Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Making Minecraft Meaningful

My class had an amazing year of learning. One of the big reasons for this was a little known video game called MinecraftEDU. Heard of it?  I didn't think so.  Anyway, I got to share my student's learning today at the Learning Achievement Coalition of Oakland County's Effective Practices conference.  (How's that mouthful!)

I have to say, I love sharing Minecraft with others, because when I first started with it back in December, I had never once even seen anyone play the game, much less use it in an academic way.  Sure, there are lots of educators using it for project based learning, but that's not exactly what I was looking for....  I wanted total integration.  So, that's what we did!  I'm excited to continue sharing Minecraft with other educators, but in the mean time, check out some of the projects that came out of my students' learning experiences!

Science: Light & Sound, Force & Motion

History: Explorers & Michigan

Geography: Natural Resources and their impact on a region

Math: Fractions, Area, Perimeter, & Volume

History: Fort Mackinac

Economics: Natural Resources and their role in economics

History: Michigan Native Americans

Social Studies: Landforms

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Triple Crown Worthy News

Yesterday, after 37 years without, the horse world celebrated a new Triple Crown Winner.  That's quite a long spell without watching one well-bred thoroughbred claim victory in the Belmont, Derby, and Preakness.  But yesterday, it happened.  American Pharoah and his jockey Victor Espinoza crossed the finish line of the Belmont with a victorious fist pump, securing the first Triple Crown since 1978.

Affirmed took the title in 1978 with jockey Steve Cauthen aboard.  I was born in 1978, which makes it a pretty special year.  And 37 years later, 37 years after Affirmed took the title, I've got some big news, too.

I've spent my entire teaching career in the same district, same building, and believe it or not, the same classroom.  From pre-student teaching to student teaching, to a year and a half as the building sub completing three long-terms, including one in my room..... I have spent all 13 years of my career in what I have always thought was the most incredible place to teach.  And while I still think that my district, and especially my school, is a pretty incredible place to teach, it's time to move on.

An opportunity crossed my path that was too good to pass up.  So, after 13 years in my classroom, I am stepping out of the classroom and into a leadership role at a local community day school as their Coordinator of Technological Play.  When my students asked me what that mean, I explained it to them like this:

In our classroom, I get to help guide you, my students, through your education while incorporating all sorts of fun technologies into our learning experiences.  In my new position, I'll get to do the same thing but instead of only my students, I'll get to work with an entire school.  And instead of helping just my teammates, I'll get to work with all the teachers.

I could see it landing in their eyes, and there were some tears (many of which were my own) but I think we've come to an understanding that while there is sadness in leaving my home of 13 years, there is excitement in starting a new adventure.

So it is with a bittersweet note that I bid farewell to the incredible Conant Elementary School and say hello to Hillel Day School.  As this momentous event in my life has been punctuated by a Triple Crown win, I think that's a good sign, don't you?