What are some pro tips for using Classcraft?
Whether you just started Classcraft or you’re a veteran, you may wonder what some of the best practices are when using Classcraft in your classroom. We put together expert knowledge from our team, as well as tips from our amazing community of educators. If you have other questions, feel free to post them on the Teacher Forums or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this article, you can find more information on the following topics:
- How much XP should my students receive every day?
- How much HP should my students lose on average each day?
- How many behavior presets should I have for my classes?
- How can I make sure my students are interested in Classcraft?
- What should I customize to make sure that Classcraft is perfect for my classroom?
- How do I make my quests awesome?
- How frequently should I use the Class Tools?
- How can I take the experience one step further?
- How can I minimize the time Classcraft is taking from teaching?
- How can I make sure students fulfill their pledges after they fall?
- How can I leverage the team aspect of Classcraft to its fullest potential?
- How can I involve parents?
There is no “one size fits all” answer to this question: It really depends on your students and on how much time you spend with them every week.
Ideally, your students should reach Level 10 to 13 by the end of the school year. This means that if you’re playing for a standard school year, your students should level up 1.5 times during any given month. With the regular settings, a student must earn 1,300 Experience Points (XP) to level up, but this may vary depending on several factors. On average, they should receive:
|Week (standard, 4-week month)||500 XP|
|Day (standard, 5-day week)||100 XP|
As these are average values, it’s likely that some students will level up faster than others. Very few students, if any, should reach Level 18, making it an exceptional experience.
After a month or two, if you feel that the students are leveling up too fast or too slowly, you can make changes to behavior presets so they award less or more XP, respectively. Be upfront about any changes with your students so that your expectations remain clear.
If you feel your students are not receiving enough XP, consider using game features like Boss Battles, Quests (you can even create additional challenge objectives), or the Grade Converter. You can find more information about awarding XP here.
On the other hand, if you feel like your students are gaining too much XP, you can focus on GP rewards instead of XP when using Class Tools and Quests.
There is no correct answer to how many Health Points (HP) students should lose or how often they should fall. When a student falls, all their teammates will also take damage, which can create a cascade effect.
Here are some tips for managing students’ HP:
All character classes have different HP maximums, or the most amount of HP they can have at one time. Guardians can take more damage (ie., lose more HP) than other classes before they fall; it’s part of the game balance. Damage values should range from -5 HP for minor misbehaving to -20 HP for major issues. Remember that, when using higher damage values, Mages and Healers have less HP and will fall faster than Guardians.
If many students fell recently or have taken too much damage, you can change the daily HP regeneration value or select a higher HP value after falling (the default value is 1 HP). Normally, students should be able to manage their HP without needing to automatically regenerate HP; however, this could prove helpful if your students are falling frequently.
You can use random events to regenerate some HP for every student or to bring them to a certain level. For example, you could have a random event that brings all students to 20 HP. Don’t forget that you have no control over when a particular random event will be selected.
When preparing your Boss Battles, remember that if a student answers a question incorrectly, they will take damage. As such, the damage value for each question shouldn’t be too high (e.g., if you plan a question worth 30 HP, if a student answers incorrectly, the student will lose 30 HP). There should be some room for error; collectively, students should be able to miss a few questions and still defeat the boss.
If most of your students have low Health Points or Action Points (AP) when you create a Boss Battle, consider disabling critical hits and misses in the options to have more control over the damage input.
Ideally, by the end of the year, students will be less likely to lose HP. They’ll have gained an understanding of the game mechanics and how important it is to help one another. Additionally, they’ll know to avoid behaviors that make them lose HP.
You should use as many presets as you can easily manage. Try to have 4-7 presets each for Health Points (HP), Experience Points (XP) and Gold Pieces (GP). This gives you room to add, remove, or modify preset values as needed.
Beyond having the right number of presets, you should make sure that your presets focus on the good and bad behaviors you actually want to encourage and discourage, respectively. You should feel comfortable adding presets at a later time and removing obsolete presets. Make sure that you keep your students (and other teachers at your school using Classcraft with the same students) aware of any changes.
Consistency is vital: When you add a preset value, make sure that you use it as soon as possible after you notice a behavior. This will ensure that there is a clear connection between behaving in a certain way and receiving XP or GP or losing HP.
Before you introduce Classcraft to your class, you should have a solid framework for your presets, powers, and pledges. To increase student buy-in, you can ask them for their input for game customizations. This will help them see the game as their own adventure. You can start by asking for random event suggestions (you can even create a form for it or offer students a reward if you add their random event to the game).
Students may also share ideas for behavior presets; remain receptive to their suggestions. If they are part of the game creation, they’ll feel even more invested in playing. If you notice that some powers are not interesting to students (for example, they never have the opportunity to use a specific power, or no student wants to use it), then you can ask what powers they would like to have instead.
You can also allow students to be Gamemaster for a day, either as a reward or by picking a random student. If you’re using Quests, you can build your backstory and your lore with your students to involve them in the creative process.
Don’t forget that if you’re passionate about using Classcraft, your students will be, too. The best way for your students to become interested is for you to be interested!
You can find more tips for getting your students interested in Classcraft here.
Customizing the game will require you to invest time upfront, but it will ensure the best, most engaging experience for your students and yourself.
First, make sure that the powers all work with your class and the age group of your students. Some powers may not be appropriate for younger students (such as bringing a cheat sheet for an exam), for older students (such as sitting with friends), or simply within your classroom or school (such as having more time to hand in homework if you’re not giving homework). The same goes for pledges.
When you create powers and pledges, keep in mind the behaviors you would like to encourage and discourage in your class. If you want to focus on SEL and positive interactions, you could create pledges like the following: “Say one nice thing about every student in your class.” Adapt pledges to your students and classroom.
Quests can be used to support your lessons and offer a self-paced, personalized learning experience for your students.
There are several ways to use Quests. Most commonly, teachers create a quest to correspond with an entire lesson plan. Your quests can be linear, meaning all students will follow the same learning path and complete the same objectives, lesson activities, and assignments. Alternatively, you could create branching paths so that students experience the lesson differently depending on their mastery of the subject at hand and their unique skills, interests, and learning needs.
You can also choose to use quests only for extra-credit challenges. This way, students can choose to complete quests to obtain more information on a subject and earn extra XP or GP. Rewards will motivate students to complete quests, even if they are not mandatory.
Whether you make quests optional or mandatory, you can use them to instill a sense of discovery, personalize students’ learning experience, and introduce a narrative to your class content. This will boost student interest as your lessons will be the backdrop of their very own adventure.
Here are a few tips to help you make amazing quests:
Create a backstory and a universe for your students to explore.
Include a story (like in a choose-your-own-adventure) in each quest, tying your quest to your backstory and making your students feel like heroes on a journey. Here’s a great example of one teacher’s quest story. You can import her quest here.
Create different types of challenges and assignments for your quests and vary the objective types to create a sense of surprise.
Use branching paths to personalize learning experiences when needed (giving more exercises to students who struggle in a given subject, for example).
Use branching paths to personalize the story when personalized learning is not the main focus (for example, students could choose between “Explore the cavern to find a way out” or “Turn back and climb the mountain to find a vantage point”).
Don’t forget that you can find quests shared by teachers on the teacher forums, on the Quests Marketplace, or on social media (and follow our hashtags: #QuestOfTheMonth, and #QuestShare). You can import quests directly to your account and modify them to suit the needs of your class. Don’t hesitate to share your own quests, too! Other teachers could be looking for exactly what you created.
The frequency at which you’ll use the different tools depends on your class and on how comfortable you are using Classcraft. A good way to get used to the Class Tools is to start each day with a random event. You’ll capture your students’ attention, shake things up, and experience unique moments with them.
Boss Battles are great for formative assessment, and they will ensure that every student has a chance to use their powers as they can suffer damage from an incorrect answer. This will give everyone an opportunity to shine and gain XP from using collaborative powers. Boss Battles are best suited for exam review, but you can find other ways to use them, such as for a fun trivia break. It’s a good idea to use them once a week or so, depending on how much time you want to invest.
Everyone gets the XP and GP reward for a Boss Battle. You can even ask all students to participate by using whiteboards or by selecting random teams to answer questions rather than random students.
You can also encourage students to give one another kudos (like by taking 5 minutes during the day to send kudos). You can set the amount of XP and GP students will be rewarded with for sending and receiving kudos.
If you’re using the Premium version, you can reward students with Gold Pieces (GP) through quests and different Class Tools to make the game experience even more enjoyable.
There are several sets of gear that students can buy for their character and show off. You can also supplement this with your own class store where they can purchase items that you create. These items could have an in-game effect (such as potions restoring Health Points (HP) or Action Points (AP)), provide one-time-use privileges (such as not having to fulfill a pledge), or be real-world items (eg., pencils, erasers, stickers, etc.). You can ask your students what they would like to see in the store. They will have ideas!
If you feel like all of your students have reached a point where they’re comfortable with the game and are breezing through it, you could ask them if they want to increase the difficulty level. This could equate to you giving less XP, removing the HP and AP regen, having more Boss Battles and quests, setting time limits for lesson exercises, and so forth.
It’s possible that you have little time to dedicate to Classcraft each day. In order to minimize the management time required by Classcraft, you can:
Use random events at the beginning or end of the class to avoid disrupting the flow of class.
Use the mobile app on Android or iOS to keep track of points throughout the day or use the Chrome extension to easily manage points from any tab.
If you can’t use the mobile app, keep track of points and powers throughout the day on a spreadsheet or in a notebook. Tally the results at the end of the day or at the beginning of the next class if you want students to witness changes in the Experience Points (XP) and Health Points (HP). If you do this, make sure to let students know when you’re giving or removing points and why so that they still get feedback.
Ask students to use the powers that have no direct impact in class (healing, regenerating AP) on their own time and handle only powers that have a direct consequence (opening a window, switching places, bringing a cheat sheet to an exam, etc.) during class or that need to be used by the teacher (eg., Protect).
Deal with damage and powers at the beginning of your class.
To keep track of points during class, you can also select a student who will act as the interim Gamemaster (sometimes called the “Hand of the King”) and use your account to give XP to the students who earned it. Even though you can track points through the game feed or Analytics, make sure to select a trustworthy student and to let them know that it’s a privilege. You can choose a different student each day or a student who is particularly good at multitasking to be the Hand of the King for a longer period.
This will free up time for you and also make students feel more involved in the game. You can create a HP preset in case students act out while being Hand of the King.
When a student runs out of Health Points (HP), they fall. When a student falls, they will receive a random pledge. You’ll have to decide when the pledge has been completed: This process is not automated. As it doesn’t affect students’ gameplay experience, they may feel like they don’t need to fulfill their pledges. This may cause issues as students may simply refuse to acknowledge or complete their pledges.
If this occurs, you may want to consider marking students as “absent” until they have cleared their pledges. This means that they won’t get XP from Class Tools, that they won’t be picked by the Wheel of Destiny, and so on. Also, you may want to prevent any student with an outstanding pledge from using their powers. Depending on your students, you may prevent them from earning Gold Pieces (GP) or even remove their GP. (We do not recommend removing XP.)
In cases where students categorically refuse to fulfill pledges, it’s possible to temporarily remove them from their teams by placing them onto a team of their own. If they wish to come back into play, they’ll need to fulfill their pledges.
If you notice this is an ongoing problem, consider modifying the pledges to something the students can complete in class or while being supervised, like cleaning the desks during lunch, leaving last from class, or losing all AP. You can find more examples of pledges and share yours on the Teacher Forums.
Teams are an important part of Classcraft, and balanced teams will change social dynamics in your classroom. Create academically and behaviorally balanced teams of four to five students. Avoid creating teams of friends and instead create teams with students from different social circles and backgrounds. This will teach them to work with different people, a skill they can use for their whole life.
Students should decide which character class they want to play as; however, make sure that each team has at least one Mage, one Guardian, and one Healer. You can learn more about creating teams here.
Collaborative powers are great for promoting teamwork. They benefit the whole team and grant a certain amount of XP to the player who used it. There are some default collaborative powers in-game; however, you can create new ones that would best suit your classroom.
When students fall, make sure you give the team enough time to react. If necessary, reiterate that students will earn XP for helping out their teammates using collaborative powers. You can also create pledges that affect the whole team indirectly to increase student accountability (such as the student who fell losing the ability to use powers for a period of time).
Random Events, Quests, and Boss Battles can be used as a way to bring teams together. Create random events that affect teams rather than students to foster collaboration (such as giving XP to all members of the team who can come up with the best poem) or that will build relationships within the team (such as letting each team choose who should get 100 XP). When creating a Boss Battle, select random teams for each question rather than random students. You can also create quests with tasks requiring teamwork or use branching paths to give each team member something specific to do.
If your students are sitting in groups, you can have them sit in teams and do classwork in their Classcraft teams. Make sure that you reward collaboration (you can even create a behavior preset for it!) and highlight any hero moments in your classroom.
Involving parents in the Classcraft adventure will make them feel as though they’re part of the game, create a connection between you and them, and foster a shared experience with their child. You can present Classcraft to your students’ parents during a conference to explain the process and benefits of gamification and make them feel involved. You may prefer to send home a copy of the parent handout for them to read. Once you start using Classcraft with your students, invite parents by providing them a handout containing their parent code or by emailing it to them.
Regularly communicate with parents through the Messaging system. Messages may seem less formal than emails, and they’ll get the conversation going with parents. You can use messages to send pictures, inform parents of good and bad behavior, inquire about how things are going at home, etc.
If your whole school is playing Classcraft, the Analytics will help you keep track of student behavior (good and bad), which is great for formal conversations with parents (such as during parent-teacher conferences). The Student Overview serves as a great visual support to discern patterns in behavior and discuss with parents ways to address their child’s issues. At any time, a parent can sign in to their account and see what’s happening with their child (when they gain XP or GP, lose HP, learn or use powers, etc.)
Parents can set Gold Pieces presets on their account and give their child up to 15 GP per day to buy gear for their character. This creates a connection and shared experience between them and their child. In your class settings, you can even increase the number of GP available to parents to 200!
When they create an account and link it to their child’s account, the student will obtain baby griffin pets. Mentioning this to students is a great way to get them to ask their parents about joining Classcraft!
You can learn more about parent involvement in Classcraft by watching our webinar on “How to Increase Parent Involvement in Your Classroom.”