Escape Room: Poetry of Walt Whitman & Emily Dickinson (Breakout EDU)

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PDF (5 MB|60 pages)
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Drive student engagement through the roof with this comprehensive Escape Room simulation in a race against the clock (and your classmates!) as students use knowledge of the poetry, biography, and literary impact of Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson to change the face of literature! Can you break the locks before the executors of Dickinson's Last Will and Testament see to it that her life's work is destroyed in the fire?

For a sneak peek of the sort of adrenaline rush your classes can expect from this activity, check out the iMovie activity hype trailer.


59-page .pdf slideshow with all printables, lesson plan, and escape room activity scenario planning documents for up-to 90 minute simulation -- with link to editable version of slideshow using Google Slides, featuring six print-and-play-today puzzles designed to challenge students' teamwork and collaboration abilities while testing:

+ Historical context of 1800s poetry

+ Close reading skills of Dickinson "Riddle Poems" (e.g. "I like to see it lap the Miles")

+ Biographical knowledge of Whitman and Dickinson

+ Walt Whitman-inspired clue search riddle

+ Close reading of primary source documents

+ Ability to identify and distinguish key elements of author's style across 20 unattributed excerpts

+ Web-based BYOD interaction with digital environment through the use of clues that come to life through FREE scannable app connections to reveal hidden thematic clues detailing settings, imagery, and symbolism in printed room decor.

+ Critical problem solving of physical puzzles through trial and error

Please note: this escape room scenario is designed to be compatible with the kit provided by Breakout EDU. Great people, FANTASTIC product, and I cannot say enough good things about how much I love their creativity, innovation, and student-centered classroom approach.

*(Note: Not ready for a full-class Escape Room? No problem. Teachers can use these same interactive puzzles as stand-alone activities to be completed in small groups across multiple days of the unit!)

+ Step-by-step walkthrough of the pedagogical rationales and instructional strategies behind each of the game's puzzles, mixing high-energy hands-on problem-solving, kinesthetic learning, and QR code scannable "augmented reality" activity. A sample: "Emily Dickinson’s poetry was fascinated with the notion of sight, including thematic discussion of “second sight” and repeated allusion to seeing beyond. This puzzle plays off of this idea of “sight beyond sight” through the use of hidden clues revealed through UV Ink, colored lenses, and augmented reality."

+Step-by-step teacher walkthrough of the solutions to all game puzzles.

+ Fully customizable .ppt download contains plug-and-play Escape Room scenario and review game that can be put in place TODAY if you're using the latest edition of the Norton Anthology of American Literature. If you're using another textbook, activities are highly adaptable and all puzzles / solutions can be modified quickly to correspond to the page numbers of your class's assigned textbook.

If you already own a Breakout EDU kit, this scenario can be implemented immediately. Don't own a Breakout EDU kit? Don't worry! The download walks you through how to build an "open source" kit of your own in minutes -- OR the entire game can be played *for free* simply by printing the puzzles and replacing the keyed locks with puzzle-specific passwords.

High energy, visually stunning, and fully immersive -- this is a class escape room done right. Driven by student collaboration, competition, and communication skills: it's unit-ending activity that your classes will NEVER forget.

Good luck with your escape room!

- John


Want more Escape Rooms?

Comprehensive End-of-Unit Escape Rooms designed for Breakout EDU:

Escape Room: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Escape Room: Death of a Salesman

Escape Room: Emerson, Thoreau and American Romanticism

Escape Room: Hamilton

Escape Room: Poetry of Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson

Escape Room: To Kill a Mockingbird

Shakespeare Escape Rooms designed for Breakout EDU:

Hamlet's Mouse-Trap

The Merchant of Venice: Shylock's Revenge

Romeo & Juliet

Or try a game-changing REVERSE Escape Room to break IN to a new unit (no Breakout EDU kit needed):

Get to know #QRBreakIN

Check out the entire lineup of #QRBreakIN REVERSE Escape Rooms

Total Pages
60 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
90 minutes
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