November 10, 2015
One of the most important elements of getting an idea off the ground is buy in. If two guys just come up with a cool idea in the woods, does anyone care…wait..I messed up that joke. But seriously, if Doug and I did not have the backing of our forward thinking principal and our amazing parent teacher club, this idea would be dead in the water. Or more likely, just relegated to happening inside of just our classrooms. Yet, at…
November 4, 2015
I tweeted. Yep, I’ve had a class Twitter account for over 4 years, and I have done pretty much zero with it. Never saw a point. No need to keep up with the celebrity gossip that fills the twitterverse. It was was by all accounts, worthless to me. Then they hired The Weird Teacher, no, seriously, he likes being called that. The Weird Teacher (@theweirdteacher), blue hair, no chairs in his classroom, and he lowered all the desks in his…
October 2, 2015
I can’t say enough about how great the SimCity project has become. Yes, this post is LONG overdue. I have now completed two years of using SimCity as a catalyst for learning in my classroom. I really don’t see it as a game anymore, it simply is a really engaging way to reach my students with lessons they need. What impresses me the most is how well the students problem solve together. There are serious discussions about finances, ecological impact…
March 18, 2015
10 minute Professional Development is a new series of posts I’ve decided to write because I saw a need for quick, down and dirty ideas that educators can use to expand their teaching. We all know we don’t have extra time in our day, so I’ve come up with a format for a quick post that outlines a teaching strategy or method and gathered a few resources on the topic for you to add to your quiver of teaching tools….
February 6, 2014
During our class’ Daily 5 time, teams have been slowly working on building up their cities. Luckily we have not had any more close to bankruptcies like we did the first week. Teams are slowly planning out their new additions, some are planning ahead, while others are reacting to the citizens demands that pop up as they go along. The amount of collaboration and discussion that is happening is unreal. Each team savors their time on the computer since we…
November 21, 2013
Today marked the end of the beginning with our SimCities. Students finished the first steps (road layout, planned zoning and desired power plant). They loved every step so far. Now that they have basically got the foundations ready, they spent today working on prioritizing the city services to add next.
November 20, 2013
All of the 10 cities within New Powell Valley are underway, but we hit a problem. There is a new lesson that covers comparing and contrasting energy sources, their costs, and the pollution that each makes. This took time, I used a Mimio slide show which showed all of the screenshots of the power plants from SimCity. Students wrote down the information on their module sheet, then answered the questions.
November 19, 2013
Last week, I introduced the idea of using SimCity as a learning program with my class. To say they are excited about this opportunity would be an understatement. When I finally released them to work with their groups, the room was abuzz with collaboration and authentic team work. They want their city to succeed, and they will need each other to make that happen.
November 7, 2013
So I have a set of lesson plan units ready to go, and yet I still fear turning SimCity over to my students, let me explain. The thought of a game being used for education is so revolutionary, other staff members raise their eyebrow when I tell them about it. Yet, I have put hours into connecting it with standards and learning outcomes, I know this will work. I just don’t know what it will look like yet. This is…
November 6, 2013
One of the first hurdles I had to address was the fact I have one computer to have 30 students build their cities on. Good news: SimCity allows you to have one plot of land with up to 11 cities. So I could have a variety of students create their own city and then connect it to the other cities within the same plot of land. The Bad news: still only one computer. I decided to make this a team-based…