Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Developing a Plan of Action

My students have all completed the MinecraftEdu Tutorial.  They are now ready to start playing the game and diving in to the learning that can take place.  But, before they can ever start working on building their new world, there has to be a plan of action.  Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither will our class's world.

Today, we began the process of planning.  The students are in the driver's seat with this whole project, so it was only fair that they come up with the ground work before starting.

They were given the question:  What's going to happen when you arrive in The New World? (The New World is the temporary name, until the class decides on a name for their nation.)  The students were then broken in to groups to come up with ideas for how they will answer that question.

It's a very open ended question, and one that can take the students off in many different directions.  What I overheard was conversations about forming a system of government, the jobs that need to be given out, the needs that will have to be met straight away such as shelter and food.  The whole classroom was buzzing with strategy and ideas.

This group is deciding on government officials that will need to be elected

This group is coming up with an extensive list of jobs that will be needed and made available

The starting stages of a plan for jobs

One group's approach to breaking down jobs by the "departments" that will be needed

I let the students work in their groups for about thirty minutes, and I was shocked when they grumbled when the time was up.  So much to discuss, so many ideas being thrown out.  I'm sure they could have sat there for the rest of the afternoon, if I'd let them.

But, it was time to move on.  Once all the groups had an outline in place, I designated a spokesperson from each group to join together in the middle of the room for a "fishbowl" conversation.  The rest of the class sat around the designated officials, watching and listening to the group in the middle.  The representatives went back and forth to their original group to ask questions or get clarification on a topic, but the group members in the middle had to make all of the decisions.

The designated officials were given the challenge of taking all the ideas provided by the four groups and consolidating them down to one list of ideas.

The designated officials sharing their plans and consolidating

Some students were having a blast (hehe)

It's amazing how empty my classroom looks when the students are spread out so much, but don't let all of the empty chairs fool you.  There are four students in the center, and 14 students arranged around the outer circle.

By the end of the session, the group had decided that The New Nation will function as a democracy.  The government officials will be President, Vice President, and Mayor.  More officials will be added later, once the world has grown.  Officials will be nominated and elected by the class, and class members who want to be considered for such positions will need to prepare a speech in order to be eligible to run.  They decided that the only jobs that will be available, in the beginning, are miners, builders, and farmers.  They feel that once the nation develops, more jobs will become available, but in terms of getting started only three jobs are needed.  They decided that the whole class will be open to provide suggestions as to what to call The New Nation, but it will be the president who gets to slim down the choices, and then the whole class will vote on the selections the president makes.

The whole class then decided that they wanted to submit their ideas for the names.  So, they did that on little scraps of paper, and the papers are being kept in a "secret volt" (candy tub) until the president has been chosen.

The whole afternoon was so "official" feeling, but so much fun.  I was so proud of the professionalism and mature attitudes the students displayed, especially being that this whole concept of student driven planning is so new to them.

Tomorrow, we will be focusing on electing leaders, applying for jobs, and hopefully naming our nation.

Stay Tuned!!

Ms. Hill


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