Monthly Archives: February 2015

Week 7 Blog

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How will I assess the effectiveness of the differentiation I have planned for the Givercraft?

The differentiation the I have been working on with Scott and Nicole is a teacher support area in Liveminutes.  We have been trying to think of ways to gauge the effectiveness of the page.  Some ideas might include just keeping track of how many teachers are using the site, reading feedback and questions they write on the site, and a possible teacher survey.

We have not discussed ideas to gauge how the work we are doing for teachers is helping differentiate for students.  I would say that maybe the best way to find out if the site is helpful to teachers is to do a survey with them.  We have come up with an FAQ page, a what to do when page, a reflection question page, and a Minecraft resource page.  This is also an are where teachers can meet in the evening to ask questions and get some closure from the day.

Week 6 Reflection

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This week was a difficult blog for me because of my lack of skills in Minecraft. I was able to read and comment on other blogs this week and contribute in others ways. I was able to talk about difficult students and having difficulty with Minecraft in general. One blog that I commented on was where we were able to discuss difficult students. There are many ways to differentiate and one of the ways that was talked about was grouping students and independent work. There are some students that just cannot handle doing group work and we discussed whether to let them continue in group work or pull them out of the groups. My belief is that I continue to give them opportunities to work in groups and then take them out of the groups after warnings during misbehavior. Group work skills are skills that all students need the opportunity to learn. I was able to discuss alternative routes for students who may not be as “in to Minecraft” as others. Tristan and I discussed having projects such as paragraph writing about the game for students who may not be able to complete the task within the game. We also discussed giving badges for these other tasks. After reading and discussing this week, I am feeling a little better about the project. I know that there are others who are in the same boat as me.

Week 6 Blog

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Personally, I do not feel that I can contribute much to the Minecraft experience. We met as a group on Tuesday to discuss some ideas. There were some great ideas for the experience including the following: help center, badges, and having a leaderboard, just to name a few.

I met again with Scott and Nicole to discuss a collaborative space. We decided that Live Minutes would be a great collaborative tool to talk to teachers and share resources. We were able to get into it to see how it might work for the project.

The gamer types are interesting to look at and to think about how they will impact students in the game.   Achievers will want to get into the game and complete the task quickly and efficiently. Killers will find ways to be the best and to be the winner of challenges. Socialites will work more collaboratively and be using the chat feature to talk with other players. Finally, the explorers will be spending more time in the game to discover and learn more than just how to complete the task. I would say that giving student longer amounts of time to work might help to meet the needs of all the different types of gamers.

I still have a lot to learn about Minecraft and the experience for students. I am just working to learn and figure out ways that I can contribute.

Week 5 Reflection

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This week I have learned a lot from classmates and I was able to share some ideas. A couple of students commented on my blog and enjoyed the resources. I was able to share some of the gaming that I am using form math in my classroom. Others shared games that they are using across subjects. I also read blogs about ideas for projects that other students had.

I shared IXL math and splash math in my blog. I had a couple of students comment on it and enjoy the resources, especially splash math. Amanda shared Planet Turtle with me, which is similar to Splash Math. I enjoyed looking at Planet Turtle because it also incorporates challenges and communication between students much like MInecraft does.

One interesting project that Cindy had was to have her students create traditional longhouses within Minecraft. I really liked her idea of making a traditional project more modern and engaging for students. She also talked about bringing elders in to work alongside the students. I really like the idea as long as the elders understood the project and were accepting of it.

Most of us agreed in our blogs that games are very interesting and self-motivating for students. Students are able to work at their own pace within the games which is a huge part of differentiation.

#diffimooc Week 5 Blog: How are games providing new opportunities for differentiation in the classroom?

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Games in the classroom are highly motivating for students and they can usually work at their own pace. The differentiation is built into games because of the nature of gaming in the classroom. Students are usually able to work at their own pace in games. My students are using games to deepen their understanding in math and language arts.

When students are given the freedom to create within games, their creativity comes out. Students are given the opportunity to follow their own interests when they are given the flexibility in games such as Minecraft (Ossola, 2015). When students are given the flexibility, they can be creative and work at their own pace. Games provide a different opportunity to learn various concepts where we might be able to reach students with different learning styles. Teachers can differentiate tasks within Minecraft and students use the chat feature to communicate difficult concepts within the game (Teacher Take Advantage of Minecraft in the Classroom).

The games that I have been using in my classroom are math and language arts games. I have been using IXL math and language arts for students to practice 2nd grade skills. Monforton encourages his students to play math games in his technology classes. IXL is a game that makes learning math and language arts fun (2015). While students practice at their own pace, they are earning rewards and metals within the game. Splash math is an app/website that my students have been using in the classroom, it is common core aligned and students have the opportunity to practice math skills at their own pace. It is a fun and engaging way for students to practice skills (2005).

Games provide differentiation in the classroom because they are usually self-paced. Students have the option to do as much or as little as they can do within the games. I have been using IXL and Splash Math to help deepen my students understanding in math and language arts.

References:

“Monforton Teacher Instructs Coding to Kids.” The Belgrade News. Web. 12 Feb. 2015.

<http://www.belgrade-news.com/news/article_6716d926-ae2a-11e4-959b-13ebce844c1c.html&gt;.

Ossola, Alexandra. “Teaching in the Age of Minecraft.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media

Company, 6 Feb. 2015. Web. 11 Feb. 2015. <http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/02/teaching-in-the-age-of-minecraft/385231/&gt;.

“Practice Math & Language Arts | K–12.” IXL Math and English. 1 Jan. 2015. Web. 12

Feb. 2015. <http://www.ixl.com/&gt;.

“Splash Math – Fun Math Practice for Grades 1-5.” Splash Math. Web. 12 Feb. 2015.

<https://www.splashmath.com/&gt;.

“Teachers Take Advantage of Minecraft in the Classroom.” Education World:. Web. 12

Feb. 2015. <http://www.educationworld.com/a_news/teachers-take-advantage-minecraft-classroom-60294258&gt;.

Week 4 Reflection

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After reading and responding to blogs this week, many agree that the first step to preparing parents for differentiation is building positive relationships with them. Once you have those relationships established, it is much easier to communicate with parents about gaming and differentiation in the classroom. You need to build partnerships and trust with the families.

I discussed the importatnce of studnets communicating with their parents. If students are doing the explaining of what is going on parents might be more accepting. They are able to communicate with their child, they can see the enthusiasm that their child has fro wht is going on in the classroom.

Most would agree that there are a lot of parents who are accepting of gaming in the classroom. If you can justify the learning and importance behind it, parents are more receptive.

Week 4 Blog: How do we prepare parents for differentiation, and gaming/gamification in the classroom?

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Preparing parents for differentiation begins with building positive relationships with parents. Most parents are more willing to be acceptable of new changes and and ideas in the classroom when they trust you and have a positive relationship with you. We are making the shift to 21st century learning and most parents are accepatable of that, the edutopia article provide a guide to help parents understand 21st century tools (2012).

Tomlinson (2001) discusses different types of parents and how to prepare them for differentiation. There are the parents of the advanced learners who we must listen to and learn from. On the other hand you have the parents who stay away from school and it is critical for us to try to reach out to these parents.

Many studnets use technology and gaming outside the house. Integration of technology helps to prepare our students for the world of work and the world outside of school (Smith & Throne, 2009). Parents understand the world outside of school and the importantce of technology. Discussing this with parents will likely help them to be more accepting of gaming and differentiation through technology in the classroom.

The article Wonderful Wednesdays discusses inviting parents into the classroom on a weekly schedule to participate alongside their child as they are learning (Crowe, 2004). If parents are in our classroom weekly working alongside their child, they are given the opportunity to see what is going on in the classroom.   Parents then can build relationships and have firsthand experience with differentiation and gaming in your classroom.

Often times, teaachers become defensive when they are questioned by parents. Parents just want to understand what is going on and they want the best for their child. The reading and research this week gave some interesting advice on ways to work with parents.

References:

“A Parent’s Guide to 21st Century Learning.” Edutopia. The George Lucas Education

Foundation, 1 Jan. 2012. Web. <http://www.edutopia.org/pdfs/guides/edutopia-parents-guide-21st-century-learning.pdf&gt;.

Crowe, Caltha. “Responsive Classroom®.” Wonderful Wednesdays. Responsive

Classroom Newsletter, 1 Jan. 2004. Web. 6 Feb. 2015. <https://www.responsiveclassroom.org/article/wonderful-wednesdays&gt;.

Smith, Grace E., and Stephanie Throne. Differentiating Instruction with

Technology in Middle School Classrooms. Eugene, Or.: International

Society for Technology in Education, 2009. Print.

Tomlinson, Carol A. How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed-ability

Classrooms. 2nd ed. Alexandria, Va.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2001. Print.

Week 3 Reflection

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This week made me put a lot of thought into the way my classroom is organized and how I can provide more opportunities for letting learning happen. One of the main things from the readings and blogs this week that I took away was how I am grouping my students and having them interact with each other. Another theme that came out in blogs this week is how to help those lowest learners in your classrooms.

I read and responded to classmates’ blogs this week discussing the importance of having students interact with each other. This year, I have a very difficult class, who really like to talk so I have tried to isolate them from each other. Now I am planning to re-arrange my classroom to provide more partners and group interactions. Andrea teaches online and she provides opportunities for her students to work together to make sense of the material. It made me think about how we learn and that we learn most from teaching. Grouping students allows them to teach each other and deepen their understanding.

I discussed how to differentiate to help your lowest learners while still challenging my highest learners. The new higher math standards provide challenges for providing interventions for my lower learners. I was able to discuss this with another classmate that teaches math. We have agreed that providing interventions is challenging but rewarding.

This week really made me think about and re-evaluate the organization of my class and the learning opportunities that I am providing for my students.