Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Minecraft EDU Version! The Colonies Project

In Minecraft EDU everything kids love about Minecraft -- the learning, making, and socializing - is still there, albeit under tight teacher control. Students enjoy and engage with teacher-made lessons that incorporate the game.  

There is a lot of confusion about the difference between Minecraft and Minecraft EDU.  This pilot, initiated by two fifth grade students, demonstrates the difference.  Fifth graders, John and Foster, researched the software and included tips for teachers and students, as well as ties into the curriculum in math, science and social studies.

Mr. Kevin Zabawa, from our technology department, volunteered to train the teachers and come to Center to kick off the pilot. Without him, this pilot would not have been possible! Thank you Mr. Z!!

The fifth graders are studying the colonies and so we started with this essential question:
Imagine you are a colonist who has just arrived in the New World.  What would you need in order to survive?

They were tasked with getting food, making shelter and creating jobs (builder, craftsman, farmer) in creation of their southern colony.

The boys mined for iron to make their tools and traded with Native Americans to get what they needed for building.  For example, they traded wooden pickaxes  (made from trees) for more durable diamond ones.  They also traded with the Native Americans by giving them crafting tables for food to eat.  

Collaborating closely, John and Foster built houses, a town hall, and a barn in their southern colony.  They planted seeds to grow wheat to feed their animals and in turn feed themselves the meat, acquire leather, and other resources they needed in their colony.

The Colonies Project allows students to hunt for resources in three general North American geographic regions: New England, Mid-Atlantic and Southern. Not all resources are available to each colony which requires colonists to trade and negotiate for what they need with their fellow settlers.

Tying into the social studies standards as well as the technology standards of creativity, innovation, communication, collaboration and digital citizenship, the students learned what was necessary to be colonists in the New World and create a functional colony.

John and Foster, along with "Mr. Z" will be sharing their knowledge with the entire fifth grade.  

Success!!   Enjoy the screenshots of the colony!  


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Guess Our Animal!

The second graders have been busy researching animals and choosing one animal to focus on as part of a collaborative group.  Then the groups wrote their own scrips highlighting habitats, adaptations, food, body and fun facts.  Finally, as they are experts in the field, they created a green screen iMovie, which is a game for you to play!  Enjoy and good luck!!

All second grades are in this iMovie...
Ms. Griswold Beginning
Mrs. Serafino  2:20
Ms. Flanagan 4:50
Mrs. Mengswasser 7:10

Monday, March 21, 2016

Watch Me Read!

Mrs. Fritz and Mrs. Bocchino are songwriting geniuses! In a parody of the song, "Watch Me" (Whip Nae Nae), students in grades K-5 teach us all the reading strategies they've learned this year!  This is a don't want to miss it, incredible video!!  Enjoy!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Have you heard what all the BUZZ is about?

Bee-Bots are programmable robots used for teaching control, directional language and programming to young children.  At the same time, the Bee-Bot mats tie into the curriculum reinforcing any skills the teachers deems necessary.  In all, there's a whole lot of learning going on!  Buzzzzzz!!

A special thank you to Mrs. Hutton and Mr. Jorge for bringing these incredible learning tools to our students!

Check Out Our Video!!!

Lots of giggles!!

Click to enlarge photos!

So cool!!

Bee-Bot Gone Rogue!


Helping each other learn!

Look at that focus!

The latest fashion in Bee-Bot wear!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Read to Care Rally! CSS - Episode 16

The Read to Care program was incredibly successful!  Today we celebrated our goodwill toward others with "Honorary Peacebuilders," Senator Eric Lesser, Michael Squindo of the Longmeadow Open Pantry, our Superintendent Marie Doyle, as well as police officers from the Longmeadow, Springfield and Easthampton Police Departments.

Enjoy!!  Please visit our website for other CSS episodes:  Center School Sightings Newscast

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Water Cycle Movies by First Grade!

Follow the steps of the water cycle with the first graders as they use green screen technology to make it come alive.  What an excellent job they did learning their lines, reciting the lines together, and showing enthusiasm in their voices!   They can tell you all about the water cycle now!