“Dad, I want to play scramble” requested Eva, my eight year old daughter.
“You want to play what?”
“Scramble. I want to play scramble” she said again.
“What’s scramble?” I asked, wondering if it was a tag game or some sort of online game she’d heard about at school.
“You know, scramble, where you spell words”
“Oh, Scrabble” I said.
“Yes, Scrabble, I want to play Scrabble” she pleaded.
I’m not sure where she’d heard of or seen Scrabble, but she was adamant that we would play the game that night. After supper was done and the dishes were cleared away, Eva found the Scrabble game at the bottom of our board game pile. She opened the box, set out the board, gave one tile holder to me and kept one for herself. Then she asked, “what do we do?” Wanting to make sure her first Scrabble experience was a fun one, I decided we’d play without keeping score, just focusing on creating words. We each picked 7 tiles and the game was on. I invited her to start the game and as she sat staring at her letters she told me she didn’t know if she could spell a word. Just as I was about to help her, she sat up with excitement and said, “I got one, I got one!” Slowly she set out the tiles one by one. T E A.
Smiling, she retrieved three tiles from the bag and the game was officially on. Back and forth we went building words. She would struggle with a few rules of the game, placing tiles where they shouldn’t be, but overall she caught on very quickly. I was so proud. Growing up, Scrabble was a staple on a Saturday or Sunday night in the Mellesmoen house. My mom still has the tattered old box with the faded board and well worn letters. Along with Scrabble were other games, like Stock Ticker, Cribbage, Rummy, Yahtzee, and Crokinole. As I reflect on the games we played as a family, I cannot help but think of the basic academic skills I was building (to this day I’m a whiz at adding to 15 because of the numerous Cribbage matches). The game of Scrabble with Eva reminded me of how wonderful that game is for not only a person’s spelling and vocabulary, but for one’s numeracy as well (for you Scrabblers, what is Q U I Z worth if it lands on a triple word score?).
In a time defined by YouTube, Netflix, Fortnight, and other online forms of entertainment, there is something to be said about sitting down across the table from someone for a good, old fashioned board game. Please, do not misinterpret what I’m saying, my children love their technology, and I am very guilty of hiring the electronic babysitter on several occasions. But it is important to remember the impact of games like Scrabble.
This makes me think about the time honored traditions that go into our craft as educators. With all of the technology at our finger tips, one might be tempted to simply log on and then step back while the kids learn online. Thankfully I have not seen this happening at our school, rather I am seeing you use technology as a tool. I am seeing:
- Kindergarten kids dancing and singing along to the video on the SmartBoard, learning all about letters and numbers
- Teachers helping kids share their learning with their families via See-Saw, FreshGrade, and Class DoJo
- Students accessing teacher made tutorials on YouTube to learn about certain drafting skills they may have missed while they were away from the school
- Adults Tweeting out images that celebrate learning
- Teachers ‘dipping their toes’ into the world of 3D printing
- Teachers using random group generators to group students for cooperative learning activities
- Students making movies to share their thinking
- Teachers thinking about ways to use Rosetta Stone to help students who are reluctant to speak in class learn about communication skills
- Teachers using online simulators to help kids visualize the impact of heat and pressure on gases
- Teachers wanting to Skype with authors and other classes
I am seeing technology being used as a tool to support you as a teacher, not replace you as a teacher. Reading MPSC and looking at the new graphic (here), the word technology appears a grand total of zero times, and (if you count the telescope as a piece of technology) appears only once in the graphic. It is clear that deep learning does not depend on technology, rather technology can be used along with many other tools to help create opportunities for deep learning. What counts is you, the artist. You combine your passion for learning with your deep knowledge of curriculum with your skills as a facilitator of learning, all to create an experience for your students, and you do this multiple times every day!
Of course technology is a reality, and we all know how it can be used to help us in our craft. As you think about the work you are doing and how it fits with our school goal (every adult at Waldheim School will develop a deep and thorough understanding of every child they work with as a learner) how does technology support this? Thinking about our current focus on assessing the whole student, how has technology supported your work?
Our devices will continue to evolve, becoming ‘smarter’, faster, and more affordable. Advances in technology will continue at a break-neck pace, threatening to leave aging adults (like myself) in the dust if we choose to be left behind. Innovations and creations that one can only imagine will soon be a reality, however, just as there will always be a need for side-by-side learning, I truly believe there will always be a place for a good old game of scramble.
Here’s what is on the horizon for this week:
- crazy sock day
- we are excited to welcome a group of teachers from Blaine Lake to learn alongside Shantel & Brittney
- all teacher staff learning meeting (agenda) after school (Jade, can we use your room?)
- Taco in a bag (7-12)
- Nike vs. Adidas day
- wacky hat day
- Taco in a bag (K-6)
- Disney day
- 1-6 progress reports sent home
- Raider pride day
As always, create a great week!
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