I spent 15 years as a classroom teacher. Part of my daily work included teaching students how to learn. When I first began working with students outside of the classroom, I observed just how widespread this need had grown. Teachers, experts in their subject areas, presumed students learn the skills and behaviors inherent to learning somewhere else along the way. Indeed, some kids had. But many (many) kids had not. And guess what, some of their teachers had not either.
I began teaching students these skills more directly. It’s a bit of an art/tap dance involving folding these skills into what they already must do for school because, honestly, few subjects are more mind-numbingly dull than learning how to check what work is due, read directions, or remember to actually turn in the work you completed. If your kids have balked at this work with others in the past that’s likely why. That said, I do it with kids, and I do it pretty successfully!
One day, during remote learning, a parent asked me to work with her frustrated and underwhelmed kid who felt disengaged in school. He also struggled with executive functioning. I felt pretty confident that he needed more fun than I could generate even with my most animated self. It’s not easy to compete online with video games, I said. I knew Bryan could offer something with technology which would likely engage more. And then, an idea was born.
Video games can have the singular appeal of luring the happy player into blowing up aliens and eating power pellets, or offer opportunities to develop and practice useful skills such as mindfulness, patience, logic, and sequencing — the cornerstones of executive functioning. So, what if we combined the two? Minecraft offered the way.
RE/EDUCATION, LLC still offers traditional support for executive functioning with students. But we also provide an innovative program in which we approach this issue collaboratively with students in Minecraft. We follow students’ interests and build stories and games of their design, block by block in an immersive three-dimensional space.
Fostering the habits of mind students require for their working memories, flexible thinking, and self control, we help students to be better able to apply these same skills when it’s time to face less pleasant tasks.
Minecraft Executive Functioning We Offer allows kids to develop areas of executive functioning such as:
- Working memory
- Flexible thinking
- Planning for the future
- Time management
- Starting tasks
- Following through on tasks to completion
- Confidence building
- Positive self-talk
Traditional Executive Functioning Work We Offer with students and their homework:
All of the above areas! It’s not as fun as playing Minecraft. But sometimes a kid’s gotta get her homework done–tomorrow! Or pass a test next week. Or dig out that smelly sandwich from her locker to find a missing worksheet. So, we offer this service as well.