Playing At Pirates With 'The Ballad of Kinetto'

The ‘Pirates of the Caribbean‘ has proved such a successful movie franchise that we’ve decided to get in on the act at Digital PlayThe Ballad of Kinetto is a series of online pirate adventure games involving strong narrative features, some great puzzles and its own pirate heroes – Kinetto and Amber.  ‘The Pirates of the Caribbean‘ is on its 4th installment and Kinetto has doubled that and is now on its 8th.  Here are some screen shots from each chapter (Chapter 1-8 clockwise from top left):

*Oops! 1 and 2 are the wrong way round!*

As the movie franchise is on its 4th release we’ve decided to give you some ideas on how to use the game with the 4 skills of writing, reading, listening and speaking.


Use a walkthrough to play the game yourself on a screen in a connected classroom.  Ask learners to predict what you have to do or identify language elements (such as vocabulary) as you play but use the walkthrough to move the activity forward.  At intervals pause the game and ask learners to write the storyline as it unfolds.  To encourage some range and complexity of language you could either brainstorm narrative language elements onto the board or list them yourself.  Here’s one I prepared earlier:

  1. Tenses (past simple, past continuous and past perfect)
  2. Sequencers (First of all, after that, then, etc)
  3. Direct & reported speech
  4. Grammar (adverbs, adjectives, phrasal verbs etc)
  5. Typical pirate vocabulary (galleon, skull & crossbones, cutlass, deck, mast, flag, desert island etc)

Encourage learners to use the list regularly tin their writing.


Learners open three internet explorer windows.

  1. They play the game
  2. They read the walkthrough
  3. They use an online dictionary.

Of course, if you have copies of learner produced stories from the game from say a different class then there is no reason why you can’t use these with another class playing the game.  If they are reading the story they can get a good idea of how to play the game.  This in fact generates a lot of discussion as they translate the story into actions within the game so encourage speaking in English as much as possible.


There are a number of ways to do this:

Pairs or group dictation – Print off a copy of a walkthrough for each computer in the computer room.  In the computer room put learners in pairs.  One sits at the computer and plays the game while the other sits behind them with the walkthrough.  The learner with the walkthrough dictates to the gamer (in their own words if possible) how to progress in the game.  The gamer listens and plays the game.  If computer room dynamics means that there are more than two to a computer set up a ‘chinese whisper’ activity with one learner at the computer and learners sitting directly behind in a line.  The last learner in the line has the walkthrough and whispers it to the learner in front.  The instructions then get relayed down the line to the gamer.  Whichever one you choose to do make sure to get learners to change positions regularly so they all have a chance to play the game.

Relay dictation – Place a copy of the walkthrough on thw wall and get learners to take it in turns to read the walkthrough and then return to their partner/ group and dictate how to play the game.  Get learners to swap roles (gamer and dictator) every 5 minutes or so).

Teacher dictation – With a walkthrough in your hand dictate to your learners how to progress in the game.  Encourage them to describe what they can see on their screens as you monitor to encourage peer help.  Also some of the language may be new to your learners so encourage them to ask you for definitions.


Play the game in a connected classroom using a walkthrough.  Learners work in groups to discuss what happens next in the game and a spokesperson reports their conclusions to the class.  The class then votes on the best idea and you tell them how close their ideas are to the game storyline.  Give clues so they can guess what happens next if they are off the mark by referring to the walkthrough and then move the game on further and repeat.  For lower levels they can direct you to vocabulary items on the screen to click on. Higher levels can describe what to do on the screen while the highest levels can predict what events in the story happens next.

You can find links to each game and their walkthroughs on a single page by clicking on the link below:

The Ballad of Kinetto

Let us know how you get on by posting a comment.

Posted on June 17, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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