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Help! I need Ideas for herding cats!

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11 comments

  • Debbie Alexander Community moderator
    Beacon of Knowledge Expert (Gold) Moderator

    Hey, Aleece, we all struggle. lol the struggle is real! I think what helps most is to remember that the technology is a means to an end. What is most important? What do you want them to walk away with? Then simplify, simplify, and distill it down until you have a bare bones that address the real things you want them to accomplish. 

    For example, with second graders in MC:EE, I might just want them do develop representational thought, such as the idea that a tower of seven blocks represents the number seven. Crazy simple. And a sign says seven. I mean nutzo simple.  Then I build on that to get them to represent something more complex, like the number ten can be represented in different forms, like 2+8 and 5+5, with sign next to that, and two colors of blocks for each part. Of course, this is not second grade work yet. But I am connecting second graders from their knowledge of math to their spatial knowledge to their Minecraft skills. Connection. So I am not scared of simple. And I go from there.

    Honestly I wouldn't expect too much cloning, which is not to say that I don't have students who could do it. But with a class of 18-30, you need overall successful activities, with stuff for the early finishers to work on. 

    I think you could definitely go forward with good coordinate work, fill and clone and stuff in separate worlds first, so disasters don't upset everyone, but that is so super hard in a remote environment, so I can understand that one!

    I love your enthusiasm as well as your high bar for what you are aiming for. I am cheering for you. Don't give up! You are a rock star!

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  • Aleece Landis
    Expert (Gold)

    I'm not really worried about making things simple enough.  In individual worlds most of these guys breeze through maps and challenges in the realms of coding, math and game play.  And since they are all homeschoolers, I don't actually have to MAKE them show ME their work.  It is up to the parents to collect the materials to include in portfolios for evaluation.  If the students are proud of something they have done in Minecraft Education edition it is wonderful that they can use the camera, portfolio and book and quill to create a PDF to include in the portfolio.  But back to the point, I don't have to super simplify to get them to SHOW what they understand.

    I'm actually trying to use Minecraft to help them sharpen skills, primarily social skills, that is the main reason they are all interested in playing minecraft, it is because they want a way to play with friends while also being able to call it educational.

    Luckily I'm NOT working with 18-30 students.  I've only got 4 of the 2nd graders and one older brother involved at this point.  Bonus, it is a small group so possible to give each some individual focus.  One of the Big benefits of Homeschooling, you can really focus education to the students pace and there isn't much waiting around while the teacher is busy with everything else.

    Drawback, none of the larger team or group activities work with this small a group.  Like all the lesson maps I've seen where you break a larger class up into 4 groups of 4-6 people and then the 4 teams compete, so they are competing but the teams are learning to cooperate with each other.  This is one of the challenges for Homeschooling, since you students usually are NOT lumped in with 24-30+ other students in their same "group" it can be challenging to get as much team building or cooperation sorts of activities (especially this past year and a half since we haven't even been involved with the team sports leagues that are often a bit part of Homeschooling.)  Hum, that gives me an idea, I wonder if anyone has created any corporate team building minecraft maps?  I'll have to go search that.

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  • Dan Noble Community moderator
    Expert (Gold) Moderator

    I've got a custom activity where we have students individually or cooperatively build a structure in a story they've read in class. 

    As activities go, it's a hit, and it's scalable by grade level and by the number of students. 

    I've tried teambuilding exercises with adults in Minecraft. While students of any age group and experience level with the application are generally almost always receptive (or downright excited), using it with adults has been extremely challenging. Those with gaming and game experience are totally engaged, those who aren't (which makeup 80% of the group) just aren't interested and consider the whole thing "silly", despite showing them the kind of results we've had in the classroom. Not that I'm giving up...! 

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  • Aleece Landis
    Expert (Gold)

    Dan Noble what sort of teambuilding exercises have you done with adults in Minecraft? 

    I can understand the challenges there with many being disengaged but luckily with the students I have in my group, they have all chosen to be in the group so engagement isn't the problem. 

    Squabbling and griefing is the problem.  While There are tools I can use to stop them being able to damage other's work.  I really want to focus more on getting them interested in working together to accomplish something.  Like group escape room or puzzle maps where they need to work together to get through the tasks or survive.

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  • Dan Noble Community moderator
    Expert (Gold) Moderator

    I'd actually love to try expanding into the cooperate sphere as a teambuilding tool as I'm convinced it has some significant advantages (particularly in a pandemic) over some traditional approaches. 

    I've done a handful of team building events. 

    For educators I had them run two of my activities, a scavenger hunt and a math maze. The educators were actually very receptive and had a lot of fun. 

    The challenges stemmed from our corporate side. I held a couple of basic build challenges. Many had never played any video games before and many were just not invested in learning the basics of moving and building on that basis. I'd also tried a team building event with Kerbal Space Program which I had similar results with. The biggest challenge is getting over the barrier of disinterest with non-gamers. I think it will get easier as more people join the workforce with a history of gaming. 

    Griefing is certainly an issue with students. I usually use the Classroom tool and jump in the game with them to help guide and minimize the issues. I also have a little border block zone which I call the "quiet reflection zone" which I can place students in if they need a timeout. 

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  • Aleece Landis
    Expert (Gold)

    I think I want to get them to do one of the maze challenges where some people are in the maze while another person is above the maze and has to talk the rest of them through the maze.

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  • Dan Noble Community moderator
    Expert (Gold) Moderator

    I like that idea!

    I also have a haunted house mystery and an example escape room I haven't had the chance to use in teambuilding. It would be interesting to try some of our self-made mentor activities in our mentor meet-ups. 

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  • Aleece Landis
    Expert (Gold)

    I've gotten a few new worlds from Maros Zvolensky lately.  I like that his new club worlds encourage collaboration.  I'm probably just going to need to expand on some of his Ideas.https://mcraft.education/ 

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  • Debbie Alexander Community moderator
    Beacon of Knowledge Expert (Gold) Moderator

    So Aleece, what do you imagine a successful escape room would look like when built by your four second graders and one older brother? What would the steps be for them to succeed? What kind of brainstorming would they do, and how would they work cooperatively to plan and choose their roles? These are the kind of steps and breakdowns needed to work for success in group projects, in general, and in "the 4 C's." 

    For example, if you used the clone world map, you could add some roads, with different colors, and ask student to make trees. Then they could add one or two trees in the area of the road with a certain color. Then everyone could switch to another color. This allows cooperative play. If trees knock off a branch, it is probably going to look natural, but if the road is large enough, you can avoid it, by and large. Just a thought. The students can use creativity to create their tree, collaboration to decorate each part of the forest, cooperation when they decorate each area, and communication when they know which area they are working in.

    For an escape room, they could learn to put a certain number of objects in a pattern, and ask what's next for a puzzle. Or put items in frames and ask how many of a certain item there are for an escape question. Just ideas for second grade. They could be in a peaceful village and put these items in existing houses.

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  • Ayman Jadallah

    Build an iron farm cus villagers cause cats to spawn then save them before they die to the lava

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  • Aleece Landis
    Expert (Gold)

    Ayman Jadallah

    LOL, that is a very creative Idea.  It isn't how I was using the "herding cats" reference but it might be a good project to set my more advanced students to working on.

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