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Meet the Fortnite streamer using battle royales to teach fifth grade

You’ve heard of Skyrim Grandma, now meet Fortnite streamer Lori Weber, who uses custom matches in the battle royale game to teach her students about fair play.

Meet the Fortnite streamer using battle royales to teach fifth grade: Two young characters from Epic battle royale game Fortnite sit together on a bridge

In the world of battle royale games, where killstreaks, competition, and fighting over XP are the central mechanical drives, it’s difficult to imagine a group of patient fifth-grade children, diligently learning about manners and fair play. Colourful and friendly-looking, Fortnite at its core is still about slaughtering all your rivals and grabbing what you can for yourself. They play it by the millions, but if you want to teach kids how to be a good sport, Epic’s shooter might not be the best classroom. Enter Lori Weber, perhaps better known as Fortnite streamer ‘Slytrue48.’

A fifth-grade teacher from Indiana, she’s using custom matches in the multiplayer battler to set an example. Swearing is banned. Cooperation is a must. If you get too competitive, she’ll offer a kindly word and maybe a rendition of ‘Get Griddy.’ It all started with the kids.

“I started teaching fifth grade five years ago, and all they talked about was Fortnite,” Weber – or rather, Ms. Weber – explains. “Fortnite was relatively new at that point. Since I already played WoW and Assassin’s Creed, I said I would give it a try, so I started watching Ninja. My son is the one who bought me my first game system I could play Fortnite on. This way, I had things to talk to my students about.”

It took a couple of seasons – Weber says that when she first started playing Fortnite she was “dreadful” – but what began as a simple way to connect with her pupils suddenly started to grow. She set up a Twitch stream. The students came to watch. Pretty soon, Fortnite had become a useful tool in Weber’s teaching arsenal.

“The students think it’s cool,” she explains. “They ask me to do the dances and things like that. “Even my principal, when new kids start at the school and she wants them to be in my class, she’ll tell them that I’m a gamer. Especially some of the boys who play Fortnite, it gives me that instant connection that you wouldn’t have with them normally.”

Meet the Fortnite streamer using battle royales to teach fifth grade: Lori Weber, a teacher who also works as a Fortnite streamer

Firmly established as the ‘Fortnite Teacher,’ Weber started to shape her streams to fit her fifth-grade – and sometimes younger – audience. Bravado isn’t necessary. Bullying is banned. Above all, positivity reigns.

Through her custom matches and Fortnite community, Weber has become a kind of online safeguard lead for the students at her school, the battle royale equivalent of a friendly teacher, monitoring the playgrounds and basketball courts during lunch breaks.

“The way I pitch it is like, ‘we’re going to be nice to each other,’” Weber says. “’We’re going to be good humans. And we’re going to play Fortnite together.’ A lot of the kids say ‘I feel safe in your community. I feel like I can get in touch with you if some other kid is bullying me.’ They feel like someone is there watching. I always tell them, they can just come and stream snipe grandma.

“The traditional streamer, even though it’s a new job, is classically male,” Weber continues. “They act over the top with cussing and stuff. I don’t get a lot of fans who are into that, but when the kids come and play in my customs, I shout them out all the time. ‘Did you see what he just did? That was amazing. Good job!’ They just really enjoy it and have a good time.”

Meet the Fortnite streamer using battle royales to teach fifth grade: Characters from the battle royale game Fortnite stand on top of a green hill looking over the entire map

A consummate professional, though students can follow Weber on Fortnite, she makes sure not to follow them back. The kids can join her custom matches on the weekends, and often bring their parents and grandparents to watch, too, though her lobby remains off-limits to any of her pupils.

With her community continually growing – she has 413,000 followers on TikTok, and is officially partnered with Epic – Weber says the younger kids, the ones outside of her classes, will come up to her in the school corridors and hand her slip of paper with their gamertags written on. It’s testament to how streaming has helped ingratiate Weber with her students, as well as the positive messages she strives to communicate.

“I don’t get mad about getting killed,” Weber explains. “I’ve seen very tough kids come to my stream, and they say ‘I’m better than you, 1v1 me!’ And I say ‘okay, you’re better than me. Let’s play Fortnite.’ And they totally turn into a different kid. It’s just offering that place to have fun.

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“Also, it’s about teaching them how to be a good sport; how to lose gracefully. Those kinds of things that we learn in soccer or swimming, well, these kids don’t want to play soccer or outdoor sports. They want to play videogames, but you still have to be a good sport in that arena.”

In five years, Weber can retire from teaching, and plans to take on Fortnite streaming as a full-time profession. In the meantime, offering a safer, kinder online space for young people, and teaching her students about goodness and fair play, has helped Weber, too.

“It’s helped me with students who may have their own challenges and not the best social skills with their peers,” Weber says. “I think being more patient, and meeting kids where they’re at. I know I’ve learned lessons from it.”

Check out the our guide to Fortnite tips and tricks if you want to be top of the class. We also have the rundown of Fortnite Chapter 4 Season 2, as well as all the new Fortnite weapons, to keep you on top of your game.