Friday was a long day for me. Luckily, I had the Stuff You Should Know Podcasts to keep me company. Unluckily, they would trigger within me the bigger questions surrounding this experiment with gamification.
Scientific observation starts out with a question, proceeds to background research, and then romps off towards hypothesis. I started wondering what mine were for this experiment.
In an almost cliche type of way, grammar has always been a big question in curriculum. How much is assessed? How is it assessed? Are they making them pick out past participles or grading it as part of a writing sample? Is it a drag and drop test? (more on these later) All of these questions have guided my approach to grammar instruction. I'm pretty sure that up until this year, the question of "How can I get my kids to enjoy learning grammar?" never bubbled to the surface.
Nebraska is in a strange spot right now with testing. Unfortunately, it's a spot I've been in before in other districts. The assessment for our curriculum has changed. For my district, this change has come during the second year of our newly remodeled and hotly debated pacing guide/curriculum map.
What that means to teachers is--the test on which we're graded just changed--time to study the test and see what changes to my approach I can make to guarantee my student's success in a largely unknown testing environment.
Looking at what is provided by the state in the way of exemplars, the limited scope leaves a teacher's imagination swirling with possible teaching scenarios. "How can I make this real life? How can I prove the value of this skill in the real world?" and thousands of other concerns swirl like a waterspouts
There is very little information about the upcoming test; what we do know shows that grammar will be assessed by writing. When this is the case, the best way to teach grammar is by writing (and not by multiple choice or drag and drop or some other means).
All this culminates to provide this year with a curricular tabula rosa, as it were. We are sailing off into unknown waters and have no proven path to success under our belts. Although it's scary, it's also invigorating making our way on the edge of the map. Adopting innovative new resources to help us along our journey is going to be more and more appropriate as we move forward--We MUST change the way we teach to best address the coming changes.
#Gamification is a hot topic educationally right now. There's all kinds of books, hashtags, discussion groups, and conferences on using elements of game play in the classroom to achieve learning objectives.
This all boils down, at least in my mind, to the fact that the time is right for my cohorts and I to rock the educational boat a bit and weigh anchor to see what's on the other side of the horizon.
Logan Fontenelle Middle School began its 1617 school year on Thursday. It was an awesome day filled with fire alarms and fun new faces.
I have so far introduced the notion of the game to my students. I have also lassoed KT and forced her into our diabolical gaming plan (she is making the houses!). I'm super excited to be working with both her and @JefferyBernadt this coming week to start the process of "bonding" with our new iPads.
As far as the gamification with the proposed kickoff date of September 2nd, I'm chugging along. In the weeks before school started I looked for a methodology so that I could develop the game with a little chaos as possible. Without knowing it, I settled on @MiaMacMeekin's An Ethical Island blog. In it I found that she had created an infographic outlining steps to gamification that mesh beautifully with instructional design. Basically, she outlines six steps to gamification. Here's my progress so far:
This is a screenshot of a table found on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.
I pulled this up today because I was curious as to the job market our students (who are currently picking out their outfits to walk in our doors next week) will be facing as they enter the job market.
The news looks as good as I expected it to; however, I'm kind of startled by the number of health care professionals that are going to be required to care for our aging boomer population. I am fascinated by the amount of technology heavy jobs that are predicted. I feel once again reassured that I am on the right path in my career and that teaching with computers could make a positive difference in a student's future.
I'm threading together several lines here, so please bear with me. Many, many things are coming to fruition in my career and I'm athrill with anticipation of a great year.
Going into the big adventure, I just want to remember the great words of Socrates, "The only thing I know is that I know nothing." As I continue with this unit for the first time, I will be repeating this line as a mantra.
In an ongoing effort to "meet our students where they are" Mr. Loomis, Mr. Bernardt, and Ms. Lambert and I met to go over our plans for the gamification of the grammar unit. So far, we are agreed that
Here's the next to the last sketch of how I see the game and the digitalization to work.
I know it looks crazy, but this is my plan and since I know nothing,
It breaks down like this. For each unit in the grammar curriculum, students will be assigned a pre-test to evaluate previous knowledge. After they do the pre-test, the computer will prescribe them either "Battles" to complete to get points for their h ouse OR if they make a perfect score, Schoology will ask them to complete at least ONE creative project. After they have completed the course work on grammar, they will be assigned a "Boss Battle" with me (formative test).
There are a lot of flaws as we start out; however, I'm please with the progress so far.
I'm an 8th grade English teacher in Bellevue, Nebraska, and I'm excited about technology in the classroom.