Coordinates Breakout Continued

Yesterday, my class began creating a Coordinates Breakout. They figured out which locks to use and what the codes would be. Today, I tasked them with creating the clues and a story to accompany the Breakout.

IMG_5343We had a bit of trouble coming up with a story so I had them creating some of the clues to the locks. They were RockStars creating the clues! They really thought out how to make the clues meaningful, with a bit of depth. One clue deals with the compass rose. We are still debating if we should have different ones on one page or split them up onto different pages and have them placed around the room. I think we will have to run the game with another class to work out some of the kinks.

Another clue, or three, deals with coordinate planes – first quadrant. Each group took aIMG_5346 different approach in creating the coordinateplane. One group created a visually pleasing one with gradient coloring and took the time to draw each line. Meanwhile, another group struggled to create one; they needed four or five. The struggling group asked if the gradient colored group would mind sharing so they could copy their coordinate plane. And of course, the group was kind enough to share!

Then, while in the middle of creating, a student came up to me with a back story for our game. We bounced ideas off of each other and made it better. Tomorrow, I think I am going to have the students work together to make the story even better.

So far, this experience has been challenging, yet rewarding. It is our plan to submit the game to the Breakout EDU website. I think before that happens, I will share it out to make sure it’s in tip-top shape!

Coordinates Breakout

This year I have done a few Breakouts with my class. To say that they love them would be an understatement. So this week when we started coordinates in math, the wheels in our brains started turning. Seriously, there are so many things a person can do!

As we were walking to lunch one student suggested that we do a Breakout based on coordinates. I thought this was a GREAT idea and told him that I would search to see if there were any already made. However, by the end of the 45-minute lunch break, I had decided that making our own would be more fun!

I have been wanting to create my own Breakout for over a year. I have had a few ideas. One was an entire Breakout based in Google Maps. Another was based on directions and graphing. Unfortunately, I could never really get clues and ideas that I felt were good enough. Today was a different story. With the help of 28 other brains, we began creating an exciting Breakout – if I do say so myself.

IMG_5342I posed the idea to the class and they went for it. We decided which locks and accessories to use, created codes, and clue outlines. They even designed a distractor that should be used. They had some great ideas! We’re not done yet, but we will definitely share when we are done. I will have them create the clues and the story. I’m pretty excited for what they will come up with.
They know that I introduced this concept – BreakoutEDU – to the staff last week. They want to run their Breakout with the staff. I don’t think there’s time for that, but hopefully, we can run it with the other 5th-grade class.

Meaningful Homework

IMG_5277On a quest to find more meaningful work for students to do at home, my 5th-grade team has been toying with projects. We have refined our ‘Homework Matrix’ through the year. Basically, students are responsible for producing 4 projects per trimester. Some have been to look for the International Space Station (ISS). Others have been to create a sculpture that can be placed outside. However, I think my favorite has been the ‘Create a shadow box about someone who is important to you.”

The students have been creative, caring, and proud of their work. The shadow boxes range from an actual shadow box to a large wooden box, to an old drawer, to a picture frame that was painted. They have talked about their sisters, moms, aunts, dads, and cousins. I love seeing what they have to say, as presentations are a given in my class, and what they include. Even more fun, is hearing how families are working together to create these projects.

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Staff Breakout EDU

Finally! I have been trying to introduce my site to Breakout EDU for quite a while now. I have been working with my principal for over 6 months on finding a time that works best. Yesterday was the day!

Over Spring Break my principal emailed and asked if it would be doable to host a breakout at our next meeting. I was thrilled! Yes, totally doable and I knew exactly which game I wanted to use: Faculty Meeting.IMG_5325

Since I have five Breakout boxes (one official and four self-created) I was able to split the teachers into manageable groups of 4 or 5. In addition, my class has done several and were able to help me set up for the teachers. I even had 2 student volunteers who stayed to help out. It was rough starting. Many of the teachers weren’t sure how to approach this. It’s so different from what is done in classrooms. This was a very different experience than when I first introduced it to my students (NOTE: I’ve been doing breakouts for 1 1/2 years with students). My students dive right in; sometimes trying out codes on locks without any clues – they get reminders that they need to solve clues to get the codes. But after a few minutes, all the teams were busily working on codes. Some teams were precise in their work, while others were a little less reserved.

IMG_5324In the end, all teams broke out. Several teachers commented what fun it was and how they had to think outside the box to solve the clues. Which is the point; think outside of the box to break into the box!

What was really fun to watch was the Kinder team work together – they choose to sit as a group. They work really well together and are like a well-oiled machine. It definitely showed in the end. That’s not to say the other teams didn’t work well together because they did. Something about seeing the Kinder teachers who eat lunch together, collaborate daily, and constantly communicate work through the Breakout was fun.

img_0534.jpgIn the end, we talked about how it can be used in the classroom and it was revealed that our principal purchased 2 kits for our site. There were a few who said they were going to check out the Breakout EDU website for games and information. One Kinder teacher wants to try it, with my help. What an awesome experience! Can’t wait for those kits to arrive.

Thank you to KCAM principal, staff, and students for allowing me to share the Breakout fun with you!

Google Classroom – Personal Accounts

So I received this today in my inbox!

Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 5.49.59 PM A few days ago I wrote about Google Classroom and Personal Accounts. I applied for early access and was granted it today! The nerd in me is super geeked.

This is a game changer for me. First of all, I enjoy sharing my knowledge of Google Classroom with the masses. Secondly, a friend and I thought about created classes that people could take to become more proficient in technology use in the classroom. THIS is the perfect tool to get that going.

I can’t wait to see what uses others come up with.

It’s Okay To Fail

This has been a BIG lesson for one of my students this year. She was not a fan of failure and learning from her experiences. In the beginning of the year, she would completely shut down, pout, and refuse to make eye contact if she didn’t get something right. We have worked hard on this: the student, the family, her classmates, and me.

So our Trimester 3 homework gave the option for students to create an artistic expression of something they felt was important that they learned this year. This student chose to draw about failure! I am amazed at how far she has come this year. She is truly an amazing person!

IMG_5267 (1) Special thanks to the student and parents for granting permission.

(Unofficial) #CUE17 Foodie Map

Last week a few thousand educators descended upon Palm Springs for the National CUE Conference. About a week before everyone was set to arrive, Brian Briggs made a comment about getting a crowdsource doc going listing food around the event. So between Brian, Tracy Walker, and myself, we thought it was a GREAT idea. Me, being a My Maps lover, decided to take it to the next level and create a crowdsourced foodie mapScreen Shot 2017-03-22 at 6.49.23 PM

As it had nearly 3,000 views, I’d say it as a hit. And it was something that was needed. When I created it, I pinned 1 restaurant. Looking at how many pins are on it, I’d say the crowdsource part was also a success.

In order to crowdsource it, I had to make sure that it was open for anyone to place a pin. Generally, I wouldn’t open a map up for anyone to place a pin, but this was necessary. And there were no problems. Everyone was respectful. There was even an early morning hike one day! I would have never known about that had it not been placed on the map. I will definitely try to do this again. I love it when things like this are embraced by the masses. What a great resource. Thanks Brian and Tracy for the idea.