As we approach the end of the year, it gets increasingly harder to hold the attention of middle school students. Students, teachers and administrators get tired of the same behavior patterns that have been on display for the past 8 months. Today, I would like to talk about a website you can use to reengage your classes and make the last month a good time for all.
Classcraft is a gamification website that allows you to gamify your students experience. From the teacher side its easy to use and administer in class. On the student side it opens up a whole new world of game experience in the classroom. Here’s a video introduction to the site.
Using this system, there are several layers of points that students can earn, work with or spend. Here’s a basic summary.
In addition, I do a once a week “Boss Battle.” This is simple a quiz battle that allows the students to fight a fictitious character. If they defeat the boss they earn points, if they miss questions, they could fall in battle. If a students health points falls to 0, they fall in battle. The game will randomly assign a consequence. I customized mine so that are small task to last 4 to 5 minutes. For example, organize my tables, clean the desktops. Kids willing do their chores to get back into the game and after they complete their sentence, the game will play a heavenly sound as they come back to life.
Managing this is the classroom is a lot off fun. I run the game screen on the projector in the front of my room, then use the app on my phone to monitor individual students. For example, if a group gets a daily assignment done, I give them 100xp. If a student is unprepared for class, he loses health points. Any loss of points will prompt their group to decide if they want to protect him or her.
What do my kids like? They love customizing their game characters, getting a new look or purchasing a pet. They talk and want to show each other their characters. I enjoy this site because it can be used as a 1 to 1 interface with kids sitting in front of computers or with a teacher computer projector to the whole class. From a cost perspective, its free to start out. You can purchase a monthly or a yearly subscription. I choose the monthly subscription because I like to use it the last couple months of the year. The real advantage here is you can subscribe and cancel at anytime. Unlike most EdTech products who want a hundred dollar year subscription, they allow monthly billing. In addition, it integrates with Google Classroom, so you can quickly import your classes and set up.
What do you need to do? Decide what behaviors you want to emphasize. This can be accomplished through health points and rewards in either Gold points or XP points. Look at special powers that work in your room. For example, some students could earn a power that allows them help on a test. Or my students favorite, hunting power, which allows them to bring food. All these levels and activities can be customized to fit your specific needs.
Kids love this system, they want to come to class and they talk about it in the hallways. Classroom content and learning still occur, its just wrapped in a different blanket. One that kids love and have a great time in class. Especially as the weather gets nicer and summer vacation is knocking on the door.
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