An introduction to teaching with Inanimate Alice
“Teachers around the world are gradually discovering the power of this beautiful series to transform learning and teaching in the vital elementary and middle years. Through reading and studying Inanimate Alice and building on it as a wider context for learning in the classroom, the literacy skills of young people are developed at a faster rate than by using conventional texts alone.
This is true not only in relation to the traditional literacy skills of reading, writing, talking and listening, but also of the development of the digital and information literacies so vital for progress and prosperity in the 21st Century.
A key feature of the text is the fact that Inanimate Alice has such a powerful female lead character, whose situation demands that from an early age she must make her way in the world while learning not only to survive but to thrive in a technology-driven world. This makes it the ideal vehicle for teaching young people about empathy, citizenship and social responsibility, enabling them to become true global citizens in an age when the future of the planet depends on the skills and abilities of the new generation.
By engaging with Alice and becoming part of her world, young people are supported in their own personal development, enabling them to address the challenges of growing up in a safe and trusted environment. Using the story along with the high-quality resources, developed by experienced professionals, provides teachers with the ideal context for learning across all curriculum areas, from English as a Second Language through Social Studies, Literature and the Arts.
Most significantly however, it is the narrative power and quality of this born-digital reading experience which will engage, motivate and inspire young readers to unleash their own powers of creativity and realise their full potential.”
– Bill Boyd, Literacy Adviser
Inanimate Alice offers an across-the-curriculum approach to teaching and learning.
Inanimate Alice reflects the multimodal literacy that children develop naturally during play. In play, children instinctively combine speech, text, sound, games, music, and art. Inanimate Alice does the same by combining text, images, music, movie elements and games.
Problem Solving Literacy
Problem solving is also a natural part of child’s play. Whether solving a puzzle, building a bridge with blocks, or engaging in pretend play, a child is learning to solve problems through trial and error, feedback and strategy changes. The embedded games that Alice has created, and that later drive the story, provide opportunities for practicing problem solving skills. The increasing complexity of the games helps develop game literacy—literacy of problem solving.
Inanimate Alice can be used as an educational tool for cultural literacy. Each episode takes place in a different country, and reflects a different culture. Teachers can use Inanimate Alice as a springboard to create guided discovery lessons on the cultures and countries represented. The interactive nature of Inanimate Alice as transmedia storytelling facilitates cultural literacy through role play, which enhances students’ abilities to understand multiple perspectives.
The themes that run throughout Inanimate Alice inspire lessons that enhance social-emotional literacy. Alice is an only child and a lonely child as she travels the world with her parents from episode to episode. She is often frightened as she faces threatening situations, from her father being lost in episode 1, to being left home alone in episode 2, to the dangers in episode 3. In episode 4, Alice must also deal with peer pressure. Alice’s fears help students create stronger emotional connections with the character, and open up opportunities for conversations about feelings.
These resources have been written to provide teachers with starter activities and ideas relating to Episode One of Inanimate Alice. They are designed to offer a stimulus for interaction with the text, and to provide opportunities for teachers and learners to explore and develop aspects of literacy. The pack is designed primarily for use with learners aged 10-14, but may be adapted for older learners if they are being used to develop English as a second language. The principles with which they have been designed may also be adopted and used with other sections of the text and with the later episodes.