The Road Not Taken – Making, Crafting and Constructing Meaning in Minecraft
Designing lessons that foster creativity, collaboration and depth in thinking is multifaceted. We need to use tools that provide an opportunity for interaction and collaboration. This includes a method for students to help one another and provide feedback. The context needs to be relatable and flexible. The content, whatever it is, needs to have value and personal connections and it needs to matter -and if it does, it will have depth and purpose. I offer the following as an example.
Summary of Lesson:
As a whole class, students would create (Yes, actually build ) the poem “A Road Not Taken” using Minecraft as a Medium (using a server). Students would have already discussed the meaning of this poem and there many perspectives. This can be done with any poem. In Minecraft, students would need to compromise, share skills, collaborate and of course problem solve. Importantly, the students would need guidance and support from the teacher, both inside and outside the realm of Minecraft. The chat tool is pretty handy. To add a dimension of “self” to this shared story, students would find an area within the class creation to share a poem or story that they created themselves.
Big Idea: (Current theme is ‘Journalism’)
Journalism and poetry are a perfect mix because together they bring WORDS, VOICE and EMOTION to life. In this activity students would read, write and bring to life a poem through visualization, collaboration and co-construction.
Grade Six Lesson Objectives/Goals ~Relating to Curriculum:
* to use synthesize and infer meaning in texts
* to use make personal connections to a variety of texts
* to participate in discussions by asking questions
* to think critically about a topic, offering a variety of points of view
* to work collaborative in small and large groups offering support and feedback as needed
* to use a variety of tools to enhance the final product and extend learning as needed
* to understand metaphor and analogy in poetry
* to use visualization in reading and writing
* to create, in written form, a poem
* to use creative and collaborative techniques to share, model, and visual literature
Inference, Storytelling, Reflection and Language:
Students would be introduced to a variety of quotes. Instead of a teacher led introduction or hook, students would initiate the task. In a collaborative document, they would share a quote that resonates with them and explain why through storytelling and reflection. (In our case, the quotes were provided and theme based). Here is what they published: “Our Thoughts will Change the World” (Posted with permission). In our example, students used a shared Google Presentation, accessing the link on the classroom blog.
Personal Connections and Critical Thinking
In sticking with the Journalism theme (and now that they have a background), students would create their own poem based on their personal connections to learning. The poems would be shared using a collaborative document, where they would offer feedback and critical questioning and would participate in a discussion that fostered critical thinking and depth of ideas. Eventually, they would take their poem/story and share it on “The Road Not Taken”. Hidden Gifts along the path…
Visualization, Metaphor and Analogy
Students would be introduced to ‘ A Road Not Taken’ by Robert Frost. Here, they would engage in discussions around metaphor, analogy, descriptive language, vocabulary…. They would use connections to the real world to visual the poem and would find a variety of ways and perspectives that one might interpret the meaning. They would listen to each other, offer critical though, ask questions and draw conclusions.
Making, Crafting and Constructing Meaning:
Students would use MINECRAFTEDU to: 1) Co-create a visualization of the Frost Poem by adding individual elements of creativity, words and interpretations. Here, students would be each given a section of the poem to place in the collaborative construction; 2) Co-Create, discuss and construct (literally and figuratively) the meaning of their own poem.
In a nutshell, students would have a whole group task to build a visualization of the Robert Frost Poem while also adding in their own poems where they see fit. Layer upon layer upon layer.
When the students go home and tell their parents “We played Minecraft”… you’ll know what they actually did…they delved deep into literature, collaborated, created, problem solved and shared. And they had fun!