Gamification in the Classroom: Level 4 — Problem-Solving after the First Six Weeks

I won’t sugar-coat it… At first, my students were completely confused. That is 100% my fault because I gave them too much too soon.

Last time we met, we talked about getting started. This time, I’ll go through how the first six weeks of gamification worked in my classroom!

Find out more:

Level 1: Getting Started
Level 2: Incorporating the Standards
Level 3: Game On
Level 4: Problem-Solving after the First Six Weeks
Level 5: TBA

Student Reactions

I won’t sugar-coat it… At first, my students were completely confused. That is 100% my fault because I gave them too much too soon.

In hindsight, I needed to do two things:

  1. Start small (introduce game elements one at a time).
  2. Allot more time to explore the game world in class.
  3. Go over the game world Google Site as a class (instead of a tour video).

After we got started and the confusion died down, they were excited to begin the side quests! I even had students asking if they could take their Writer’s Notebook home to work on quests.

Of course you can!

So far the most popular quest has been the “Wanted Poster.”

      1. They love the freedom of the quest (no instructions).
      2. They love to show the posters off, too.

Here are a few examples from excited students: 

Problems I had… and how I solved them.

Remember when I said I wouldn’t sugar-coat anything? Yeah… I definitely ran into several problems, but I’ve worked them out!

Problem 1: The Leaderboard

  • Dilemma(s):
    • I was updating the site leaderboard manually, which took a lot of time and effort.
    • I was also having to manually go in and update their level up ranks in the data collection sheet.
    • I was losing my mind trying to keep track of all that!
  • Problem-Solving:
    • First, I had help creating the level up “VLOOKUP” function in Google Sheets.
      • An amazing lady from Facebook helped me out! (Thank you Julie from GCW!)
      • This allows the levels and ranks to automatically update when students reach a specific XP.
    • Second, I created separate Google Sheets for each class leaderboard and connected the XP data for each student.
      • Yes, it was a lot of work.
      • However, I actually like creating things like this!
  • How did it help?:
    • The leaderboards automatically generate (thanks to Google Sheets functions)!
    • All I have to do is sort the range of data in the Google Sheet for it to put them in the correct order.
This is the Google Sheets Data Tracker I use. Under “Blake” you can see where I have clicked on his “Level, Rank” cell. In the function section above, you can see how I have applied the “VLOOKUP” function to automatically update his level and rank based on his total XP.

Below, you can see a slideshow of photos that exhibit the online leaderboards. The final image is the individual leaderboard for my second period class which shows the function used to import their total XP from the above mentioned data tracker.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Problem Number 2: The Levels 

  • Dilemma(s):
    • Students were leveling up too quickly.
    • Some students were at Level 2 (Apprentice) within the first three weeks of school.
    • I also had no perks past Level 1 save for the carry weight regarding item cards.
  • Problem-Solving:
    • During the #XPLAP (hosted by Michael Matera) Twitter chat one evening, I asked about how other teachers handle leveling up.
      • I asked about the amount of points within each level.
      • I also asked how they incorporated perks.
    • Several teachers responded, and I received helpful information.
      • They suggested that I increase the points per level, gradually making it harder and harder to earn the next level.
      • I could see what students had already done to determine how to increase the points.
      • They also suggested having students create the perks they wanted to see!
  • How did it help?
    • I completely adjusted the level system, which meant I had to amend the aforementioned “VLOOKUP” function.
    • Students had a bit more challenge when it came to leveling up.
    • Students were eager to help create the perks they would get to use!
      • I took suggestions for a week and created the Perk Cards from that!

level perks

Students created all the perks available! My next step will be creating the Master and Legendary item cards… EEK!

Problem Number 3: Badges

  • Dilemma(s):
    • Students don’t seem to care about the badges.
    • Some students have said that the badges are too complicated to earn for not enough XP.
  • Problem-Solving:
    • Someone from #XPLAP suggested making the badges XP unknown and based upon the roll of the dice.
      • I added a multiplier to the majority of badges that students can earn based on the complexity of tasks associated with earning them.
      • I also had to exchange their old badge booklets for updated badge booklets. (This was easy, though.)
  • How did it help?
    • Students have started getting badge activities checked off, and they are eager to see how much XP they earn!
You can see the XP multipliers here. They’ll roll two 6-sided dice and multiply for their total XP!
This is a page from the updated badge booklet. The old one didn’t have lines for me to initial, nor did it have a condensed list of activities that were manageable for middle school students.

What’s next?

I’ll admit, I still have a long way to go. I’m still working out better systems for accepting side quests and such. For now, our game is functional and engaging, which is amazing since most every student is writing!

I’ve added a few new side quests based on student feedback, and I plan to add a few new item cards based on their feedback, too!

google slides

Thank you for checking in to see how we’re doing. Have you tried gamification in your classroom or know someone who has? How is it going? Feel free to share with me in the comments.

  • Check out our Google Site!
  • Review previous posts (table of contents at the top) for extra resources!


4 thoughts on “Gamification in the Classroom: Level 4 — Problem-Solving after the First Six Weeks

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