If you remember last year I ended the school year by gamifying my classroom using Monopoly…StarWarsopoly to be specific. Of the three gamification games (Super Mario Brothers, Angry Birds, Starwarsopoly) we tried last year, StarWarsopoly was by far the biggest hit with my students and the most successful.
I have been a Star Wars geek for as long as I can remember. Not only does the movie hold incredibly fond memories for me, I really just love LOVEEEE the movies, the characters…the everything. Super Mario Brothers was our first classroom gamification, then there was Angry Birds, so when my students asked me what would be next and they asked me what about Star Wars. I didn’t even have to think.
HOLY WOW….HECK YES!!!
After Angry Birds (which ended up being exhausting, was way more work than I had anticipated and will probably not be played ever again ever again unless it goes electronic) I was ready to plan a classroom gamification game that was individual and not so time consuming on my part. I really wanted a game that would run itself but would also be strong enough to continue to motivate and be fun for my students…especially at the end of the school year! I knew just the game…Monopoly!!! Not only was it a game I had wanted to make one for two years now (yeah a long time for an idea…I know) it could meet all my classroom gamification requirements.
I started by researching names, places, things and ideas (Best Star Wars site…ever!). I wanted to say is true to the game of Monopoly, while allowing it to ooze Star Wars fun! As I started making the board I also knew (from past gamification experience) while cards and some of the extra details that make Monopoly Monopoly would be fun it would also make making the game time-consuming and eventually take the fun away from the game… because it would never get done. So I decided to try to find that balance. I decided to balance the complexities of the game, getting the game actually made and not making it exhausting for me and unmotivating for the players.
Last quarter my students and I jumped into the world of gamification!
Using Super Mario Brothers I developed a classroom “gamified” behavior system. We had a blast! Not only was it fun and engaging, I saw improvement in student behaviors and it really changed me and our classroom too (I have more to say about that but that is for another post). After eight weeks, Winter Break and a quarter change I knew it was time for something new (I am not one to stick with one thing for too long…and I like to change things up to meet my students needs).
Second quarter came and we entered the world of Angry Birds…
Like Super Mario, I channelled my best and wittiest Angry Bird knowledge. I dust off my sling shot and studied up on my Angry Bird lingo.
I started by putting the students into teams (different than Mario when teams were by class period) Team: Angry Birds Rio, Angry Birds Star Wars, Angry Birds Space and Angry Birds Transformers. Then I used the themes and premises behind the game to create rules. Finally, it was time for the the towers!
Two weeks in and students smile as they destroy their team’s tower and reveal dots (that mean rolls of the dice…the real fun part). As the dice is rolled teammates stand by, watch and cheer as they hope for the much wanted blue bird.
I couldn’t be happier as I watch student skills improve in classes, I hear them cheering each other on (without me telling them to) and knowing that fun is being had while skills are improving, learning is happening and team work is blossoming!