Students learn through play starting in their earliest years. As students grow older, that interest and love for play turns to a passion for sports and an interest in games. I have seen both within sports and video gaming that when a player is invested in what they are doing, they devote hours to perfecting their work and doing the best they can.
Why not apply that to the classroom?
I'm never a fan of sounding like a testimonial, but Classcraft has completely changed how I teach for the better. Classroom management (discipline specifically) was always a tough point for me, because I never felt comfortable with it. With Classcraft, there are clear expectations and rules set forth and students who lost HP that day still have the chance to earn XP for excellent behavior. Classcraft only takes a few minutes of our day, but I have seen the changes in myself as a classroom manager and in my students as well. Students who never spoke up began to raise their hands so they could earn XP and grow. Students who were quick to anger and held grudges soon stopped and refocused to help build up and protect their team. Students who spoke out often quickly redirected their behavior to avoid the consequences of losing HP. My classroom's environment changed to one of mutual respect, enthusiasm, and creativity. Not to mention, it was fun for the gamer in me too.
This semester, we have expanded our game to include a Bounty Board where students can take on additional tasks like rewriting papers, volunteering, and reading more about our unit for extra XP. So many of them have already jumped on board, talking about the compare and contrast writing they want to do or the diary they are going to make. Several even volunteered to work together to create something. We also used "Boss Battles" as practice assessments to prepare them for PARCC without intimidating or overwhelming them (pictures of the Boss Battles to come later). Classcraft is continually growing and evolving both on its site and in my classroom. Implementing it is as much of an adventure as playing it is, and it has been one that has taught me a great deal about connecting with students, encouraging them, and the benefits of increased collaboration in my classroom.
Check out the presentation below to learn the basics of Classcraft and what it looks like. You can also go to their site and create a mock class for free to experience it and play around with it firsthand.