I am just wrapping up a 5 week summer Minecraft club and this was my first time teaching with Minecraft Edu. Obviously Minecraft has been around for a while and I kept hearing about the excitement that always centers around it, but I had yet to experience it for myself. The beauty of starting with a summer club was that I did not necessarily have to worry about standards, just creativity and fun. I assumed that my students would really be into building and creating, but what I did not expect was how much I personally enjoyed it too! We all had such a good time in the class and built some amazing things together.
Here are some things I learned along the way:
- The first day is chaotic! I used the tutorial world for the first day even though most of the kids already knew what they were doing. I just let them navigate it for themselves which was tricky at times. Next time I am going to do a better job of letting them know what to expect in the tutorial world. I may even have them follow me through it.
- Establish “Community Rules”. Being respectful of property, each other and helping anyone in need is a good place to start.
- Start each class with a “Challenge” or “Mission” such as Build a shelter, Place a beacon, Design a ride, etc.
- Save weather and day/night for later in the class.
- There will always be a student that is amazing and knows way more than I do. Use them wisely! 🙂
- The fewer the guidelines the better (depending on your goal for the class). I gave students some guidelines for building their shelter and found them ignoring some of them. I realized that they were doing something better than I could have asked. Kids are amazing… don’t restrict them by trying to “help”.
- Watch out for the student that is completely lost. I asked many times throughout the class on Day 1 if anyone was having trouble and no hands were raised. In the last 5 minutes one of my students said, “I just have no idea how to play this or what I am supposed to do.” She had been doing such a good job of fooling me. I assured her we would sit down together the next day and I would show her everything.
- Build with the kids. They love seeing their teacher play too.
- Instead of requiring students to do something, start doing it yourself to attract their interest and you will find they will ask to help you. I started building a World Cup Stadium and by the end my students had figured out how to play a game with a slime ball. They wrote a book of rules and we played a world cup match together. The creativity was unbelievable!
- Highlight of the class for me- kids leaving me gifts and surprises in my house!