Don’t we all want to make the first day of school ultra-engaging, memorable and igniting! Yes! Since I didn’t just want to take one of these cheesy “off the shelf” ice breakers, my brain went through a real “storm” of ideas on how to realize my ambitious goal. Through my PLN, I stumbled over Breakout EDU games that got me thrilled immediately. Breakout in a nut shell – You as a facilitator of the game prepare boxes that are locked with lockers. Students have to solve engaging problems to unlock the box to reveal the content. I started to design my own challenges tailored to ELL Canadian Studies learners. It’s a fair amount of work if you create your own boxes and challenges but it’s absolutely worth it! You can read more about the whole concept on their website. I started to buy five lockable boxes. Then, I equipped each box with a key lock and a number lock that you can buy cheaply at the Dollarstore. I filled the boxes with candy and locked them up. One’s you have the hardware ready, I designed my challenges which include a crossword puzzle about Canada and an activity where students had to find a bag of paper shredding hidden in the classroom. In each bag, I placed paper slips with words on it. Students had to put them together in order to get a motivational quote.
Crazily excited, I introduced the game to my students, finally seeing how this will turn out. Sometimes it is tricky to get high school students hooked. However, the classroom was filled with anticipation, excitement and the readiness to unlock the box. Groups of two to three received one box, I started the timer and the game started. An incredible amount of team-work, problem-solving and fun started to evolve. An incredibly rewarding moment for me and an exciting game-based learning experience for the students. I was able to set the tone for the rest of the year, that learning about Canadian Studies will be that much fun!
Nadya Schewczyk (on TPT alias Miss Tinker): Teacher, Maker, Design Thinker, enthusiastic videographer, chocoholic and loves sparkling water.