Thursday, February 11, 2016

How Classcraft Changed My Classroom Management

I am a huge fan of video games and am no stranger to the fact that my students are too. So when I heard about a program called Classcraft that is basically gamifying your classroom management system, I was all for trying it out. I pulled up the website and started looking over tutorials to see if it is right for my students and I to use. 

The initial setup is a bit cumbersome, but once you get it done, the rest is easy. The thing I love about this game is that it is fully customizable. You make the rules, the rewards, and can add to the game as it goes on. It really is ever evolving. 

The first thing you do before even playing the game is have your students sign the Hero Pact. This pact says that they agree to play the game all semester (or year) without quitting and understand that the rules of the game can change at any time. Once that is signed, they will need to create characters (or you can do that for them) and customize them. The students will pick what class they are (Warrior, Healer, or Mage), male or female, and a skin tone. Once those are chosen, let the game begin!

At my school tardies are a big problem. So when one of my students comes in late, they get docked 10HP (Health Points). They also lose health points for disrupting class, not working on assignments, etc. Throughout the semester they do get chances to restore their health and gain additional XP (Experience Points). So far, my kids love this game! They are all about what they can do to get additional XP. 

Now for the big question. Does it work? In the first week that I introduced the game to my class, I went from 10 tardies through the day on Monday to zero on Friday. For a school where tardy policies are often adapted to make them more effective, this is a huge victory to me. As a whole, I have seen a marked improvement in my classroom. Behavior is better, kids are being held accountable by their teammates, and they are getting to class on time and staying engaged. 

I would absolutely recommend Classcraft to anyone looking to improve their classroom management. The greatest thing about it...There's a free version! The free version is a bit limited on what you can do, but it is still effective for class management. If you upgrade your account, you can give quizzes or boss battles on the game and also give your students assignments that will earn them XP. The full version is only $8 a month and $6 a month if you have more than 3 teachers sign up together.

I will be honest, maintaining the game and managing the adding of XP and subtracting of HP does add a little bit to my workload, but it really is worth it. You can even manage the game from the iPad app if you don't want to use a computer.

If you want to check out Classcraft for yourself, you can do so here.

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