This was an interesting session, although maybe a bit tough early in the morning to solve a potential end-of-the-Earth scenario. It's basically an escape room for the classroom. We did it as a group of about 30 teachers, and it was fun to see how people acted. There were definitely a few serious people/leaders who were working hard. Then there were some of us, just catching up with old colleagues. All in all, it was a good time and we saved the world...with 20 minutes to spare.
The educational benefits are quite clear:
The website has everything set up nicely as well with free resources for the escape rooms.
Creative Drama in the Classroom
This session started with a bang...but ended with a fizzle. I think with her drama/acting/educational background, we expected a lot. Still there were some good ideas to be had:
Artifacts Inspire Inquiry
This session was truly inspiring, engaging from start to finish, and the presenter was extremely professional, prepared and personable.
The start is key. She asked us to talk about our childhood "artifact," something from our past that was memorable, important or endearing. The initial brief moment of anxiety shifted to something quite calming: sharing something personally relevant helped create an invisible bond within that group of strangers.
The key point that was stressed was that an artifact doesn't need to be something ancient; after all, your students probably haven't seen some of the things you grew up with, given the acceleration of technology advancements combined with the nature of our disposable and consumable society.
The main activity involved having poster paper, a group of people, and a photo of an artifact. We had to brainstorm as many ideas about what the item was. It was a fruitful discussion, with plenty of varying ideas. Then we received the actual physical object, and our preconceptions or ideas from that photo changed quite dramatically. So we came up with even more refined ideas about what our item was. We actually guessed correctly: a sewing kit!
At Surrey Centre Elementary, I participated in a 4 classroom battle (Ms. Williams, Ms. Booth, and Ms. Hern) with over 100 students, 26 teams and 26 devices (mostly iPads). It was a hoot! (I know I had to say it once.) It was definitely the most students I've been a part of (but not the most devices). In the beginning it was extremely loud with ear-piercing screaming, so we told them they could shout and yell but no screaming. It improved after that.
We played in the gym with my A/V cart and it worked out much more smoothly than I thought. Even my 30-watt speaker with a subwoofer seemed to be loud enough for the music to carry through the large space. Basically it was a plug-and-play setup, where I simply plugged in the cart to the outlet and we were ready to go with the projector, MacBook and speakers, while signed into kahoot (https://getkahoot.com/). Then students went onto kahoot.it, entered the game PIN and were signing in their team.
We kept the management simple: students would use the first letter of their teacher's last name plus a 1- or 2-word team name. Then they would add their real first names only.
I found the questions from my Brain Quest cards and chose a variety of questions from a variety of subject areas and interest at the grade level (4 and 5).
Some minor issues are that a few teams had difficulty logging in or staying logged in. Also, when we tried a second round, we encountered buffering or connectivity issues.
Overall, the kids had a great time working in groups among individual classes, but also being able to compete with fellow classmates in a much larger and competitive environment. We will most definitely be playing again. Maybe more classes next time?
Creative Kindergarten Learning Spiral (Mitchel Resnick, 2007)
(Source: Invent to Learn)
(Source: Invent to Learn, 2013)
Daniel H. Lee
This blog will be dedicated to sharing in three areas: happenings in my classroom and school; analysis and distillation of other educators' wealth of knowledge in various texts; insights from other disciplines and areas of expertise that relate and connect with educational practices.