Minecraft Makershop: Year 2, Day 1

Today was the first day of KidsCollege, and I was ready to roll! In the morning I assisted with a CSI Workshop, but in the afternoon, I got my middle schoolers. I was totally ready for year 2 of Minecraft Makershop. Once again I have a small crew. I’m supposed to have 9 students, but only 7 showed up today.

After last year, I made some changes to the program. The biggest change was the switch to a hyperdoc format for the course. I designed the hyperdocs based on last year’s work, my reflections, and a need for increased focus in some areas. There is more writing this time around, and the students are kept to a tighter schedule. Increased focus incorporates more writing into the program, especially in the beginning. This year I am using the PC vanilla version of Minecraft, and my own server. I love MCProHosting for my server, and have never had any issues with them.

I started off the workshop dressed as Steve. We pick our kids up in the cafeteria, and I walked in wearing my costume. Here’s a picture from last night:

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I walked my kids to class without skipping a beat. Then we dove right in. We started off by reviewing what they already knew, and by looking at some of the amazing builds people had made in Minecraft. The kids were amazed by some of the things they had seen, and I had to remind them that many people came together to build those things, but they had all worked on their skills.

Our first lesson was on the different types of blocks and basic block combos. It’s a very quick section, as it goes over much of what they already know. However, I already know next year that I want to instead incorporate stuff from the Guide to Creative that Mojang just released. I have it, and I think it’s definitely a huge improvement over the Construction handbook. It uses the color wheel to help discuss blocks.

Once the first lesson was complete, students then set about with the first activity: They had to build a house within Minecraft. I did not change this task from last year, except maybe to make the requirements very clear: walls on all sides, a roof, a door, at least 1 window, and it had to be above ground. What I did not do (and I kick myself over this) is tell them it had to be realistic or tied to a theme (sci-fi, city, village, etc). It’s fine, and I’ve told them it would be when they do the redesign, so we’ll see what occurs.

Here are the results from each student:

There are, once again, a variety of skill levels in this workshop. I really enjoyed seeing what the students created, and I’m eager to see how tomorrow changes things. I already see some students utilizing some of the different blocks in new ways. Quite frankly, I had never seen anyone in the workshop attempt to use nether blocks to create a house design, but I really like what the student created.

Once they had finished their designs, students had to write about their house design and how they had created it. They shared their work on Padlet. They were going to share their images, but for some reason, they could not upload their images to Padlet and I need to see why that was. I think we may have hit a size limit snag, which I can easily have fixed.

From here, we moved into feedback. Students learned about good feedback, and then practiced with a few scenarios on the hyperdoc. They were then supposed to go and give feedback to each of the other students by using a Google form. This took longer than I wanted because they did not want to get it completed and it was like pulling teeth. I need to fix this area. I should probably limited the feedback they need to give, and then give better feedback myself. This area was too much “down” for students, and it needs reworked.

We did have a dance party thrown in. Today’s dance party song:

It did break up the task of giving feedback, and the students loved it. I have more songs for each day of the week, so I can’t wait to share those with students.

Our day ended with preparing for tomorrow by watching the next hyperdoc video on 5 types of houses. This included giving an assignment to students: Think about how they might redesign their house and make it better based on the things we talked about today. We’ll jump right in tomorrow by exploring some building techniques, and then incorporating those into Minecraft. I had planned to teach it one way, but I have a new idea. We’ll see how it works tomorrow!

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