AKA The Brains
Michael has been a strategy guru for years, a skill that has served him well in the classroom and as the host of weekly game nights for adults and game clubs for the shorter set. He has been a classroom teacher for 8 years now and has really enjoyed his current position at University School of Milwaukee teaching 6th grade world History and an 8th grade elective called Diplomacy. Games have not always been apart of Mr. Matera’s life. He loved playing them as a kid but always found it hard to find partners to play against. He moved into playing video games due to their highly independent nature. Always longing to play people directly, look them in the eye and see what strategies could be forged out in an evening. It wasn’t long before he diciede to give gaming with his students a try. Back in 2006, Mr. Matera tried two games with his students, Settlers of Catan, and Ticket to Ride. They were both a huge hit with the students. Shortly after discovering this he moved to the USM community where he tackled this new idea of a game club head on. Coming up with new ideas like: this website, video reviews, podcasts, tournaments, Skype interviews with game designers and more.
Thirdfloorgamers summer camps have become the highlight of Mr. Matera’s year. He enjoys hosting, teaching and playing with the gamers at these camps. We have had a wonderful experience over the years and look forward to offering these camps for many years to come.
AKA The Face
Adam is the Middle School Drama teacher and director at University School of Milwaukee, and the founder of Higher Expectations Theatre. After 15 years of being a counselor, he is now a member of the Advisory Board of Red Arrow Camp. Finally, he is blessed to work with the youth of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, as a Faith Development Leader. At school, at camp, at church…he is constantly surrounded by kids! What Adam has discovered in his years of educating young people is that, in many ways, they are all alike. It has become the norm to talk about what each individual child needs, to look at different age groups, and assess the different learning styles and cognitive abilities. While there is no argument that a strong educator knows each of the children he or she teaches, Adam believe that children, as a whole, are very much the same. They all have amazing potential, that is very often untapped. They are all capable of achieving greatness, if challenged. Finally, if held to high expectations, all children will rise and meet those expectations in spectacular ways. He is excited to be part of Third Floor Gamers, and share in the thrills of gaming. Games allow the players opportunities to be creative problem solvers, to work together to overcome obstacles, and to compete in a supportive environment. Adam is proud to be part of this remarkable organization! Now the challenge for schools is to look at their classrooms and curriculum and find ways to bring the excitement of gaming into classroom education. As Sally Hogshead says, “You don’t learn how to be fascinating. You unlearn how to be boring.” You can learn more about Adam’s teaching philosophy from his blog! Check out all the awesome experiences of the USM Middle School Drama program and Third Floor Gamers by following @usmdrama Instagram!
A convert to the board gaming world, Heidi brings over eight years of work experience in educational programming and training. She learns best by “doing” which makes her a strong advocate for communication and skill building through board games. Heidi’s focus with Thirdfloorgamers is to create engaging marketing materials that inform students and parents about educational opportunities. She also provides logistical support during the summer game camps, which includes the secret recipe for the famous snack time rice crispy treats.
Mila Rose Matera
AKA The BOSS
While Mila has only been with the team for a bit more than a year, she has had a dramatic impact on the entire operation. Mila brings many talents to the team by clearly exerting herself and her ideas at nearly every planning session. She is particularly interested in the colorful game boards and chewable pieces. Mila is an early riser, ready to tackle to problems of today head first, especially in the days before she started walking. For fun, Mila loves to dance and enjoys imaginary cooking, especially while watching Jamie Oliver’s cooking show on Netflix. She looks forward to greater opportunities for game testing with the Team in the future once she master’s her hand-eye coordination.