Creative Learning Zone Year 1 Reflection

IMG_0394This week as our school year ended, I gave out prizes, celebrated winners and thanked my amazing kids for being a part of The PERK, my class game. It was my first year creating and running a year-long gamified class. I did it for all of my classes (I teach both 6th and 7th-grade science). It did take extra work, planning (perhaps I should say scheming) and tracking, it didn’t always go as well as I would have liked it too and there were times, especially in winter where it really lagged, but looking back on it as a whole I can definitely say it was worth it.

I asked my students for feedback throughout the year on how I could improve the game, what they liked and what they think should be changed. Some students gave ideas, some volunteered to serve on a game council to provide more intense feedback on a regular basis, and some just happily played along. In the midst of all of this, there were also some that just didn’t want to join in. This last group would participate in the whole class activities but didn’t engage on an individual basis. The different approaches taught me a gamified class is just like any other class filled with a complete collection of unique personalities.

With the end of the year rapidly approaching, I asked my kids once more for feedback. There were two specific questions that I was most interested in.

  1. What 3 words would you used to describe this class
  2. What should I add to the game next year that will make it more engaging while providing opportunities for learning?

The responses were encouraging, surprising and empowering.

Some of the most repeated words:

Challenging, Amazing, Fun, Creative and Awesome. My favorite response from my 6th graders: “Creative Learning Zone” and my favorite from my 7th graders: “Unlike All Others”. These two put together say what I was trying to create all year, a “Creative Learning Zone that was not like all the others. I think I did that.


There were some great suggestions as well. Some I had already considered, and some that I had not. Surprisingly I had many requests for more side quests including one suggestion was that I roll them out each week or two. This really surprised me as not that many kids went on it my side quests (they were 100% optional), yet this request came up repeatedly. Perhaps if they were rolled out more often more people would participate. Something to consider. There were also suggestions that I have more power-ups, more levels, more Easter Eggs and easier to earn XP. One of my favorites: “Give really good curses for XP”. It was interesting to read the comments not only for the information, but it was easy to see the different player types in the comments.

I have collected the comments and suggestions in one document and put it with the feedback I gathered throughout the year. I have come to appreciate and celebrate that a class game is always in Beta, changing from one iteration to the next to better meet the needs of the kids. So before I close I think I want to share some of the things I have learned and some things I want to change:

I have learned:

  • FIRST: I couldn’t do this alone. My #XPLAP, #XPLAPcamp, and #Games4Ed PLN have been invaluable in making a difference for me. All of these communities are filled not only with amazing educators, but also people that want to share their knowledge and expertise so that others can make a difference for the kids in their classes.
  • I need to keep the game and narrative rolling and alive throughout the year
  • Not all my side quests have to be as elaborate as I was making them. Some just need to be a way for kids to feel successful and be celebrated
  • Gamification can provide ways to review content and a regular basis helping kids learn and retain important information (many of my kids caught on to this and suggested that we have more quizzes, battles and such to help them remember). It provides enough motivation to do your best, a safe place to fail and try again, and allows the kids to learn what they still don’t know so they can go back and learn it. #Formativeassessmentwin #retrivalpractice
  • Gamification requires more thought in planning than my teaching did before, but I and the kids enjoy the class more.
  • Gamification gave me a way to interact with my kids in a way that I haven’t been able to in the past. (This was huge as I am an introvert by nature.)
  • More kids enjoyed it than I realized.

Things I want to improve/change

  • A stronger narrative that I can keep up throughout the year.
  • More Easter Eggs (I want to do some that have multiple parts you have to collect)
  • Side quests of different levels of challenge that roll out on a regular basis.
  • Find a way to keep the progress of the game where the players can easily see it. (On a website doesn’t seem to be enough).
  • More unique badges
  • Find a way to drop a bigger variety of power-ups but not all at once, kind of a rolling rollout throughout the year.


I am confident there is more that needs to be tweaked, but it is a good place to start. In my final evaluation, my principal asked if I would be gamifying my class next year. I told her I don’t think I can go back to not gamifiying. It has been a wild ride at times, but I am so glad I got on.

I would love to hear from others what they are going to change or keep next year, even if it has nothing to with gamification. We are all better when we share and grow together.


Increasing the Happiness Odds

Happiness Odds

A couple weeks ago I read this blog by Eric Barker. He writes a great blog, “Barking Up the Wrong Tree”,  about “science-based answers and expert insight on how to be awesome at life.” I have to say I was immediately interested in his blog when I saw his image that said: “You will never know how boring your life is until someone asks you what you do for fun.” The blog, “How To Be Happy In Today’s Crazy World: 3 Secrets From Research” starts by sharing how many people in our society are dealing with depression. It is a great easy read with so much to think about, and so many ways teachers can make small changes to make a difference in this area.


This year my heart has been pricked multiple times as I have watched students, dear friends, family members and acquaintances struggle with depression and the stress and issues that come with it. Eric’s blog and the research that he shared got me thinking about my classroom and what I can do to increase the odds for happiness in my little corner of the world. I share these thoughts here to hold me accountable and that hopefully others will find some ideas on how they can increase the happiness odds within their sphere of influence.


Barker’s first suggestion was to increase your connection with people. Real connections, not just surrounding yourself with people that are also in the same place. As a teacher my kids are surrounded with people, but I don’t know that I am doing much to help them create connections. I have watched different elementary teachers be amazing at this. When she was in 5th grade my daughter was proud to tell anyone she was on Bigley’s team (@REDwhiteBIGLEY). Her teacher through activities and discussion had created a community giving the kids an identity by belonging. In Michael Matera’s book, Explore Like a Pirate he talks about how a huge part of his game is building the communities that come from the guilds. I do have a gamified classroom, and we have guilds and alliances, but the community hasn’t been as strong as I would like it to be. Next year I want to do a better job of creating a community for my kids where they can feel they are a part of something bigger when they enter my classroom. I don’t know how all of it will look, but I want to publicly celebrate the good in my kids more. Gamification has opened ways to celebrate the good the kids do, but i haven’t always done this publicly. Next year, not only will i make it more public, but I will invite the whole class to join me. This will be my start for an increase in community.


Eric’s next point was to connect with your intrinsic Values. Doing what you love, because you love it. Now in school that is a bit more challenging, because the standards need to be taught, but I can find more ways to let my kids have a say in how we meet those standards so that perhaps they can connect just a bit more with what they enjoy in my classroom.  This year I did allow them to have a voice in the challenge projects (where they go deeper in the subject based on their interest) and they had a voice in the game part of my classroom, but I want to increase this ownership more next year. I have been thinking about this, and I want to let them share at the beginning of the unit what they are excited about and then find ways to tie the stuff they aren’t as excited about to those topics so that more time can be spent doing what they want to do. I also want them to have more say in my game. I am not sure what that will look like, but I would like to have them share what they liked or would like to see again on a regular basis and let them build and expand it. It has been said, “The smartest person in the room is the room,” and that is so true when it comes to my classroom game.


Eric’s last suggestion was to connect with nature. I teach science in Texas. It seems to me it should be easy to take my kids outside more often or at very least bring nature to them. It doesn’t have to be a big thing or a major event. It could be a simple part of the lesson. Even if we don’t go outside, movement makes people happier. I need to get more movement and more outside inside my classroom. Between my topic and my game, if I plan it intentionally it really shouldn’t be that hard of a thing to add in.


Good lesson planning is about looking at what is best for the learners and intentionally putting things in place to increase the odds of success. Happiness not only makes life more enjoyable but also increases ability and capability. Purposely planning for connections, passions and movement, inside and outside, is a part of good lesson planning I am going to get better at. I would love you hear your ideas and plans on how to improve these things. I sincerely to want to make an improvement in all 3 for my kids.

Harnessing The Power of Student Voice Through Play!

My first year of gamification is nearing its end. I knew it would provide new opportunities for my kids, but what I didn’t realize it would give them is such a voice in what the class looks likes.

Just before Christmas, I created a google form for my kids to give me feedback on the game so far. I will be honest, I implemented some of their suggestions, but there were so many that I was overwhelmed with the volume and how to implement them. They liked the changes I made and felt some ownership when they saw their suggestion be a part of the game. It was good, but it wasn’t enough.

In February I started my “Game Council” It has been interesting to see how different kids have participated in it. My 6th graders wanted to be a part of it but on a very limited basis. They met one day and bombarded me with great ideas. I was typing as fast as I could to keep up with the speed of their thoughts. I invited them to come again, but they weren’t that interested.

7th grade has been a whole different experience. They have met every Wednesday I can let them and they aren’t done yet. They have organized themselves and given themselves jobs to complete to improve the game. They even asked for access to the information from the google form I used in December AND the 6th-grade document. They are VERY secretive about their plans, so at this point, I have only a vague idea of what they have planned. I have told them I need to approve it before we implement it, but so far they just keep working to create an amazing roll-out.  I am frankly excited to see what will happen. I will let you know when it gets unveiled.

Yesterday my kids had state testing. I knew they would be brain dead, so I planned a mini-game based on ideas I got from Carrie Baughcam’s video on mini-games. I had the basics in place and explained it to the class. As we started playing they asked me about different situations that came up. I looked at the student who asked and encouraged him to give a suggestion. He did, and we were off. From then on whenever there was a question, I asked for a suggestion. The end product had a bit of my plan and a bit of the students’ plan all blended together in one fun engaging practice.

I have thought a lot about that game, the game council and the google form. Each step gave the students more voice in the environment of their science class. Authentic student voice (not just the illusion of it) has always been a goal for me, but I wasn’t sure how to make it happen. Yesterday, as my kids were laughing and playing together (while we reviewed key science concepts I will add) I was blown away by how much voice my kids had in what that day looked like.


Gamification has not always been easy. I am learning along the way, and hopefully, my game is improving. The best part of it, however, is the hidden bonus surprises that I had no idea would turn out as good as they are. Most of these surprise gems are not the result of my careful planning, but the result of the game and the kids merged together in something so much better than I could imagine!

The Power Of Play (even when it is planned on the fly)

Recently I had my 6th graders share with me what their favorite activity we have done so far this year. We brainstormed together to help them remember, after all, we have been going for nearly 6 months. I thought of Boss Battles, some epic labs, and learning experiences. Many of these things were mentioned, but the thing that was mentioned the most surprised me. It was our “Rolling To A Healthy Ecosystem”. Catchy name, I know, but thankfully there is more to an activity than a name. We did this back in October, and they still remember it.

I was teaching levels of Ecological organization. I looked at what I had done in the past, what was available, and I just couldn’t find anything that really grabbed me. I wanted something that would lead the kids to discover what made a healthy ecosystem and the levels within it on their own, and I wanted it to be fun. I spent WAY too much time looking for it and most likely would have given up, but that week on #XPLAPcamp Mr. Powley, who runs the slow chat, was asking about creating games. I decided to create what I wanted.

Other teachers shared what they had done, and I had also been watching Micheal Matera’s videos series on dice and I decided to create something that hopefully would do what I wanted. With that, “Rolling To A Healthy Ecosystem” was born. It isn’t perfect, and as we went through it I thought of ways to make it better, but the kids weren’t aware of the imperfections, all they knew is that they were playing a game, racing against others to create a healthy ecosystem.

Rolling An EcosystemThe next day we did a Boss Battle Ecological Levels of Organization and many kids showed that they got the concepts. That was impressive, but the true gold came this week when they were reflecting on what they have enjoyed, not only did they remember the game, but they also remembered the science vocabulary they learned as they played it. The power of playful learning!

So, what have I learned from this?

  1. It doesn’t have to be perfect for the kids to enjoy it
  2. Playing a game to discover meaning is a powerful way to grasp concepts
  3. I need to plan more games for learning

In December I shared that it does take time and intention to plan a gamified classroom. The environment, theme, and activities all require extra effort. What I learned this time is that the effort is so very worth it.

Please share some fun learning activities you have planned that have made a difference in your classroom.

Not 1 Word, But 3 For Me

I often set new goals to work towards on my birthday complete with a scetchnote to give me a visual reminder of my goals. I will still do that, but since my birthday isn’t until August, and I like the idea of having a “theme” for my year.,  Many people have been sharing their “one word” for 2018. I have worked. Reflected and researched a great deal to find my “one word” and what I found is that I just cannot settle on one word. I just couldn’t find one word that captured what I want form 2018.

In her blog, The Compelled Educator, Jennifer Hogan shared her 3 words for 2018. She has been doing this for 5 years following the lead of Chris Brogan. I like this idea, so I too am picking 3 words for 2018

Word 1:


Life goes so fast, and there are so many things to do with each moment. Some of these things are better than others. I want to choose how I use these moments with intentional purpose. As a teacher, there are many activities and pedagogies I can choose to use with my learners. I want to choose them with a strong purpose behind them. This is my first year as an empty nest parent. This means my moments with my children are less than they use to be. I want to choose how I spend those moments with purpose. Purpose is a great word for me in all aspects of my life.

Word 2


People who are grateful are happier, get more done, and more fully enjoy life. There are so many good things that happen all around me each day. Unfortunately, some of them are overlooked or missed. I want to capture more of moments of my life with gratitude and appreciation for what they have added. This is also a word that can positively impact all aspects of my life.

Word 3


Like 98% of the world’s population, it is hard for me to go beyond my comfort zone. Unfortunately, my comfort zone is somewhat restricting. I am by nature an introvert, yet I have learned that reaching out to others enriches my life in remarkable ways. I have also learned when I push myself to do something that seems out of my reach I am able to develop new abilities and often come in contact with amazing people along the way. I want to reach out more in 2018. I want to reach out to old friends and new. I want to reach new areas professionally and personally. Like my other words, Reach is a word that can impact so much of my life in a positive way.

I don’t know if one word or three words are better. I think it depends on who you are, but for me, in 2018, 3 words seem to be the best fit.

What I’ve Learned Along The Way

I was listening to a podcast the other day, I wish I could remember which one but that is a fatality of my podcast addiction…Anyway, it talked about the importance of not only the end product but what is learned along the way. I started wondering what have I learned so far in my gamification journey and I decided to take a minute, stop and consider what I have learned so far this year as I jumped all in the gamified classroom. This isn’t an all-inclusive list nor is it in order of importance, but it does include some things that I want to remember and hopefully build upon.

  • Playful learning takes planning.
    • I have learned to look at my lessons through a different lens. I find myself not just looking for the learning or even the engagement, but I am asking myself, “Is it fun?” Not every lesson is a part of my game, but I am consciously trying to make every lesson more “fun” than it was before. The great news is, when the lessons have a greater fun factor they seem to stick at least as well, and very likely better than the old ones.
  • I and my learners are happier when my students we are in the mist of playful learning.
    • When I have a fun lesson planned I come to work excited to see how it turns out and excited to work with my kids on it. That excitement carries over into the classroom and throughout the day.
  • I connect with the best people as I plan playful learning.
    • You might have a great PLN, but mine is pretty amazing. My #scitlap crew helps me redesign specific standards while the #XPLAP and #games4ed community inspire me with new ways to add fun to my class as a whole. Together I am inspired and empowered with ideas, tools, and resources to try out and explore with my kids. I couldn’t imagine doing this on my own, and with my PLN I feel quite connected.
  • Relationships can be formed through play that would be missed other ways.
    • I have been able to connect with kids in a different way than I ever have before. This has given me a chance to not only work with them in my game but find out more about what is and is not working for them as they learn. A win for both of us
  • The PERK (my class game) gives kids another chance to shine.
    • I love rewarding my kids for their efforts. Through my game, I can give XP for pretty much anything I want to. Did you come to tutoring? XP for you! Did you push really hard to master a concept? XP for you! Are you showing caring for others? XP for you. I love the fact that many of the kids who are leading in my game are not my top academic students and some are the quiet kids who often get lost in the cacophony of school

I am sure there are more lessons I have learned, and more I have yet to learn. I have grown as an educator this year in ways I haven’t before and that is a benefit to me and my learners.

Please share some lessons you have learned in your education journey so far and the path that has taken you there.

The Power of Recognition

There are many things I like about gamifying my content, but last week I think I stumbled upon my favorite part so far. It is the opportunity to recognize whatever learners I want whenever I want and however I want. It is like my classes are a stage and I get to decide who the spotlight will shine on and the intensity of the beam.

This week we were finishing up our cell organelle unit. Through different formative assessments (including a boss battle) I realized that a number of my kids were still struggling with the content, so I pulled them aside to work with them in a small group while the rest of the class completed the assignment on their own.

One of the girls in my group was a sweet kid that just doesn’t seem to always give me her best effort. I realize there are many reasons why this could be, but regardless, she seems more interested in socializing and avoiding work than putting forth her best effort. But that day, in the small group, she started to really shine. She thought through questions, used her resources to figure out answers and went out of her way to support other learners. The new attitude was empowering not only for her but also for those in the group I was working with.

Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 9.15.06 PM

I have a simple badge I have titled, “On a Roll”. As you can see, there isn’t much to it. I designed it with the hope that it would 1.  appeal to middle school kids and 2. be something I could give to kids that weren’t getting badges for other things. I didn’t know how it would work, but I had hope.

As I worked with my group, I remembered my badge. I left the group for a moment, retrieved the badge and gave it to this young woman as I excitedly shared how impressed I was with the “roll” she was on. To be quite honest, I didn’t think she would care that much about it, but I was wrong.

The minute she got the badge a smile spread across her face and asked if she could go get her science notebook so she could tape it to it. (I have everyone tape their badges to their notebooks. I thought it would be one way to give the status reward of SAPS). I watched as this young woman’s attitude, demeanor and actions changed as the result of a little recognition. The next day when I saw her in the hall she smiled broadly and was sincerely glad to see me. Days later the bond that was formed still seems to be there.

That day this girl learned about cell organelles, but I learned the most. I learned it really doesn’t take that much to make others feel good about what they are doing, that a little recognition for something well done makes a big difference, and most importantly, EVERYONE deserves to be recognized for something. My new challenge is to find more reasons to recognize more of my hidden learners.

Please share with me how you find simple ways to recognize those in your classrooms who may not normally get much recognition.


Discovering Vocabulary #IMMOOC

I firmly believe every teacher is doing his or her best each day to positively impact the students who come into their classroom. Luckily for both the kids and the teachers, we can get better as we learn and grow. I think on of my biggest changes has been the way I approach vocabulary.

As any science teacher will tell you, science is RICH with vocabulary. Each unit has its own list, and sometimes those lists are very long. I know other subjects have their own lists and their own struggles and successes. As a new

As a new teacher, I diligently identified the top vocabulary in each unit. One of the first things we would do is copy down my carefully curated list and use the textbook to find out what each word meant, write it in “your own word” and use it in a sentence, all on a perfectly planned out worksheet. There are SOOO many things about that plan that makes me cringe now and want to find all my past students and apologize for the unnecessary and useless torture I put them through. I do realize that there are times when frontloading vocabulary is helpful, but for the most part, and even in those situations, I prefer other activities first.

I like to let my kids experience the vocabulary first whenever possible. When teaching about prokaryote and eukaryote cells, I first have my kids explore cells using the iCell App. Then from there, we can talk about what the cells they looked at have in common and what they don’t and from there we can get to “cell membrane, genetic material” as well as “prokayote and eukaryote”.

That is good, but I get really excited when my kids can discover their own meaning. The very best is when they can discover their own meaning and have fun while doing it. Recently I had a win in this. My 6th graders have to learn about the 6 kingdoms and 3 domains. I have had them research it, get the info from books/websites, lecture it and a multitude of other boring options. I hated that day and I am sure my kids did it as well. This year was different.

As a 6th grade team for my district, we have been meeting once a month to plan our units. This is an extra meeting we do by choice, but the return had been great. As we discussed the dreaded kingdoms, Lisa Coppick from a different school came up with and shared an idea. With very little tweaking, the 6 Kingdom Race was run. It wasn’t really anything extraordinary. Just simple cards with information hidden around the room the kids used to fill out a chart. Not all the information was given in the cards, so resources were given for them to use to research the missing links. From context clues and prior knowledge, they were able to discover the meaning of many of the vocabulary words on their own. It was a win on all fronts.

There are other fun ways to review vocabulary. Quizlet Live is one that my kids repeatedly ask for. (Warning: we have had neighboring teachers come ask us to quiet down. Fun can be noisy at times.) I never would have found the 6 Kingdom Race, Quizlet Live, or many other vocabulary games if it weren’t for the connections I have made beyond my room and school. These connections have given me the tools and knowledge to replace my frontloaded vocabulary with much better practices and both I am my kids are better for it.

Boss Battles and Retrieval Practice

True confession to start, I have become a bit of a podcast junkie. Don’t call me on my way into work, as I may be slightly irritated that you have interrupted my latest podcast update. I do pause it to walk into school, but if there are no kids around it goes back on until the final reflection is finished. I was especially impressed by Pooja AgarwaI on the Cult of Pedagogy when she talked about Retrieval Practice.  Her research was in a middle school classroom so she had my attention from the start. As she shared the results of her research and the power that came from low stakes retrieving of information, I knew this was a practice I wanted to implement immediately.

Not too much later I watched Micheal Matera’s Vlog where he talked about Boss Battles. I commented on this YouTube post and he shared with me a link to a past blog entry where he gave step by step instructions on how to set up and run a Boss Battle complete with ideas of how he uses various “Bosses”.  As I thought about both of these tools I knew they would fit perfectly together in my classroom.

I had already introduced a number of Non-Playing Characters (NPC’s) to my game, so it only made sense that we would battle one of them. My bearded dragon, Nessie, was in the midst of a partial shed, so she seemed the perfect “Boss” as no one wants a grumpy dragon around.

Using some of the techniques shared by Ms. Agarwal on retrieval practice I generated 5 questions based on concepts that we had recently studied. Then I put them into slides so the kids could see the questions as I read them.

Each kid got 2 chips. If they missed a question they lost a chip and earned no points. If they lost all their chips they became a “dead player” and moved into “Nessie’s Lair”. (I need to figure out a way they can escape the Lair, but that is for a later discussion.) If a guild (group) got a question wrong someone from the Lair had the chance to answer it. If they could, the guild lost points. If they couldn’t, the whole alliance (class) lost points.

Points were earned by answering a question correctly and rolling a dice to determine how many points that question would be worth based on the battle line Nessie set. To determine where your guild was on the  “battle line” each guild determined the average number of “powers” they had per student. If they had more than the battle line, they got to add 1 point to what was rolled on the dice. If they had less than the battle line they got one less point than what was rolled on the dice.  As we were battling Nessie as an Alliance (class) the final score was the average points of what all the kids got.

Even though only one class beat Nessie, nearly every kid was engaged and doing their best to get the right answer. That was a good thing, but the better thing was that on the quiz the kids took that week every class did better than they did in the past. The retrieval practice worked. Many kids asked for more “Battles” and almost as many suggested that I be the one they battle next time, so I am figuring that out for this week.

I am participating in George Couros #IMMOOC (Innovator’s Mindset Massive Open Online Course). The blog post prompt for this was to “Take one of the “Characteristics of the Innovator’s Mindset” and write an example of how you exemplify it in your own work.” I wasn’t really planning on blogging for the course, as I really want to reflect and improve my journey into gamifiying my class. but when I thought about how I was able to tie those two seeming non-related items together because of the connections I made and the reflection on how to put them together I was again impressed by the power that comes from reaching out and learning beyond your district. My kids were positively impacted by people they (and possibly I) will never meet. and that is a great thing.


Planning for Fun

I set out on the blogging journey as a way to reflect on how my game is going. Last time I was somewhat discouraged. Today, I am quite encouraged.

These last two weeks I have been more intentional about infusing my game into my content and class. I have added a color to my personal lesson plans where I write down how I plan to play with my kids that day. Sometimes it is a bit part of the day, sometimes just for a few minutes. Planning for fun has made all the difference. It gets me thinking about not only what I can do, but how I can make my plan something my kids want to do. I have had some near misses, but NO flops, so I am counting it a success! Below is a list of some of the more successful successes.


Screen Shot 2017-09-22 at 4.30.42 PM

Group formative assessments

After teaching a new topic, I want a feeling how many of my class members got it. I took a few problems that assessed what we did and passed one out to each group face down. When I said go, the kids worked together to complete it quickly and accurately. XP was awarded based on both criteria. All the kids were engaged and working together. I got data on where the class was, and as I walked around I could hear kids learning as their group members explained why an answer was correct.

Individual formative assessments

I used to create a simple 12 question quiz that assessed what we had gone over in class. It also addressed some misconceptions I saw developing during our lab. I set it up in homework mode for 24 hours and told the kids they could retake it as often as they wanted to. XP was given to the highest scores for each alliance. I wish quizizz would let me see how often a learner retakes a quiz, maybe it does and I am not aware of it, but the cool thing was two of the kids who got XP were my mid-level kids who just kept working at it until they got a better score. Score for them for persistence, and score for me for learning. (They now know that total magnification in a microscope is the ocular magnification times the objective lens magnification.)

Power Call Outs based on the Narrative

Using the theme for my game, life in a biodome, I thought of some possible events that could be part of my narrative. We had a delayed shipment, so those who had powers that dealt with supplies got XP. We had two cloudy days depleting our solar cells, so those who had powers dealing with storage or batteries got XP. We had a visiting scientist, so kids with a “shared data” or “new discovery” got XP. The fun thing about this is it got my kids back into my narrative. I was asked multiple times what a biodome is, to which I suggested research (after all, it is one of my Easter Eggs).

Speedy Scientist

I am convinced very few things create more work for me than late work. So I gave XP for assignments turned in on time. I really like this because the playing field is so level. Both my struggling learners and my academic superstars can get this XP. It wasn’t really an event, but an element I added to my game.


I am reviewing Explore Like a Pirate to remind me of ideas I marked for mini-games and brain breaks. (You can see it is well loved for quick reference)

I want to plan more of those in and re-try a few I have already done. I have given a Selfie sidequest that will take my kids right to an Easter Egg…I hope they find it. I have created a form on my website for my kids to add to my game. I have already had a number of request for a power where they impact me. (I guess that is next.)

I feel my game has grown and improved these last two weeks. I like the direction it is going and school was fun this week! I still have room to grow and would love to hear how you plan for fun. Please comment below so we can grow together.