This weekend I read through John Meehan‘s book EDrenaline Rush (Dave Burgess Publishing, 2020) and took copious notes. I have seen John’s classroom materials on Twitter and we have conversed in different gamification twitter chats. Whether it is his Fortnite Battle Royale or Great Gatsby Break In, Meehan has great energy that he ignites in his high school classrooms. The world is our inspiration and Meehan has taken inspiration from Disney World, Spartan Races, Escape Rooms to engage his students in deep learning and active learner centered classrooms.
This year was the first year that I participated in a Disney Marathon and spending the weekend in Disney with 20,000 other people for the marathon weekend I was immersed in the magical powers of Disney. An avid marathoner himself, Meehan begins his book deconstructing the architecture of Disney’s Magic Kingdom based on his own experiences doing the Disney Marathons with his family. He breaks down not only the culture that Disney creates but the experiences that fuel each storyline in the different parks and rides. Meehan calls for classroom teachers to use Disney as a model to build and sustain a positive and engaging culture with students.
The book also covers Escape Rooms, races, and scavenger hunts as a means for learning experiences because learning is an experience that is fueled by curiosity. The book is filled with many games and lessons that provide students with exciting learning adventures that spark their sense of wonder. Based on my reading, I created a playlist for our WW2 independent reading unit to provide background knowledge. The format what something that “Miss Ryan” shared on Twitter two weeks ago and now I cannot find her tweet or Twitter account where she posted her own Progressive Era Playlist, but the design was inspired by her. Her playlist offered an audio link to hear the teacher go over the work. I love the audio or visual support for learners. I also added an audio button that links to a screen cast providing further directions and explanation about the playlist assignments.
I know that this is reading heavy for week one and the readings come from Actively Learn. I might switch out a reading or two for an Edpuzzle video or web quest. The first activity is a Google Form and anticipation guide that asks students whether they agree or disagree with the following statements:
I would help someone I saw in trouble, no matter the danger.
Prejudice leads to violence.
Apathy is a critical issue in our society. *Apathy means to not care.
Everyone should always conform to the laws of society.
The bystander has an obligation to help a person in distress.
Violation of human rights in another country is none of our business.
The bystander who does not intervene is as guilty at the perpetrator.
For the final assignment for the week I have included a Hexagonal Thinking Map, adapted from EDrenaline Rush as a “show what you know” activity. The hexagonal thinking map is a collaborative discussion activity for making connections between concepts and visually presenting those connections to represent the big ideas of a topic. Students have a set of hexagons, each with a term dealing with World War II and the Holocaust. The challenge is to link the terms to present an organized and annotated representation of the this time period.
With your hexagons, students will need to …
Categorize – As you make links with all of your hexagons, you should categorize them by color. Make sure to make a key on the graphic organizer to show the different categories.
Synthesize – You’re going to take each of the hexagons and see how they combine to create your understanding of WW2. Each hexagon should touch at least one side of another, and you should be able to annotate their relationship – cause-and-effect, turning points, change in continuity, testimony.
Summarize – Using your categories, develop a succinct and complete definition of your understanding of World War 2 and the Holocaust. Your definition should be one or two complex sentences.
Evaluate – Did America do too little in WW2? Did they do just enough? Were they too slow in responding to Hitler? Did they go too far dropping the atomic bomb? Consider the actions of the perpetrators, bystanders, allies and pass judgment in some form or another. This could be ranking individual actions, summation statements, or anything else you develop.
I edited a Google Drawing Hexagonal Thinking Map from Ditch that Textbook so that all my students could annotate their own thinking and understanding from the readings this week.
A third assignment I am providing during the WW2 unit is the #Hashtag Hunt inspired by John Meehan. The teacher provides themed hashtags for students to look for during reading. For example, when students begin reading their independent reading books about WW2 and the Holocaust I want them to make note of the following hashtags and go on a text hunt – find places in the text and direct quotes that support these themes and ideas. Here are a few of the hashtags I have created:
#NaziLies – Examples of Nazi propaganda and laws utilized to maintain power
#WW2Destruction – Examples of destruction caused by actions of WW2
#Allies – Examples of actions from allies who helped protagonist
#Resistance – Examples of acts of resistance from the protagonists
#Dehumanization – Examples where the protagonist is reduced to an object and no longer considered human or worthy of human dignity
#Liberation – Any example where the protagonists are brought out of their situation and able to live freely again
If you are into games and gamification to fuel an active learner centered classroom, you are going to want to read Edrenaline Rush. I know that you will be inspired by John’s stories, games, and activities that engage students and inspire them to be innovative, critical thinkers.