Puzzle Craft 2

puzzle craft 2I am easily amused. I love exploding rats with beetroots! Saves on tools and it’s just funny. Mostly I collect rats other ways but there are times where I just let the beetroots do the work for me. The game does have a sense of humour. I just about have all the animals, plants and birds. Four to go. Looking forward to the mammoth. The Entelodon was good value because I get more mounts and that increases horseshoes which then increases income. In some of the villages I just get game coins. Not a problem. The Entelodon is worth getting. Other things not so much. So why did I get a dodo? The game forces me to focus on the same animals and plants most of the time. The challenges tend to come up with the same animals and plants.  I then work out it’s easier to use certain animals, plants and birds because that is how you progress faster. It is not all bad. I really needed to use the strawberries on one board because it meant I could collect fruit in one tap and that meant I could still capitalise on that board which was proving to be quite a test of my thinking. I can set a board up for when the swamp is there and yes, for the rats. Sometimes the game intervenes and forces me to deal with it differently.

Right now I am more or less in a holding pattern just collecting things. I have 800 spice and 800 fish and 1200 iron to collect for the next castle upgrade. I got the other hundreds of things. That is just long and drawn out. You can’t get that many fish, spice and iron. I badly need the iron for tools. So on and on and on we go. Buying is too expensive so I just have to wait and collect these things slowly. Very slowly. It is not a reasonable ask. Getting 1200 bread or eggs was not hard. This is too slow. I am collecting runes for the new animals and plants too because  I can only pay for them in runes. That is not unreasonable because I have to work at it and the game helps me and then I have to help myself.

The image is from the first village. I always use that. I can build up resources, points and rewards with that village. It’s quick and straight forward but not without its challenges. Often I learn something in the game and the next minute I have to unlearn it and relearn a different way of doing something. Let’s hear it for neuroplasticity. The first village can build up some good skills without the big sacrifices of trying it out on another board in another village. Would love to be able to grow that village a bit more now I’ve progressed so far in the game.

I worked out I had to do a lot of decorating to complete one of the cups but I have no idea how I am going to get 50 weeds on one of the boards when not enough come in onto the board and then there is no way of collecting them other than using the magic wand but I’d be paying out runes or real money and still no guarantee of 50 weeds in one session. The advantage of that board , as it stands, though, is I get lots of practice in skills and I build up lots of resources. It does actually play a positive role in the game even though it’s a bit odd.

The game continues to challenge and divert but all this collecting is driving me a bit bonkers! Thank heavens for exploding rats and the other fun things in the game… like the alpacas which jump like Tigger. So cute.

Back to the coding

first scriptI haven’t  seriously coded in a long time. Time to get back to it and I have chosen to work with Python. It will work across all the devices and computers I have no matter what OS they run. Even though I have a body of transferable knowledge, I have to treat myself as a beginner because if I have learnt  one thing from coding , I have  learned it is one tiny step at a time. Coding is very disciplined, precise thinking and you have to be absolutely accurate. The challenge comes in using your problem solving skills to work out how you are going to get something to work. Okay, so I want to learn Python, where am I actually going to put the script and how am I actually going to run it? I have got the C Language app for my iPad. That runs Python. I have to pay 3.70 to get it to run unlimited scripts. It might be worth it because it has such a nice interface and there are some resources there I know I’ll be able to use eventually. I already have Text Wrangler on my MacBook. I’ll need to download Python and then work with the information I find to use it on that if I want to. Linux will easily have what I want so I am leaving that until last. I took the biggest challenge first – Windows 7. I found an excellent site : Learn Python the Hard Way It suits my needs and covers all the operating systems. The instructions for Windows worked out but I had to update PowerShell to version 3 because I am on Windows 7. Nothing worked until I did that. first python scriptI have written and run my first script in the PowerShell and so I can work through the rest of the site bit by bit. It is not really learning Python the hard way but Zed. A. Shaw is very clear about how you have to behave if you want to code. It’s not guessing, hmphing, skipping over bits, trying to race ahead. It is disciplined and exact. He could not have put out a better message . I have also signed up for a free Udemy course – Coding for Entrepreneurs Basic by Justin Mitchel. I am not an entrepreneur and have no aspirations in that direction . I want to learn what the course has on offer and then I can decide how I will put that to work. Justin Mitchel explains everything well and the course is set out very clearly. It is supposed to take 4 hours. I downloaded the course app to my iPad too! So, before I even got to learn anything in Python I had to set up my devices and find the software I needed and ensure I had the right versions. For me it is good to have a multimedia approach like the Udemy course and then my website where I can go to learn the next bit. Ready to code!

Our favourite web organiser

Web Organiser This modest little web organiser has been a big hit in my classes over the last two weeks. You can get your own copy from clipartbest. I frequently use web organisers to help build ideas, language skills and content. This particular web organiser has been used to build vocabulary, practice verb tenses, talk about films and to advertise Adelaide. I put the central idea in the middle and then display it on my IWB. As a class, or group we then work around the extensions to fill in each bubble. After that, I get students to do their own version of it. My year 9s were so fast they demanded to upload their perfect tense practice onto the LMS so I could see how well they had done. My other students put theirs on their blogs and were happy to do it. I could have asked them to write lists or 6 examples of what we were learning. I decided on this web organiser. One student summed it up this way:

Last week in French class we had to find different words to describe Adelaide. Instead of just doing the typical list, we used a web organiser for the first time. I think web organisers are a great way of doing activities like this because it makes you more creative.

If you are looking for other sorts of web/graphic organisers, look at my other posts:

Love graphic organisers!
Graphic organisers
Free graphic organisers

Share your mind maps

biggerplateThis is as much a note to self as a note to you to get onto it! Biggerplate has over 50, 000 registered users and nearly 5 million mind map views. Speaks for itself. I follow them on Twitter but there is also their blog which keeps you fully up to date. You register for free with the site and then you can share or download mindmaps. It is that easy. It means you have a source of mindmaps for teaching but also to show as examples if you want students to develop their ideas in a particular way. Mindmaps can also be highly creative and and art from in their own right. I was watching a year 9 student building a mind map today which was extending  what we had been doing in class. We were having a 5 minute break form some intense concentration for an hour and this is what she chose to do and I could see she was literally in her element and at peace with her learning. I shall ask her what she was doing because it looked very complex. At the time I didn’t want to disturb her cognitive flow. Students find mind maps very helpful to build ideas but they need some structure and guidelines or they just get lost in the complexity of them. It is important to guide them through the early stages and then they can develop their own learning tools in a more substantial and creative way. Not all students can rally their ideas in a format so they can create a mind map. This is where Biggerplate would be very helpful. Students are basically visual learners these days. If they can see information and then see how to do things, they will work originally on their own assignments. What I need to do is get my senior students organised with the software because I discovered they don’t have it. It came with the new MacBook roll out so that is my first step. We were going to work on our film oral using mind mapping software. My diary now has a note to get onto it!

TeFL Domain 3 Challenge 13

TeFL domain 3 Challenge 13Challenge 13: How do you help your students learn critical thinking? Teaching critical thinking has to become second nature. It is important when students are using technology they can learn how to muster the best information and the most reliable resources. They also need to know how to produce something which is less than routine because the world is not very keen on ho-hum effort these days. There has to be a dazzle factor and there has to be a an eye catching aspect to anything you produce. We are visually saturated so we have to know how to get the best out of our ideas, information and software. I have trained my classes to look for what makes them learn and look for what makes them notice. We have presented things to each other and we have looked at how we can improve our efforts and make them even more interesting and better thought out. Since this is my approach we have become far better at being honest about how to improve, how to eradicate mistakes, how to create something which will wow others with its palatable and worthy information and graphics. We have to think and plan. We have to get it right. We cannot just slap something together. We know that now . So the Thinker’s Keys have been a useful tool and you can download a free copy from the link. I also use Twiducate so that students can record what they have learned and share help and advice so that they have support in their thinking. When it comes to complex language tasks the concept webs and graphic tools because it helps them think out their ideas. When I show them videos in the target language I give them things to listen for. They need hooks into thinking and discerning information. With technology I have found it is important to give them things to look for as they go along and then teach them how to extract value from what they are doing and HOW they are doing it.

Challenge 12

Josefine Grimm-Blenk

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