With the implementation of a games based approach to teaching and learning in my classroom this year, classroom behaviour has been excellent. Students are engaged, excited and enjoy taking risks with their learning. They collaborate and support each other, and the learning environment is happy and safe. But things in the playground are a bit different. The students aren’t being as supportive of each other in the yard as they are in the classroom. I’m hearing about name calling and exclusion while the students are outside, and time spent dealing with these issues is eating into learning time. I wanted to find a way to apply the intrinsic motivation to achieve that games based learning has given my students to areas outside the classroom. As a result I have come up with a new “gamified” classroom rewards system that I will be trialling with my grade starting this week.
The new rewards system was created as a way to link the games based learning happening in the classroom to student actions and behaviours outside the classroom in the hope that the students will want to “level up” as they do in games by behaving appropriately in the yard, completing and submitting homework on time, taking care and pride in their work and showing leadership skills when working in teams.
Each student will start off with their “phone”, which has a screen with 15 spaces for “apps” which can be earned at any time. The apps I have created are related to areas I want to focus on with my students, eg Mathletics, Lure of the Labyrinth, team work, leadership, creativity. All of the apps students can earn have points, so if a student submits their homework on time 5 weeks in a row, they get the Homework 5 app to velcro onto their phone. If a student submits their homework on time 10 weeks in a row, they return their Homework 5 app and receive the Homework 10 app instead (levelling up).
I created all of this with Comic Life 2 (Mac version), using all of the great fonts and gradients withing the program. I used no particular colour scheme except for the rainbow gradient – apps with a rainbow background are the highest level app achievable for a given area.
The Master Builder apps are to acknowledge student growth in the use of Google Sketch Up to design and create 3D buildings as part of our economics unit, Picasso apps are for artistic efforts and creativity, the World Ruler apps are to reward students for excellence in our literacy unit “How to Rule the World” based on the book by Klutz and the Splendid Jollygood apps will be used to reward achievement and mastery in Lure of the Labyrinth (the term “splendid jollygood” is a bit of an in-joke with my grade – it is a quote from a monster in the game that my students have taken to using).
I look forward to trialling this new approach to behaviour management outside of the classroom with my grade. I hope that this approach proves to be an intrinsic motivator for my students as they watch their phone fill with apps they have earned through their hard work and positive behaviours at school.