Once Upon a Monster was the first Xbox game that my JK/SK classroom and Mrs. Obach’s classroom purchased. It seemed to be a good fit for our students’ ages, could be linked to curricular outcomes, and provided excellent opportunities for gross motor development. Once we figured out how to use the Xbox, configured our classroom setups, and the command gestures, this game was an instant hit. During free play, I developed a “sign up” sheet for those who wanted to play. For my four students who weren’t too interested in learning to print their names, this provided A LOT of motivation to finally master that skill!
While browsing the Kinect in the Classroom site, my teaching partner came across this activity entitled, “Clean Up”. She was amazed at what a perfect fit it was for our sustainability project, and quickly sent me the link to the activity. We decided to try it yesterday, and both classrooms played the chapter in Once Upon a Monster where the characters have to clean up a messy garden. Players have the opportunity to sort the trash, creating a beautiful green space at the end of it. Engagement was not a problem and the Kinect effect was in full force as nearly 50 students experienced the activity! Using our digital team teaching approach, we collaboratively completed a sorting activity, with students from both classrooms taking turns sorting trash, recyclable items, and compostable items.
Students really enjoyed the opportunity to use Kinect to learn more about sustainable living. My class also took the opportunity to teach Mrs. Obach’s class about composting as we have compost buckets in each classroom and a large composting unit in our learning garden. This learning experience really illustrated the educational application of the Xbox Kinect and Once Upon a Monster, and we can hardly wait to try our next “kinected” activity.