Global Cardboard Challenge

This year Dorothy Grant Elementary will be taking part in the Cardboard Challenge. Ms. Matheson and Ms. Belt will be heading up a group of 4th & 5th grade DGE students (selected by a random draw) to create our very own cardboard arcade to be shared at our annual Harvest Festival on October 29th.

This year a group of our students will participate in the “Global Cardboard Challenge.” This is an annual event presented by the Imagination Foundation that celebrates child creativity and the role communities can play in fostering it. Students will dream up [creations] using cardboard, recycled materials and their imaginations ot create a cardboard arcade, inspired by the short film “Cain’s Arcade.”

Students MUST be available to stay after school on Mondays and Thursdays in October from 2:30 – 3:30pm AND work the Harvest Festival on Thursday, October 29th.

If you are interested and your child did not bring home a permission slip, you can download it here: Cardboard Challenge. Permissions slips are due to Ms. Matheson or Ms. Belt by Friday, October 2nd for the random draw.

Any questions about this event can be directed to Ms. Matheson or Ms. Belt.


Minecraft Club Day 2

Mrs. Ruiz at the future site of Minecraft DGE

Our second time meeting on the server went much smoother today. I attempted to deal with any lingering tech issues before we met so I could have the whole time on the server with the kids. I even extended club time from one hour to two hours because one hour just didn’t seem like enough. After two hours today, I felt that was a much more appropriate amount of time and will likely extend the club hour from 4-5pm on Thursdays, to 3:30 – 5:30 pm on Thursdays.

We are still trying to establish our community on the server. I was trying to direct them to build our school, but the kids kept breaking off and building their own homes. I am currently brainstorming ideas on how to bring 20 “lil miners” (as educators in the Minecraft Educator Google+ group I am in call them) into focus. After viewing all of their newest creations, I broke off at the end of the session to try some building on my own. I didn’t want to build our school myself, but perhaps once I give it a footprint, the kids will then be more focused about making it happen.

We are using Edmodo in conjunction with Minecraft and Skype, so I will have to put up some more assignments there, mainly on planning our community, which should hopefully bring them into better focus. I think perhaps assigning them to regions of the school build is a start. I would also enjoy seeing what they have in mind for our Minecraft school, like drawings or blueprints.

Since I am presently unable to use Minecraft EDU, the suggestion of a Bukkit server was made as it allows for more options than a standard server. I am new to not only Minecraft but running a server and mods so it is quite easy to be overwhelmed. This week I plan on focusing my research on what a Bukkit server is like and what additional commands it can allow me and my students that our current vanilla server cannot. I have several experienced “lil miners” who are used to playing with several mods in place and are feeling a bit restricted by our vanilla server. Those experienced miners ask me almost daily (our Skype group is always up and running and chat there is frequent) about when I am going to allow mods and give them more command ability.

Here is a video I put together of some of the kids in the club telling me what they think Minecraft is along with some footage from day 2 in game. Enjoy!


Minecraft Club Day 1

L to R: Carlos, Xavier, Jayden & Daniel

What an afternoon!

After much anticipation (and three Skype orientations), the DGE Minecraft Club was officially in Minecraft together! I expected it to be chaotic and it certainly was. I spent most of the hour in tech support with parents who were not fully prepared for the amount of tech we are using, and I turned 15 students loose on the server I had acquired for our club. I was sad that I didn’t get to be there with them fully for the first meeting, but in the end I managed to get everyone on which should hopefully make meeting 2 easier.

I opened the server again a little while after the club meeting and let the students know via our Skype group. I had a few eager students willing to log back in to help me work out some kinks and we did! I shot a video of what the students were able to accomplish in the tech club hour while I was helping parents. I have told the kids that I am no Minecraft expert and I am looking to learn from them as some have been playing a majority of their years. The video I shot is amusing for many reasons, one being the tone in my voice as I learn from them. Sadly you cannot hear their replies to me since I was wearing headphones, but you will be able to get the idea of the conversation. I just know each meeting will get better and better.



Minecraft at DGE

Minecraft Club Header

Dear Families,

I am thrilled to announce the beginning of the 21st Century Club at Dorothy Grant Elementary! In this very special club we will focus on teaching students the 21st Century Skills they need as children of the information age. Specifically we will focus on the following International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) standards for students:

  1. Creativity and Innovation
  2. Communication and Collaboration
  3. Research and Information Fluency
  4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  5. Digital Citizenship
  6. Technology Operations and Concepts

The first phase of our 21st Century Club will focus on Minecraft and game based learning. This opportunity is open to all 3rd through 5th graders as a distance learning experience. That means students will be connecting to the club from home. The following are required to participate:

  1. Reliable home computer with MinecraftEDU Minecraft installed (MinecraftEDU will not be used after all, regular Minecraft will.)
    1. This is different than the commercial Minecraft client. The MinecraftEDU client will be sent to students in the club once all requirements have been met.
  2. Reliable home internet
  3. A Minecraft account ($26.95) or a MinecraftEDU account ($18)
    1. With commercial Minecraft, the account is yours to keep. With MinecraftEDU, you are borrowing the account.
  4. Skype (for audio communication)
  5. Edmodo (online classroom)
    1. Students do not need to sign up for another Edmodo account if they already have one.
    2. A group join code will be sent once all requirements have been met.
  6. Permission slip with parent and teacher signatures

The Minecraft Club will take place on Thursdays from 4pm to 5pm. Our first meeting is Thursday, September 10th.

If you are interested in this opportunity for your child, please email me your child’s name and their teacher’s name. A permission slip will then be sent to them for completion along with further instructions.

Thank you!
Mrs. Ruiz
4th Grade Teacher & Technology Coach


Here We Are!

Thank you to all the parents who signed and returned the photo release form! It allowed me to take this great class photo with my selfie stick. I look forward to posting more photos of the students and their work as the school year progresses.


Looking forward to a great year,
Mrs. Ruiz

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
 Mahatma Gandhi


Classroom News

Hello Families!

I thought I would take a moment to address various questions in one mighty blog post!

  1. We have a fundraiser going on currently. It began on August 14th and goes until August 28th. Our class can win an iPad if we have the highest participation in the school! I won an iPad a couple of years ago from this fundraiser company and would love to win another to allow even more use of tablets in the room. I told the class if we win, I will give all participating students an additional prize coupon as well as have a movie and popcorn party for the whole class.  This fundraiser also has online ordering! Click the image below to be taken to the site, then enter PFDORGRANT.online ordering
  2. Scholastic Reading Club – I will send home book order forms for Scholastic once a month. I have sent the first two already and orders for this month will be closed on August 24th. Once books are ordered they take 2 weeks to arrive. Ordering books from Scholastic is another way we can earn a free iPad for the classroom so the more book orders the better! There is online ordering available as well and you can shop the entire Scholastic collection of books and not just the items from the flyers I send home. Click the image below to be taken to online ordering.scholasticclass code
  3. MobyMax Homework was originally due August 21st. I have recieved many messages regarding this assignment and various issues that have interfered with completeing it. I do want everyone to complete this assignment and for those who haven’t I will allow extra time for them to do so. I made a video to answer some of the questions and I hope it helps. If you have further questions or I did not address your question, please send me a message on Class Dojo.

I believe that covers all the information I have at this time. If there is something you wish to know and I did not address, please remind me by sending me another message. :)

-Mrs. Ruiz

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!


Back To School Night

We had a wonderful turn out for Back To School Night! It was so nice to meet so many of the families of my students. Several of you told me you would not be able to attend and there are some linked videos I was unable to show due to time, so I wanted to be sure to get my presentation online for you to review. If you have any questions about any part of the presentation, please message me on ClassDojo.

Back To School Night