Ethan Frome REVERSE Escape Room! Break IN to a New Unit with QR Codes!

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PDF (112 KB|24 Slides, 2 Page Instruction Manual, 2 pages of Vocab Terms, 20+ Note Cards, 2 timed quizzes)
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Imagine a class Escape Room in REVERSE. Where student teams compete to break IN to a new unit of study, teaching themselves by solving asynchronous BYOD puzzles in a race against their peers and the clock.


I've had a ton of fun designing and implementing themed escape rooms in my HS classes, but for as AMAZING as class escape rooms and tools like Breakout EDU can be (for real, they're fantastic!) -- I've found the traditional escape room to be somewhat limited when it comes to its functionality in ensuring that all students receive access to all puzzles. This posed a real challenge when using escape rooms in place of traditional lectures to introduce new content that could be delivered in such a way that every student would get the same level of access to new materials.

So I wrote a new pedagogy for using a timed team-based competition model for classes to be introduced at the START of a brand new unit. Think of it as a REVERSE Escape Room (or a caffeinated update on old-school "centers") designed for pre-teaching nine different concepts simultaneously through asynchronous problem-solving by using devices in small groups. Capturing the fun and excitement of an escape room, while self-pacing and pre-teaching content in a way that moves more efficiently through all of the material you'd otherwise have to cram into a "Death By PowerPoint" lecture.

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

Welcome to #QRBreakIn!

No physical locks to set or boxes to keep track of. With a ticking countdown and an overhead leaderboard so EVERY student will complete EVERY activity -- and find themselves genuinely excited to do so! This REVERSE Escape Room is designed to help your students “Break IN” to the world of Ethan Frome through a series of timed challenges, team puzzles, and self-paced unit pre-teaching activities. It is designed to introduce students to key elements of setting and symbolism by creating an themed sense of suspense, intrigue, wonder and excitement for a full unit of novel study while student teams compete and self-pace their way through NINE separate pre-teaching activities asynchronously, building background knowledge and checking with the teacher as each new challenge is completed to standard.

Students will need BYOD or one-to-one devices with free QR scanner apps installed.

There are nine themed puzzles in this game (plus one enrichment activity), testing the following skills by using a mix of traditional handwritten notes and discussion, websites, and these free mobile apps:
• THE SMASH UP: Reading Comprehension (Quizizz)
• THE FARMHOUSE: Video Reflection (Flipgrid)
• THE ICE: Symbolism (Microlab Discussion)
• ETHAN’S SLEIGH: Character Analysis (Sketchnoting)
• THE OLD SAW MILL: Unit Themes (StudyBlue)
• FORGOTTEN BOOK: Video Trailer (HP Reveal)
• THE DRONING VOICE: Vocabulary (Sporcle)
• THE MAIL DELIVERY: Close Reading (Google Forms)
• ZEENA’S MEDICINE: Historical Context (Handwritten Notes)
• STARKFIELD: Setting (Enrichment Activity)

+ 2 page game instruction manual

+ 25 fully illustrated Google Slides with all printables and escape room activity scenario planning documents for up-to 90 minute simulation

+ Access to 20+ electronic flashcards for any American Realism unit

+ 50 text-specific vocabulary words and definitions

+ Two timed quiz activities, testing close reading and vocabulary

*(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 app-based augmented reality activity. A sample: "Use the augmented reality app to scan this artifact and find the hidden video.
• At what timestamp does the dish shatter?
• What are the last lines that Ethan speaks in the trailer?

These two answers combine to form your password. Share the password with The Narrator to proceed!."

+Step-by-step teacher walkthrough with sample work products and to how to set up accounts and activate all game puzzles.

+ Fully customizable Google Slides download contains plug-and-play Escape Room scenario and review game that can be put in place TODAY if your students have device access and are just starting this timeless novel. Likewise, includes instructions on how to modify any puzzles to your course needs (including strategies for classes using laptops) -- creating incredible versatility and flexible re-use.

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 a START OF UNIT activity that your classes will NEVER forget.

Good luck with your escape room!

- John

*PS: While I really cannot say enough great things about BreakoutEDU, please note that this product is in no way affiliated with, designed for, or endorsed by BreakoutEDU. Two totally separate products with two completely different instructional aims. BreakoutEDU is run by awesome people with an fantastic class-based Escape Room product, where students collaborate with classmates to divide & conquer and break out of a themed escape room scenario. #QRBreakIN games use the same timed spirit of competitive play to "break IN" to a new unit, which ensures that ALL students have the chance to work on ALL puzzles.

Want more Escape Rooms?

Comprehensive End-of-Unit Escape Rooms designed for BreakoutEDU:
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:
Hamlet's Mouse-Trap
The Merchant of Venice: Shylock's Revenge
Romeo & Juliet

Or Break IN to a Brand New Unit with a REVERSE Escape Room using QR Codes!
A Farewell to Arms REVERSE Escape Room
As I Lay Dying: The Legend of Bundren #QRBreakIN REVERSE Escape Room (Plays Like Zelda!)
As I Dying: Tull's River Crossing #QRBreakIN REVERSE Escape Room
Ethan Frome #QRBreakIN REVERSE Escape Room
The Great Gatsby #QRBreakIN REVERSE Escape Room
To Kill a Mockingbird REVERSE Escape Room: Break IN to Boo Radley's!

Looking for a Back-to-School Reverse Escape Room?
Candy Land Themed Welcome Back REVERSE Escape Room
World Class Cup Soccer: Back to School REVERSE Escape Room!
Total Pages
24 Slides, 2 Page Instruction Manual, 2 pages of Vocab Terms, 20+ Note Cards, 2 timed quizzes
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
90 minutes
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