Secondary Gamification Mrs. Vaughan, Mrs. Duddy, Miss Latz


Bringing gamification to the middle school and high school classroom comes with unique challenges. Teenagers are complex creatures; many are caught in between being a kid and being an adult, and finding meaningful ways to motivate them requires a little creativity. Often they are not interested in things like cute badges, imaginary points, or Jolly Ranchers. Some students work for prestige- they want to see their name next to the highest class score. Others are interested in the tangible benefits, such as celebration days or free-seating. Others simply thrive on the sheer competition. Above all, secondary students want to see that their work has a tangible, real-world effect and meaning.

We have connected our gamification directly to our content, providing students with both extrinsic and intrinsic motivators to the work that they are doing, and reinforcing what they learn. The systems put in place have increased fidelity, effort, and participation in all of our students, and made class more fun!

Gatsby Gamification- English 3

Mrs. Alexander/Vaughan

I wanted to do something to get my students more interested in The Great Gatsby. Every year, students complain that it's a boring book that's only about rich people being rich (until the final few chapters). So when I heard about Gamification, I was all in! But since Gatsby was starting soon, I needed something fast and easy to implement, not a huge "points" system or something like that. So I came up with Gatsby Dollars.

The fake printed money (cut by my TAs) comes in 1s, 5s, 10s, 20s, 50s, and 100s.

Money was the perfect solution because it related to the Great Gatsby, was trackable like "points," but it's also self-sufficient; I don't have to keep track of invisible "points" on the computer, because I could have the students keep track of their physical money. It also kept the blame off me, because students have to be responsible for their money; if they lose it, that's on them. This isn't to say I didn't keep up with them a little bit throughout the quarter; I had check-ins to monitor the "economy" and see how much money I was giving out, where people were at on average

A check in for February 3rd. Some teams decided to combine money; leaders are highlighted. I then transferred this to a spreadsheet.

The money was meaningless without a use and a goal. The overall goal was to collect and save the most, propelling yourself into riches. The student in each class with the most money would be crowned a "Gatsby" and the student who saved the most out of each class would be crowned the "Great Gatsby," and they would be given a shirt and other small prizes, including a 3-d printed trophy. There would also be prizes for the groups with the most money combined, since they were split into 1920's themed literature groups. The money had other uses as well:

Some of the "cheats" students could purchase during a game to give them an edge on the competition.

Students could purchase "cheats" or hints on games, hints on quizzes, as well as a card that allowed for fewer requirements on any assignment (besides Summatives). Other things they could purchase included preferred seating (when we had seating charts), as well as more "fun" prizes like chips, cups, etc.

Some of the "fun" prizes students could buy instead of "cheats."

Something also happened that I didn't expect; enterprising students started selling things to each other for extra cash (lollipops, brownies, drawings, etc.) Students earned money two main ways, the first being daily assignments and challenges, where money was given out for quality work, best examples, good behavior, teamwork, leadership, etc. This motivated students to do completion/classwork that they usually don't do since it "doesn't count twoards a grade."

A score sheet along with payments given to the best work.

The other way to earn money is through games. We played one game every-other week(ish) and students would complete for cash prizes. They were usually team-based games, but were also sometimes individual, like kahoot, quizlet, etc. Students got very competitive and excited. They also completed competitions and voted, with winners getting payouts.

Some score cards and questions from the review game "Will the Winners Lose?"

I did have to make some ground rules about the money, but overall, students handled it very well and liked it a lot. My rules were: No stealing money, No trading money for homework, assignments, etc, and Money cannot be used for help on Summatives. Almost all students worked to collect money, some of them teaming up to combine the money and split the prize, and only a few students didn't buy in, and any money they earned was usually snapped up by more competitive friends.

Hero Academy-Comic Books as Literature

Mrs. Alexander/Vaughan

Since comic books is comprised of all 4 grades, I wanted to do something a bit different for them, since they are much more self-motivated. So I created Hero Academy. Students create their own hero to enroll, and then they can use these heroes to complete scenarios given to them through writing about how their hero would handle that scenario. They could earn points for successfully completing scenarios. The overall goal is to collect the Infinity Gems and defeat the evil villain Thanos.

All the Hero Academy tokens are displayed on the classroom walls, so everyone can see their teammates

They also earned points for doing classwork assignments as well as getting certain scores on formative and summative assessments. If they earned a certain amount of points in each unit, they would earn an "infinity gem" on their player token. This also keeps them from earning too many points too early; everyone is on a set pace. If enough students collected infinity gems, the class would defeat Thanos and earn a celebration day at the end of the semester.

Student hero tokens after they've earned all the infinity gems.

Students never fail to impress me with their creativity and love to create their characters. There are always some who don't buy in, but overall students consistently do well and earn their party day!

Students who got enough points per unit got an "infinity gem" for that unit on their Hero Academy token.

ELA Explorers-8th Grade

Mrs. Duddy

In addition to using Classcraft in the entire 8th grade team, I implement a levels system in my 8th Grade ELA classroom that ties directly to the Hero's Journey- the core of our year's studies.

Students move through the 12 steps of the Hero's Journey and earn Experience Points for things like winning class review games, earning 3.0s and 4.0s on assessments, having perfect attendance, and having no office referrals. Each level comes with increasingly awesome rewards, such as free-seating for a day, ability to wear a hat, pens and pencils, and Sonic Drinks!

My favorite part of ELA Explorers is that students can check their scores and access game elements at any time on my website: kduddy4.wixsite.com. Using an Excel sheet, I have created a live spreadsheet that shows student scores for each class period; this adds an element of competition, because students can see where they rank with the rest of their class.

On this website, students can access things such as Side Quests- extra work related to our unit that can earn them bonus points. This allows students who want to excel in the game the chance to get ahead, while also providing enrichment activities for students who finish early, or who need an extra challenge.

This is the second year I have implemented this system, and I am still working out the kinks. Despite the challenges and amount of work that goes into it, it's totally worth it! Compared to my first year teaching 8th grade, the last two years of teaching with gamification elements has noticeably improved the number of students turning in work, scores on assessments, and overall engagement!

Clash of the Countries-Spanish 1

Miss Latz

Excelsior Springs Spanish I classes have entered a tough competition to win a Final Fiesta Day! Each Spanish I class competes as a team to earn the most points to partake in a celebration of Foreign Language knowledge. Each student contributes points to the team by completing classwork, homework, or even perfect scores of formatives and summatives! Points are also awarded for using language-learning apps like DuoLingo or high scores in Quizlet Classroom.

The score sheet for the classes

Gamification has increased engagement and motivation as well as built comradery among students in each class. From the first day of the competition when students select a Spanish-speaking country to represent their team, classes work together to ensure everyone earns points and therefore also earn a deeper understanding of Spanish language and culture.

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