Explore Like a Pirate: Chapter 5

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Hi everyone,

Welcome back to our book study on Explore Like a Pirate, by Michael Matera. Thanks to Rachael over at Sweet Sweet Primary for putting this book study together.

Today we are looking at Chapter 5: From the Helm: Getting to Know Your Crew. This chapter is all about the tools that will help us to create game inspired course design.

When designing game inspired courses, we have to determine what type of player your students are. According to Richard Bartle’s theory, there are four groups of gamer personalities: Achievers, Socializers, Explorers, and Killers (griefers). By knowing the type of gamer each of your students are, you can be sure to include something for all types of gamers.

I found the different types of personality fascinating. I can think of many of my students who fall into these personalities without giving the Richard Bartle test.

Achievers
Achievers are those students who want to earn points and show a level of mastery. In our classroom, Achievers are the kids who want to know they are doing well. They like to show off how they are doing and their position or advancement in the game. To motivate an Achiever, you can include daily quests and leader boards.

Socializers
Socializers play games because they enjoy interacting with others. In our classroom, often time the Socializers are our talkers. To engage Socializers while designing game inspired courses, we should think about making a team challenge that requires out of class networking. Socializers would also like the aspect of trading with others.

Explorers
Explores enjoy an open game where they can discover new areas on their own. According to Michael Matera, Explores move at their own pace and are not too concerned with mastery of the game. To motivate an Explorer, you can include locked areas or levels.

Killers(griefers)
Killers enjoy playing high action games and look to battle or beat something quickly. If the reward is worth it, Killers will take the risk. To motivate Killers, you can include collecting things or a protection aspect. Like protecting a person or a house.

Matera also talks about Jon Radoff’s four key components of game design. Aspects of his game design are: Immersion, Achievement, Cooperation, and Competition. By looking at the four categories, we can think of ways to deliver our course objectives.

Immersion
When thinking about immersion, we design a game course that allows the students to grow and explore. this is where the students become the heroes of their own stories.

Achievement
We want to give the students multiple times or opportunities to practice a skill. We have to be sure to make the work challenging but not too difficult where the kids want to give up. The more opportunities the kids have to reach a level of proficiency in the game, the more practice they get at a skill.

Cooperation
TEAMWORK! TEAMWORK! TEAMWORK!
Just like in anything, we want our students to work together. When developing game inspired courses, we need to make sure that we include ways for our kids to work together toward a common goal.

Competition
Competition is a great way to have students interact with each other and work together on a team.

Michael Matera uses The SAPS Model in his course design. This helps to include different motivating factors for all students. Some kids are motivated by status. This is where leaderboards, badges, and daily quests come into play. The students are given feedback on how they are doing and are motivated when others see how well they are doing. Another motivating factor is access. Students become more motivated and engaged when they have access to new material or things they didn’t have before, like being able to find secret areas. When designing game inspired courses, we also want to include power. You can give the students power by giving them choice. The last thing we want to think about when designing the coursework is what Michael Matera calls stuff. We want to include game related things, like a small sword or a power shield. We want to include “stuff” that is related to the game. This will keep the students instrinsically motivated.

I can’t wait to read what comes next. Join us next week for a look at Chapter 6.

Thanks for stopping by and saying hi,
Rachel

Click on the picture below to go back to Sweet Sweet Primary’s blog and read about what others have to say about Chapter 5.

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Explore Like a Pirate: Chapter 4

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Hi everyone!

Today we are continuing to read “Explore Like a Pirate”, by Michael Matera. Thanks to Rachael at Sweet Sweet Primary for putting this book linky together for us.

Today we explore chapter 4: Ahoy Mate! A New Language of Learning.

How many times have you heard…Is this being graded? Does this count as a grade? I know I can’t be the only one! My second graders are always asking me those questions. According to Michael Matera, “Layering the game over my entire course encouraged collaboration and offered a ton of self-exploration. Learning was no longer about earning a grade; it was about discovery and growth.”

There are 10 words used to define and drive Purpose-Driven Learning.
Those 10 words are; confidence, creativity, enthusiasm, focus, resilience, initiative, curiosity, dependability, and empathy.

By using these 10 words repeatedly throughout class, comments, and report cards students understand the words and use them to describe their own learning.

Confidence
When students explore, they become more confident and become risk takers. Once a child is confident, they know how to begin and are willing to begin a task without asking, “But how do I start?”

Creativity
It is important to assign open ended questions so that students can be creative in their answers.

Enthusiasm
As educators, it is our job to create work that the students can be enthusiastic about. We also need to remind students that they need to be enthusiastic about all task, challenging or not.

Effort
Students need to be taught to also put forth 100% effort. Not only effort important in the classroom, but in all areas of life.

Focus
Focusing is extremely important. We all have trouble focusing at one time or another. Students need to be reminded to focus on the task at hand and to control his or her thoughts.

Resilience
It is o.k. to fail. We want to teach our students that we not only learn from our successes, but also from our failures. When we do fail, we have to keep on going and not give up. According to Michael Matera, once students know it is ok to fail and they are not being graded on the first or second attempt, their confidence grows and they learn the material or concepts. Resilience is about adapting and overcoming challenges, not just perseverance.

Initiative
Michael Matera talks about how by using games in the classroom, students develop the habit of initiative. They become better problem solvers and overcome obstacles and challenges.

Curiosity
The more curious our students are, the more they want to learn. The more they want to learn, the more passionate they become. The more passionate the students are, the better they learn the concepts or material.

Dependability
Students learn to depend on others and that others depend on them. Students come to class better prepared because they know that their teammates are counting on them.
This helps to promote a sense of community.

Empathy
We need to establish a safe environment where students can take risks. Students need to be taught how to listen to others and how to answer other’s questions. We need to set rules to develop respect of each other and each other’s opinions.

I can’t wait to share chapter 5 with you!

Thanks for stopping by and saying hi,

Rachel

Explore Like a Pirate: Chapter 3

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Hi everyone!

Today we are continuing to read “Explore Like a Pirate”, by Michael Matera. Thanks to Rachael at Sweet Sweet Primary for putting this book linky together for us.

Today we explore chapter 3: New World, Old World.

I love how Michael Matera begins this chapter.
He states, “As an educational explorer, you have creative confidence to forge out into the unknown. Trust in the process, and believe in yourself.”
This first sentence of chapter 3 really made me think. I think one reason that so many teachers do not try new strategies or playing games because there is the fear of the unknown. I know I have definitely been there? Have you?
There have been times when I wanted to to try something new and I stopped, unsure and not believing in myself or that something would work. Michael Matera is absolutely correct when he says that we have to “trust in the process, and believe in yourself.” Without those two things, we can not begin to gamify the classroom and bring our teaching into the New World!

According to Michael Matera, using gamification in the classroom will bring us from the Old World of teaching into the New World of teaching. Instead of controlling, we have have freedom and flexibility. Instead of producing followers, we will produce risk takers. Instead of a plotted path, there will be a sense of exploration and discovery. In the place of quiet compliance, there will be creative confidence. In the Old World, there was an automations of knowledge but in the New World we have independent artistic thinkers. We will also create heroes and a sense of wanderlust, spirit, and passion. These are all ways that every teacher wants to connect and inspire their students. I AM SOLD! 🙂

Another line that stood out for me was, “We are not teaching standards, we are teaching students-children who have passions, questions, and the drive to make a difference.” Too often, teaching the standards are thought of first. How can I teach the standards? What standard does this lesson teach? We have to remember that we are teaching students first. By gamifying the classroom, students become self motivated and overcome challenges. The children are invested in their learning. What teacher does not want his or her children to be self-motivated and invested in their learning?

As I continued reading chapter 3, I realized how once the children are familiar with the game setting or levels, it is easy to make a change. Often times we learn something new in at a conference, a meeting, or at staff development and we don’t implement it right away. We say, “I’ll wait for next semester, or next year.” Once our classroom is gamified, we don’t have to wait to make a change or to introduce something new that we learned. We can do use that strategy or new material the very next day! YES! I don’t know about you…but I know I am definitely guilty of not implementing something new until the next year. Do you do the same?

I love Michael Matera’s example of his scavenger hunt while studying Egypt. I never really thought of doing a scavenger hunt. I’m already thinking about how to incorporate a scavenger hunt with my kiddos. Have I mentioned that I am STILL in school. I have 5 days left. This might be a perfect time to try something new!

Any thoughts on how I can incorporate a scavenger hunt maybe in geometry with my 2nd graders? Maybe a shape is missing to construct a building and I can have riddles for the students to follow… HMMMM.

I can’t wait to share chapter 4 with you!

Thanks for stopping by and saying hi,

Rachel

Click below to go back to read what others have to say about chapter 3.
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Explore Like a Pirate: Chapter 2

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Hi everyone!

Today we are continuing to read “Explore Like a Pirate”, by Michael Matera. Thanks to Rachael at Sweet Sweet Primary for putting this book linky together for us.

Today we explore chapter 2: Tall Tales: Dispelling the Myths of Gamification.

According to Michael Matera, before we can begin gamification in our classrooms, we must first dispel the myths. This will ensure that teachers, students, parents, and administration have a positive experience with gamification.

Myth 1: Games are just for play. There is no challenge or educational rigor.
-Michael Matera writes about how by playing games, students learn from their mistakes, practice short and long term planning , and develop informational literacy skills. It is our job to create games that are engaging and rigorous. When sitting down to create games, we must consider the 3 Cs (content, choice, and challenge.) We want to think outside the box when planning and creating games for our students. First, we must think of the content that is being taught or that needs to be taught. Choice is the open-ended game model that students love. We need to challenge the students, just like the twists and turns in video games.

Myth 2: If I give them a badge or points, my class will be gamified.
Many times, teachers play games in the classroom where the students earn points or badges as they play. We think that this is enough, my students are playing games and having fun. I have also been guilty of this. Giving points or badges is simply not enough. When planning a game, there must be a purpose, goals, micr-goals, risks, challenges, and of course socialization.

Myth 3:It’s easy for you. It won’t work for me because I teach ______________.
Let’s be honest. I hear this statement all of the time. This statement can be heard in all schools and for any topic. Whenever something new is introduced or admin wants teachers to implement a strategy, I hear teachers say, “It won’t work for me because…” Often times, frustration or being overwhelmed leads to this statement. Sometimes it is the simple fact of a teacher not having the appropriate training.
According to Michael Matera, saying that it won’t work for you because of a grade or subject you teach is untrue. Teachers should be asking themselves how to connect to their students, not can I connect to my students.

Myth 4: You need to be a gamer to gamify your class.
According to Michael Matera, you do not need to be a gamer to gamify your class. He says you should download some apps and start playing them. As you play the games, keep a notepad handy so you can write down the structure, goals, and challenges.

Myth 5: Students should want to learn; I shouldn’t have to dress it up!
I have heard many people say “Students should want to learn.” I have heard this said by teachers, parents, and by administrations. I’ve heard counselors and psychologists say that children should want to learn and shouldn’t need to be extrinsically motivated. Don’t we all wish that we had a full class of students who were instrinsically motivated. That all students showed up to school everyday ready to learn and wanting to learn. My son, who is 10 hates school. He constantly asks, “Can I stay home from school?” He hates school and completing work, but is reading on an 11th grade level. I wish that some of his teachers had read this book and at least attempted to gamifiy their classroom. I’m sure he would have been engaged and it would have made a big difference in his attitude towards school.

Myth 6: Gamification is just playing games…
Gamification is not just playing board games. When planning, you take the game elements like challenges and goals and layer them over your content and standards being taught.

Myth 7: Girls don’t game.
I don’t even think I need to address this myth. Many of my girls play video games and many adult women I know also play video games. Maybe if I played more video games I would be more relaxed, like my husband. 🙂

Myth 8: My classroom doesn’t have enough technology to make this work.
I love how the author explains how you do not really need technology to gamify your classroom. Gaming is a lot of socialization, which is tech free and costs nothing. He mentions that you can have a bulletin board dedicated to the game.

Myth 9: Games in the classroom are too much about competition.
I agree with the author when he states that a little healthy competition is good. Children learn to work together and work towards a purpose or to achieve their goal. I think part of the problem with society now is “Everyone is a winner” mentality. Children feel that they should be given something for everything they do. They should automatically get a ribbon or an award just for participating. Schools don’t want a child to feel bad because they did not win. As a result, we have children who do not know how to cope with failure.

I can’t wait to share chapter 3 with you!

Click on the picture below to go back to Sweet Sweet Primary’s blog and read what others have to say.
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Thanks for stopping by and saying hi,

Rachel

Explore Like A Pirate: Chapter 1

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Hi everyone!

Today I am really excited to be part of a new book study. We just started to read “Explore Like a Pirate”, by Michael Matera.

Today we explore chapter 1: The Call of the Explorer: Discover the Adventure that Awaits.

I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for new ways to engage my kids. I already have my students do tons of projects, partner work, group work, and play some games. But I started to think ask the question, “What more can I do?”

I have been teaching for 18 years in a New York City Public School. Over the years, I have seen curriculums, teaching methods, and whatever happened to be the fad at the time come and go. It really is heart breaking to look at your kids and see that glazed look in their eyes. That look that tells you… I am not paying any attention to you. One thing that hasn’t changed over the years is student engagement. The trick is finding what will engage your students. What worked well last year might not work this year.

This is why I turned to the book, “Explore Like a Pirate”. I am ready to really sit down and reflect on how I can better engage my students and still show my administration that the work happening in my class is “rigorous” (by the way, I really hate the word rigorous. Any time someone asks admin what it means, they can’t even give an answer.)

In chapter 1, Michael Matera speaks about how gamification is possible because all you need is creativity. We don’t have to worry about buying extra material or spending money out of our own pockets. YES! We can take our curriculum and the content we already teach and just an add extra layer to the top.

I have to be honest, I am a bit worried about the creativity part for myself and the students. I think the current education system has really stomped out any creativity. I find when I am planning lessons, I really have to sit down and think about being creative. My students…they are a totally different problem. There is very little play and creativity in our education system. Just look at our poor kindergarden students who really don’t get to play anymore. By the time they reach me in 2nd grade, the joy of learning is already on it’s way out of the door. When I tell my kids to use their imagination or be creative, they really struggle. They want to be told what to do. This is one reason that I picked up this book. I need to become more creative and engaged and so do my students.

My mind is already in a whirlwind and I have only read the first chapter. I am already thinking about how I can use gamification in my classroom in September. I am glad that I have the entire summer to read this book and reflect on my own teaching and engaging my students. I can’t wait to discuss the next chapter with you next Tuesday.

Thanks for stopping by and saying hi,

Rachel

Check out what others are saying about Chapter 1 by clicking the picture below!

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Take a Peek at The Learning Chambers


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Hey friends!  Today I’m really excited to be joining Katie from Pop Into Primary for her Take a Second to Peek into 2nd blog series.  Each month there will be a new featured blogger that you won’t want to miss.  Each blogger will be sharing a little about themselves and will also be putting one of their products on sale for two days.

I’m super excited because the first featured blogger is …. Stephanie from The Learning Chambers!


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One of Stephanie’s favorite products will be on sale September 25th and 26th only.  Her reading response flap journals are so much fun and a great way to have your students respond to the books that they are reading independently.

They are also differentiated because your students can use whatever book they are reading at the time.  They also include two different styles of writing lines.  You can click on the cover image to check them out in my store.
Thanks so much for reading all Stephanie from The Learning Chambers! Stop by next week to meet another featured 2nd grade blogging buddy!

Rachel

Oh Snap! It’s Almost October.

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Hi everyone! I can not believe that it is almost October already. We just started school last week and I am still getting to my know my kiddos.

One thing that I have learned about my kids so far is that they absolutely love math games. So today I am bringing you some spooky math games for only $1 for the next few days.

Ghostly Missing Addends

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Check out my other math games here to find more on sale for $1.

Thanks for stopping by and saying hi,

Rachel

Back to School Survival Kit

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Today I am sharing my Back to School Survival Kit that I received from Jennifer. First of all, I want to say thanks for Jen for sharing this fabulous survival kit with me.

I was so excited to receive my survival kit in the mail. It’s the little things that put a smile on my face.

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Jen sent my a beautiful card with a lovely message inside. Not only did she include a great message, but she included a coupon for a free cup of coffee!
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Jen is from Indiana so she sent me a little piece of her home state. I am always looking for a cup. This is perfect to keep in my desk.
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Who doesn’t love post-its?
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EEEkkk!! Flair Pens! Need I say more?
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Jen also included some Twizzlers and chocolate in my survival kit. I love keeping something sweet in my desk that I can grab quickly!

Thanks for stopping by and saying hi,

Rachel


Back to School Sale

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Hi everyone! Are you ready to go back to school already? I kind of am, but I am SO NOT ready. At least the Back to School Sale from TpT will help me. The sale is August 3rd and 4th. Don’t forget to use the code BTS15 for 28% off!

Today I want to take some time and highlight two of my products for you. One of my best sellers is my Charlotte’s Web Interactive Notebook.
The Charlotte’s Web Interactive Notebook has 23 interactive notebook pages for students to complete. It covers setting, point of view, character analysis, sequence, and character’s reaction.

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One product that I am looking forward to using is my Number Sense and Place Value Task Cards Bundle. I am always scrounging around looking for supplemental math material. This task card bundle aligns to my math curriculum but can be used to supplement any math curriculum.

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Task Cards Included:
1. Even or odd Task Cards
2. Addition with Equal Groups Task Cards
3. Value of a Digit Task Cards
4. Expanded Form Task Cards
5. Ways to Write a Number Task Cards
6. Ways to Show Numbers (base-10 blocks) Task Cards
7. Counting by 1’s, 5’s, and 10’s
8. Counting by 1’s, 5’s, 10’s and 100’s

What can’t you live without in the beginning of the school year.

Thanks for stopping by and saying hi,

Rachel


Oh, Snap! It’s Almost August Linky

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Hi everyone! Welcome to our first link up on Teacher Deals and Dollar Steals. Can you believe that we are getting ready for August?

I am bringing you my Back to School Task Cards. What better way to get to know your new students than with task cards? You can give each student a set of task cards or set it up like a game of Scoot. I love using the Back to School Task Cards as Scoot. It gives the students a chance to move around on the first day of school and gives you the chance the get to know your students.

Back to school Task Cards

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I am also getting ready for back to school with my Number Sense and Place Value Task Card Bundle. I absolutely love task cards and so do my kiddos. This bundle includes 8 different task card sets with 32 cards in each set. I don’t know about you… but I love to use task cards to groups or to play Scoot. I have a tiny, I mean large class. I have to make sure that if I do scoot or other games that I have enough cards to each of my students as they move around the room. This is why I include 32 task cards. Now I don’t have to worry that I am a few cards short and one of my kids are sitting there bored.

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Both the Back to School Task Cards and the Number Sense and Place Value Task Cards Bundle will be on sale for the next few days.

Thanks for stopping by and saying hi,

Rachel

You can check out some other great products below to help you get ready for August!

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