Every time I write a unit I try to use Kath Murdoch’s inquiry cycle.

So when I finished my COETAIL Unit 5 project (utilizing Minecraft as a teaching tool for an integrated Farm to Table unit) I thought about what I tell my student’s during Writer’s Workshop, “when you think you’re done… you’ve just begun.”

Putting my mouth where my money is… even though the unit is over, I’ve kinda just begun. I need to follow my own inquiry cycle and go further, help the students make further connections, and then… take action! So here are my next steps.

Going Further

On a number of occasions, my students have used the Hour of Code website. This tool has helped develop logical thinking skills and enthusiasm for coding and problem solving. So it wasn’t a far stretch when my Technology Integration Coach, Mark Marshall, told me that we could take this Minecraft Edu thing to the next level. After a brief mini-lesson introducing students to the turtles:

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvheN05ArOg[/youtube]

and showing off the Turtle Training Booklet, students participated in a practice course where we (teachers) guided, supported, and helped kids troubleshoot. Within 15 minutes, Mark and I were walking around trying to offer students help, but they were solving each other’s problems without us.

So, for the next week I was really brave. By using a “flipped” station model during my math workshop, a small group of students coded the turtle through different challenges (each new challenge opening after the previous one had been completed). The activity’s high-engagement meant that I could focus on the students at my math station while inspiring other learners to complete their designated tasks so they could earn their day at the technology station.

Further Connections

Our grade 2 science unit about Processes that Shape the Earth is now coming to an end. Our team created a STEM-based summative task which allowed students to “make” their understanding of life on/near landforms by creating a diorama, a poster, a video, a LEGO world, or a Minecraft community. The 2 students who chose the Minecraft Edu option were already “expert” Minecraft players and, by giving them “creative mode” access, they were able to achieve success in a reasonable amount of time.

Taking Action

Photo Credit: wcm1111 via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: wcm1111 via Compfight cc

I’m taking action by sharing Minecraft Edu with as many colleagues who are willing to listen. I’m growing my PLN to include the @MinecraftEdu (which has now been taken over by @TeacherGaming and @Microsoft) network. I’m sharing with colleagues at work, and I’m trying to use Minecraft Edu in any way I can think.

Though I’m not a master crafter yet, I’m meeting my own personal inquiry… one step at a time!