Halloween BUNDLE: Reverse Escape Room, Essay Writing, & Peer Review Activities!

PDF (664 KB|3 Complete Activities with Slideshows + One 12 page Teacher Manual)
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Digital Download
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Trick or Treat!

Looking to change the game on your October instruction? This three product bundle contains everything you’ll need to turn content from ANY unit into a Halloween-themed series of student-centered activities (saving you 25% vs. purchasing each product separately), and it includes:

#QRBreakIN Halloween Haunt REVERSE Escape Room
The #QRBreakIN pedagogy transforms any course content into a “REVERSE” Escape Room for 2-3 days of small group centers activity. In a #QRBreakIN activity, student teams compete to solve a series of asynchronous puzzles using a mix of traditional classroom “centers” and 21st century classroom technologies, scoring points and collecting badges as signs of their success.

The Great Pumpkin RPG Dice Roll Rumble
This 2-4 day activity takes a gamified approach to the traditional end-of-unit essay writing, giving students the opportunity to strengthen and develop their work products in small groups while modeling growth mindset as teams compete against each other and themselves to earn higher-valued dice rolls with higher quality work products at each new stage of the game.

Halloween Peer Review Badge Battle
This 45-90 minute activity is designed to put a gamified twist on the process of peer review. Working with classmates in each of six stations, students will strengthen and revise their work products and those of their peers while making note of areas for improvement and learning from their mistakes.

Taken together, these three activities can comprise anywhere from 4-10 days of themed classroom instruction, and can be further modified or scaffolded to accommodate students from grades 6-12. If you'll pardon a sporty pun: it's a total game-changer.

About This Bundle
I'm no fan of Death By Powerpoint and traditional lectures -- and neither are most of today's students. The research is clear: old-school lectures simply do not deliver results for the majority of 21st century learners. Moreover, I can't stand traditional grading systems. Rows of student desks and stacks of collected worksheets far too often translates to three weeks of papers piling up in my bag, which made for long weekends and woefully inefficient feedback cycles. And no matter how many hours I would spend grading and providing detailed notes, the end result would usually amount to kids getting their work products back and jamming the graded materials deep into the forgotten recesses of their backpacks with little more than a shrug.

No thanks.

While the old system of education may have rewarded compliance and rote memorization, today's colleges and top-hiring companies are simply looking for different skill sets. I want my students to be rewarded for collaboration, creativity, perseverance, and academic risk-taking. I want them asking questions, double-checking their work products, consulting with their peers, exploring relevant web-based resources, and using our course content to inspire thought provoking questions that extend far beyond the confines of my classroom.

So I turned my entire classroom into a giant student-centered game, where teams of eager-eyed players are competing for high scores as they work at their own pace to generate and deliver top quality work products. (Note that I said "scores," and not "grades" here -- and that's by design. The only GRADE my students are receiving is their participation grade and the quality of their completed work products at the end of the class or unit. To use another relevant sports metaphor: if you had a bad week of football practice, you don't automatically go into Sunday's big game down by 17 points).

In the gamified classroom, class work became "practice," formative assessments became activity checkpoints, peer review days became collection quests, and end-of-unit exams transformed into epic Boss Battles. Think Montessori meets Fortnite! Games are a perfect case study in "testing to mastery." In basketball, you don't miss a layup in the first quarter and spend the rest of your game digging yourself out from that two-point hole. Instead, you get immediate feedback on where you could improve. You huddle with your teammates and your coaches, and you spend the rest of the game learning from your mistake and honing your skills -- demonstrating your mastery of the same technique again, and again, and again. And in a 24/7 digitally connected world where information is more available than ever before and our smartphones are constantly syncing with the latest and greatest software updates, why should our classrooms be so antiquated as to punish students for mistakes in the formative stages of their learning?

If we want to create classrooms that reward academic risk taking, we have to accept the fact that real learning is messy and unpredictable. But that it can also be really fun.

Change The Game

Thanks to gamified instruction and student-centered pedagogy, my classes are working harder and their work products have never been stronger. I'm able to provide on-the-spot feedback SO. MUCH. FASTER. And just like a traditional game, students are able to correct their mistakes in real time so that they're learning from where they went wrong and developing work products that are infinitely stronger as they go. As a teacher, I've moved from "sage on the stage" to "fan in the stands" -- cheering words of encouragement while bouncing between groups, and offering friendly pointers and timely words of advice to help my student teams perform to their highest ability.

The products I've included in this digital download give you everything you need to do the same.

Student centered classrooms achieve incredible results. And this completely editable approach to unit pedagogy and asynchronous instruction can be modified for any course or content area (don't laugh: I teach eleventh grade literature - and it's become the backbone of my instruction). The team-vs-team element gives the unit a friendly sense of competition that's fast-paced, high energy, and driven by rapid feedback cycles to foster a classroom environment that rewards academic risk taking and autonomy while cultivating growth mindset. Students arrive excited to learn, which means that nobody's "on the bench" while our class is working together to change the game.

Thanks for checking out my TPT store, and wishing you the absolute best in your efforts to make use of these high-energy student-centered resources in your 21st century classroom. Feel free to leave any questions or comments you might have!

- John


Total Pages
3 Complete Activities with Slideshows + One 12 page Teacher Manual
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
2 Weeks
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