Top 12 Global Teacher Blogger Discussion: November

“What are the top games (online or video games) that can help students learn?”

In order to answer this month’s question, I had to go to the expert–my 10-year-old son. When I asked him which game has taught him the most, without hesitation, he answered Call of Duty. This is what he had to say:

The whole idea behind the game is that you are in a war, and you are fighting for your life. You need to get to the place where the enemy captain is and interrogate him, so you can go on to the next level. Each level gets harder and more confusing.

So the number one thing you need to learn how to do is listen. If you don’t listen carefully to the plan, you won’t know what’s going on. You need to pay attention to what the characters are saying and work as a team. The computer characters teach you battle strategies and how to dodge things in real life. Listening is key because the characters tell you what to do. Following their directions will make sure that you’re successful.

You also need to have a strategy to win the mission, or you will fail automatically. It takes a while to figure it out, but that’s part of the fun. It’s the past experiences that help you succeed, but it gets easier as you learn more about the game and use knowledge from other games. You can also go to YouTube to see how other people have beaten a level.

You need to use math to figure out how far you need to go and how quickly you need to get there before something explodes, or you will die. It’s also tricky because you have to calculate distance while enemies are shooting at you. You need to stay focused on your destination and keep battle strategies in your head the whole time.

The best part about it is it’s just a game. You don’t have to do everything perfectly, so you can try, try again, and eventually you will get everything right.

Another game he mentioned was Minecraft:

Minecraft is also great because in creative mode, you learn how to design buildings and get to look at other people’s creations. In survival mode, you have to battle creatures, so you need to build a fortress to survive the attacks. You learn battle strategies and defense techniques.

Failing is learning in these games and that is part of the fun. I wonder how we can bring that element to the classroom.

Click here to read posts from the other Top 12.

My MRI by Ian Hawkins

With a little help from Mom.

I have an MRI today. I’m going to take you through my MRI.

Last night I was upset about getting another MRI. I asked my mom if other kids have to get MRIs all the time like me. She said no. At least I only have to go once a year now, not every day like when I had radiation treatments, or every three months for checkups. I hate going because I can’t eat or drink anything when I wake up in the morning. Then I have to wait a long time after I get to the hospital.

I’m in the waiting room now. I wait for three minutes. Then we go to registration. Then we go back to the radiology area.

BeforeThe nurse asks me a lot of questions and takes my temperature and blood pressure. I brought Peaches and Peanut with me today to keep me company.

The doctor just told me the gas is going to smell like bubblegum. I guess that won’t be too bad. I used to get sick when they used the gas mask, but now I’m ok with it. It’s better than feeling the needle in my arm.

I wonder what I’ll dream about today.

One time, in the doughnut machine room, Mom’s earrings got pulled by the magnet in the machine. I wonder if it will happen again.

We walk to the room and I lie down on the bed that goes through the doughnut hole.

They put a gross, squishy thing on my chest to monitor my heart. I hate that thing.

Mom’s earrings did not get pulled this time. Darn. That’s pretty funny when it happens.

When I start breathing in the gas, I feel like I am floating. I feel myself smiling. And then nothing.

AfterWhen I wake up, my mom and dad aren’t in the room. That upset me. (It upset Mom, too. She got mad at the nurse for not getting her right away, and she told the nurse so.) I start crying because I am sad. I missed my parents, and my hand hurts where the IV is. I hate that thing. I want it out of my hand now, but they can’t take it out until they know I’m ok. I can only take sips of water until I’m sure my stomach is ok.

I didn’t dream this time, at least I don’t remember if I did.

I’m starting to feel better now. I’m hungry and can’t wait to eat.

When the nurse comes with the wheelchair, I feel a little dizzy. Mom has to help me into the chair. Mom grabs a blue throw up bag before we leave the hospital. Good thing because I throw up as soon as I get in the car. I hate throwing up.

I just ate, and I feel better now.

That’s the end of my MRI story.

My First Sleepover

I have a guest writer for this post, my son Ian. He loved that I wrote about his spider-scare, so he wanted to write a story himself. He chose to write about his first sleepover, which is perfect since I was going to write about it anyway. Waiting for the right moment to let go of Ian for a night has been hard on me, and harder on him. He’s been asking to have a “real” sleepover for a few years now. He slept over in his buddy Reece’s hotel room in Vegas while his sister Carol Linn babysat them, but that’s not the same thing, I’ve been told.

I guess I’ve been waiting because I wanted to make sure he was ready. I didn’t want him to be all excited about a sleepover, but then call me crying to pick him up. I didn’t want him to be embarrassed or to feel like a failure. And truth be told, I wanted to make sure I was ready. It was only three years ago that he was in a hospital bed after his brain surgery, and he was holding on to me for dear life. I couldn’t rollover in that small bed without him screaming for me not to leave him. In the years since, I’ve only NOT put him to bed a dozen times. Unless it’s impossible, I try to get home by bedtime. I enjoy that time with him, and he with me.

This past weekend all the essentials were perfect: a good family, Ian’s maturity, and my readiness. And now, here is Ian’s story, mostly typed by him with a little help from me.

This is Ian. I am seven years old, and I just had my first sleepover with my friend Jake. I felt a little nervous about whether I was going to cry “Mommy!” or not when I was going to go to bed. I felt scared that I was going to have bad dreams. I didn’t know what his house was going to look like, if he was going to have a bunk bed…but he didn’t.

I had to pack my pajamas, bathing suit (for swimming the next day), my goggles, Wii Wipeout (Jake told me to), a nunchuk, and my spider-monkey (I love him!). I was excited to get to Jake’s house. I gave my mom a kiss goodbye, and we started to play. We played Wipeout first, then play dough. Sometimes we didn’t get along: I wanted to play something, and he wanted to play something else, but most of the time it was fun.

When it was time to go to bed, I called my mom. I said, “Hi Mom. I just wanted to say goodnight.”

“Are you ok?”

“Yes. I’m ok.”   

“Good. I love you.”

“I love you too.”

Then we decided that we should sleep in a tent, and when it was in the middle of the night, I woke up Jake to sleep in his bed. I didn’t feel comfortable in the tent because it was really hot.

Then I couldn’t find my spider-monkey. I awoke Jake to get my spider-monkey out of the bathroom. Then I finally could sleep.

When we woke up, we had breakfast and then started to play Wipeout again. I was so happy I made it through my first sleepover.

I am too, buddy. I am too.

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