I Can’t Play Baseball

I can’t play baseball

I like to watch baseball but I can’t play baseball.

There are many things that could go wrong.

  • The fear of failure
  • The fear of not being able to connect the bat to the ball
  • The fear of getting hit
  • The fear of not making it to the base on time (or tripping on the way)
  • The fear of being tagged out
  • The fear of not knowing whether to run or to wait
  • The fear of not catching the ball as it comes sailing through the air
  • The fear of not being good enough
  • The fear of letting the team down
    I could add more…….

There are so many things that I know I am not good at — that lead me to not play baseball.

And for those of you who are NOT afraid of baseball or are at least comfortable enough to not let it scare you — my fears, to you, might be irrational, silly, and you might even judge me.

I know what I probably need is a good coach….
but NOT a good coach who is going to try to convince me that those fears are unfounded
— instead I need a coach who helps me to deal with those fears and little by little, perhaps not conquer them…..but to encourage me to not let them keep me from playing the game at all.

And that’s a lot like tech.

You see, I am good at Tech
I enjoy tech and I’m not afraid of tech
….but to explain that to someone who is terrified of tech, I’m not going to win them over by telling them how simple it is.
I’m not going to win them over by proving to them their thoughts are wrong and/or irrational.
I’m not going to win them over by pushing my comfortableness against their uncomfortableness.

What will help is when I am willing to help them work with these fears in a way that works for them.
Not shaming them or comparing them or even pushing them….but realizing that their fear might be totally justified and might also be the wall that they see is WAY too hard to get around or over and even through.

My job is NOT to tell them to go “hit the ball out of the park” –
Sometimes, my job is to encourage them to be willing to even pick up the bat or the ball or even be willing to sit on the bench.

And then, we go from there.


The Anticipation of a Good Idea

This past week, in San Diego, several friends (from all over the US) journeyed to the NCEA conference.   Since it was just 1 hourish away, I suggested we have a dinner meetup — and ended up having dinner with 6 great educators.

I invited dragged  Donna — a 1st grade teacher & my bible study leader & my friend — along for the ride (for the company & conversation).

We had a Walton’s type of table, so I sat at the head of the table for the beginning of the meal and then moved to the end for the remainder of the meal so that I had a chance to chat with everyone.

And oh — what we shared.   Minecraft, Blogging, Coding, 3D printers, App ideas, Projects, Memories (from past conferences), Class Ideas, and some personal stories as well.   The conversation never stopped.

On the way home, as we were chatting — Donna mentioned about the excitement — the enthusiasm at the table — and I remembered again “That is WHY I love meeting up with educators WHENEVER possible.”

Whether it be on twitter or facebook or at a conference or an edcamp or a meal or a coffee cue or a Tweet Meet or ……………feel free to fill in the blank.

I always know — with almost 100% percent certainty — that there will be at least ONE good idea shared whenever I meet up with teachers – and because of this, I go.

There is a joy — an exuberance — and a sense of “I love being creative in my classroom” that happens at these events.   And sadly, it does not often happen on our own campuses.

The conversation last night never stopped — and the conversation overlapped in so many places that there was no way to listen to it all — but we all went away with new ideas, we all went away having been heard, we all went away ready to gear up for the last 9 weeks of school and END IT WELL!

It is always great to see friends — both new and old.
And it is always great to hear new, creative, teacher tested (almost always) ideas that can be used in our own classroom or shared with another teacher on campus.


A Whole New World

For a few years now, I had been petitioning to have a Minecraft club…but the admin (at that time was hesitant) and at that time, it wasn’t a battle I needed to fight — so I remained patient.

When admin changed, I decided to bring up the subject again — and admin said for me to write up a proposal and it would be considered — and I received a “go ahead” and started to make some plans.

At first, I had thought we would use the ipads and purchase the Minecraft PE app and we would all learn together.

But then, after attending a session at a local conference — my admin and I decided to pursue the Minecraft EDU environment.

It was decided to charge a fee for the club that would pay for the licensing, the server, and also start a fund for our robotics unit.    We would host the club on Tuesday for 15 students and Thursday for 15 students and sent out the registration forms.  And the clubs filled up quickly.  (this was in December)

Over Christmas break, I got lost in Minecraft and, thankfully, my IT got lost in it as well — so, I wasn’t wandering alone.  And I also joined the Google Group on Minecraft — (https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/minecraft-teachers) and spend A  LOT of time at the Minecraft EDU wiki (http://services.minecraftedu.com/wiki/Main_Page)

After wandering a bit through some of the “lands” of minecraft — I decided that the first week of the club, we would wander through the TUTORIAL world (Created by: Joel Levin, Matt Adams, Stephen Elford) which provided a teachers “guide” which I found very helpful:  http://services.minecraftedu.com/wiki/Tutorial_World

SIDENOTE:  I had printed out the Minecraft Mouse Guide, thinking perhaps one or two students might need it — but in fact, all the kids  needed it because NONE had every played minecraft on a computer.

And the first week of CLUB went great.   It took the students about 30 minutes to wander through the tutorial.  I was able to transport to students if they needed help — or transport them to other students.   Tuesday’s club was busy and loud — Thursday’s club was more quiet but still very busy.   We ended the day with an excitement of anticipation for the next week — which was good since I am still such a newbie at this.

For the second week of club, I went into the tutorial world again and created a scavenger hunt for the students at the lighthouse.   I placed RED BANNERS (for TUESDAY) and BLUE BANNERS (for THURSDAY) and then hid chests near the banners with different supplies.   1.fwOver 40 chests were hidden — so I got in some good practice of right mouse/left mouse clicking, adding inventory, saving games, creating caves, flying (still something that makes me dizzy) and more.

Tuesday’s Class LOVED this — and after the scavenger hunt (which took 25 minutes) they had free build time.   Thursday’s class is today — so we will see how it goes.

For Week 3 and 4 — students will be in the SNOWY WORLD which I am creating into settlements.   Each student will be given a plot of land with 2 chests — one will have generic items (which all groups will have) and 1 will have specific items which they can give or barter with.  I am looking forward to seeing how this works.  2.fw

And then week 5 — still working on details.   I was thinking of making a BREAKOUTMinecraftEDU experience — but still not sure exactly what that would entail.  Plus, though my learning curve is moving quick quickly — sometimes my goals are loftier than my skills.   I will probably talk with kids on week 4 for their suggestions.

I had no idea that this would be such fun — but also such learning —
there is construction, collaboration, lots of creativity.  I am seeing quiet students step into leadership roles and off task students suddenly 100% on task.   I am blessed that on Tuesday, my elementary principal is coming in to help and on Thursday, my superintendent is helping.

No idea what will happen next year with Microsoft acquiring Minecraft EDU (http://education.minecraft.net/announce011916/) — but that won’t affect us this year so I won’t worry much.

I would LOVE to hear what you are doing with Minecraft — especially Minecraft EDU — so  please share.

OR if you have some tips or tricks for me, that would be helpful as well.




I Screen, You Screen, We All Screen For Green Screen

I have opened my arms wide to the options of Green Screen — mostly, due to the EASE of using the DOINK Green Screen App.

So, it was with total delight when I read the direct message from Karen (@doinktweets) telling me about the newest update of the app:

DoInk Tweets

Wanted to let you know that Version 2.0 of our Green Screen app has been approved by Apple and will be available for download in iTunes this morning. It is a HUGE release full of new features including:
• Green Screen by Do Ink is now a universal app! Now you can make incredible green screen videos on your iPhone!
• We’ve given the user interface a major facelift, with a cleaner, more functional design!
• Uses standard iOS user interfaces for importing and exporting images, videos, and project files from any cloud-based storage service.
• Support for 1080p HD videos (1920 x 1080 resolution).
• Undo/redo support in the main editor.
• Copy/paste sources on the timeline.
• Place camera sources on multiple layers at the same time, and set the start/stop times for camera sources just like any other source.

Wanted you to be the first to know. Hope you like the new release. Thanks for all your support. -Karen



It just keeps getting better — and now that it can be used on the iPhone as well — is WONDERFUL!

I know I do gush about this app — but it truly is both easy to use and very very effective.

Already teachers on my campus are using it with students for
*history reports
*state reports
*greeting cards
*chapel videos
*what I want to be when I grow up
*science projects
& more.

This week — with Hour of Code — we are going to try to green screen our BB8 robot….but more on that later.

It is not a free app — but it is worth every single penny of the $2.99 cost.

If you want more ideas to see how we are using green screen in our lab — please visit:  http://jenniferlwagner.weebly.com/green-screen.html


And please share below, how you are using the DOINK App as well.