Class idioms

I did an introductory lesson on idioms. My students then matched most used idioms. They chose one from my list or thought of one of their own and illustrated them. We took pictures of their pictures and then they recorded themselves saying the idiom!

Gaming in the classroom

Recently, I attended EdCamp OCLA. I went to various sessions ranging from “Projects teachers are doing with their students” to “Do tools really make the teacher”. One session was presented by Alice Keeler on Gamification. I was intrigued by the idea of gamification and creating levels that students achieve.
So I decided to throw it into the classroom. That week we were tackling decimals. I took state standards for decimals and organized them into levels. The first day I introduced the idea of levels by laying out the first 4 concepts and the tasks for achieving those levels. I asked, “Do you want level 5? “They answered, “No, that might be too much.” At the end of that work time, I had 4 students come up and say, “Aw. I wish we had put 5 up there!”.
The second day, I printed out the nine levels that I had come up with for decimals. I told students that the goal was to be on level 4 by the end of work time. I taught my lessons to accompany the levels and let them loose. What I found very interesting was that students seemed focused. Those who usually goofed off during work time, had direction and met the goal. Those who were usually done in 5 minutes and sat bored while others worked, had something to do when they finished a level.
By the end of the week about 1/4 had reached level 9. So I introduced level 10 of creating their own game with decimal concepts. A fire was ignited, the rest of the group wanted to get through the rest of the levels so they could begin to work on their game.
I would say about 50% are now finished with their game and helping others create theirs. Even my most reluctant students have really gotten into levels and creating their own game.
I am going to continue to work gamification into my planning and play around with it. By the way, I gave them a decimals quiz and they scored well. When we go over it, I will make the connection from the levels to the quiz and pose the question, “Which level could I go back to and strengthen?”.