Minecraft Live Lessons Go Big in Texas

18 Jul 2022 Minecraft: Education Edition Banner

“Are you interested in using Minecraft in your classroom, but don’t know where to begin? Why not let a seasoned, veteran teacher virtually enter your class and teach a lesson for you?”

So began the pitch to the teachers of Texas during the 2021-2022 school year who had been asking “Why Minecraft?”

Minecraft offers a unique platform for students to share and showcase their learning while fostering the 4 C’s—communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. Minecraft provides differentiation possibilities and direct connections to curriculum while empowering and enhancing students’ mental health and well-being.

The Professional Learning Specialists at NCCE, the top USA Microsoft Global Training Partner, created a series of six standards-aligned lesson plans using the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards. Texas teachers could peruse each of the six upcoming lessons in SEL, ELA, Math, Science, Social Studies, and Coding. If they wanted their class to participate, they signed up for a 60-minute session and were front-loaded with helpful guides and instructions to prepare for the lesson.

NCCE offered two sessions a month: one for K-5 classrooms and the other for 6-12. Two NCCE Professional Learning Specialists hosted each session which included ideas and strategies allowing both students and teachers to learn new Minecraft skills while showcasing their knowledge of TEKS standards. Each lesson was energetic, interactive, and inclusive, with shout-outs, digital badges, and big idea extensions.

The teachers of Texas responded: some live sessions had more than 30 classrooms sign up, and more watched the recordings afterward. Texas teachers saw firsthand the power of introducing and weaving Minecraft into their curriculum. They were able to see their students focus intensely during the lesson and their enthusiasm to share their knowledge and creations afterward.

NCCE Professional Learning Specialists not only provided full lesson plans which they taught virtually each month, they also provided teachers with support for their continued Minecraft proficiency by sharing lesson recordings by subject, contact information for the NCCE trainers, and additional free coursework on the Microsoft Learn platform.

Tammy Brecht Dunbar, M.Ed., S.T.E.M. teaches 5th grade at Manteca’s Online Academy. A 2018-2019 Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms Fellow and the NCCE 2020 closing keynote speaker, Dunbar was 2016 California Woman of the Year, Assembly District 12, and won the 2021 ISTE Interactive Video Conferencing Network Classroom Educator Award and 2018 ISTE Literacy PLN Award for #CultivateWorldLiteracy. Dunbar is a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, Master Trainer, Certified & Global Learning Mentor, as well as a Minecraft Certified Mentor.

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For her digital portfolio, go to bit.ly/TammyBrechtDunbar, and follow her on Twitter: @TammyDunbar