Level: Kids of all levels
Location: Connected classroom
Aim: Better classroom management
Game: Skyscraper Parcours
Flight was a successful blog post and gave us an all a way to give our learners an incentive to work competitively on what was before boring coursebook exercises:
What is the game?
It’s quite simple really. You control a man’s jumps as he runs across roof tops using the space bar on your computer keyboard.
How did I use it?
I used the game as a reward for work done and good behaviour much in the same way as my now defunct star chart did (my learners voted for this to take its place). Having an IWB (interactive Whiteboard) helped as I could then present it in a much bigger way and also have my learners use the pen instead of the mouse to play. I told the class to open their work books on a page which provided exercises on language areas we’d covered in previous classes. I found an exercise that hadn’t been completed and told them to do that one. The first person to finish had to put their pen down and their hands on their head. I then called them out and I either marked the exercises (a tick or a cross) or I read it and told them how many needed correcting. The latter encouraged them to reflect a little more and review all the work they had done. When someone had all the exercise correctly completed I stopped the activity and told the class we had a winner. That learner then went to the board and played the game. While they were doing this I named the next page and exercise number. This was more so that the class had a head start on the winner. Top scores were kept by only recording a personal score if it was higher than their last score. A high octane game which is quite addictive. Play the game and you’ll see what I mean.
When do I use it?
The trick is, though, not to overuse it in class. Use it too many times and you not only tend to lose control a bit (the learners do tend to get excited over the game) but you may also wear the game out. that is if you overplay it your learners may lose interest in it. I’ve found that I’ve started to use the game as a reward in a few ways:
Completed Homework - At the beginning of the class I ask learners to put their homework on the desk and form a line at the board. In this way everyone who did the homework gets rewarded immediately. While they take it in turns to play the game I mark the homework with the learner next to me. That way I can encourage them to self correct. Those that didn’t do the homework have to do it while the others are playing. They can’t copy and they see that by not doing the homework they lose out on the fun.
Classwork completed - The first one to finish an exercise from the course book or work book gets to have one go. The learner who tries the hardest also gets to have a go when they’ve finished. This is my way of striking a balance between always rewarding the achievers (fast finishers) and those that may struggle and usually never finish first but should be rewarded for their effort. This kind of means the middle range kids may be receiving a little prejudice but if you can see a way around this then please say by posting a comment.
Good behaviour - Although the star chart has been retired it’s still a good idea to keep a record of good behaviour. In my case it’s a happy and sad face on the board. Each time someone misbehaves they get a letter of their name spelt out and marks if they have misbehaved so much that their whole name is spelt out – Spanish names tend to be quite long though. If they are good they either get letters deleted from their name under the sad face or begin to get it spelt out under the happy face. I’m sure everyone has a different system. this can get a little confusing ( is ‘Mar’ spelt under the sad face Marta or Marc?) until you are used to it.
I think the longest record for playing on the game was two minutes but a fair trade off if it meant my learners were having fun and completing exercises in their work book.