 

Access the full routine: Anchoring Routine

Optional Activities with each Quest

Students will then play a few more quests. As students complete each quest, you might have them keep track of their learning by using the Summary Table or a science notebook – whatever system you have for students to document their learning. You may also want to develop their argumentation skills by guiding them through an Argument Reasoning Prompt after a quest with an Argument Builder. 

Access the activity templates:

Halfway: Putting the Pieces Together Routine

Halfway through the storyline, you will want to pause to take stock of key learnings from the quests played so far using the Putting-Pieces-Together Routine. This routine helps students to use scientific ideas gathered across several quests to help them explain and make sense of the anchoring phenomenon. Students engage with the class to create a shared consensus model or explanation using the “pieces” they’ve collected as they progressed through the storyline. This might also be a good place to connect the game learning to key learnings from your core curriculum. 

Access the full routine: Putting-Pieces-Together Routine

End: Final Putting the Pieces Together Routine

Students will then complete the rest of the quests in the storyline, using the Summary Table or something else to document their learning. At the end of the storyline, you will use another Putting-Pieces-Together Routine to close the storyline by using ideas gathered from the rest of the quests to revise and finalize the shared consensus model, representation, or explanation of the phenomenon.

Access the full routine: Putting-Pieces-Together Routine

As always, these are just suggestions. We encourage you to try them out and tweak them to meet your needs. Let us know how it goes!

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