minecraft

Minecraft Resource: 4 Quadrant Template (Grass Version)

In a recent post, I mentioned beginning to work with some 4th grade teachers. They wanted a world where they could have multiple classes working, but each class separately contained. Thus, this template was created.

Name: 4 Quadrant Template World (Grass Version)
Creator: Rachel Moravec
Description: A downloadable world with 4 grass quadrants for PC editions of Minecraft. Students should spawn in the central building, and teachers using add-ons can easily set spawn points. Signs are posted to divide each class into their zones. Each zone is laid out with grass to make natural builds easier. Each zone is 402 x 402 square blocks.
Notes: This world works great on vanilla versions of Minecraft. However, it works best on versions running Spigot with the EssentialsX add-on. With this add-on, the spawn point can be set, as well as different warp points for each class. Please note this isn’t required, but optional.
Link: 4 Quadrant Template (Grass Version)

Preview Images:

Need help importing world files into your Minecraft? Check out this tutorial for more information.

Advertisements

Minecraft Resource: 4 Quadrant Template (Colored Zones Version)

In a recent post, I mentioned beginning to work with some 4th grade teachers. They wanted a world where they could have multiple classes working, but each class separately contained. Thus, this template was created.

Name: 4 Quadrant Template World (Colored Zones Version)
Creator: Rachel Moravec
Description: A downloadable world with 4 colored quadrants for PC editions of Minecraft. Students should spawn in the central building, and teachers using add-ons can easily set spawn points. Signs are posted to divide each class into their zones. Each zone is a different color for easy sorting, and has grid marks that makes laying out a build easier. Each zone is 402 x 402 square blocks.
Notes: This world works great on vanilla versions of Minecraft. However, it works best on versions running Spigot with the EssentialsX add-on. With this add-on, the spawn point can be set, as well as different warp points for each class. Please note this isn’t required, but optional.
Link: 4 Quadrant Template (Colored Zones Version)

Preview Images:

Need help importing world files into your Minecraft? Check out this tutorial for more information.

4th Grade & Minecraft

I’ve been able to find many ways to use Minecraft since I began playing a few years ago- workshops for littles up to middle school, literacy, and more. However, I had yet to get a chance to use it in the classroom with the curriculum. That’s about to change this as the second semester begins.

A fellow colleague and Minecraft lover alerted me to the fact that two 4th grade teachers at Carysbrook Elementary were interested in learning to use the program with their math classes. She invited me to help set up one of the labs to play the game, and also to meet with the teachers yesterday. They would like to use it with some of their upcoming geometry unit.

We have so far planned to get the server set up and a basic quadrant layout for the world maps. I’ll also set up the server with Spigot and some add-ons to make the management easier for the teachers. They have a few ideas already for projects, but nothing completely solid yet. I have showed them how they could work in Minecraft, and they’ll decide in which order to proceed.

For now, they are working on learning to play the game themselves. I gave them access to a couple of the school accounts for this purpose. I have answered any questions they’ve thrown my way, and told them that learning to play the game is meant to be a learning process, but that YouTube is very handy, as are wikis.

For the students, we’ve decided that a play session will be vital first, so we’ve scheduled their classes to get some time with the game before diving into curriculum on the 18th. They’ll be doing this during 100th day of school activities, so the plan is to let the students explore and play before assigning them a challenge to build the number 100 in as many ways as they can think of.

After that, I will return the next week to begin the first math lesson with the students. I am only able to do the morning classes, so they are going to watch what I do and how I troubleshoot, and apply it themselves during the afternoon classes.

I am excited to take on this task, and to see what part of their unit they decide to use first. They are excited to try it with students and find a new way to bring engagement to their classes. I hope to provide a new update soon!

Minecraft Resource: City Layout Starter

I’ve been working on setting up the city layout that will guide my Minecraft: Cityscapers kiddos in their design of their project city build. I decided to share this project world with anyone who wants to have the basic layout done.

Name: Minecraft City Layout Starter World
Creator: Rachel Moravec
Description: A downloadable world with a basic layout for a city completed for PC editions of Minecraft. This particular layout has a central focal point. It can be used to design a tower, monument, or small park. A roundabout encases it, and I started doing the roads that branch out from this area. The area of each city block (encompassed by the white quartz) is 70 x 71. From there, the design is up to the creator!
Link: City Layout Starter

2017-12-26_14.15.33

Need help importing world files into your Minecraft? Check out this tutorial for more information.

 

Reflections on VSTE 2017

Another VSTE has come and gone, and it was fantastic! This was my 2nd year attending, and it was even better than last year because I had some wonderful connections and people to meet up with. Big shoutout goes to my tech buddy Heidi Trude (@htrude07). She and I love tech conferences, meeting speakers, and bouncing new ideas.

I arrived bright and early on Sunday morning and got checked in. My big task for the day was my Minecraft presentation. I was scheduled to go right at the start, which was fine by me. I was able to get it over with and then focus on other things with the conference.

I had a full room of 30, and I set up my session to play some Minecraft themed music from my YouTube playlist. I also dressed up in my Steve outfit, which many people got a kick out of. My topic was on empowering students through architecture and design. I focused on how this topic empowers first, and then dove into each of my workshops- middle school, rising 1st/2nd grade, and my Cityscapers club. From there I also talked about empowering preschool kids, using my buddy Reed as an example. I got a lot of good questions, and shared all of my workshop resources with folks, which they really appreciated.

The rest of the conference was a whirlwind of fun and learning. Here are some of my favorite key takeaways:

  • Virtual courses and professional development: I listened to a presentation from a district on how they were offering virtual courses for professional development. This allowed them to be flexible for their teachers, and to offer many chances for teachers to find ways to use the tools in the classroom. I want to design a course for next year, and I’m thinking it may be on Google for beginning teachers or something like that. I just need to research and toy with my idea more.
  • Minecraft for Teachers: Minecraft is a game meant to toss the player into it with very little instruction or guidance. While there are teachers who will also embrace this tactic and learn to play the game this way, there are others who are too hesitant and uncertain. I am thinking of potential developing a play and learn series geared specifically to them.
  • Minecraft Challenges: I had forgotten that even though I no longer have access to the old MinecraftEDU, I can still get access to the lessons and world files for the program. I would like to import some of the worlds into Minecraft and redesign them to work for students. This is something that could take awhile, so for now I’ve downloaded a latitude and longitude scavenger hunt world to tinker with.
  • Google Forms and Data Validation: I loved this session because it gave me new ideas for my teachers on how to use forms to get certain answers or to set up puzzles and passcodes for access. For example, a teacher can use data validation to get students to enter a secret code to then be taken to the quiz part of a form.
  • School branding: I loved both the keynote speech and the session done by Eric Sheninger. His work affirms that I’m on the right path with branding, especially with our schools. I took away some new ideas for branding, and have since met with one of the middle school administrators to see how we could do better. We actually have a plan in place, and it will allow us to get more stories and pictures from classrooms without teachers having to do much extra.
  • Photojournaling– I went to this session to learn about the impact photojournaling can have on students, and how it promotes collaboration. The presenter had us do some of the activities in the lesson plan itself, and of course received the lesson and all necessary resources. The best part is that the lesson is written in such as way that it can be applied across disciplines, so teachers can modify as needed.

After all those sessions, I was on information overload, and still am. I am slowly working through bits of it as I complete my daily work. I feel that I can be a better teacher and ITRT once I’ve started applying more of what I’ve learned.

I also made new connections and reconnected with folks from last year. It was good to see so many familiar faces. I tweeted up a storm, which should be no surprise if you know me well. I can go back later to check out those tweets and discover new ideas.

VSTE definitely helped me recharge my batteries. I felt on top of the world as I left Roanoke on Tuesday afternoon. I am ready to work on making more changes to my work, and improving myself.

This will be my last VSTE for awhile. I am going to skip next year (unless my district decides to send us) because I want to save up for ISTE 2019. It’s going to be in Philadelphia, and very doable in my case. I just need to make sure I have the money ready to roll. I know my district won’t be able to fund something so pricey, but I am very determined to experience this amazing conference at least once in my career!

5 Ways Literacy is Used in Minecraft

Minecraft isn’t just a game where kids explore locations, kill mobs, and build random objects – It’s so much more than that! The game can spark much creativity and release imaginations. It has made its way into classrooms across the country, and there are lesson plans and worlds being designed for teachers all of the time. Literacy is just one topic that is embedded into Minecraft. It is a key skill for children, especially when they are very young. Here are 5 ways that literacy is used in Minecraft:

Logical Inferencing: Players have to figure out the mechanics of the game, and how things work. They must learn how to create new objects from collected items and how those objects go together. For example, they must take gathered wood, turn it into sticks, and then combine it with more wood, stone, iron, or diamond to create picks, hoes, swords, and axes. They must learn the vocabulary of the game, and how to navigate the world. Players must figure this out on their own, as no tutorial or directions come with the game.

Storytelling (Oral and Written): There is no set story for Minecraft so players create their own. Stories come about whether students are exploring or simply building. Younger children share their stories about their world orally with family and friends, while older children may both write and speak of their work. Creating a new Minecraft world starts children with a blank slate, so stories can build up over time.

Research (Tutorials & How-to Guides): Minecraft does not come with game instructions. Instead, players start the game right in the thick of things. The only directions they are given is how to move and how to jump. Players must learn to play on their own. This usually leads to searching for YouTube videos, wiki guides online, and how-to books in stores. Many written materials are written for levels beyond elementary, but players are motivated to push forward and learn. Players will also seek out friends who can help with new ideas, tips, and tricks for the game.

Analyzing: Players must analyze situations and react appropriately, whether it’s a plan of attack, how to make a machine work, or how to add detail to a build. Some players learn to code or modify the game to suit their needs and ideas. A lack of instructions often forces players to seek solutions and rework their methods until things work correctly. Again, players will seek answers from a variety of sources. They will also create new objects or contraptions to share with others.

Creation of New Media: Players jump on the bandwagon with their own creations: they showcase their work via videos, write discussion posts online and create user guides, or they simply create audio podcasts. Many want to emulate their favorite media stars. For example, a 12 year old wrote a Minecraft Recipes for Dummies book! Players also create their own fictional pieces based on ideas from the game. Players who create and share are adding to the multitude of resources available about the game.

So the next time your child logs into Minecraft to play, sit down with them and talk to them about what’s going on in their game. Teach a younger child how to play the game, or, better yet, learn how to play the game yourself! You’ll be surprised at what you can do with Minecraft!

G Suite Teacher Resource: Graphbook

There’s no easy template available for online graph paper that suited my needs for Minecraft designing and pixel art, so I created my own. Presenting Graphbook, a 15 pg workbook in Google Sheets for those who want to design on the go without paper or pencil.

Name: Graphbook
Creator: Rachel Moravec
Description: Graphbooks are online graphing pages created in Google Sheets. Graphbooks allow students to use for any assignment requiring graphing, without the need for physical paper. It was originally designed for use with Minecraft. Graphbook comes in 2 download options- Portrait and Landscape. Portrait books are set up to print nicely in a portrait layout, and landscape in a landscape layout. Each book has 15 pages. Duplicate and rename workbook tabs to add more pages. Each page has numbers running across the top and side for easier design. Pages are 28 x 36 and 36 x 28.

graphbook image.PNG