Saturday, April 20, 2013

More Classroom Gameification!

So I tried my hand again at my hybrid Gameification/small group instruction activity I call "Leveling Up" it it was successful! I wanted to move through the basal knowledge on Andrew Jackson and try to work in some nice CCSS close reading skills. I was able to find the information I wanted them to read, online (I'll leave out the name of the textbook for copyright reasons) and modified the work activities to meet my needs. I decided to focus on vocabulary, nonnegotiables (words you must use in order to truly understand the passage) and summary. I created my levels and instead of a focusing on content, like I did last time, I focused on those skills.
Students worked on the activities at their own pace and when they wanted to test out or ask a question, they spent time with me at the Leveling Up Station.
When they proved competency they received a badge for completing their level.
Here are my adorable badges that I printed out on colored card stock.
Again, the kids really enjoyed it and let me know (one of the kids walked in, saw the class set up and exclaimed, "Sweet! We're leveling up!"). This time, the students really enjoyed being able to take a vocabulary quiz when they felt they were ready. Two of my colleagues sat in one of my classes and really enjoyed the activity. They are going to be trying it in their own classes and I can't wait to see how it works.
To be brutally honest, it wasn't 100% successful this time. Two of my classes succeeded but my class that struggles with academic and attentional weaknesses didn't fare as well. Don't get me wrong....they loved this activity and kept telling me but after they had focused on the vocabulary portion of the skill set they stalled. For homework, every night, I told them what should be completed for them to be successful and they totally ignored the timeline. Unfortunately, since it was my first time doing this unit this way, I had booked the library to launch our Grand Jury Project (wait till I tell you about it.....it was AMAZING!!!!) and due to other teachers needing the library, I couldn't move my dates. Instead of giving all the kids the one more day they needed in class for this, they got a due date of two days outside of class and of course it was due on the day grades closed. Well..... They didn't do it. Two classes did amazing and one class just blew it. So what can I do to change the outcome next year? For classes that struggle, this was too much work even though it was broken up. I think I would give the vocabulary assignment for homework before I launched the activity. Also, this class needed even more check in than others. My husband suggested a completion chart should be posted that they filled in after they completed each small section. I am usually against public humiliation but I do think they would have benefitted from a little casual competition.
Even though I hit a snag this time, I still absolutely love this activity. I think I need to make sure it isn't too long so the kiddos don't get bored. I polled the kids after and they told me they wished they could do this all the time, so I think that is still a vote for success! As with all education, even this type of activity needs to be differentiated for my varied groups of students.
So, what are you doing to try to work individually with the kids? What do you do to let kids work at their own pace? I really would love to know!!
If you would like to try this in your classroom, here is a link to all the resources.
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I linked up with The Fourth Grade Flipper and shared this in Tried it Tuesdays!

12 comments:

  1. I found you through the linky. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and what worked and didn't. Our school is moving towards more standards based grading, so this is something for me to keep in mind. I'm a new follower.

    Hunter's Tales from Teaching

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    1. Thanks for the follow! This activity works great with standards and learning targets(I can statements)!

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  2. I like this idea and your signs are super cute :)
    Jenn
    DoodlingAroundin6thGrade

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    1. Thanks! The kids were racing through their activities so they could get the ninja!

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  3. Thanks for the detailed post. I just found you through the linky party (even though I entered it way after you I noticed the title). This is definitely a concept I'd been keen to give a go.

    x Serena x
    Magic Mistakes & Mayhem

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    1. Great! I have another post on here about the first time I tried the topic. The kids do love it but I hit a couple of snags this time. I'll just have to break it into smaller pieces for next time!

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  4. I have never heard of this before! This looks great and I really like how you discussed the pros and cons. Thank you for such a detailed post!!
    ~Holly
    Fourth Grade Flipper

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    1. Ha! Thanks.....detailed is the nice way of saying long winded! Just kidding! I wrote this this weekend and thought it would be great to link up after the fact. Thanks for hosting!

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  5. I love this idea. I have experimented with video game mentality in the classroom. After years of being married to a gamer, it is something I understand only too well.
    ~April Walker
    The Idea Backpack
    Balancing the Backpack

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    1. Ha! Watching my little one try to clear every level of Angry Birds definitely gave me food for thought!

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  6. I have been looking everywhere for the link to these resources, but can't find them? Is there someplace to go to get them?

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    1. Sorry:( I moved schools and lost these resources in the switch over to a new Google account.

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