One thing I have been wanting to do for a while with the 4th grade classes I regularly work with is a Breakout EDU game. I was a bit hesitant to introduce a game with the boxes and locks as I anticipated there being a lot of playing around with them and not a whole lot of clue solving taking place. I know there are many ways to manage this, but at the end of the day, we know our students best and need to adapt lessons and activities to their needs. As I really wanted to focus on the content, I thought I would try something that I had seen some teachers on Instagram do and try the "Crack the Code" approach. With this, it is very similar to a Breakout EDU game (and pretty much any Breakout EDU game could be adapted to this style), but does not actually use any physical boxes or locks.
I created a game for introducing basic Earth Day concepts, basic math review, as well as my love for sloths. I really wanted the students to focus on the critical thinking and problem solving aspect as they persevered through difficult tasks. Each of the six groups started on Task 1 and as they completed a task, they moved their group sloth from the bottom of the tree to the top. This allowed me to easily see where each group was with a quick glance at the board and check in with groups who might be struggling a little. I also intentionally did not incorporate technology into this game as I wanted to eliminate as many potential distractions as I introduced this type of game.
After starting with this approach, feel confident that the students would be successful in participating in a regular Breakout EDU game. I felt it was necessary to scaffold the game structure, so that I was not setting groups up for frustration and confusion. Also, to be honest, this was less work (short of writing an original game) on the setup end of things for a teacher. I simply had to make sure there were enough copies of each clue for the number of groups that I had as well as the necessary materials for solving (scrap paper, dry erase markers, black lights, etc.).
This was the "Learner Profile" that I created for this activity. My district is working towards making the 5Cs outside of content part of how we assess our students, so I am trying to make sure I have ways of measuring the activities I am doing with students. In full disclosure, I made this after I had done the game with students because I wanted to do some observation of the students as they were working. I have done Breakout EDU games countless times before, but I hadn't sat down and put into words how I would show a growth progression for their participation in the game. These Learner Profile rubrics were created based on the book, Becoming Brilliant and the EdLeader21 4C Rubrics. I tried to make them so that they could be applied to any Breakout EDU/Crack the Code games for any grade level (as I do games for many grade levels).
I also made a student self-assessment version. These are both works in progress (and let's be honest, are probably about 20 revisions away from calling it "done"!), but help me when I am watching students complete the games to see how they are growing or developing in some of the other "C" skills outside of the content.
NOTE: I do not always do a reward for students with Breakout EDU games (I am a firm believer in high-fives as rewards!), but I saw the Trolli sour sloths when I was at the store and I just couldn't resist!
These Glow Games were games that I was inspired by through many different educators. What I love about the Glow Games is that there is so much flexibility in how it is structured and implemented. The Glow Games were designed and adapted to give students a chance to push their collaboration, communication, critical thinking, creative innovation, and confidence skills while building upon the content. We set the room up in stations and students spent about 8.5 minutes at a station before rotating to the next (we have 50 minute class periods). Students had to start with a content question, come to a consensus on the answer, and then play the game. This was intentional as we wanted the students working together to not only review the content, but give everyone a chance to play the game.
*Note* The resources listed below are for the 7th grade ELA/Social Studies Glow Games and the content cards were designed as an end of the year review.
Glow Games in Action
These are some of the images I was able to capture from the Glow Games. With the darkness and quick movements, none of my ring toss or bowling images came out. :( I guess that goes to show how much fun they had with those games - they weren't messing around and were out to win it!
At the end of each hour, we asked students to reflect on their Glow Games experience and how it fit in with the 6C Learner Profile that our district has adopted (from the authors of the book, Becoming Brilliant by Roberta Michnick Golinkoff PhD and Kathy Hirsh-Pasek PhD). We ran out of our neon sticky notes before the end of the day, but it was interesting to see how students rated their experience and areas that they felt we could use some improvement in to push them to higher levels.
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