When starting the autumn term with Year 7, a favourite exercise was to have students fantasise about all the off-limits parts of their new school. A writing exercise followed in which they produced captioned maps and a guide to a secondary school embodying all their worst fears.
Now, Channel 4 Education is targeting similar territory with Nightmare High, a web game targeting players aged 10-13, designed to allay their possible anxieties about transition and friendships.
Nightmare High is the latest in a series of PSHE-focused online games and social network apps and resources, and forms part of Channel 4's now longstanding shift towards materials designed to enable young people to browse and play, and away from specific schools broadcasting.
In the preamble, we learn that we have had such a terrible first day at secondary school that "reality" itself has given way to a world of horrors. Thus to a rich confection of quests and challenges requiring that the player secures and nurtures friends, builds their self-reliance and avoids zombie teachers, while receiving periodic advice from YouTube "sensation" Marwan Rizwan dressed in a zany panda costume. There is also occasional access to other celebrities telling tales of success and embarrassment at school. After accumulating various bonuses along the way, the goal for students is to put school life back in perspective. www.nightmarehigh.com
See Channel 4 Education's profile on TES Resources to see the wide range of resources they have shared. Starfish1954 has shared a useful resource that helps pupils with transition to secondary school.
In the forums
Why not test your textual prowess by joining in with the long- running literary texts game on the English forums - it's been going since 2005.