Epic Citadel - Igniting children's imaginations for both fiction and non fiction

Possibly one of the best apps on the iPad to ignite the children's imagination and creativity is Epic Citadel. The app is basically the setting for the computer game, Infinity Blade. A medieval kingdom, where the children can explore every inch of this fantasy world.

There are no characters, stories or plots which leaves it up to the children to create their own characters and stories. This is what I love, the children being able to interpret the kingdom in whatever way they feel. As a school, we have recently had a big focus on using picture books as a stimulus in Literacy to encourage the children to use their imagination and build on their own interpretations. Epic Citadel is a very similar idea except rather than a book, it is a computer generated kingdom. From the first moment the children explored the app they were completely enthralled by the game like structure and many felt they were playing a game despite there being no direction or story.

Before I started planning to use Epic Citadel I came across some websites from classes who have used the app before.
The Digital Teacher's Summary of the Epic Project approaching its conclusion.
Porchester Junior School's record of word abour Epic Citadel.
Epic Challenge
Tim Rylands' Pickpocket story See how he used the app to inspire writing here:



HOW I USED EPIC CITADEL TO FOR FICTION WRITING


I was initially going to base the story around Tim's suggestion, however it wasn't until a child asked why no people lived there did the class decide on their own direction for the story.

The literacy lessons all focused on narrative. I am hoping to do some non fiction writing using the app next half term but these were the sequence of lessons I did with the Year 5 class:

mza 8096978239385435540.175x175 75 Year 5s Epic Citadel Journey begins...Lesson 1 - The children explored the app, they were given plenty of time to investigate and discover the world of Epic Citadel. They then generated a world cloud using the app tag cloud to make a word bank of descriptive words that could be used in future weeks.






Lesson 2 - Used the app Keynote for the children to write an opening for the setting using the Alan Peat "Imagine 3egs:" sentence.

Lesson 3 - Building on from the previous lesson the children continued to write their opening using a slow writing technique. They then saved some screenshots from the app and imported them into iMovie where they then narrated their openings over their pictures. We then used the app Aurasma to turn their videos into Augmented Reality Auras using their word clouds from lesson 1 as a trigger image - Read more about Augmented Reality here.




Lesson 4/5 - Children used the app Book Creator, importing their videos from the previous lesson and then write their own stories about the world of Epic Citadel. As mentioned earlier we were going to use Tim Ryland's pickpocket story however when one of the class asked why there were no people in the kingdom? It got us thinking about how this could happen? What could of happened to make wipe away the population but keep all of the buildings in tact?? That's when one of the children mentioned a disease that could have killed all the inhabitants of Epic Citadel. This led us to research the plague and stumbling  across the story of the town of Eyam. A city which lost most of its population due to the plague however decided to put a ring of stones around the village to stop the plague spreading. This led to a great discussion about whether that was the right thing to do. This had the children completely hooked on the climax to their story. They used a fotobooth app to create a picture of themselves suffering from the plague and completed their story. Here is an example of one story and you can download some other example below:
 


An Example of the eBook based on Epic Citadel from Davyhulme Primary School on Vimeo.





Another Project using Epic Citadel as the Focus - Multi-apping with Cloud Art, iMovie, String AR, Pic Collage, Comic Life, Puppetpals, Doink Greenscreen and Book Creator.

 



HOW I USED EPIC CITADEL FOR NON FICTION WRITING


we looked at using the app to help with some non fiction writing. We looked at writing some persuasive leaflets to try and persuade people to visit Epic Citadel for their holiday.
First, we looked at an example and identified some features such as:
  • Exaggerated adjectives.
  • Dare to disagree openers - Obviously, Surely, Everyone knows that..
  • Deliberate ambiguity - Perhaps, maybe, possibly
  • Opinions backed up by facts
  • Rhetorical questions.
We also discussed other persuasive techniques such as testimonials and using celebrities to help endorse their product.
I then gave the children some time to explore the app and consider how many different angles they could use to persuade others to book a holiday there. We established that holiday companies would need to try and cater for all different tastes and preferences.
With the children now familiar with the app Book Creator, they quickly went about putting together a short, colourful, eye catching leaflet. 
I absolutely love this app, the ability to import pictures, video and audio adds an extra dimension to the children's work and they can incorporate more skills into their books. 
I was really impressed by how independent the children were and how creative they were being with the task. Some were not only using pictures from the Epic Citadel app but using google images to find other pictures. Others were using the app Funny Movie Maker to make celebrity testimonials. Others were even ageing themselves through fotobooth 10in1


The efforts were really impressive and the children enjoyed using the iPads to create their leaflets. Please have a read of some of their efforts and let us know whether you have been persuaded to go to Epic Citadel for your holiday.


Art Lesson - We also used the iPads to create some Epic Citadel artwork using the app brushes.

There are plenty of other ways you can use Epic Citadel in the classroom and the links mentioned above have plenty of great ideas. Next half term, I hope to look at using the app as a focus for some non-fiction writing.

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