Virtual Worlds: Minecraft Club Promo Video!

Our Virtual World is now 6 months old! To celebrate we decided to create a short promotional video to showcase all the amazing and creative things our students have built. I am looking forward to what else we will achieve this year as the club has grown significantly since the start of the school year. If you are interested in the history of the Minecraft club you can see some of our previous blogposts.

Minecraft: Building Virtual Worlds – The Origin story of our Minecraft world!
Virtual Worlds: A Home away from Home – Building and Living in a Virtual World during COVID-19 Shutdown.
Virtual Worlds: The Great Wall Initiative – Securing the frontier, and the start of group adventures.
Virtual Worlds: Building a Community Village – How to build a community village and helping new players.

Enjoy the video!

Cooking Club is back with a Classic!

This past week, the YMCA Academy’s Cooking Club served up its first session of the school year. With so many changes to the classroom, schedule and our day-to-day lives, it is nice to have a familiar activity to turn to. That said, Cooking Club continues to run via video call with students preparing food from home.

For our first meeting we went with the simple, but beloved, classic – grilled cheese sandwiches. All of our chefs had their own take on grilled cheese. We had many types of bread and cheese represented, spicy versions filled with hot peppers and different dips (ketchup vs. BBQ sauce). We also learned a grilled cheese hack of using mayonnaise instead of butter – give it a try!

In-between the slicing and grilling, there was a lot of talk of summer breaks, but also how the school year has been going. With our adapted schedule, students only see their classmates in their cohort at school, so it is important to have these extra-curricular activities where students can socialize with more peers. It was a good turn out with mostly regulars, including a few alumni, but we had a new student join as well and we look forward to welcoming more in the coming weeks as the school year ramps up.

Urban Planning – Designing your Own City

After learning about the six major categories of land use in urban areas (Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Institutional, Recreational and Transportation), Grade 9 Geography students had the opportunity to design their own cities.

Students created their cities based on the standard percentage of land use in a typical North American city. For example only 7% of the city could be recreational, 32% had to be used for transportation, etc. Students were challenged to think about what types of land use should be located close to each other or further away from each other. They also had to consider questions such as: How would people move around the city? What types of industries would sustain the city? What types of residential buildings would work in the city?

As a final step in the project, students presented their designs to the class and received peer feedback about strengths and suggested improvements.

Virtual Worlds: Building a Community Village

 

We have spent a week now with monsters roaming the realm, mostly outside the city gates and walls. There have been a few times where attempts to get inside the protective walls of the city occurred, but in all cases our villagers were successful in holding back any invasion from creatures. With the community acclimatizing to this new way of life, we moved onto our next communal project – Village Building.

We sat down this week to plan the specific structures we wanted to create in the ‘starter’ community village (this was the area we carved out a border for in the initial week of the simulation). Students brainstormed buildings, services, landmarks, and other elements that they wanted to see in the community village. We assigned a project leader to each item and that student was responsible for the planning, resource gathering and eventual building of the structure at the agreed upon location. We used an aerial view map to determine where we would like these buildings built.

Some of the building’s students came up with:

  • Market
  • Town Square / City Hall
  • Garden(s)
  • Harbour / Docks / Fishing Huts
  • Bridge (Linking the 2 sides of the river together)
  • Amphitheatre
  • Restaurant
  • Prison / Dungeon
  • Barracks / Training Grounds
  • Courthouse
  • Announcement / Billboard
  • Disposal Area / Waste Processing
  • Castle / Fort
  • Hotel
  • Bunker
  • Storage Warehouse

Students have been busy creating the structures so that the community village is well equipped to welcome new players with an assortment of services and amenities!

Very Short Fiction Writing

At the Academy, students are taking on the challenge of Very Short Fiction Writing. A skill of concise writing to convey plot, theme, mood, and character in the shortest possible formats. Creating a cohesive storyline has its own set of challenges, developing powerful characters can be very tough, and building a theme and mood into a piece of literature is a difficult skill. Trying to do it all in a single page? Now that takes skill. The real challenge though: can you do it in only 6 words?

This is the question that was asked of the Grade 10 English class this Spring. They took on the task of creating meaningful stories in a single page, and the advanced mission of creating a story within the limit of only 6 words. The stories ranged from tragic, to comedic, to dramatic, to romantic.

What’s stopping you from testing your creativity? Try it out. You can use the examples created by the talented Grade 10 English Class to inspire you. 6-Word Stories, and Very Short Stories are a unique way to develop fictional narratives within hard limits.