As I have mentioned before, my school has been working this year on increasing student engagement. One of the methods for increasing student engagement is providing student choice. We have talked about what this could look like in many grade levels, including:
These books were popular when I was a kid, and are still popular with kids today. Students love the possibility of feeling in control of their choices, so choose your own adventure books often give reluctant readers the option of reading only a portion of the book, in which they have a say in the outcome.
In fourth grade, at my school, we decided to use Choose your own Adventure to review math concepts. Depending on which link you choose, you can answer different questions, following different paths through the review. The first one I built is below.
The kids loved it and asked to do the other questions. How often do students ask to do more math? The teacher decided to tie the next one into social studies content. I think it helps to make it visually appealing enough to draw students in. Also, threat of death, stranded on an island, is apparently intriguing for fourth graders.
To Choose your own Adventure, you can use Google slides. All you have to do to create the path is add links in your slides.
So, Choose your own Adventure, tie it to your content, incorporate student choice; then, let the students create and build their own.
I bet by now, you have heard of BreakoutEDU, the game based learning activity where students attempt to breakout of a box using clues that tie to the curriculum. The idea for BreakoutEDU began based on the popularity of the Escape rooms. However, since it is frowned upon to lock kids in a room, the idea of the Breakout box began.
The part you may not have heard of is the digital version. This was a Google Innovator project from Justin Birkbichler with help from Mari Venturino. They decided to use Google Forms and clues embedded in a website to create BreakoutEDU Digital.
This is one of my favorite presentations to do at Google conferences because the teachers in the room get to play a Digital Breakout. Watching teachers struggle through finding clues, getting excited when the locks open, and creating their own digital Breakout is always exciting.
The reason I chose the digital version as a favorite was simple, money. As an instructional coach, Instructional Coaches usually don't get a budged from the school during the year. Therefore, I am always looking for ways to do more with less. This is a perfect fit because it's free.
The other great part about Digital BreakoutEdu is that it can easily be tied to any content. One of the teachers in a recent session started working on a Pi Day Breakout and has since taken off in creating them and using them in her sixth grade math class. Go Jennifer McGlothlin!
To create a digital BreakoutEDU, isn't hard. They are a great way to review content.
1. Create a form that uses data validation.
2. Type the code into the data validation as a number or a word. It is best to set words to be all capital letters.
3. Use Google sites to build a simple webpage. Trust me, it isn't as scary as it seems. It all integrates with Google Drive.
3. Add the form you created with the data validated answers to the site.
5. This site gives you a list of ways you could include clues for your digital breakout, as well as additional tutorials.
So give it a try, get on to the BreakoutEDU Digital site and play a few games for yourself and experience how game based learning can look. Then, it's up to you to tie it into your content. Be sure to check the digital sandbox and submit yours when you are done.
Instructional specialist/coach, Google Certified Trainer, Level 1 and 2 Google Certified educator, Ed Tech Team Teacher Leader Certified, growing and learning