I am currently half-way through my current Civil War Game! This game, in its simplest form, can be used in any classroom, with any subject, for any age students. The basic premise is that students are soldiers who work hard to “rank up.” With every increase in rank, students are rewarded with a week’s pay and extra privileges. Students earn money for attendance, their participation in daily basic training, effort, teamwork, etc. Students can use the money from their weekly paychecks to purchase items from our class store (such as: candy, homework passes, hat passes, etc.). Students earn XP (Experience Points) for reaching learning targets. As students increase the amount of XP they have, they are able to rank up! Students earn a “badge” (aka: sticker) during a special ranking ceremony each Friday. With each promotion, comes extra privileges (such as: getting out of the daily work outs, choosing their own seats, homework passes, getting to eat/drink in class or listen to music while working, etc.)
Students have been loving this game! Here’s why…
- Students love having the opportunity to be active and train like a soldier every day.
- Students are able to keep track of their own progress.
- Students don’t earn grades, they earn XP!
- Students can always work to improve themselves. If they don’t earn all the available XP for completing an assignment, they can try again!
- Students feel awesome when they are promoted. They enjoy competing with each other and work hard to earn rewards.
- Students that need or desire an extra challenge can do so with “Side Missions.” With these side missions, students can dig a little deeper into the current learning targets in order to earn extra XP or money to use in the game.
As a class, we are able to have a lot of fun and laughs together. Plus, students know exactly where they stand–they keep track of their own progress! I said before that students earn “XP” instead of grades, and that’s true! It’s just a simple change in the vocabulary I use. When I give students back their assignments, it says +10XP or +7XP; however, on my grade sheet it says 10/10 or 7/10. I have said before, my students don’t care about grades. Grades don’t motivate them. What motivates my students is things like being able to listen to music in class, or free time. Therefore, with the XP system, students work hard for their army promotions and for their paychecks. This is what is so great about a gamified classroom! BONUS- my grades actually have meaning. They truly reflect each students individual progress with the 8th grade learning targets for social studies.
I bought some rainbow colored stickers and a whistle. I took on the role of the classroom General. I provide solid lessons, simulations and experiences. Other than that, students have taken complete ownership of their learning and progress while being pushed to have a growth mindset. They keep trying until they reach the goals they have set for themselves. IT’S AWESOME!
(If you have any questions or would like copies of any of the materials for this game, please contact us!)
PS: We go outside any chance we get. Some fresh air can be a game-changer itself! In the pictures below, you can see how we took a timeline activity and some sidewalk chalk outside to make it even better!