Unexpected Benefits of Gamification in the High School Classroom

students blog

I have spent the last 6 days working on a detailed game plan (pardon the pun) for implementing Gamification in my High School Mathematics Classroom.  I must admit that I am really excited to get started with it next week.

During my planning, I realized that gamification was going to allow me to bring two important aspects to my teaching; aspects that are talked about a lot in education circles.

Perhaps the most dreaded words for a mathematics teacher are “Writing Across the Curriculum”, followed closely by “Real Life Skills”.  We all agree that these are both very important.  But we are already planning, teaching, assessing and grading as hard as we possibly can.  How can we add writing assignments (and grade them)?  How can we add more objectives to our already too long list of standards to cover?

One of the components of my Gamified Classroom is Achievement Points. Students earn AP Coins by performing extra tasks.  Some of the tasks are fun (and earn just a few coins).  But some of the tasks are aimed at getting students to do the things that I have been recommending for years.  You know, the extra things that will help to improve learning (and hence the student’s grade), the extra things that we want students to do without giving them a grade for it.  We think that students should just do these things because it will help them to understand and to remember.  But unfortunately, if they are not getting a grade for it, then they don’t want to do it.  And as mentioned above, I am already assessing and grading as hard as I can.  That is where the AP Coins come in.  Students do not receive a grade for these tasks, they receive AP Coins.  So students get an incentive without adding too much to my work load.

One of the tasks that students can perform to earn AP Coins is to write a weekly blog.  Students are directed to sign up for a blog at Kidblog and create their own writing space . “The blog should include things you struggle with, things you work hard on, cool things you have discovered, amazing insight that has been revealed! Whatever is in your brain about math or statistics, put it into your blog. Once you are ready, share your link in the wiki and earn AP coins for each week that you write.”
(Thank you Mr. Haselwood.)

As I continued working on my Gamification Game Plan, I saw the need to organize the record keeping for AP Coins, both coins earned and coins spent.  I had an electronic system worked out to keep the records for myself, but I realized that my students also needed to be able to keep track of their coins.  Aha!!  I could teach my students to use a checkbook register to keep track of their earnings and expenditures.  And I could even have them write checks for their purchases.  How’s THAT for real life skills? (Checks 1 Page)

So there you have it.  Thanks to Gamification, my students will be writing blogs and writing checks in my mathematics classroom.

If you like this or if you have any suggestions or variations, please comment below. 🙂
Follow me to see more ideas from my classroom.

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