Writing a Virtual World

By 7th grade English teacher Kate Tabor

“Reality is a question of perspective.” - Salman Rushdie.

Seventh graders have been exploring Magic Realism in a number of different genres. After reading the graphic novel Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani, in which a magic pashmina shows Priyanka the possibilities that exist for her, they created their own graphic stories with magical elements. Before we began reading Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie, we used the three-dimensional coding environment CoSpaces to create realistic narratives with an element of magic.

Intermediate and Middle School STEAM and coding teacher Adam Colestock helped students open up their understanding of block coding from a two-dimensional environment like Scratch to the three-dimensional space in CoSpaces. Through CoSpaces, students could program characters to interact, shift point of view and make magic seem effortless. Students learned how to transition between scenes and program background elements and defy the internal gravity of the program.

On Wednesday, we immersed ourselves in the worlds we created. Using the Oculus Go and Quest headsets, students had the full library of class projects to explore, play and discover. There are giant babies, speeding cars, fairies, witches and ghosts. The stories are diverse, from futuristic worlds to historical fiction. Some students even jumped back into their programs to tweak a few things to better run on the Oculus devices. Spending time in a virtual world can be satisfying, especially if that world is one that you created.

Click here for photos.
Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.