Chris Burica is a language arts teacher at Carl Sandburg Middle School in Old Bridge, New Jersey.
In the classroom, Chris looks to enhance and innovate his instruction through a thoughtful blend of clear and direct pedagogy coupled with unique blended technology-based exploration. After graduating from Rutgers University, he began his career teaching fourth grade, where he welcomed learners into his colorful and student-centered classroom. Eventually transitioning to the intermediate level for language arts instruction, his daily forays into reading and writing inspire and motivate youth. A fixture at after-school events and through his work with the school’s digital newspaper and burgeoning video broadcast, Chris consistently plays an active role in positively reshaping the climate of his school.
Chris on Powerful Learning:
What’s a strategy teachers can use to incorporate powerful learning?
“Reach out to form connections via Twitter and Skype in the Classroom! Building bonds with other classrooms and the greater outside community helps build tangible connections for students to develop greater meaning and lasting value through their learning.”
What are some student projects that demonstrate powerful learning?
“Minecraft Cultural Museum Project: Collaborating with a class in the United Kingdom, my sixth-grade ELA students worked to create a Cultural Museum that showcased landmarks, cultural artifacts, and significant locations within their life. After writing about these locations in vivid and descriptive detail, both classes swapped worlds to experience what a day is like for students living in the UK and what a day looks like for students living in the US.
Return to the Cay: Working in two teams to bring to life both the setting and performance-based elements, students scripted and acted out an original epilogue for the novel The Cay. While the production crew steadfastly brought to life the setting of the titular cay island, the actors saw their performances transported into their Minecraft world through the magic of Chroma-Key.
Thanksgiving Day Parade: After planning and developing intricate Thanksgiving Day parade floats using a multi-step writing process, students recreated 34th Street in New York City within Minecraft Education Edition. Proudly designing the floats complete with their writing spoken by Non-Playable-Characters (NPCs) as spectators, the atmosphere was imbued with festive spirit and celebration.”
What’s one thing you hope to hear from a former student?
“If I had the good fortune to speak with a student who I formerly taught 20 years from now, I would hope that the learning that they participated in impacted them by instilling the confidence to pursue a future where they are engaged and proud of their output. It’s my wish that my instruction has given them the ability to believe in themselves and understand that they are capable of living in a future where they can utilize their creativity to make a meaningful difference in the education and acceptance of other people.”
Ask Chris about:
“Learn how to incorporate Minecraft Education Edition into an English Language Arts classroom by reaching out to me and seeing the many memorable worlds that students have worked hard to bring to life! Feel free to also reach out to me regarding establishing a digital foundation for your classroom where students can connect through Skype or work using tools like Microsoft Office 365 for initiatives like 20% Time!”
Learn more about HP Teaching Fellows.