Classcraft and middle school



Share your ideas here!

- Mélysa Fréchette, Community Manager, melysa@classcraft.com


Anyone need help making Classcraft fun and appropriate for the middle school age? I've been using it with my classes for several years and slowly tweaked it based on my students feedback. I'd be happy to share specifics if anyone needs help.

I would love help getting started...

I teach 6th grade science and just introduced CC on Friday. Students were able to log in and choose their avatars. I have tried to add behavior points this weekend and try to get a better understanding of the game but I am really having a hard time. 

I have noticed several classes use the Random Events to get started but I am not even sure what those should be - I am not good with chaos but like for the students to be engaged and excited.

Any suggestions for a newbie teacher, students, and parents who have never been exposed to CC are greatly appreciated. 

Thank you!

@Donna -

Absolutely happy to help. I'm going to try and imagine what a science teacher would need for their behavior settings:

  • + XP for leaving lab space spotless
  • + GP (or just XP if you don't have premium) for cleaning up someone else's lab space
  • + GP/XP for sharing science news
  • - HP for equipment abuse

Those are just a few, but if you need more I can try to help. As for the "Random Events," those are really just meant to kick off the class period. You can use some of the pre-loaded ones, but adding more that fit your class or the middle school age group can really hook kids in. If you don't mind the truly random, throw some pop culture references in there like superheroes, video games, tv characters, and make little simple trivia questions. If you want to make it more relative to your content, you can do some that are science themed (for example: "Name all the planets in order of closest to the sun for 100 XP. Lose -5HP for every one out of order," "A random player must explain the water cycle." "Thrown out of orbit - Everyone must get up and move around the room until "gravity" comes back, at which point you must sit in the closest chair for the rest of the period."

I hope these help. Please let me know if you need any more!

Love the random event ideas!

My biggest learning experience (as with any classroom management) is to make sure you are very cut and dry at the beginning of the year so students know your expectations (aka, take away health, even if it's a minor offense that falls under the category). Then they'll understand what could affect them. Middle Schoolers HATE losing health. Also make sure you make a point to reward them in real time for the various XP bonuses you decide to give. After they understand the connection between the behavior and the XP, you can just do it at the end of your work day so you're not glued to your computer. 

Just my thoughts! 

Great experiences already:

Just this week I noticed one team pushing a student to up his behavior because it was affecting the rest of them. And he did start making a positive change. And on another team one boy came to me and quietly pointed out that this was probably going to make a big difference in how some of the kids were treating each other, if some kids had the power to actually "do" something when they were mistreated, rather than just allowing it to continue.  I was really surprised, but I loved it that he noticed, and we could make that change.

What are some sentences you set 

My sentences are typically split between entertaining and educational. On the entertaining side of things, I have "Act out your death scene," "Write about your death in the Book of Lost Souls" (a composition notebook I keep on my desk for entertainment), and so on. As for the educational, since I teach music, I have students listen to a song of my choice and write a review/feedback, perform a scale or two of my choosing, and so on. Depending on the subject, you can pick something small and routine that would benefit the student OR something that would push them to explore the content further.

Hello,

I didn't know where exactly to post this so I am going to post it in a few spots.

I have been using classcraft for about two and a half years now. However, I find myself giving out way to many points at the end of the year because my students are so far from the higher levels. That being said, I am in the same rut as I was last year. So my question is about the pacing of giving out xp or about how much xp should I have between levels? 

To give some information, I am a 7th and 8th grade self contained teacher. My students are 1:1 iPads. I teach most of the subjects and have the same students all day for the entire year. If more information is needed I will provide it. 

@Sam Schneider

Great ideas! I asked my 8th graders for some some silly ideas. One I really liked was "Banished to the Isle of Time Out till it be morrow." They have to go sit in an island desk and lose the opportunity to work with friends for the period. (Some of them actually enjoy this.)

 

@Corwin Ryck

I've been juggling the same thing with my middle school students as well. My 6th graders only have my class for a quarter, the 7th graders for a semester, and 8th grade for the year. I would roughly track how long it took for the 6th and 7th graders to get enough XP for the powers. Ideally, you want the best few students to get all the powers, or go above and beyond that. Otherwise, the game isn't encouraging enough for the lower leveled students just underneath them. 

One trick I tried was to see how much XP I generally give everyone the opportunity for per day, and then multiply that by the number of school days. You probably want it so that if students came to class and did all the work, they could maybe earn two thirds of the powers. The students that go above that amount by doing the extra assignments/rewards could earn the top powers/all the powers. 

Hopefully that helped a little...if not, I'm interested to hear what you figured out!

@Corwin Ryck I tried using the automated "Settings Wizard" (I think it's now labeled "Set Game Duration") feature in the Game Rules section and it sort of worked. My 8th graders meet every other day for the full year (about 90 class sessions), so I have them level up at 1000 XP and they earn 100XP per day (if they're well behaved and participating). That means they would theoretically be guaranteed about Level 10 just from being in school. Afterwards, they can get bonus for various behaviors, projects, and random events. Not every homework equals XP, and so usually the students that care to play the game and advance end up near level 17. 

@Sam Schneider

Hello! I am a 6th grade social studies teacher who is interested in using this in the fall with my students. I have four classes of 25-32 students. How do I manage rewarding students points? I have a personal ipad I could use but I also will forget who I gave points to at the end of the day. Thanks for any feedback!

@Jane Kenyon

 

Hey Jane! I'm Stella. I taught 6th Grade Science last year and was a first time user of Classcraft myself. One of the ways I LOVE to give out XP is when I'm using the "wheel of Destiny and the students are answer a question (think bell ringer and/or exit slip). Another favorite is through the random events. If I am giving points to a student at a different time I usually use my smartphone and only give XP during times that I am walking around. My class sizes are similar to yours. I think the best advice is to just play around with the platform and get comfortable with it. Tell the students that it's not only new to them,  but to you as well. They'll have so much fun with it that they'll be patient while you all learn. 

If you have Twitter, DM me on there (@stella_pollard). I would love to set up a Google Hangout if you would like some assistance that way. Best wishes to you as you embark on this AMAZING new journey with your kiddoes. They'll never forget your class. :) 

I use it for 7th and 8th grade students and they love it.  I find the use of the tools almost magical as we go through the class.  The students are more engaged and I make quests that are cross-curricular so that they stop departmentalizing classes and can use knowledge from other classes to better themselves in the real world.  Classcraft has been a great answer to my issues I have been having.

@Justin Furnell. I'd love to hear more about the cross-curricular aspect!

Email me at jfurnell@legacyprep.org and we can swap contact info and I can tell you all kind of fun stuff

I am teaching middle school next year and will have students for 45 minute periods. I am teaching computer science technology (rockets, ag, circutry, robotics etc) as such I will have lab stations and students working in pairs on different projects. How can I utilize CC in that situation? I foresee me starting off with random events some warmup or transitional work but given the time and work I am unsure of how I would use the program and what rewards I can set. Any help is appreciated

@Joshua - There are a couple ways you can use CC to help you out. Random events are genuinely random, so you might be able to throw in some that are content related and take out the ones you don't want to deal with. It's a great "Do Now" activity generator to just have it on display when your students come in (or you can wait until they're in the room for the thrill of the reveal).

The biggest thing I'd recommend is build a bunch of quests for each of your projects. If you're going to force students into certain projects or you're going to have a "choose your own" style class with different stations, you can lay out the steps of each project as tasks of a quest. You can set it so students can control their own pace and you check in at the end, or so you control the pacing and need to approve them to move on to each step. I've mentioned this to other users too that this is more about content delivery and pacing, not about grading, so if a student doesn't complete a step correctly you can send them back to fix it before they make things worse.

Powers are a little bit more about how you want to run your class. Personally, my powers give the kids a little bit of a chance to slack off without punishment (because my 8th graders aren't the most motivated when the internet is available to them). You might want to make them about turning in assignments past the due date, getting help on certain steps of projects, answers on tests, etc.

Lastly, rewards (and punishments). I'm ALL about promoting positive behavior with Classcraft. I give GP (Gold Points) for kids that show up before the bell. I offer XP when students help each other out (unprompted by me). I give modest amounts of XP for participating in class discussions. Then on the negative side of things, I deal damage for students being late, distracted, disruptive, etc (and only do actual discipline referrals for gross infractions or repeated offenses... don't tell my admins). When students lose too much health, I've got some fun punishments (act out your death scene, write a letter describing your death), some curriculum related punishments (I'm a music teacher, so typically its an extra listening assignment), and I'm going to add an idea I saw on these forums: constructive punishments where students have to help clean up the class, straighten chairs, etc.

I've got more ideas too and I'm happy to help tailor them to your needs.

I'm using Classcraft in the fall (for the first time) with my Double Accelerated 8th graders in a math classroom (Geometry). My main concern is not "overstuffing" the story with extension level materials, as the class is flipped and I assume students are working diligently for 50(ish) minutes every day in class and 15 minutes every day at home. I'm trying to limit each lesson to: 

  1. A flipped video and/or a guided reading
  2. Student practice where students complete 2 out of 4/5 activities to practice
  3. "Growth-work" (homework)
  4. Enrichment for diligent workers 

Seems reasonable? Thoughts? Comments? Ideas? Suggestions?

@Robert -

My classroom is mostly flipped too, but I base my quests/stories off of overall units rather than a quest/story per day. Each step of the quest is an expected daily assignment and the quest end corresponds with the end of a unit and a summative assessment or assignment.

Your daily class structure seems like they would make GREAT steps within a quest though and I would applaud you if you pull off the daily quest/story because it just seems like a lot of work setting it up. There are people that do things that way and find success, but if your students are at all like mine they will complete a task and then say "I'm done for the day" and stop working there. To combat that, I make completing the overall quest a completion grade with a deadline and penalties for being late (great gradebook padding if you need it) and they earn XP for hitting those deadlines. Each individual task is graded like a normal assignment (in the gradebook only) based on their performance.

 

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