Students as Resources when Gamifying Your Class

I learned about Classcraft less than a year ago after attending an EdCamp in Connecticut. An English teacher took his rote vocabulary lessons from a Wordly Wise workbook and gamified his class with Classcraft to entice students to enrich their everyday vocabulary. By introducing Classcraft Game into his middle school ELA class and having students write weekly journal entries for their game avatars using the Wordly Wise vocabulary he was able to incorporate creative writing, vocabulary building, and gamification into his class.

I was hooked and immediately set out to gamify my own 8th grade ELA class. Gaming, a huge trend in education today, I have to admit, was not my expertise. But to use Classcraft in your classroom you do not have to be a big time gamer. And this is where your students who are obsessive gamers can step forth and help out. I knew that I was going to need some additional help in addition to the online tutorials and blog posts in setting up my class craft teams and quests. I turned to my students for help.

Luke (I have changed his name to protect his identity), was one of my students last year that just was going through the motions of school. You know, the one who is too angry with his parents, his weight, his social status in middle school to even pick up a pencil in class and take notes or complete his homework. But, he listens to all his teachers lecture in class and will still ace the tests and quizzes barely passing each quarter. The only time I saw Luke happy and smiling was at lunch time when he was sitting with his friends talking about gaming and the newest, best, greatest game being released or his recent score. I knew he was the one I could tap and help me set up Classcraft and also help teach the ins and outs to his classmates.

So, during class one day I told Luke I needed his help with a game I found online and asked if he could help me set it up. That afternoon he returned to my classroom and I showed him the website. He went home created his own class and learned the elements of the game to help me the following day. The next morning told me he thought the whole concept was cool and described how to organize the teams in each class: two Mages, two Warriors, and one Healer. I set up teams in all my classes and asked Luke to help me show the class about the game. All of a sudden, Luke was on top of the middle school social ladder. He knew everything and the competition was erupting the minute he showed the website on the SMARTBoard.  I had instant buy in from all.

One of the things I love the most about Classcraft is the fact that teachers can personalize it to their content area and class needs. My students earn Experience Points (XP) by completing homework (it’s not graded only given points for Classcraft) or participating in our Twitter Book Club outside of the classroom. Students also earn points by answering questions in class, working well with others, and for the Fastest Foldable when putting together Interactive Notebooks.
Our students are our best resources. Use the expert gamers in your class to help establish teams, add additional powers, and share opportunities to earn XP. Gaming is all about collaboration and you want your students on your team.

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