Thursday, July 10, 2014

Setting up a gamified classroom

Last year I toyed with gamifying my classroom (Gamification starting really small), and while not everything went as planned (Gamification-lessons learned), this year I'm going ahead with a more complete experience.

Eventyr is the name of the realm. Each of my classes belongs to a clan and the purpose of playing the game is to train a dragon to the highest level possible, earning the rank of Supreme Grand Master.

Dragon training - Students start their journey as Noobs, and train their dragon by writing a weekly reflective blog. This blog awards XP points based on a rubric. Weekly leaders from each class gain blog immunity for that week. This means they do not have to write a blog, but they also do not earn XP that week. There are eight levels, with each rank becoming increasingly difficult to get. Students are able to go back and correct postings in order to gather more XP. The prize for achieving the highest rank is blog immunity for the rest of the year.

Power-ups - I also set up a series of power-ups that are tied to each of my units. The power-ups include things like listen to music, open note quizzes, use cell phones and such. The power-ups are gained if the student achieves at least an 85% of the total number of points in a given unit. This is what I am really excited about. Students can continue to improve upon the early submission even if we have moved on in the course. Why am I excited about this? I find it very frustrating when students turn in work that we both know is not their best effort, they get it back with detailed instructions on how to improve and it goes to the bottom of the backpack never to see the light of day again. The power-ups are privileges that my students have repeatedly asked for, so if they really want it they will need to revisit their work until it meets the standard.

Easter eggs - These are really my class participation points in disguise. Individual students or teams may gain extra XP during class discussions and activities. I am leaving myself open to when to give out Easter eggs so I can use them really to promote any display of good citizenship or behavior.

It is important to note that in my classroom XP are not tied to grades. There is a correlation between the two since students that score well will tend to initially have more XP, but since the main purpose for me is for students to revise their work, they might have gotten a low original grade and the grade-book closed, but since they revised the work, they can obtain a power-up after the fact. Last year, this separation allowed me to publish my leader board without getting any push-back from parents. The only comment I got was from a parent that stated that the public leader board actually made her daughter work harder because she really wanted to move up.

To keep track of all this, I created a Google spreadsheet. I explained how to do this and made one available for copying in a previous post.

Here are some other examples of XP grading in case you are interested:

Teached Up Teacher