Pepper Effecting Bloxels

The past few days, I have been working on my summer reading and in the past few days I have been reading: Lead with Culture by Jay Billy and just recently started The Pepper Effect by Sean Gaillard. In Lead with Culture, Jay talked about being intentional with our actions. He highlighted a great point in chapter 8 on page 68 about a teacher who used a Letter–type format for students to practice. The original intention was for students to practice spelling. The teacher saw the activity on Pinterest and thought it would be fun and it was. In the classroom. When it was given as homework it lost it’s purpose and really rang true with me. Something I try to avoid is busy work for students, but a trick is make activities and lessons with a purpose. I’m currently working on a Donors Choose to get a full classroom set of Bloxels for my students for the spring of 2019. My past students found Bloxels amazing, as they were able to create their own games. However, reviewing my past students, many students just saw using Bloxels as making games and weren’t finding the main purpose in their learning with Bloxels. So, I began to do research on how to make learning with Bloxels have a larger purpose with my high school students when we get our Bloxels and I didn’t have to look much farther than The Pepper Effect.

Sean talks about Believing in your Vision right off the bat in The Pepper Effect. Especially what is your vision for your classroom or school. Right now, I am in the middle of building The Pixel Classroom, which is a complete redesign of not only my classroom for learning, but also for my students. The first two letters for Pixel stand for: Passion and Innovation. Something I have not had a problem in the classroom in the last few years is having students bring their passions to the classroom. I have seen that from fishing to graphic design. Something I want to bring out more in my students is Innovation and Bloxels can bring that out. While Bloxels can work great with an individual, it works even better collaboratively. As Sean put it in The Pepper Effect: “The Beatles believed in their vision with each others as collaborators.” Something my students in the past did was get together collaboratively, but their games and characters didn’t have much vision. Pretty much: “Character A blasts bad guys and gets gold coins.” I had to look deeper into my instruction in how to really teach students on how to tap into their creativity through music. I did this during my Photoshop lessons in Multimedia, where I played Beatles and Modern Classic Music during work time. Many of my students had their creations flow through the use of music and refining a few things, here is how I want students to create their next Bloxel Games.

  1. First I am creating a playlist of Beatle Songs and having them choose the song they want to listen to.
  2. They research the song. What is the meaning behind a song like: “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” What about Strawberry Fields? They write down parts of the song that stand out to them. From the lyrics to the music.
  3. Next is research on the song, what is story behind the song? If you look at Lucy in the Sky, it was based on John Lennon’s inspiration for the song came when his son, Julian, showed him a nursery school drawing he called “Lucy—in the Sky with Diamonds”, depicting his classmate Lucy O’Donnell (later Lucy Vodden). Julian Lennon said, “I don’t know why I called it that or why it stood out from all my other drawings, but I obviously had an affection for Lucy at that age. I used to show his dad everything he’d built or painted at school, and this one sparked off the idea.
  4. Students then create their characters and story boards based on the lyrics.
  5. They then create a game based off the parts that stick out to them. If you were doing one based on Lucy in the sky. You can have her in this magical land where she is collecting diamonds and exploring new places in a Pixel Est doodle world. If I looked at Hard Day’s Night, I would create a character who is working hard obtain items to complete his job and get home before the time expires.
  6. Students then design their games and then test them out and of course through FAIL (First attempt in Learning) and SAIL (Second attempt in Learning). They perfect their games and have others test them out.
  7. The next is, they have to market their games. A mistake I used to make is when students finished their games they just gave a brief description of the game and the controls with power ups and then just let people played. Many times students played once and that was it, while others played other games constantly. While they did reflect on Flipgrid of why they liked one more game than another. They constantly said: “I wish they would have made a commercial or something to make me like the game before I played it.” With that in mind, now students have to create a commercial to market their game. This can be as simple as doing the classic poster board or making a Green Screen commercial. As John C Maxell put it in The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: “Cultivate others and show them what you have to offer and what they will get out of it.”

I will be putting this lesson into action in the spring and I will be sharing the results. Give it a try today and be sure to share your Pepper Effect Bloxel Games with the hashtag #ThePepperEffect

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