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Nintendo DS: Pictochat in the Classroom

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Keywords: spelling, word use, capitalization, end punctuation, vocabulary
Subject(s): Social Skills, Spelling, Writing, Reading
Grades 1 through 3
NETS-S Standard:
  • Communication and Collaboration
View Full Text of Standards
School: Edward J Arthur Elem School, Athens, NY
Planned By: Elisa Futia
Original Author: Elisa Futia, Athens
Introduce this literacy station with the help of a colleague. Many of your students will already be familiar with Nintendo game units. For those who aren't, this will introduce them to “pictochat”. “Pictochat” is like texting between game consoles.

Divide the class into two groups. One adult remains in the classroom with half of the class while the other adult and group go into the hallway or other nearby space. Leaving the room adds excitement and the smaller groups help students see the teachers model.

Each teacher begins by pictochating a greeting to the other team. (Insisting on the greeting allows you to later check student work by name when they replicate this activity independently at literacy stations.) Next, one team selects a word from a vocabulary or sight word list. I used Fry sight words with my class. After selecting the word, they text it to the other team. The receiving team must use the word in a sentence with correct capitalization and punctuation and send this back. They also select a word and assign that to the other team. This volley of words and sentences goes back and forth.

To transition this activity to literacy stations, set up a gaming unit and word list in two locations across the room or on opposite sides of a bookshelf or filing cabinet. At clean-up time, instruct students to leave the games on. This allows you to scroll through their work to check spelling, word use, capitalization, and end punctuation.

This lesson/activity also teaches children a fun way to study spelling or vocabulary at home with friends or siblings.

I hope you like it. My students did!
Educational games can also be used with the Nintendo DS units.
Links: Link to Mrs. Futia's 2nd Grade
Materials: Games
Other Items: 2 Nintendo DS handheld portable gaming devices, $99.00 each, total of $198.00