Thursday, January 30, 2014

STAAR Wars App (In the Making)

I'm building this app as I'm teaching, one lesson at a time. When adding new things, I tell my students they have "unlocked new levels." They have been so excited seeing the new things I add each day.

So, if you're wanting to gamify, but are unsure about how much work it will require....take it slow. Build as you go! The kids will love it!

Here are some screenshots from my app, so you can see the beginning of the gamification process.

Home Screen

STAAR Wars: This houses all the introductory resources that I used for engaging them in this game. This is where the leaderboard will go, along with any other videos I make along the way.

FDP War: Fractions, Decimals, Percents
This is the first war that we are fighting. I used the STAAR released test questions as my basis for the first major war (unit). Then I used backwards planning, to think of all the skills they would need to be able to do in order to answer the questions. (ordering decimals, ordering fractions, ordering integers, and of course converting between FDP.) I told my students these were the missions they needed to complete in order to be prepared for the war. The missions came from Khan Academy videos and interactive lessons. The battles are printed worksheets from The scores from the battles will be used for the leaderboard.

Combat Training: I used the analogy of soldiers engaging in combat training for this part of the app. Just as soldiers need to continuously practice skills, so do the students. All the games come from, which my students love!


Gamification One of the newest buzzwords of education is GAMIFICATION. Put shortly, gamification means using game principles to engage and motivate students. Gamification is NOT putting a student in front of a computer all day, every day.

The Flipped-Then-Re-Flipped Classroom As exciting as flipped classrooms are, the question is always asked, "What about the students who don't have the technology?"

Grades vs. Experience Points Last week I had the opportunity to discuss gamification with a team of professors at Texas A&M University. As I presented my understanding of this concept, I came to an important realization on the negative impact of grades.

The Magical Leaderboard As many of you know, this is my first experience with gamifying my classroom, and there is certainly a lot for me to learn! As a teacher, my focus is on the content/curriculum, and game design comes second.

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