Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Minecraft Journal Entry #31

January 27 2012

Terragrim's Minecraft Report:
 Today Lira and I spent time putting the finishing touches on my new house. But first, Lira had to find my house. As I did with Mel's lapis house the other day, I built a tall marker so that it could be seen for miles around. With this (very) tall tower as a guide, Lira was able to find her way to my house, while leaving a breadcrumb-like path of torches in her wake. Then we began our work on the roof. Lira took care of most of the actual roof making, while I created temporary dirt pillars to use as support for the roof. We worked fairly quickly, with extra time to make a small balcony attached to the neighboring tree.

Terra jumps on her bed

 Then we decided to follow our torches back to the Safe House and get some supplies. We took a brief detour to see Phisa's "Chicken Race Track" and fight a few creatures. Then we went over to Lira's little house (in comparison to mine).

Phisagrim's racetrack, inspired by GameChap

I crafted a chest, a crafting table (a chicken and egg scenario: which came first?) and a furnace for my house and went back to Lupus Landing to put them there.
 Phisa decided to join our trek and followed us there. The torches Lira left may have seemed like over-kill, but it paid off in the end. We found our way to the house with relative ease, this time leaving a path of white wool. It was originally going to be a yellow path (Thanks to the Wizard of Oz), but couldn't find any yellow dye. But the white stood out quite nicely. We had only made it up to the stream that leads to my house, when we had to log out. We all "ported" home so that we could continue our building the next day.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Minecraft Journal Entry #30

January 26, 2012

Part 1 Update: At school, the grade 4s were asking about using Minecraft again and so when they finished recording their rocks and minerals response, I allowed kids to go on the single player Grade 4 World we created for Liragrim for them to explore. I learned from last time that I talked too much (when the kids were playing, they were chopping down trees barehanded and I kept pointing things out like that they could get more than one piece of wood per tree by looking up and hitting more) so instead of directing them, I let them explore themselves and I would only allow myself to comment or ask questions. One of the boys that is usually uninspired by school came ALIVE! He taught the girl using the keyboard/mouse how to make a crafting table and recommended she dig a hole to get away from creepers in the vicinity. When another boy got a chance at the keyboard, he pressed A for attack over and over again and dug himself into a deep hole and found a vein of lava. The gasps of the 5-kids-thick audience showed they understood the danger. "How are you going to get out?" I asked. My "leader" did it. I didn't want to listen in too much and the boy said "you didn't hear everything I said, did you?" I admitted I didn't (busy monitoring the recording pairs in the hallway and teaching the tacher how to use the Senteo response system) and he said "good" - though I don't think he said anything horrible. He said he liked my skin.
Update 2
Terragrim's Minecraft Report:
 Yesterday, after my giving up on finding the village and suffocating in yet another wall, Lira decided to build me a house on Lupus Landing, whether I wanted it or not. That turned out to be both a good thing and a bad thing. Since I spend so many long days lost in Lupus Landing's vast forests, plains, deserts, caves and mountains, a house would be a good thing to keep me warm and dry. I'd be able to sleep through the night without having to fend off the beasties. But considering the number of beasties that inhabit Lupus Landing, not to mention the massive amounts of lava on the surface, it's a dangerous place to live.
 This didn't discourage Lira though. We swam off to Lupus Landing, Phisa staying behind for the time being. After wandering for a few minutes, we came across a small body of water coated in ice. In the middle was a small peninsula. The area was surrounded by hills on all sides.If we set up camp on the peninsula, then we'd be able to see the monsters coming down from the mountains. However, there would still be the mountains connected the peninsula to the mainland.
 We decided that this area was the perfect place for my house and set to work. Seeing how MissColby's house worked so well on stilts, and with the bay surrounding it, we decided to mimic this. First, I severed the peninsula from mainland, "making" an island. Lira began to work on the stilts. After a while, we had a a platform suspended in the air, with Lira above and me below. Lira started on the walls when we realized that she had no way of getting down.
 So, we began to make stairs, to get up and down. After our first attempt, we realized we had miscalculated, so the steps were too near to the house. So we started over.

Making stilts

 Once the stairs were finished, we started on making a door. Since this house was meant to be fashionable as well as functional, Mom decided to make the door out of iron, to match the rest of the grey and silver house. However, when I tried to get inside, I was locked out! So in the end, we had to settle with a wooden door.
 The roof is still a work in progress, since Lira also wanted to mimic MissColby's sloping roof. But unfortunately, we'd have to do that another day.

Terragrim is locked out!

 Finding our way from my picturesque house to Lupus Landing Station is also a work in progress. Since Lupus Landing is a fairly unexplored area, there aren't many familiar landmarks that can point us back to the Safehouse. My goals for next time are to get myself a roof, as well as build a path back to Lupus Landing Station.
 So for now, it's just me and my newly found wolf waiting for another adventure.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Minecraft Journal Entry #28 & 29

January 24, 2012
I made an announcement for the students who were selected for the Minecraft Club to come down so I could tell them in person.
- I asked if they had a legitimate account already
- I said they had been selected for the club and I would supply them with a student account (but they could only use it during club times)
- I mentioned that we'd meet Mondays for an hour after school and that as part of the club, they'd be required to do a bit of writing (e.g. keep a journal on our wiki)
They all seemed quite excited, although they all seem to know quite a bit about Minecraft already!

My own kids and I played for a set time together. It was relatively uneventful. Praxis wasn't on so Phisa had to "settle" with having me with him. I built his slime pen in anticipation of the pet slimes he will capture.

And we saw snow

January 25, 2012
A quick summary. Terra got lost in a desert around Casa Colby and was nearly killed by a bunch of creepers. Phisa and Lira went down into the mines to make the monster spawner in the pit. Terra suffocated in a wall when she teleported to us. She couldn't grab her stuff though we saw it drop. Phisa placed a spawner in my outdoor pen and it became a pig spawner. Lira followed Terra around to find a location for her house in the Lupis Landing zone. Terra was being very particular about her location and couldn't decide.

Pig spawner at work

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Minecraft Journal Entry #26 & 27

January 22, 2012

I'll try to be brief, as it's nearly midnight as I type this.
Terra, Phisa and I (Lira) played for our usual time and then I let Terra go on my computer so her dad could use his. The two kid stayed on for an extra half-hour.
What did I do? Built the bridge to the nature preserve.

Building my bridge over water!

I looked it up and found out that if you hold shift and walk backwards, you can access the face of the block you want to add to. I also made a new coop and fixed my Liragrim sign in front of my house.

What did Terra do? Her goal was to find that troll village she discovered a few days ago. She wandered far and wide but couldn't find it. She spends a lot of time in Lupis Landing and is considering building a house there.

What did Phisa do? He was a bit grumpy today. He spent a short time in the mines. He teleported to Terra when she found clay deposits in the water. He drowned while collecting it. He got even grumpier because he wanted to recover all his lost loot but couldn't remember the place where he had gone off to collect clay. He made his way back to his home with his new pack of recently acquired wolves and used codes to get all sorts of unusual things like cauldrons.

January 23, 2012

Today I taught a Minecraft-related lesson and it was amazing! I've uploaded my lesson plan to the wiki. One of my grade 8 students made me a video to use as part of the lesson. We went into the single player world and made a new world that we explored from scratch - no tools, nothing. The kids participated like crazy, especially a boy who usually isn't keen about school.  The discussion was thoughtful and based on great observations. It was a media/oral/science lesson and I was impressed with the distinction the kids were making - it's a computer game vs video game vs simulation game. They were the ones that clued in that this was a multi-subject lesson. They want to play again (two kids only played for a little bit this time around, projected on the SMART Board).

ETA I telephoned the parent of the child who made the video to praise him mightily for his contribution. His mother was delighted because said she thought his hours on Minecraft were a waste of time but she's glad to hear it isn't necessarily the case. I told her about the Minecraft Club and how we are hoping it helps with literacy and numeracy and "school skills" and she was happy to hear about that. She also mentioned that her son was trying to teach her how to upload videos to YouTube. My own children played for a lengthy time this night. Phisa was delighted to have Praxis on so they could explore together. Terra kept searching for that missing village. Afterwards, Phisa wrote a long note to Praxis about their future plans.

Chair and table I built thanks to tips from a visiting gr. 10 student.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Minecraft Journal Entry #24 & 25

January 21, 2012
Another day full of drama and adventure, hope and despair. Terra and Phisa decided to choose new skins. Terra went with a blond archer girl and Phisa looks like a purple knight. Terra and Phisa had their own goals. Terra wanted to reclaim her wolf and chose to walk the tracks to return home but when she turned around, the wolf was gone. She was sad but handled it like a trooper. Phisa wanted to do some minor stuff in the cave he and Praxis were working on. Phisa has become quite attached to Praxis - he doesn't want to do too deep into it without him because he wants to share the experience. Phisa dyed a sheep purple in Lupis Landing.

Purple sheep!
 I tried to find Phisa and Terra in Lupis Landing on my own but I couldn't, so I returned home. I read some of the /help tips. We tried /getpos (player name) but it was hard. You need to know the direction you're facing. At one point I was NW 315 degrees and Terra was NW 313 degrees but I couldn't translate that into finding her. I returned home and she found me there after. Terra and I decided to use our saddles and go pig riding.

Preparing our pig bronco
 We widened the pig pen near the safe house so we'd have room to ride. I also made a little shelter for the piggies. My coops do not seem to be working for my chickens - I only ever have 2-3 left in the pen when I check on them. I'm not a good farmer. Terra and I had fun riding. My pants stayed in sitting formation afterwards for a glitchy and oddball view.  Then Terra offered to show me around the desert.

Phisa and some of his many wolves

We took minecarts to get there and when we arrived, we had good news. Terra's wolf was still there! He was still loyal and followed her around. She had nearly given up on owning a wof. It's too bad we can't specifically mark a wolf to tell who is the owner. We could use this because Phisa has become, in his words, "a wolf magnet". Somehow he tamed and brought back home about a dozen wolves. Remember when my house was a chicken haven? Now it's a wolf pack party!  Terra showed me around the desert. She has a good sense of direction. Phisa teleported to us using /tp liragrim and about 5 of his wolves followed him. WE swam in an oasis, checked out caves under waterfalls and wandered around. However, tragedy occurred. Phisa saw a creeper and he was shooting him with his arrows - he was doing really well too, turning it brown and near death, but the creeper got too close and started to detonate. Unfortunately, several of Phisa's wolves came too close to Phisa and they died in the explosion. Peter was really upset, even though a few moments previously, he was complaining about how all his wolves got in his way. We tried to console him, reminding him he still had several more wolves at my house, but he was too depressed at the loss of his virtual pets. Around that time, the timer went off and so we all went back home using /home where we were safe and logged off. Peter sat on the stairs and cried and we hugged him. Mary offered to play Rayman Origins with him to cheer him up and that seems to have worked.

Phisa killing a creeper (that's why it's brown) prior to the accident.

January 22, 2012
I'll try to be brief, as it's nearly midnight as I type this.
Terra, Phisa and I (Lira) played for our usual time and then I let Terra go on my computer so her dad could use his. The two kid stayed on for an extra half-hour.
What did I do? Built the bridge to the nature preserve. I looked it up and found out that if you hold shift and walk backwards, you can access the face of the block you want to add to. I also made a new coop and fixed my Liragrim sign in front of my house.
What did Terra do? Her goal was to find that troll village she discovered a few days ago. She wandered far and wide but couldn't find it. She spends a lot of time in Lupis Landing and is considering building a house there.
What did Phisa do? He was a bit grumpy today. He spent a short time in the mines. He teleported to Terra when she found clay deposits in the water. He drowned while collecting it. He got even grumpier because he wanted to recover all his lost loot but couldn't remember the place where he had gone off to collect clay. He made his way back to his home with his new pack of recently acquired wolves and used codes to get all sorts of unusual things like cauldrons.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Minecraft Journal Entry #23 (Terra and the wolf)

January 20, 2012
 Today was to say the least an eventful day.
 It started off with a night-time attack where a creeper blew up part of Lira's house. We tried to fix it. Meanwhile, Phisa and Praxis (but mostly Phisa) had their own plans. They went to mine some clay, from Phisa's Clay Warrior Project. 

Liragrim's partially destroyed house.

After repairing the damage, Lira and I went out to work on our track, which made me remember the dungeon from the previous adventure. The others offered to help us explore it. We went in, immediately greeted by a mob of archers that had built up overnight. We fought them off while taking some fairly good screenshots. In the end, we destroyed the spawner and found some Moss Stone. 

A dark shot of destroying the monster spawner!

 While we were digging, Praxis fell into a hole and found a pathway. At the end was a massive amount of lapis luzil and gold. Phisa joined Praxis and the two began mining again.
 Meanwhile, I had fell in a hole of my own, trying to find Lira. Inside were two cows, one of which I was able to lead to the safe house farm with my wheat. We also gained a baby cow.
 The next part of my adventure is quite long. Being slightly jealous that Phisa's wolf made it back without injury, I returned to Lupus Landing to find my own. I fought off a number of archers, gaining their bones and reaching level 10.
 I swam over to the island and walked for a bit, before climbing a mountain. On top was a house, or a structure, built into the side of the mountain. It was lavishly decorated, constructed entirely of stone, lapis luzil and gold. Inside was a mini waterfall that let out into a pool. It even had a glass balcony, with a ladder leading out. Since I can't climb very well, I decided to make my own exit: a stairway through the rock. 

An interior shot of the lavish and mysterious house.
I wandered the island for a while longer until I came upon a house. And another. And another! A village! It looked like there was no one around,. so I decided to go in and spend the night. Then I saw the people. I wouldn't call them "people" exactly, but they were humanoid. They had dark skin, long bent noses and green eyes. They looked like trolls. For most of the time I avoided them, until one approached me and did not attack. I decided that they weren't hostile, but I didn't take any chances. As I walked through the village, I put away my sword.

Who is this curious humanoid?
Then I came upon a forest, full of sheep and bones, and later, wolves. I befriended the third one I found (the first two didn't eat my bones for some reason) and let him follow me. I then decided to go home.
 I walked for days. I don't know what I would have done without my wolf's protection, and my 39 pieces of steak.
 Finally, as I seemed to be getting closer to home, the server crashed. When I logged back on, my wolf was gone. Upset by the situation, I headed straight for home without finding another wolf. However, I was just as lost as ever.

Terra's wolf shakes off excess water after a swim.

 Then, mom came to the rescue, helping me home with one of the new action commands: teleport home. I had never been so glad to arrive at Lira's house.
 After that, I quit for the night, thinking that I'd return to Lupus Landing for my pet another day.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Minecraft Journal Entry #21 & 22

January 13, 2012
(recorded on the 14th)

We had a fun time today but we had to end our session with 24 minutes and 37 seconds still remaining because we got booted off the server and couldn't get back on. Praxis was with us. He and Phisa decided to go check out this new area populated by wolves. Terra and Lira chose to work on making a path to the nature preserve. When we got kicked out the first time, we lost all our work on the new pathway we had made (including some cool little bridges) so we decided to meet Phisa.

Minecraft certainly helps us deal with our fears and challenges head-on. Thanks to Minecraft, Phisa has learned how to use the keyboard better and discover how to type a colon. (He grew tired of waiting for me to log him back on after a crash and typed the direct contact address himself.) Terra must have inherited my slight fear of heights (especially of bridges high over water - my phobias tend to be rather specific!). She was terrified to walk over the insanely high bridge Praxis made to connect Lupin Landing to the Safe House but by holding the shift key, which prevents you from falling, she did it, not once, but twice.

Insanely high bridge - face your fears!
 She had to do it twice because she fell in lava and died while in the wolf zone and respawned back at the safe house. I have a thing about getting lost in the woods - remind me to regale the tale of when I played Predator and Prey at Hillside when I was a student (the short version is that I was a chipmunk, died in my first two minutes of the game and spent the rest of the hour trying to find my way out of the woods without much success). I got lost again in the Wolf Woods but that gave me a good idea - I'm going to buy some Lego pieces and make a 3D map of our Minecraft lands!

The kids loved the wolf area. Mary was the first to find and tame a wolf, to Peter's chagrin. Peter got his eventually. They liked how the wolves helped to defend them from enemies. We had some serious debate about how we'd get them back to our houses (can they go through trap doors? up ladders?) when the server crashed and we couldn't get back on. I had to comfort my boy because he was nearly in tears about losing his wolf.

January 18, 2012

Phisagrim's Report (dictated by Peter)
So yes I have been adventuring with Terragrim and we have seemed to find a desert with brown sheep. OF course, I wandered off and I decided to dig down since I was near my house on a high mountain. I digged down down down and deep and it turns out I hit where all the wolves live. I tamed four wolves but only two were following me at the moment and suddenly surprised, I died. I fell. I hit the ground too hard. I was very sad 'cause I was level 11 and I had all my stuff with me all at the same time. So yeah, I was sobbin' a bit, but another surprise, when I was walking along, my wolves came back. I'm not sure how they could be so promising and I love them so much. I could just give a big hug on them. They followed me wherever. I found something in a chest called a piston in a chest in the safe house. I placed it down near my waterfall. And I also found a button which I can use for my rollercoaster. So, that's all I have to say. Take it away Terra!

One of Phisagrim's wolves.

Terragrim's Report (written and typed by Mary)
 Today was an eventful day.
 As Peter said, the day started off with a visit to the nearby desert. While Lira worked on her chicken farm, Peter and I went exploring. We saw lots of animals. Cows, Pigs, Sheep, Chickens, even Wolves! I spent a lot of time with my hand glued to F2 (screenshot) Though after a while, Peter and I got separated, and I had to run through the desert to get home.
 Despite being right near Casa Colby, (hence my nickname, the Colby Desert) I had quite the time getting back. I ran into zombies, creepers, name it! No enders, thankfully. But I did take quite a lot of damage. I don't think I would've survived without my 52 pork chops. They even doubled as a weapon!
 After about half an hour (about three Minecraft days) I found my way back to the mainland, and Lira and Phisa. I decided to help Lira build her track to the wild life sanctuary, by Spooky Villages. As I returned, I stumbled into a small cavern full of green-ish rock. It looked like emerald! I started furiously digging at it. Lira came to help.
 Once we busted through the wall, an unexpected surprise greeted us. A skeleton archer ambush! Turns out we had found a monster-spawner. I tried my best to fend the off while Lira looted the nearby chest. Inside were saddles, which as it turns out are a rare item used for pig-riding.
 We'll have to use our saddles next time, as well as investigate the "dungeon".

Well, what could I say that already hasn't been said previously? I decided to build shelter for my chickens because one of my grade 2 students (JZ) was talking to me at recess a couple of days ago and he said the reason why I had so few chickens in my pens was because I hadn't built any chicken coops to protect them from the bad weather. Terra and Phisa went exploring without me. I built coops and paths to nature preserves. I looked up how to build a fishing rod on Minecraftopia and that's when I read about the existence of saddles that were found in dungeon chests that can be used to ride pigs. Phisa was excited about that and excited that his loyal wolves did not abandon him when he died. (That was a bitter pill for him to swallow.) Our questions and possible new tasks/goals are:
- what can you feed your pair of wolves to make pups?
- how can we explore that dungeon without taking massive damage? Can we destroy the spawner?
- where can I find different examples of rocks and minerals in our world?
I need to do the last one because I'm doing an "emergency partner unit" with our grade 4 teacher (media/oral/science = Minecraft!) and since I don't know if I can get Minecraft to work during school time, I need screen shots of coal, diamond, iron, etc. and what we've done to our mountain. I may ask our school Minecraft experts to help - maybe make me a video.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Minecraft Journal Entry #19 & 20

January 10, 2012

Mary's Report (written and typed by Terragrim)

 Most of today was spent Chicken Farming.
 It started when we showed Mom (Liragrim) a bunch of things. First, a secret pool, created by the waterfall near Peter's (Phisagrim's) house. 

Playing in the secret pool
 After swimming for a while, we decided to show mom how to milk a cow. However, some of the Safe House's farm animals decided to be naughty and escape, when we opened the gate. The remaining animals were a few cows and a flock of chickens. While I milked, Phisa harvested the eggs the chickens dropped.
 When night fell, we headed inside. Phisa and Lira decided to try out their new bows on the roof. I was in bed, resting up. While I slept, the two decided to have a midnight snack. Eggs, specifically. But when Peter tried to eat them, his character threw them. Soon, there was a full fledged "Egg War" going on in the bed room. 
 But then, a baby chicken popped out of one of the eggs. For the last little while, mom's been trying to get her own little farm going by her house, this was a great opportunity to get some living creatures. We collected as many eggs as we could and went to Lira's house. However, I fell in the hole from our first adventure. Thankfully, we have stairs, in case anyone else falls.
 After returning to surface, we placed the eggs in pre-made pen. We had another egg fight and soon our corral was bursting with baby chicks.

Baby chickens appear like magic!

 We took a small break to go night fishing (trying and failing to catch an octopus), and braved a zombie attack overnight.
 In the morning, we made another pen, and used some more eggs.
 So this time, we were poultry princesses instead of beef barons.

January 12, 2012

Lira, Terra and Phisa gamed together. The server was a bit wonky but we managed. Remember all those chicken pens we made? Well, my house at the foot of the mountain is now surrounded, practically infested, with chickens and ducks! Several escaped their pens but others remain.

Chickens go crazy in the pen!
 The kids decided we should go looking for different kinds of animals and explore the old abandoned village. The village was neat. The buildings were quite sturdy. I liked the tables inside one of the old houses and tried to take it but it just turned to wood. We explored beyond the spooky village and it turns out we found a nature preserve! There was an area filled with pigs.

Baby piglets!

We fed them and saw baby piglets. Then we found an island that was filled with sheep - both black and white ones. I gave Terra shears and she got to collect wool for the first time. We lost each other a bit in the heavily forested wildlife sanctuary but we met up eventually. Even the trees are different here. We made our way back and decided to try and build track that would lead to the animal habitat. That way, no one has to force the animals to follow them long distance to go to a farm - you can visit them in the animals' original spots. We have to do some reading on how to build track - I was laying it and it goes in the wrong direction! We also have to learn how to place it on an incline. I also want to make a map of all our lands so I don't get lost. If it weren't for that Gaming Edus sign, I'd get lost constantly!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Minecraft Journal Entry #17 & 18

January 8, 2012

Mary's dad was kind enough to allow her to play on his computer so she could play without getting booted constantly - and the three of us played for nearly two hours! The super-cool part was that Praxismaxis and MissColby were there too! Phisagrim and Terragrim were really excited to "meet" Colby. She toured our new house. We also went over to her and admired her new skin.

MissColby admires the night sky.
 We slept over at her house quite a bit. Phisa encouraged Colby to sleep so the night would pass quicker. I decided to help her shave her mountain to make it look more natural. As I said to her as we worked, it reminded me of the anti-suicide-jumper cables put on the DVP bridge. If it saves lives, then how can we complain? ;>

Looking down from up high as we mold mountains.

I lost a lot of health by falling from some of those steep heights. Terra ate rotten flesh and got sick but eating steak helped change that. We found out from Colby that building your house on stilts means the creepers can't blow it up. Terra and Phisa went with Praxis and learned how to milk cows. Phisa also gave a tour of his water slide ride. Phisa decided to make his own roller coaster but he got upset with himself because he couldn't get it on a slope - why he didn't ask Praxis, I have no clue. James needed his computer back so Terra logged off. I was on my way to the Grim house when Praxis and I were ambushed by skeleton archers and zombies. A creeper near the water actually killed me by exploding (I guess I was too weak from all the falls and attacks). Rather than respawn, I left it for now. Darn, I lost my 7 levels of xp!

January 9, 2012
Today's journal entry isn't about my playing - the IP changed so we couldn't get on, much to my children's dismay.
I wanted to talk about my students. Today I put an announcement in asking students who expressed interest in the Minecraft Club AND who have their own personal and legitimate accounts to see me at recess to talk about things.
What happened?
1) A lot of boys in grades 2-3 came up to me. They have their own accounts and were eager. I had to remind them that, at this time, our school club is just for grades 7-8. Several are ones that we are targeting as focus students for the Boys Reading Club. I'll have to see if I can take advantage of this somehow.
2) Many of the intermediate kids that play Minecraft do it via "hacking". One uses an App. Another uses Logmein Hamatchi to by-pass the need for an account (he explained how but I still don't get it). I said I'd feel more comfortable having "real" accounts to Minecraft.
3) Two students have authentic Minecraft accounts: Athaneotos (I'll double-check the spelling) and MCEPIC0. They are keen to help and Ath said he'd teach me how to make the Minecraft videos like he's done at home.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Minecraft Journal Entry #16

January 7, 20112 (but recorded January 8, 2012)

Well, Terragrim, Phisagrim and Liragrim (Mary, Peter, and I) played for three hours last night!
Mary's laptop is too old to handle Minecraft. Despite the server fixes, she kept getting booted off and doing simple things like walking around were very laggy. Poor thing! It really affected her enjoyment of the game because she couldn't keep up with us. My husband will look into getting more RAM or even a new Netbook for her to use.

We had to give up on Phisa's large herd of cattle that he bred. He wanders pretty far! It took us a while to find each other.
Bad news - somehow a creeper snuck into my house and blew up the basement! It wrecked my furnace, chests and crafting table. I was ticked off! I think it happened because I put a bed too close to the external walls. I need to research to find out if my hypothesis is true. The three of us spent a lot of time cleaning up my house.

Terragrim died by suffocating in a wall. I've never heard of anyone dying like that before!

Phisa declared that he wanted to build a house for himself on top of the mountain near where my house stands. We climbed the mountain and saw a gorgeous waterfall. Phisa decided that he would build his house near the waterfall.

The base of the waterfall, with Phisa's sign
Phisa said he wanted his house to be 10 blocks long on each side. We made some perimeter errors when doing it but we corrected them. I used the stuff I learned from making my lame-o first house to make this house better. I used stone - in fact, I did a pattern on the roof! I used stone brick on the perimeter and double stone for the inside. He had to cut down a lot of trees to make it smooth and I really like how he used the wood he cut to make a cool entry way in front of his house - it's very artistic!

Phisagrim's house with log entryway!

While we were building, Phisa discovered that he could use the waterfall as a giant water slide so he spent a long time playing on the giant slide. He even made a sign I gave him to announce the waterfall. (Praxis gave Terra and Phisa OP status but they don't use it too much.) I was getting a bit annoyed that I was working on the house while he was playing around but he joined me to fix and finish the roof and the staircase, which is always the trickiest part for me. (When the creeper blew up the basement in house #1, he ruined my stairs and it took a lot of placing and replacing to get them just right.) The new house is absolutely GORGEOUS and Phisa invited me to come and live with him in this house. It's kind of nice - I might do it! I need to research how to make houses creeper-proof. We saw a creeper outside the window on the last "night" we were there but we started to build a basement (just a hole of dirt really) so that he wouldn't see us or start the self-destruct mechanism in him.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Minecraft Journal Entry #15 (The Kids Join the Game)

January 6, 2012
I played for a very, very long time today - with my son!

Peter's report: I, Peter, had lots of fun with Mom and a little bit of problems as well. When I first got on, I met Praxis. He logged off since he had to go eat dinner. I got stuck in a cart - little embarrassing. 

Phisa stuck in the cart (in background, centre/left)

We found each other. I wandered off to find Mom's house but then I decided to climb a mountain to see everything. Mom called me to find her house and I took a little bit of damage, half a health damage because it was high up. I levelled up to level 5. It was pretty exciting but I died once. Three creepers blew me up. Then I finally found Mom's house. There were lots of enemies coming. Mom said to guard the garden. Then I was wondering where they was all coming from. I decided to look up the mountain and the gaming edu sign was broken. 

Darn you creepers! The destroyed sign

A creeper blew it up when Mom was sitting there, using the bathroom. I also accidentally blew up the sign too. I was trying to help Mom clear up a hole and then I was about to go to the safe house when shock and surprise, a creeper came up to me. He attacked me and it exploded. Part of the G for the Gaming Ed sign blew up. We plan to fix it and then everything will be alright. 

Peter told most of the exciting parts. Praxis did great stuff with the railway but several creeper explosions wrecked things. Peter/Phisagrim is a lot more adventurous than I was when I first started. He wanted to go in the Minecarts and explore all the places with track. We went to MissColby's, the woods (we saw Praxis' music box in the woods), and all over the place. I improved my house a bit, although the back part still looks wonky.I died because I drowned while Peter was exploring and I couldn't get out. Peter told me I should've used the space bar to float. How he knows that, I have no clue!

I tried to be brave since Phisa was being adventurous, but now I know why they advise you to stay inside when it's dark. I did have to take an "afk" moment to go to the bathroom and when I returned, it was night. I was waiting by the GamingEdus sign for Phisa and a creeper approached me and blew it up. I was mad! I used a couple of Planet of the Apes lines. I know Mel and Liam say it's okay to use the cheat codes but I try not to use them too too much. I only did time set once but I did have to remake all the tools I lost once I died. I was also ticked off that I was level 5 and when I died I lost all my levels. Despite having the codes, I couldn't figure out how to get the purple wool needed to fix the sign. I also need to fix the rails the creepers destroyed. As I type this, Peter is bugging me to get back on so we can play. He says he wants to build a house at the top of my mountain to be close to me - yes, he's sucking up.

ETA (10:39 pm) I've logged on all my Minecraft Student Accounts (5 of them) and redeemed the codes. My son insisted on playing again and this time my daughter joined. Here is her report.

Mary's report: My very short first adventure in Minecraft
Basically what happened was, I appeared in the game. Secondly I found Mom (Liragrim) who offered to show me her house. I went and followed her across a narrow path. On each side of the path was a ditch and I fell into one of the ditches. When Mom and Peter couldn't see me, I told them where I was, and they went to look for me, which resulted in them falling in too. Upon impact, Peter died and lost all his stuff, which I promptly took. It looked like we fell pretty deep so we had to dig our way out using stairs. It didn't take a very long time. Once Mom fell in and it took her a week to get out. For us, it took about half an hour or thereabouts, despite the zombies and creepers that were in the pit as well. But, just as we had finally made our way to the surface, my computer started getting wonky and logged me out. I tried to get back in again but then it logged me out again. 'Til next time!

Peter's news: I found a desert. I was looking around and I made a blue block in the desert 'cause I found the crafting thing for some reason. So when Mary called for me and Mom to save her, I rushed to save her. That's the only part she forgot to say in her report. That's all I want to say.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Minecraft Journal Entry #13 & 14

January 3, 2012
I did some extra research using a different site - - and it explained farming using terms I could understand. I also went on and printed out two pages of codes. I used the codes to make myself a new crafting table in my house. I intended on making my own hoe but I forgot how to turn the wood into sticks so I used the /give command to make a new hoe. I used my hoe to make 9 squares of farmable dirt and I planted my wheat seeds.

My puny little garden.

I took a couple of pictures and then went back to my house to do extra inside work. I got a chest so now I don't have to carry around all that stone and dirt - the other bonus is when I say the /give command, I have room in my personal inventory for it to appear (I noticed when I used the command but had no open spots, I wouldn't get the items I had requested). I remembered to put a torch near my crops but I think I forgot to put a door to my fenced enclosure. I'll see what's left of my farming attempt next time I log in.

January 5, 2012
Today was an eventful day on Minecraft. I went up two levels - now I'm level 5! I did it by going out at night and killing three spiders that were near my garden. I also killed a creeper that was lurking near my house and a spider that was waiting by my front door. I decided to do some major renovations. My son decided to help me. I added a wooden pressure plate (#72) to my front door and finally got my side door operational. I'm adding a third level to my house and I'm trying to decide where my comfortable living arrangements should end and my functional mine begin. I finally figured out that the pinkish rock that is in my house is iron ore, which can be useful. My wheat and melons are growing nicely. Now if I can figure how to use my student accounts, I'd be rocking! My son wants to use one of my student accounts to try some stuff on our server. We'll see. He's a lot more ambitious than I am - he wants to explore the slimeballs and such.

My house (right side) in progress.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Minecraft Journal Entry #11 & 12

December 18, 2011
I really wanted to finish my house so I came back on to try and do it. A creeper somehow snuck into my house (I think because my bed was only one block away from him and I read on the wiki that they can get inside a fully enclosed house that way) and he blew a big hole inside. I was annoyed. Then I had a construction accident and fell several stories so that I was only at one heart. I'm glad I live close to the safe house! I recuperated and returned. My house isn't as pretty as MissColby's or as organized/well-stocked as Praxismaxis', but I'm proud of it because I made it myself!

My house, under construction.

Thank goodness Praxis gave me those "give Liragrim" hints. I searched and found some more useful data values.
5 = wood
26 = bed (although I can only get a piece)
64 = door (although my doors are all very short)
67 = cobblestone stairs
20 = glass
My house was very deep because of the creeper attack, but that inspired me to make two floors. It has a very low ceiling out of glass. My pick axe and shovel wore out and I exchanged them for new ones at the safe house. I somehow lost the bed I set up earlier. Inspired by Praxis' GamingEdus sign, I made a Lira sign out of dirt on the ground outside my house.
While digging near my mountain, I found rock that has pinky stuff in it. I have to look up to see what it is.

December 27, 2011
I hadn't been on Minecraft in a while so I went for a short visit. I admired my house some more and went to the safe house to do some comparing. Praxis' garden and farm looks great so I thought my next step would be to make my own garden. I went on the Minecraft wiki to learn how, but it's a lot more sophisticated than my current level of understanding. I need to hydrate my dirt to make it good for the wheat, but how? I built my fenced-in area near the lake near my house but my dirt still looks dry. I tried to plant all the grass seed I've collected but it won't go in the ground. I think I'll need to ask my students for help on this one or do some searching beyond the Minecraft wiki.

The second floor of my house.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Minecraft Journal Entry #9 & 10

December 14, 2011
Bad news = I didn't get to play Minecraft tonight.
Good news = I finally ordered my Minecraft Edu accounts. Just waiting for the confirmation to show I'm a real educator. Name-dropped people in this group in the comment section. Yes, I'm shameless.

December 17, 2011
Received codes for Minecraft Edu - have decided to keep names "in the (Grim) family" and it'll help me remember passwords too.

Had trouble getting in to server but Liam fixed it.

Walked, following the tracks, from Praxis' house to the Safe House. Saw the amazing GAMINGEDU sign. It's a great tool for me to orient myself. I get lost easily.

The server name, in glorious coloured wool!

Started to build my house. At first it was just a sod house and rather than speed up the night, I built a sod roof and slept in my "own house" for the first time. My son Peter was with me and when I went to brush Mary's hair, he took over and chopped wood so I could use it to build my house. Denise popped on for a bit - she had her niece Ella with her. Neat how all of us bring other people along with us. Even Liam had Melanie join us for a bit.

Building is hard. Praxis taught me how to get extra supplies without destroying the environment.
I must remember these codes to type!
/time set 2000
/give Liragrim 5 64 (this gives me 64 pieces of wood)
** note that 65=ladder and 20=glass
I can find more codes if I google minecraft data values.

During game play today, I
- tried to kill a creeper but he exploded before I got the chance
- tried to attack an ender with my sword but he had a bow and arrows so he nailed me instead
- tried to attack some intruder to my house (I hadn't built a roof at that time) and ended up destroying most of the inside of my house by blindly using my sword.

That's all for now.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Minecraft Journal #7 & 8

December 1, 2011
I haven't played in ages but today I surveyed my students to see who was interested in joining the Minecraft Club.
I only asked the two grade 7-8 classes. 31 kids asked for their names to be placed on the list. Two already have accounts. The funny thing is that a pair of boys approached me and said that I should give a quiz to people who want to join because we don't want to "waste time" with people who don't know the game or will just quit. They typed up a quiz for me to use and I wanted to reprint it here.

Minecraft Quiz by F and W
1) What's the best way to survive in Minecraft when you only have 20 torches and 1 stack of 64 woods?
2) What's the best way to start?
3) What kind of tools do youn need to mine obsidian?
4) What can you do with red stone?
5) How do you make a Nether portal?
6) What do you tame a wolf?
7) How long have you play (sic) Minecraft?
8) What makes you want to join the Minecraft Club?
9) How often do you play Minecraft in a week?

ETA: I spoke with the boys and mentioned that I would fail their test if I attempted it. They replied that they'd make an easier one. They were concerned about how the members would be selected. I suggested that I might want to draw random names or look at choosing people who were not already involved in many other clubs. They sounded okay with that.

December 13

This past Friday (Dec.9/11) we met F2F and then the next day (Dec.10/11) we played together online.

I finally got out of that ^%#@(*&^%$ hole! I joked that I'd give a donation to the Chilean miners' support fund - but I was seriously getting annoyed with being stuck underground! Thank goodness Praxismaxis helped me and led me out.

Liragrim in a minecart finally getting out of the hole!

MissColby's new house additions are gorgeous. We enjoyed the celebration cake although we had problems eating it and I really enjoyed herding the wild cow to join Praxis' lonely domestic cow in the pen. I don't know how we would have done it without several people helping. My next big goal is to build my own dwelling but I haven't gotten online to play since Saturday. I still need to buy my Minecraft Edu accounts.

Staring at our cake with no clue how to eat it

Herding cows is harder than it looks!

Having said that, I have been talking about Minecraft. The grade 2 student I was mentioning during our PLC meeting and I were chatting up a storm at recess. He was delighted to hear about the dragon as the end boss - my "street cred" rose tremendously with him. I found out that although he plays Call of Duty by himself, he plays Minecraft with his high-school aged brother. He's built his own farm. He offered to help me build my house. It's a kind offer but I think I need to be brave and take the plunge myself.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Minecraft Journal #5 & 6

November 8, 2011
I checked out the crafting section of the Minecraft wiki before logging on tonight because I thought it was time I crafted something, for heaven's sake! It reminds me of cooking in Webkinz - combine ingredients in certain ways to get something new. I updated my journal and when I logged on, Praxis was there and I had just missed MissC! I decided to make her a little house-warming present (a picture for decoration - I saw how on the Minecraft Craft wiki). Praxis steered me long-distance and I made myself my first thing - a craft table. I had clued in that my 2X2 matrix was not the 3X3 one I needed to craft but didn't make that next logical step. Unfortunately I did not have enough material to make my present. I went out and killed a sheep in record time - Praxis said he learned how to shear a sheep so you don't have to kill it. That'll be useful. I saw a piggy and went to the roof to try and shoot it but it was too dark. It took a while for me to dismantle my chest (Diana = hold the A button, don't tap tap it) but I now have it in my inventory.

November 12, 2011
Today was a busy day in Minecraft and Mary and Peter (my kids) helped me out a lot. When I logged on, no one else was on. I thought that I needed to get a little braver and do more exploring, instead of hanging out in MissC's house all the time (plus her crafting table, furnace, and chest were all locked with spells). I found my boat and tried to sail back to Praxis' house. I saw an island with mushrooms and I wanted to collect them, but I had a problem - I couldn't get out of the boat! I was stuck. Then night fell. I was too scared to travel back to either of the houses (creepers, don'tcha know). Of course, it began raining. I sat all night in the middle of the water, in the pouring rain, staying on guard. I saw my first duck. I let him live. When it was day, I sailed back. I put out a plea on Twitter to get out of my boat. I looked up how to get out on Google. I must've been sitting for a long time because even the console gave me hints. (Diana tip = to get out of the boat, right-click while looking at the boat). Praxis came to check on me and then had to go afk.  I went back out in the water and saw a cow.

Stalking a cow in the water - not an ideal hunting method.

I attacked the cow while still in my boat. It was pretty clumsy - I ended up destroying my boat in the process of getting the cow. Thankfully the water wasn't too deep. I ran back to Praxis' house because I saw spiders in the water - scary! I cooked my beef and ate some. (Diana tip = put the food in your hand and hold down U to eat the food). Praxis made this awesome rail system and when he returned, he showed me around. It took me a while to get into the rail car (Diana tip = have nothing in your hand, look at the start button near the side of the rail, and push U to push the button that starts the rail). My kids were laughing at me because I was hollering like I was on a roller coaster. Praxis gave me iron ingot and began to show me how to forge my own armor. He went off and so my kids helped by looking up online what patterns I had to make with the iron on the crafting table to get what I wanted. We were going to travel back via rail with our newly crafted armor and a sword to fight beasties, but I missed my rail car and it went without me. I decided to just walk on the rails to follow it back but as I did,  I fell off the rails deep down below. Praxis himself fell off a cliff and landed on a creeper - he blew up! We didn't know how to get back to the rail station; there was no way out. Peter helped me begin to dig stairs to get out. It was getting late and I needed to put the kids to bed. We are still half-way down, trying to dig our way back.

Stuck down below - Praxis teleported to me.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Minecraft Journal Entry #4

November 6, 2011
This was a really fun session because, for the first time, all three of us were online at the same time!
I watched some videos about how to cook my raw chicken and worried a bit because I didn't know how to make a furnace. Lucky me, Praxis already made one and had it in the house. He unlocked it and I cooked my pork and chicken! I was so pleased!

My character, Liragrim, in the safe house.

I also learned how to shoot my bow and arrow. I have different control settings so right-click alone doesn't work. I needed to use the U (for use) key. I was told that holding shift meant I wouldn't fall over the edge, and that sleeping in the beds Praxis provided made the night go faster. I have awful aim but it was fun to practice shooting. I patrolled for spiders and creepers. I screamed out loud when a creeper jumped high up where we were on the balcony - my whole family complained about the noise. When MissC came on, we decided to visit her house. I don't have a house yet - I feel like a bit of a slacker. I joked last time that I was on a Minecraft IEP. I am so lucky to be playing with such talented gamers. They showed me the pool in the main house and where to get boats. We were all boating at the same time as we traveled to MissC's place.

I'm in a boat, following Praxis.

I was totally impressed with MissC's sculpture (and both Praxis and MissC's gardens). Here they are making art, forming culture! I'm still at the prehistoric man stage before even the cave paintings! I killed a sheep (badly) while at MissC's (I think I hit someone with an arrow while trying) and got spooked by a creeper peeking at me through the window. I "slept over" at MissC's place because I had to put my own kids to bed.

MissColby's inukshuk statue is on the left.

My son watched part of my game play and controlled my character for a bit. He ditched me to watch his dad play Borderlands but then started to write a "Minecraft Tips" sheet for me - of course, I just learned most of the stuff he was writing, but it'll be a good reminder. He liked talking to Liam.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Minecraft Journal Entry #2 & 3

More journal entries - I'm combining two because they were short and I hadn't learned how to take or access screen shots at this point.

November 1, 2011
Not quite as successful as last time. I was on by myself. I decided to watch a video about how to do stuff - like open the chest. Then I decided to be brave and open the door and go exploring, so I could practice shooting with my bow. I accidentally threw away all 64 of my arrows. Then I thought I'd hit a tree and collect wood so I could craft something like I saw in the video. Before I could shut the door, a creeper came up to me and ate me! I respawned near some tree and I headed towards what turned out to be a building that wasn't our house. I died a second time when I accidentally tried to swim in lava.  I got lost again and I left my character hiding in some maze of passages. In good news, I put on my new skin. I think I need to watch more stuff and go on when others are around - I think I'll also ask my students how to do some stuff.

November 3, 2011
I definitely am a go-on-together sort of player! I coordinated with MissColby to play together and I'm glad I did. She found me wandering near the blown-out section of one of the safe houses. We went wandering together. MissColby gave me an axe and a raw chicken, which I can't eat yet. I picked up some rotten carcasses. I also figured out how to pick up the torch, even though it will only stay lit if I attach it to a wall. It's also not a good enough weapon or tool on its own. I killed my first pig! It took a long time but I was able to do it with the axe. I accidentally hit my friend once with the axe while hunting. She forgave me. I even helped MissColby make a hidey hole for night security while Denise and I were wandering - I piled dirt up! MissColby got attacked by a spider and I tried to help but I couldn't get to her. Denise gave me my best tip yet - don't use the laptop to play! I don't have a mouse for my laptop and it helps to have one. I loaded stuff on my desktop and it works just fine. My students were telling me about how to use the lava to get diamonds but I'm not at that stage yet.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Minecraft Journal Entry #1

I am copying and pasting my journal entries from on this blog. I am also interspersing the text with photos from the adventures. On the wiki, we have a separate place for screen shots. This will be the spot to see the photos of the events all together. Feel free to visit either spot.

October 30, 2011
Finally got Paypal working so I could pay and play.
As I was reading the welcome sign, a creeper came and killed me.
Thankfully Brofinn and later Praxismaxis were around to help me out.
I was a total n00b. My husband had to come over to show me what were probably the controls for walking. Then Liam showed me how to change the controls.
Just in case I forget ...
  • the arrows are now my directions for walking
  • when in doubt, I've used the first letter of a word for the action (e.g. A for attack, U for use)
The safe house is gorgeous! Great view, multiple levels, well-stocked.
I have to find a new pickaxe - I accidentally threw mine down and lost it. I was swinging my bow instead of shooting with it, but no one was harmed.
My son watched me play for a bit. He wanted to take over but I told him I had to learn. He had a lot of comments comparing it to Terraria. (Terraria takes a 3rd person perspective instead of 1st person, so I had a lot of trouble navigating.)