First-Graders Are Learning How To Write Video Game Reviews Now

My friend John found this hanging in a first-grade classroom in New York City. It's for the kids' writing workshop. I think we're going to start using it as the Official Kotaku Review Guide from now on.

The best part? No mention of review scores.


    No selling out to publishers for free swag and advertising space? Sweet.

    review scores = the rating?

    Edit: oh right... the classification rating. Which would make sense being grouped with "how scary it is"

    Last edited 05/03/13 11:35 am

    I'm not sure how I feel about this. I think bad. Having said that, I tend to get annoyed at issues with education a little too quickly.

      When I was a kid we did book reviews and movie reviews. Why not gaming reviews?

        I dunno - and as I said, when it comes to education I get a little too annoyed too quickly sometimes - but I just feel like everyone is just screwing with education too much. I feel like everyone is trying to make school/learning easier and easier, and kids either don't learn enough, learn the wrong things, or just end up not giving a care about the learning process. Maybe I'm being a curmudgeon, but I don't like the idea of school being ultra-fun-times. It should have some fun parts, sure, but overall I feel like it needs to be a challenging environment of learning first.

        Just an opinion, open to discussion.

          Awhile ago I was starting to think that school was becoming an increasingly incomprehensible mish-mash of stuff compared to the rigid learning I endured when I was in school, but after discussing it with my aunt and cousin (who are teachers) education really changes every year. Kids are learning more all the time, across a broader range of topics. There's subjects that are required in high school that didn't exist 20 years ago, because this is indicative of how our society has changed.

          It only looks vastly different because I was last in school 13 years ago. 1st grade for me was 1989.

          Writing a game review is just a creative writing exercise, and frankly I went to school with a lot of kids who could really have benefitted from more of it. I loved creative writing and language classes but that doesn't mean all of school was just fun times. I still had math and science to contend with.

          Last edited 05/03/13 12:43 pm

            That is an interesting perspective; I guess I'm old enough now that things are radically different from when I was in school. My opinion is heavily influenced by the behaviour I see in young people though - it's possible that there is a bias there.

              Young people have been getting worse every generation ever since there were old people to observe them. A cynical person might say that this is only because old people forget the bad parts of their youth and we're focusing on the crappy things we see now, but I think there is objectively more underage sex, teenage pregnancy, drug abuse, etc.

              I don't think I or my friends were ever as obnoxious as the teenagers I see today who get away with abusing their parents or any adult they happen to tangle with because they know their youth gives them a kind of immunity. Then again, maybe I am just oblivious because I would never have been friends with that kind of teenager.

              I'm not sure what is fundamentally different about the way children are raised today compared to when I was a kid, or when my parents were kids, or my grandparents, etc. apart from the fact that mass media has become the dominant force in this world. I can see why people will criticse whatever the newest trend is because kids have it, we didn't, and now they're worse.

              I could blame dubstep since kids listen to that and are terrible, but I have adult friends who have taken up listening to dubstep and they haven't become worse people. Everyone I know who isn't at least five years older than me plays video games and we're not bad people. My cousins grew up with full wigger gangsta style and attitude after listening to far too much rap and hip hop music as teenagers but they've grown into respectable young men who are accomplished at their trades (two plumbers and an electrician). I personally listened to a lot of "punk" rock music and somehow managed to avoid ever styling my hair into a mohawk or piercing my face with a safety pin.

              All we can really do is give kids enough information to make educated life choices later on when they have the capacity to make those choices, and do our best to keep them screwing up too badly in the interim. Someone who has a kid at 15 is going to have different options available to them at 18 than someone who didn't. Someone with a criminal history before their 18th birthday is probably going to build one afterwards too.

              But tweeting #swag and #yolo and dressing in stupid clothes isn't hurting anyone. They'll grow out of it. And if not, well, someone's going to have to flip burgers and pump gas for the ones that did.

              Last edited 05/03/13 2:09 pm

                Well said - and you've highlighted a lot of what I feel. That fundamental difference - I feel - is the way parents teach discipline has changed/is now viewed. It's becoming harder and harder for parents to discipline their kids due to changing standards (that I often find absurd) or new parental guidelines from 'experts', or just crappy parents who don't care about the upbringing of their children.

                  I think the real issue is that behaviours, both negative and positive, are communicated more rapidly.

                  Kids idolise stuff they think is cool. You probably had a cool kid you looked up to in school and maybe he sassed the teachers or talked back to his mother. You didn't see or don't remember the downside to that. His shitty grades, the seven shades of snot his mum smacked out of jhim when there was no one else around. Maybe you copied that behaviour and your teachers or parents quickly corrected you.

                  Now, people who are setting bad examples are everywhere, and thanks to the power of the internet and social media, these trends travel shockingly fast with no apparent negative consequences. Most of them are harmless, some of them are dangerous.

                  Adults are no better at controlling this flow of information though. We see the worst side of everything in the news because of the "if it bleeds it leads" principle. Good and bad things happen every day but in the news ratings war all the bad things are flashed at us at the speed of light.

                  News websites flow with 48 point font headlines telling us all how terrible it all is because we want to read on, assured that people more intelligent and more capable than us have the situation completely under control.

                  We see the nice news and we move on. Unless there's something odd or there's a picture of a cute puppy we can smile about, the news probably won't stick in our memory.

                  A year ago I was reading about a boy named Trayvon Martin being gunned down in a private neighbourhood, apparently by an overzealous wannabe cop who carried a gun. Five days ago I watched a youtube clip about a restaurant owner offering a job to a young man after seeing him walk over 10 miles in the snow to a job interview. You think I remember the name of the restaurant owner or the kid?

                  It's really better for everyone if you hold onto and reinforce the good things, and try not to be affected too badly by the bad things, because if you let yourself believe everything is terrible, you're only participating in a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    This lesson proudly brought to you by the ESA?

    This is what we pay thousands of dollars for our kids to go to?

      You dont pay shit unless theyre going private thank you. I have one child in primary school, a public one. I fork out 250 once a year for books, 150 for other stuff, roughly MAYBE 650 all year all up for his education. Think before you speak.

        sorry I go to a school where the price is $7780 a year and today moderation day (day off FTW!) *goes back to studying maths*

        Last edited 05/03/13 2:03 pm

          I go to Uni where its around the same per year for me. I'm studying my B.Edu. As a future english teacher I can see the value of this. We were asked to review a movie in year 11 (1994 pre internet), as long as the assignment ticks all the boxes in terms of checking for grammar, spelling etc. then it is fine, as someone above said, it is all about modernising it.

          Poor kids if they plagiarise a Tina Amini article or Patricia Hernandez...

      Please, tell us about the high art you were producing when you were 6.

    And here I was thinking first graders had been writing Kotaku game reviews for years!


    Your mate is hanging out in first grade classrooms? Don't tell me he keeps candy in his trench coat too?

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