Accessing Tangible Learning Outcomes Through Minecraft

Minecraft Education Edition

Students may be the experts when it comes to the world of Minecraft, but teachers are the experts in curriculum design.

Teachers can use what they know best to design engaging, real-world experiences within Minecraft that are aligned with curriculum and standards and focused on a learning goal. Students can use the tools within Minecraft to show evidence of their learning, document their progress, share their achievements, reflect, and learn through hands-on experiences. What’s more, students love Minecraft and are excited to craft!

Dr. Amy Tong joins Tch Talks to discuss how we can create tangible learning outcomes for and with students through Minecraft.

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Five Ways To Close A Lesson

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Most of us realize the importance of a warm-up to get our bodies and minds ready, whether we’re talking about exercising, singing, or learning. But what about the cool down? How you close a lesson is just as important as how you open it. Yet all too often, we run out of time. Or, we look at the clock, see our students are still working hard, and think to ourselves, why interrupt their flow? But there are proven benefits to taking even just one minute to wrap up a lesson.

In those last moments, you and your students have a chance to check for understanding, reflect on what you’ve learned, tie up loose ends, or make sure everyone is ready for the next part of the day. You could even just take a moment to breathe! If you’re looking for new ideas on how to wrap up your next lesson, here are five things you can try.

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Introducing The Formative Assessment Deep Dive: Take It And Try It!

Formative Assessment Deep Dive Blog BannerFinding teaching resources online can often feel like a scavenger hunt. Even when searching one particular area of teaching, there are videos here, blogs there, and various conversations floating around social media. With such a variety of resources, it can take a great deal of time to learn in a progression that makes sense.

Teaching Channel just made this searching and learning so much easier with their new Deep Dives! On one page, dedicated to one idea, you can read background information, watch related videos, read blog posts, and ask and answer questions. It’s a one-stop shop for learning individually or as a team, as well as planning professional development for your school or district.

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How I Got Started With Blogging In The Classroom

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As a sixth grade reading teacher, I’m always trying to think of ways to keep my students motivated. As a veteran teacher, I’m always trying to think of ways to stay current in my practice. This year, as a Teaching Channel Laureate, I decided that I’d experiment with blogging myself, then give my students the opportunity to become bloggers.

Earlier this year, I worked with my students to ask questions using Blooms Taxonomy in order to have deep discussions about text. My next goal was to have my students get those deep discussions into written form, without feeling as though they had to write a “paper.” Blogging seemed to be one possibility. Blogs represented a venue for my students’ writing, a way to solicit responses, and a move into a modern form of communication.

First, though, I had to learn more about blogging. Once I did, I brought my new-found knowledge into the classroom.

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Dial Up Your Formative Assessment Technique


In my role as assessment coach and consultant, I have had many conversations about the differences between formative assessment as a form of testing, and formative assessment strategies that become part of instructional pedagogy. A common misconception among educators is the use of formative assessment as a noun, when in fact the research frames formative assessment as a verb. Capturing the strategies that move learning forward can be tricky, but Teaching Channel has some great examples of practical ways that teachers can implement formative assessment.

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Assessments That Deliver Results

My nephew, who is in elementary school, suffers from anxiety. When he was in third grade, in the days leading up to the high-stakes state exam, his teacher told his class that what they were about to do was so important that even the President of the United States would check to see how they performed.

This fire and brimstone approach to assessment has been going on for too long.

Just a few months after No Child Left Behind was passed, the Sacramento Bee reported that “test-related jitters, especially among young students, are so common that the Stanford-9 exam comes with instructions on what to do with a test booklet in case a student vomits on it.”

Rather than allow students to fear exams, we should use assessments in no-stakes or low-stakes settings to build confidence and strengthen learning. It’s time for us to realize the importance of using assessments to combat the anxiety of assessments.

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Back-To-School Backpack: Think About Assessment

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At the beginning of the year, assessment may be the furthest thing from your mind. But thinking about it sooner rather than later will pay off in the long run. You need to know what you want kids to learn and how you’ll know if they learned it before designing the lessons that will get you there. We’re going to dive into the assessment resources in our Back-to-School Backpack, but first let’s look back at some of the great class culture resources that were shared in last week’s open Google Doc.

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Tests Without Grades: Learning Moments

Have you seen Leah Alcala’s My Favorite No? It happens to be one of the most popular videos on Teaching Channel, so we recently checked in with Leah to see what else she’s been up to. Leah was excited to share with us what sounded like My Favorite No, Part II: The Grading Version. Lucky for us, she teaches in our own backyard in Berkeley, California, so we jumped at the chance to visit and bring you her newest thoughts on encouraging students to learn from mistakes.

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A Back-to-School Backpack Just For You

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As kids plan for back to school, they (and their families) often think about backpacks. Do I need a new one, or is my old one just fine? How big should it be? How will I make it my own?

For kids going to school for the very first time, getting a backpack is a rite of passage. When you’re ready for your own backpack, you’re ready for your own adventures. You can bring the things you need, and take home what you created and collected throughout the day. While what’s on the outside of a backpack is often about personal style, it’s really about the things students carry inside them, especially the things that are meant for their eyes only. Maybe it’s a secret journal, a book to read in the quiet moments between classes, the small stuffed animal tucked inside an inner compartment just in case it’s needed. And, backpacks often carry brand new supplies that get students excited to go back to school after summer break.

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Your Back-To-School Backpack

2015 Back-To-School Backpack

Welcome to Teaching Channel’s very own Back-To-School Backpack. We’ve filled it with four fresh notebooks on subjects we know are important to think about at the start of the school year. While brand new notebooks with blank pages are exciting, it’s also comforting to have some starter ideas. Each notebook contains carefully selected links to related Teaching Channel content that can support you in the back-to-school journey.

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