Saturday, September 10, 2016

In which I jump feet first into Classcraft

Over the summer I attended EdCamp Magic in Orlando, FL. During the door prize section of the day, my pal Amber (@edtechamber - follow her, she's full of good) won a Premium Subscription to Classcraft, a service that she didn't need in her position. So quickly, I adopted the not-as-subtle-as-it-thinks-it-is "share the treats, please?" pose that my dog gets when I open the cupboard. When she asked me if I wanted it, I was all yes.

Classcraft is kind of like Class Dojo meets Dungeons and Dragons. It has more of a story to it, and more of a collaborative feel, as students work together in teams. 

As this school year has started to pick up, my kids and I are really enjoying it so far. Rather than writing in order, and getting all organize-y, I'm just gonna throw out some things that pop into my head as I think about how things have worked in class:
  • One of the things I like is that like Class Dojo, we've been able to tailor consequences and rewards to our class needs. The kids brainstormed what they wanted to count to make class run smoothly. Student voice works nicely with Classcraft
  • The team structure allows encourages students to help each other. They gain experience points for being helpful. Additionally, when you get into trouble, a student on your team can help you out of trouble. This gets you back on track, builds strong team bonds, and gives experience points to your helpful teammate (so they can level up faster). 
  • Another compulsion to be helpful: If one of your teammates causes enough problems to lose all of their hit points, they "fall in battle." The offending teammate has to complete a task to refresh their hit points, but additionally, everyone on the team loses ten hit points. 
  • One of the add ons that I've used with Classcraft is in the consequence section. When you fall in battle, you may have to memorize and recite a poem for the class, you may be asked to bring a treat in (I stress that singing, dancing, or joke telling count as treats just as much as cookies or candy), or you may be asked to copy a text. If the student has to copy a text, they get our school's mission statement to copy. It's not terribly long, and there's choice here: I allow students to choose how many times to recopy it. I award ten refreshed hit points for each time the student has recopied the mission. 
  • Random Events: One thing in the game that kids love (and love to hate!) is the presence of random events. If I tell them it's time for a random event, some get all happy, while others moan, "Noooooooo!" I press the button, and we learn that all healers just got 200 experience points (a cheer goes up!), or all the warriors just lost 20 hit points (sad faces and moans!). Every time, some kids ask for another, and others, again, say, "No, no, no!" The engagement is awesome.
  • One piece of classroom management I've always had trouble with is noise. I'm pretty easy going most of the time, but when it gets too noisy and I need it quiet for a moment, I have difficulty reining it in. With Classcraft, I've added in some outside sound effects and danger to warn them of noise. I found a dungeon soundboard online (shoutout, Tabletop Audio!). When it gets a little too noisy, I hit the Growl button (volume on LOUD), my eyes get really big, and I say, "Oh no, I think we're traveling past some Orcs (or dragons, or some other beasties)!" and the kids quiet down. If that doesn't work, I hit the Roar button on the soundboard, and then the Random Team button on Classcraft, "Oh no, the Magical Mountains just got attacked by a band of Orcs!" I roll a die and add on that they each took that much damage. It works, and it's fun, even when we get hit.
  • My kids love getting their work done early. "Can I go on Classcraft?" they like to see how close they are to leveling up, or to using class earned gold to buy new armor. 
  • Because we have the Premium version, I'm able to create Quests to review content, and then we can go on the quest as a class by battling a creature. One thing I'd like to see, though, is the ability to assign the quest to individuals. Wouldn't it be cool to use the quests as online quizzes? Fingers crossed that I just don't understand that function, or that it's coming...
  • There's also a Classroom Content Library that you can add readings to, but I haven't played with that yet. 
I'm sure there's much more I could go on about, but my brain is dwindling from a lack of movement. Clearly, we're loving Classcraft. (My AP said, "My only question, who's having more fun, you or the kids" I smiled and said, "Yes," because we're all enjoying the heck out of it so far!)  Now, if you have cool Classcraft ideas, share them below! If you have questions, share them in comments.  

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for writing Shawn. I am working on blogging about my experience with Classcraft as well. You have some great ideas I would like to add in.