Welcome to the world of Tiny Hearts! Tiny Hearts is a course that allows your students to lead, not follow, their way through English language proficiency. Set in a world of animated toys, your students will embody imaginary toy characters as they collaborate with each other to live out grand adventures. Every lesson presents new challenges for them to overcome, but the way to succeed isn’t predetermined by the the teacher or this book — it’s as wide open as your students’ imaginations.
Tiny Hearts works by including a special ‘Let’s Play’ section in each lesson where students use their toy characters to role-play through quests. During the first two chapters, they define the features of their own characters as they use them in different situations. Eventually, each character will have a unique set of skills that will be tested during their role-plays. As students role-play, they will also be earning Tiny Hearts for their toy character. When they gain enough Tiny Hearts, their heart size increases, allowing them to become more like real living beings.
When your students are ready, introduce a single die into the equation by having a student roll the die after submitting a quest. On a roll of 4-6, their role-play finishes just as your students narrated it. On a roll of 1-3, the teacher gets control and their role-play has complications, such as a toy character getting hurt. As the teacher and game master, you can alter this simple mechanic to your own liking. For ideas on making the game mechanic more immersive and better matched to your own learning theories, visit the Creative Speaking blog at https://creativespeaking.wordpress.com/
Thanks for checking out this book and remember that kids are meant to learn through play, so have fun!
*Update: Character Sheets with Tutorial
To present on Tiny Hearts at RSCON 2014, I designed a new character sheet to show the full depth of the game, not just for the lowest level students in the context of an entry level book. The full game is Deadway-like in its mechanics, and a tutorial for implementing it is included on the back of the character sheets. You can download the PDF here.