Using the Wii in the classroom
I’m sitting in the ESSDACK Technology Integration Group monthly meeting this morning.
And it’s a good day!
Adrian Howie, 4th grade teacher at South Breeze Elementary School in Newton, Kansas is sharing how he uses the Wii in the elementary classroom. Some very cool stuff and some very cool conversations!
There’s just so much we covered this morning but I’ve included below a quick overview of some of the things Adrian does with the Wii:
- The free Wii Channel allows students to create Miis, avatars that the Wii uses to play games and interact with the Wii environment.
- Adrian has his kids first create a Mii that they will use to represent themselves. He then has kids research and create Kansas and US national historical characters and share with others. During the creation process, he has students journal about their work as a way of assessing the learning.
- He and the art teacher use the Mii Channel to help kids figure out color, perspective, etc when making their own Miis.
- Adrian creates specific Miis and shows them to kids as writing prompts.
- He uses the Mii Channel to teach technical writing. Kids create a Mii and then write several paragraphs that explains how they did it. They then swap their paragraphs with a partner who must be able to recreate their original Mii.
- He also uses the Mii Channel’s sorting feature to let kids organize by color, size, shape, etc. This helps focus on physical features that he then incorporates for teaching science & math standards.
- He has kids lead daily discussions about what clothes to wear the next day during recess.
- Kids pick a state capital and track weather data over time and create graphs and charts. Adrian then has them select a world city and track weather data over time. It really helps with kids with both math and geography.
- This is a channel that lets kids answer a question that is open to the world or just the United States. You can then predict what the final answer will be. Adrian says this is great for generating conversation and incorporating predication reading strategies. He has his kids keep a journal where they must answer the posted question with several sentences of explanation. Then they must predict what the final large group answer will be and be able to justify that answer as well. Adrian models this thought process for his class by doing the actual answering on the Wii console.
- After the final results are in, kids look at results by area and gender leading to great math and social studies conversations.
Adrian also talked a bit about how he uses the News Channel. Basically the News Channel attaches AP news stories to the geographic place much like the Weather Channel.
Adrian very quickly gave a few overviews of some of the games he uses with his kids:
- Big Brain Academy – A great game that allows kids to solve problems, do math, imagine spatial relationships, predicting, number sense
- Smarty Pants – Trivia Pursuit type game which allows you to set the age level. It does a great job of adapting to individual kids and their abilities by asking age appropriate questions.
- My Word Coach – Focuses on word structure and definitions, etc.
- Endless Ocean & African Safari – Can be used to teach habitat, species adaption, structure functions, types of animals, food chain, research, problem solving, statistics & probability, longitude & latitude, encourage writing
- Mario Brothers Olympic Games – Tons of uses but Adrian identified 15 different math indicators using just the 100 meter race
I really didn’t need more evidence that video games are good for kids but Adrian’s experiences and ideas give me more ammo!