Friday, September 29, 2017

Team Building with Breakout EDU

The 4Cs are a topic of frequent discussion among teachers - how can we incorporate them into our classrooms?  Why are they important for our students?  How can we build and assess our kids on creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication?  

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We have introduced Breakout Edu in our district a few times this year already and each time the excitement of challenging these groups gets better and better. Now, we have had the boxes in the district for a year now, but it was not until this year that our Technology Learning Coaches are bringing into faculty meetings and classrooms more and more. Teachers are experiencing the value of this activity in the classroom, where students will develop interpersonal skills and perseverance, as well as the 4C’s.

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So, what is Breakout EDU?
Puzzles are created for groups to decipher, these clues leading to another that will unlock the box within a specific amount of time.There are several age ranges to choose from: early childhood, elementary, middle school, high school, even adult. With over 350 games, an educator has plenty of options to choose from that relate to every content area, grade level, and group size. However, it is up to educators to make it meaningful in our own classrooms. Breakout EDU is fun, adaptable and develops essential skills such as collaboration, communication and critical thinking skills. You could use Breakout Edu to launch a new unit, review a topic, build inquiry or critical thinking skills or work on team building.

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Suggestions for getting started
  • You will need a password to gain access into the game instruction. (Work in Richland Two - contact your TLC for the password.)
  • Search through the various games and determine which one best fits your content or end goal.
  • Watch the game video, create the clues/puzzles, change the lock combinations and lock up the box.
  • Debrief/reflect on the learning activity with your students after they are finished. Breakout EDU has reflection cards as a tool for you to use.
For more information about Breakout Edu, learn the different games and to purchase a kit https://www.breakoutedu.com/

OR try the free digital version  https://www.breakoutedu.com/digital All you need is a computer, but it uses the same skills as the physical box and locks.

Consider joining the Breakout EDU group on facebook for new ideas or subject specific discussions.

Link to Youtube videos


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Mystery Hangouts

On Global Collaboration day, our team of technology and learning coaches and technology integration specialists participated in a mystery hangout.  It was a new experience for many of the people in the room and it was so much fun.  This blog post will outline how we set up the mystery hangout, what we learned in the process, and ideas for teachers when implementing mystery hangouts in the classroom.

  1. We found a class to hangout with by requesting a connection in the Connected Classrooms Google Plus Group.  Here we posted the time and date we were seeking a connection and a general description of what we were hoping to accomplish.
  2. Before the hangout, our technology and learning coaches brainstormed two yes/no questions to ask the students regarding their location on the other side of the computer screen.
  3. We joined the hangout at the predetermined time and got to work!


Takeaways
The kids asked way better questions than the adults!  They beat us to finding out our location by asking specific, map-oriented questions.  The adults, on the other hand, asked much more open-ended (although still yes/no) questions that did not narrow our range of possibilities for finding out the location.

For example, while the kids asked “are you west of the Mississippi River?” the adults asked “Do flowers bloom in November in your state?”.  When the students asked “do you border the Atlantic ocean?” the adults simply asked “does it snow in your state?”    

This activity took very little time and had both teachers and students on the edge of their seats with engagement.  

Consider using an activity like this in your class if:
-You are studying a unit on landforms or types of communities (these concepts can turn into your questions)
-You are studying a specific region (and can turn the regions into yes/no questions)
-You want to work on types of questioning, inquiry, or persistence in learning
-You just want to have fun and show the diversity of the world
-You want to develop a relationship with a class abroad and have periodic check-ins about any content

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