1:40AM Feb 28, 2020
Well my name is Kathleen mercury and I am one of the CO hosts of games in schools and libraries I have been teaching for 16 years 14 of which I've been teaching gifted kids in St. Louis, Missouri, and teaching gifted kids has allowed me to have a lot of creative freedom in terms of what I do and I started teaching game design about 12 years ago, and started off as a sort of month long little project to now a semester long mammoth undertaking that of course we don't have nearly enough time for, and in developing the resources for this game design curriculum, I couldn't really find a bunch out there, though, especially that was appropriate the kids too weren't necessarily always interested in teaching and doing game design, and also making sure that I had the type of information for assessment purposes that as a teacher I needed and so in the course of developing. All of this curriculum I decided to create a website, and Kathleen mercury calm creatively named was born. And from there I shared my resources, all over the country, or all over the world with people who are using them, and I've been able to, you know, because of that experience and doing that, you know, landed myself on podcasts and I'm co hosting podcasts and I share my resources, I do a lot of professional development trainings with other educators and others interested in using games in learning situations, at a variety of different conferences and I'm just really excited that we're doing this joint episode together I think this is really great.
This is awesome and I wanted to say to I remember, I think I stumbled upon your website. When I first started resource or researching about like games and education. I was kind of blown away with, with the amount of resources there so I really,
really like. Yeah, I mean, I'm pretty lucky in terms of what I do, where I do it, the support that I have and I just, I've been approached by people to publish and as you know book is static and it just sits there but the nice thing about having the website up at least for me is, if I want to make changes to a document I can I mean it's live and people can download everything worksheets and PowerPoints and all kinds of other resources and my ramblings and so it's funny though because it is mine. So it's cool sometimes they open up a document and since as Google Docs you know you'll see like, you know, unknown muskrat or unknown snake and that's really honestly super dorky and thrilling when I get to see that, like, Oh, people are actually using this. But also, you know, I make changes to stuff to suit me. So if people like think look at a document, they're like, wait a minute, this is different than how it was before I'm like yeah,
that's because I'm using it. So,
by all means download your own copies make your own copies if you want things and exact certain way, because again, I always promise because hey I'm doing it for free but this is for me too. But thanks yeah I mean it's definitely been something that has given me a lot of chance to talk with other people and I think that's especially for this podcast and for yourself too. When you're doing something that's so singular and different. And luckily there's a lot of interest in design thinking and, you know, games in the classroom game based learning game you know gamification. There's a lot of interest in that right now. And so I got lucky to sort of like catch, like sort of like the start of the wave and under new circumstances do I consider myself to be an expert in any way but I do have a lot of experiences I've made a lot of mistakes and I'm always happy to share those, so that people can have a smoother transition into doing this and make it as easy as possible as possible for people to just pick up take things and go and use them.
That's really awesome when did you first cuz you said you attended a conference, want to say that right. Yeah, when, when did you first start using games in your classroom or when did you see the gap or the. When do you see, you could bridge that gap between game. And, well,
especially for, like I said, teaching gifted kids, you know, my job is to give them complex problems to solve and games can provide them with a lot of complex problems to solve and I grew up playing really basic games like clue and the rest clue was my favorite. And at this conference someone said this meeting every classroom for gifted kids should have Stratego in it, and I'd heard of Stratego, but I didn't really know what it was because I also have three sisters. And so I didn't have war based games because those were, you know, kind of treated like Boy games back then. And so, in looking into Stratego I found out about this whole other world of games, and I went to a game night and my very first game night I got to play caching guns and pandemic. And while caching guns can never appear in my classroom with kids holding fake guns and shooting each other. pandemic was a co op game and I'd never experienced that before and it blew my mind about how you could have players working together to solve this very complex problem. And I thought, this is so perfect. I mean it exceeded my expectations in terms of what I could expect from board games, and it was in the process of playing a game it's out of print but it's based on the Powerpuff Girls cartoon called Powerpuff Girls saving the world before bedtime. And I thought oh my gosh my students could design these games which kind of speaks to my lack of experience in terms of something this complex. I've learned a lot along the way I've told students like you know if I could talk to the kids five years ago 10 years ago but how I used to teach this I've the same sorry I've learned so much since then but that's just the nature of the beast, you know, but having what I want more than anything for my students is for them to be creators, not consumers I don't care about having them do research and telling me about what other people have done I'm absolutely not interested in that at all. The only thing I care about is what ideas they have, and giving them the tools where they feel empowered to take on big complex challenges where they have no idea of what the final product will be, but that they can build in and learn the skills and confidence that they can hopefully get themselves there. That's what I care about because if I can get them to accept that and do that, then they can pretty much take on whatever challenges come their way for the rest of their lives.
That's really awesome I think we were talking before and you had mentioned that you have developed your lessons a little bit better and we're talking about how game design and lesson planning kind of overlaps a lot too. That's awesome. You've been able to iterate that lesson plan and be able to provide stronger lessons to students as you go, yeah hope
so, I mean the probably the biggest thing that's helped me is the Stanford design schools method of prototype development I went to a design thinking boot camp, and the design mindsets that were presented as far as when you're wanting to design something for someone else, like here's how you should think about it. Here's how you should approach it. And it was so different from what I was doing, but it was just one of those things where it's like, oh my god this is 100%, what I should be doing and it completely pivoted everything that I was doing like so for example bias towards action you know that instead of just thinking about something just start doing it, or rapid iteration making prototypes fast and cheap so you can get them on the table so that you can fail quickly see what works, see what doesn't work quickly and so you can make more versions of something even faster like there's all these different things that I didn't do or that I had kids take a lot more time on, and they got a lot more a lot less played testing in, but now you know like light, not lightning fast but it's designed to keep them moving quickly so that nothing becomes precious and nothing becomes so sacred that they won't get rid of it. And I think for me as a teacher, that's really helped me and also helped me as a game designer in terms of trying something getting it out there, seeing what happens getting feedback on it and making improvements to it as well. So, you also use, but you do more like game based learning from what you said as far as using like two rooms in a boom. How do you like, how does how does it work in your mind in terms of like when you experience a game, and how you would use it like what other games have you use when it comes to doing that.
I think a good example that I use to explain a good game for the classroom or a good game strategy or technique that you can apply is thinking about the students and how they're interacting with the game and how they're getting to that learning outcome. So for example, I talked about taboo and trap words were taboo you have a word, and maybe it's Apple, and you're trying to get your team to get the word Apple but you can say tree. I don't know red or fruit. So you need to you need your team to guess Apple but you can use those three words in the classroom if you're playing that game. You only have one person that's looking at the word and the three words, and they're given to them, and then everyone else is just kind of kind of listening. The other team maybe is not participating because they don't care or trap words, what do you have is everyone involved in the learning process and playing the game because you have a person that each team gets a word and they they create the words that the other team cannot say, so each team when as I get the word Apple they're thinking about what other words are associated with Apple. So for language learning this is really good for for improving their vocabulary and understanding of different words. And then when that person goes up to have their team guests the other teams listening because they're listening for the trap words that they created so it's it's about involving, as many students in the process of the game or the learning process instead of just taking a game and applying it to the class but understanding how you can modify it and what works for the learning and what doesn't.
Yeah, and I, I always feel like I should use more games myself in, in what I do even and I don't know if that's ironic or just realistic in terms of like how difficult it can be to sort of find that right experience for what you're doing, one that I was actually thinking about. And this is sort of similar to what you're talking about it. Are you familiar with the new party game called just one
yeah yeah I haven't played it but I know it I need I need to play it because I've heard it's really good.
Yeah, it's super fun. It's super fun and then just one players pick a word off a card let's say it's Apple sees that, and all the players and the that person closes their eyes. Everyone else writes one word on a dry erase surface so teachers because they easily use us in the room with dry erase boards or whatever. But the right one word on there related to Apple, and then once all the, all the planet players have written their one word, then you compare them, and anyone who matches that word can't be no like they basically have to erase their boards. So once you eliminate all you know repeats of words, then. Those are the words that the person who's it you know has to use to kind of put together what the word is so. And actually, I think I may have misunderstood Miss Miss explain this, the person who it is like, who gets to guess they don't, they choose a number they don't actually pick the main word I think that's a key brand toward thing right. So, it says a number two. I don't know what number two relates to everyone else sees the word Apple, this probably makes a lot more sense now. And so then if you're it. I don't you don't know that the words Apple, but you see all these different things and maybe it's like Apple seed and core and poison. And you have to look at all those clues and trying to come up with. What's this word related to and so I think there's a lot of ways that you could use the same sort of structure, especially since if you as a teacher have like your, the key words that you want kids to like the keys concepts, because especially concepts can be really interesting too because maybe kids will use a concept let's say it's, you know, chemical element like oxygen. Well, they might pick something that's, you know, related to it from a scientific perspective from one of the facts but they might also pick something from like pop culture, or some other sort of reference that isn't necessarily like straight from the textbook, but you can get some really in that can like lead people astray or can lead them right to it. And so I think that's one where, especially if you have a lot of concepts plus two you've got everybody involved. Every single time and I think for a lot of gaming experiences in the classroom, having everybody involved at the same time, really, really matters for success.
Right, I think I totally forgot I did just read I just played just one like last about two weeks ago, but uh, it's it is a lot of fun and I think that even when you mentioned that like maybe they throw in a pop culture reference to get the word, and then the team guesses that word because of that pop culture reference, that's going to work in your brain to never forget that word in the future.
Yeah, I think that's okay you know and because the thing too is, if they're having fun, and you're still like there's still going to be reviewing there's still gonna be looking at all the different aspects for, let's say the Missouri Compromise or whatever, you know concept that you're teaching, they're still thinking about that concept, and what words are associated with it what ideas are associated with it. And what do they think other people might put down and so they want to put down something that no one else will say, but maybe also, you've got somebody who like they're just it's, they come up with one thing and that's what they put down and even if somebody matches them or not, you still have everybody, trying to come up with something related to that topic so they're all going to be thinking about this word this concept, you know, as they're, you know, playing this game and I think, you know, That's great, another really good review game is actually based on the old school game go to the head of the class. And this was one that I learned back in my student teaching and it was actually really great you've got the, the desk set up and sort of a grid. And you ask a question and everybody writes on their paper and then whether they're paired up they're going head to head against somebody else. And so you ask a question everybody writes their answer down and as soon as somebody finishes, you hold your pen up in the air and so whoever's pen or pencil is held up first from that pairing is the one who, you know, gets to answer it first. And basically, whoever gets the answer right moves up a chair, and whoever gets the answer wrong moves back a chair. And so you do have the problem that there might be kids stuck in the bottom stuck in the back, and they never make any traction up from that so I think handling that well is important. But you do have kids up and moving as well. And so that can add a lot of when people normally do. When people normally do work as far as what they're doing like review games and stuff like that you know a lot of times it is just a lot of sitting it does add for some movement in the game too. And so I think that's another structure that can work really well.
Right. And I think one thing that trap boards does and I like to use this as an example that you mentioned when you go to the front of the room you have the students that maybe fall behind a good game that you can use in the classroom has some sort of catching mechanic, like, like in Mario Kart. The last player always gets the best, the best boxes were the first player just gets like coins or a muster that thing.
Yeah. And then we just didn't we had a professional development day. And in talking with the person who's in charge of our professional development committee. She said, how she was going to have they need to do like something on teamwork, or some sort of like team building kind of thing she's like yeah we're just going to do. Minute to Win it, we have all this stuff I said, or you can let me do something. And she's like, you know, Kathleen we've got everything I said, here's the thing though, I have an idea for something that I think will work, and it's minimal supplies it's super easy to teach and I think there's a lot of things you can do with this out, you know that could be related to the classroom and. And so she's and I said I'll take care of it. I'll write it all up, you won't have to do a thing I'll make all the copies I'll do everything and then then then she's like, Yes, because a minute to win it you know it's all these fun little silly games where you're like holding a piece of dry spaghetti in your mouth and trying to like hook, we're good Tony noodles or big fat noodles you know onto the spaghetti like there's things like that can be really fun about it, but it's just like standalone little activities and again you have that thing where somebody may be performing in front of, you know, other people and they're not comfortable with that. So, and again, not everybody is doing something if the only thing you're asking somebody to do is sit and laugh at this person. I don't for me I don't know that that's the best kind of teamwork. I mean, it can be really fun, obviously, but I like it when everyone's involved, like we said earlier and so the party game. Eat Cookie Cat It's also known as beautiful corpse, which has been turned into a box game called TELUS trations. But basically I taught them that and TELUS trations the cards have one word on them. And so, I wonder what Florida is going to turn into you know that sort of thing. But in giving everybody like one line to write like a phrase or a song lyric or quote you write that at the top of your paper, and then you pass it in a circle that we're in the same direction, that person then draws what you wrote, then they fold over the words. And so that all that is showing is the drawing, and then they pass it to the next person so then that person has to write a caption for what was drawn. And then that person folds down the drawing, so all that shows that is their words, and then it goes until you complete the full circuit. And so it's really funny, you know, seeing how stories evolve, you know, it can be, if people just try to be very direct and you know like stated, you know, concretely, the boy is picking up a rock, you know, then maybe that's not so exciting but if they come up with some sort of funny twist on it, and then you really get some crazy twists and turns I remember one time we played this at 14 geeks convention, and someone had drawn a bunch of like planets, and they do like his little stick figure in the stick figure and just kind of looked a little sad, I don't think it was meaning to, but then the person wrote on there, you're just not happy anywhere, are you and I was like that's the funniest like most perfect expression to be like what this can be. And so they played it, and then apparently had all these like great discussions about you know how they could use this in the classroom everything from math reviews where you could like have them start off with the writing and the equation, then kids have to draw it out and then from there they have to extract some other type of mathematical idea. You know, communications, you can have kids doing this in terms of like storytelling story generation. I, I've used it with my students but in my humor unit, there we're just trying to be funny about it. So that's probably a more narrow approach, but again it's one of those games where everybody can be involved the whole time and I think that's so beneficial.
Right yeah i think that's that's definitely maybe one of the top priorities when, when I think about using a game in the classroom is, is there are there are there gonna be any students that are just not doing anything. And if that's the case maybe I need to modify it some ways so that it can be used,
right, especially knowing the abilities of your students. I mean there's certain things that I like. So for example, up cat there's a drawing aspect and kids are like, I can't draw cool. This will be a fun way for you to practice drawing the world you know your head will fall off you'll be okay. But you definitely can have kids who have, you know, very specific disabilities disorders. That might or, you know, might be just a little bit more academically behind their peers. And so, if you're doing something where their disabilities or inabilities become apparent to others. I think you have to be really careful about how you handle that. As far as you know what you're willing to do to, you know, protect them to take care of them because if they're stressed out and embarrassed. Even if everybody else is learning by leaps and gains. I don't know that it's worth it and so sometimes even just always partnering up kids, so they're always working with a partner and making those groupings you know heterogeneous but also sometimes making those groups homogenous you know a lot of times and I'm not saying this is right, especially in a game where there's competition against other people, but if ever, if you put kids in groups and each group is doing like their own type of talents or own type of game. I always ask that people don't just always do heterogeneous groupings. For my gifted kids, a lot of times when that happens, they're always like the ones that are like spread out amongst the other groups, and then they put all the spread out all the middle kids and then they spread out all this sort of low kids and pardon me for speaking in broad brushstrokes but I am. And so a lot of times they never get chances to work with each other. And one thing that research shows is that when you let kids have similar abilities work with each other. Everyone gains, because the kids on the middle step it up, and the kids on the lower end also step it up, even if it's like one notch higher, you know, that's okay for them, you know they're using their abilities and what they know and trying to push themselves up to be more competitive as well and especially as long as it's not, you know, the Board of shame where you're awarding points and, you know, everyone knows how they're going to do you know i mean this is tricky to do but there definitely are times where, you know, everyone deserves to learn at their level every single day that's just one of those tenants that I just hold, and especially for my students, if they're the ones that are put into groups that you know are there to help, or to reteach that's not learning, that's not appropriate for them. That's your job. That's a teaching assistants job or whomever else so this is probably more tangential and specific to the kids I work with, but it's also something that they do experience quite a bit sometimes
can maybe do you have a, an experience where you where you realized, because I know I have a lot, maybe I can share one for me. Or, you mentioned the, the leader board or the board of shame I guess he called it, and when my wife and I started putting together. It's kind of a game based toolkit for teachers to use because we gamified her class this last year as a high school English language classroom. And we had used a leaderboard and we quickly realized that was a big mistake when we used it in the class. Because we had one student. A lot of students were they haven't seen the majority of students kind of like played or bored. But there was one student who did fall behind and he kind of gave up on really participating in the, in the game. So, do you have any experience of something maybe you could share that that would help.
Well, one thing that I always try to emphasize it, even when we have you know points points are used to. You know ultimately communicate your position in the game to other people. And if we're playing a game that is just to be, you know, a review or something like that I don't care about the points at all. And so, what I will often do is even if they get points, or if one team starts to get a blow out. I will, you know, do something where there's like a big you know okay this is a 20 point question, and the kids in the league like what, you know, and then somehow I managed to make it so that kids on the other team get those points, or I start awarding ridiculous points my cool you just got a puppy. So drop puppy up there on the scoreboard you know because like a puppy, you know i mean because if you focus on that aspect of winning. And, you know, that quantitative, you know, checkmark it feeds into a lot of the programming that we've already done with kids as far as you know letter grades and standardized tests and success is 100% and success is, you know, an A plus is, you know, and I think for a lot of my students especially having to sort of break that mentality. As far as you do something once you do it very very well, you get a very good grade on it and then you move to the next thing you know, a lot of what I do and teaching game design is here is this problem that cannot be solved, or notions like that. Here is this problem that you will have to you have to define the problem. You have to figure out how you're going to solve this problem, you're going to design your tests with these resources in terms of you know how close are you to solving this problem and you're gonna do this again and again and again, you're going to make a prototype you're going to put it in front of other people you they're going to play it, you're going to get their feedback, and then you're going to take those ideas, and that, you know, good, bad, the ugly. The hopefully the helpful and incorporate that into your next design so that when that hits the table hopefully it's better, and that sort of, you know, thinking of it as an unfinished on ending, you know, kind of like hopefully upwardly ascending sort of cascade. You know of mountains, you know, by having them see that process as a real process is one that is reflective of what life will be I think is really important, because for a lot of my kids, you know they've learned what successes and it's an A plus and moving on and trying to show them that if you want to do anything cool, they will never be in a plus. you will never be finished. You will always just have to try to do your best to put out your best possible effort, listen to other people, and hopefully make that idea better and so that's why I teach game design, I don't, they may never ever design a game ever again. I definitely have kids who love it and definitely keep doing this. If I had more of an apparatus for them. As far as play testing their games and getting more feedback and more involvement in the community, I think it would be easier to keep that going but they're busy and they're always presented with new things. But the reason why I teach game design is a teaches them this process of thinking design thinking hands on doing trying to create you know problems and solutions and learning how to see successes incremental progress, not as I finished I'm done. Because actually, we do talk about how you need to be it can be finished not perfect and that's really important for a lot of them, and that you can have something that is unfinished. And you can see it as successful because you did try to make it better, even if you don't think it's better. And that's really really hard for them to accept because it goes against everything they've always done so in my long winded approach to your question. I honestly try to minimize any type of objective points in any kind of game situation as much as possible, because no one should ever be blamed for losing for their team, and I honestly don't want anybody to be, you know, the fourth batter to just hit the Grand Slam home run and they get all the credit, not the people who also got on first, second and third, so that's what I do,
yeah that's that's really, really good point, I think, going off of what you said with the review and having points and you just giving the team Academy. There's a really good review game, I think, used to be called the bomb game back in like years ago it was a on an old ESL language website and basically each like you create a grid on the whiteboard and the student chooses one of the boxes and it's either a bomb or it's points, but they've evolved that into a PowerPoint and there's so many different themes like Mario theme Pokemon Batman theme. And so what I will do is manipulate the game to where it's like, very obvious that the points go up and down, up and down, up and down like no one's ever really in the league for for too long so like, maybe a team will get a bomb and their points will erase, and then the next team will change points so it's just very, it's very up and down back and forth right but
right and I think, you know, points and having that kind of outcome are a good thing because in the right way you know you want to have some measurement of success in some ways I don't know that a classroom. Review game is always the best time for that. Don't ever give extra credit to like kids on a test by how well they did something like that make it its own you know total standalone thing. But yeah, I mean sometimes it does make sense to have kids have scoring that matters, but I think you have to really ask yourself, is this that time you know or can I, you know, say oh well, let's say that like you've got, you know, one team as a cat, a dog and a giraffe, and then the other team finally gets points like whoa. You just got yourself a pretend to look at something, a Porsche. You got a fancy car, and the value of that fancy cars way more well maybe not the draft but you know what I mean, like you can equalize things and you can do it in a fun way like we are having fun here because if there's anything else I believe it is that you can make a good teacher can make a lot of things fun and so much of what I do is a very play based and I've been like that since my very first teaching experience. I got hired to be a lifeguard when I was 15 at a residential Girl Scout camp and I thought cool I'm gonna sit by the pool. And then I found out that we had to teach swimming, and I didn't know how to teach swimming but my dad was a swimming diving and water polo coach at his high school. So I learned how to swim by just playing around the water and he would make little corrections here and there and that's how I learned to swim so it wasn't like when I had to teach swimming. I had this knowledge of like swim lessons and all the things that we would do. And so, it's the summer started off with me. You know, working through the various skills, and then making up games for each one so that by the end, kids were swimming. I had them we just they came to the pool with me and they played games the outcome was the same, but by turning everything into a game. You know, we had a much kids were having fun while they were doing it you know there was something to work towards you know like, Oh, I got to kill shredder I'm the best Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle or whatever it was, you know what I mean. And so, I know there's times where because I've also taught in the regular classroom. I've taught English I've taught history for one year I taught religion. The second year I was at the Catholic school did somebody else do it I don't know why but anyway so separate issue. It was fun though. Um, so I think there's a lot of things that you can do in the classroom that you know if kids are having fun, even if it's a bad game, and I think this is where we can start to talk about like how we can help teachers have kids use games in their classrooms and probably, you know morph over to that so just a little bit more. But, you know, if you are having fun and you're trying to have fun with this you know they're so appreciative because there's so many instances where they're not necessarily having as much fun and if we think about it, kids spend their lives connected, you know, we're kind of at a point right now where a lot of ways we ask our kids to disconnect themselves from how they live outside of school day. And in a lot of ways, you know, reconnect with this old school traditional pretty much unplugged kind of thing and there's not saying it's a bad thing, but we are presenting kids with a very different way of the world than what they know to be their lives. And so I think using gamification techniques games in the classroom, involving games in the classroom is only a good thing because it's definitely a structure that kids know.
Yeah, I think that's 100% is one thing that definitely, I guess. I think about a lot is myself and my, my age, I grew up playing a lot of games so I think there's a lot of teachers, our age that are willing to add games to the classroom and now a lot of kids, that's all they know as well.
Yeah, and that's the thing too, because, you know, I think.
Most parents and I'm not a parent, but I'm old enough to be one and I have no idea what the kids today are playing, you know, if I did, maybe I would, but I really don't know. And I think a lot of people don't really know what kids are capable of in terms of technology and I don't, and maybe the answer is that we do need to spend more time in, you know, playing fortnight or whatever the kids are playing nowadays, you know, maybe, um, but I think when it comes to different types of games that are out there. You know, we need to help people become more confident in designing using game based structures in their classes and I think, talking about how we have kids, how we have, like all these different party games basically and how you can adapt them to the classroom I think is great. But how did you when you were doing your work. Did you ever spend time with other teachers trying to help them implement games into their classes.
I did a lot this past year. In Taiwan, it means when I started to do more research into the effects on using games in class and effects on language ability and whether it actually helped students improve their language by playing the game or by listening to a lecture. So, when I did that research, I was able to present on the topic of game based learning in English language classes, and so that gave me the opportunity to share with a lot of teachers and how to, how to use games and trap words illustrations were two main ones that I had talked about. I'm trying to remember it's been a while since I've been on. So I'm trying to rack my brain Yeah, well I mean it's kind of been a break but it's a lot of moving, moving back from Taiwan and visiting family so let me think of the other ones. Let's see. I did codenames a little bit but then when trap words came out I wouldn't trap words came out I've realized that was a little bit more appropriate I prefer using that one over codenames. Let's see, I've done pandemic that actually works really well in an English corner where the students had to pair up with someone so it was eight people playing, or actually a we only had I think seven so think one person was on their own team and then everyone else had a partner. And so they had to communicate to each other first before deciding what action they would have to take in the game. So there is a whole bunch of output on the language like we should go to New York, which is a great like grammar structure and phrase for them to learn or. No, don't do that because conditional statements so it's really good for that and I think I only did it once and I, because I was just running out of time and is towards the end of the semester and English corner was kind of coming to an end, but looking back I wish I would have had them debrief after and kind of write down some of the phrases they use in the game, and see if they could remember things that's,
that's really cool. I like, especially I didn't think about. I didn't think about code names at all and the nice thing about code names too is you can have like any number of people really playing it. And if you put words on cards you can set them up in a little grid system, and then go from there and again it's like all those different types of associations and other ways that they can try to build connections between various ideas. Hmm. Like,
and I did, I know now you just reminded me that I believe I was talking to a teacher and they had mentioned that you can ask the students to create the grid for code names so that's an extra layer of retention of whatever you're reviewing or the concepts you're trying
to learn, see and this gets to why I love podcasting about games and education so much, is I get so many good ideas from all the people that I've talked to on all different avenues, all different types of practices levels content that I just don't get you know when I'm just working within my building with it and I work with amazing phenomenal people, but they're not necessarily gamers they don't think in terms of games. And, you know, just coming together and sharing these ideas. That's why I was really excited when you, when I saw you put out that you were looking for guests for the show and I said hey we should do like a joint broadcast you know because I think this helps people become aware of your podcast if it helps people become aware of my podcast, then it just keeps helping to expand what people know and then other people say oh you should listen to this I talked about this I talked about this because a lot of questions people have for me often is like how can I, It's either How can I take this content and turn it into a game, and also like what games are out there that I could use with my classroom and I think people are always looking for different ways especially to take, you know something simple that they can do and implement it, which is why I think part of games are so great for that for sure.
Yeah, I think party games and collaborative games are huge and you mentioned that it was great. We do this I love the space that we're in the podcasting space board games space and teaching spaces like the three bedroom community. It is
and I think especially when you know I meet people who I then you know just even like in a sentence or two like oh my gosh, I have to have you on the show, do you want it means, it means I get to pin them down and hammer them with questions for an hour. No on things I want to know more about it how they do what they do. And it's so rare. And so for example I had Luke Laurie on the show, who's a game designer to send a number of things. And it was really funny because he said that he's on podcasts a lot to talk about his work with game design, but he's not really ever on very much to talk about his work as an educator, but a lot so a lot of the work that he does with games in his classrooms has to do with more like incentive systems. So like gamification techniques in terms of like his classroom management, which I thought was really interesting, but then also, it ended up being a whole conversation about, you know, some of the struggles that I have when I do what I do, and him offering some really good suggestions that like are still kind of like pinging through my head like maybe I should try this, you know, and I think, you know, we're all making this up, you know, there are no standards for like what kids should know in terms of games and game design at any single level, you know we're all making up like what's the best way to do this and sometimes especially when you do anything with games and classroom. They won't work games won't work. An idea will fall flat and I think if you're playing a game like your review game with kids are probably pretty protected. But if you're wanting to do something where student output in terms of games is expected. You know you're going to get a range you know I've got kids who really really really struggle when the outcome isn't made 100% clear, and even when I say, you will get an A in this class like put that out of your mind you don't I mean if you are trying to do your best at any given day and you can communicate to me what you're doing your grades will be fine. And if I had my choice I wouldn't do grades at all, but this is the world we live in and I have to actually try tried one year to not give out grades and our gifted class and that was a. There's some unintended consequences there but there you go. We tried it once. As much as we wanted it to work it didn't really work, and is more. Anyway, that's a long story but anyway. So yeah, I kind of forgot where it was going because I was just rambling about a whole bunch of different exciting things all once.
I mean needed mentioned like how the doing the podcast is great for you and like learning new ideas and coming up with new ideas. And for me, just talking to you now. It made me realize what would be great to have out there maybe it already is out there is, is a list of characteristics of games that would be good for your classroom. So for example, we talked about making sure everyone's involved so like if a game has that characteristic that might be a good option. These are new classroom. If a game as a ketchup mechanic, that would be a good option, or some other ideas that a game should include or you should think about that if it has that
whether Yeah, I'd be happy to collaborate
with you on this I can certainly put it on the website because this is something that people do ask, you know, and like I said the other, and this going back to what I was saying before my many topics. But when people want me to create a game for their classroom. It's not as easy as it sounds, you know i mean especially doing game design. And if I was a better game designer I could probably come up with something simpler but sometimes I can't remember it was photosynthesis and you know it's. And the nice thing about photosynthesis is it's a system with kind of repeating cycles of things so when you have a system, you can gamify elements in that system in terms of like gamify how they get access to the resources or gamify the process by which they put things together or the order that they put things together. And I was really excited to work on this game on photosynthesis and just my life got busy and the amount of time that I had to work on this. In addition to everything else I just couldn't do and I felt so bad because I was excited to do this. And I ended up just looking online and I found a game that had like a simple kind of dice rolling thing not necessarily what modern gamers gamers get really fussy when you roll for resources I don't know if you know this, which is like what the arguments that I have with people about khatam all the time but whatever. Anyway, I found a game, it wasn't necessarily great, it wasn't necessarily what I would put together but it was still like a game, and the kids had fun playing it, and then they, you know, moved all their little molecules around to create photosynthesis and so it was close enough to what the teacher was wanted that they still played a game where they still talked about it and I think that's one thing that's important for teachers is, you know, our time is so precious and we have so much to do and so little time to do it, we have more to do than what we can do in the amount of time. And so the idea of something not working out as well as you want it to can be really prohibitive I could try to play this game and hope they get it, or I can just stand in front of the room and I can tell them all those things and I know that they will have gotten the information that I want them to get. And so, I think I just, you know, you always want to encourage and, like, and I'm always happy to try to keep figuring out ways to help teachers use games in the classroom everything's what we just talked about all the way to like when you have students design games themselves. There's lots of different ways you can have. You can have them do this you can have kids, you know, change the rules of an existing game like have them, you know take away any kind of randomizer for Candyland sorry life you know take away the randomizer and then how can you have them have players make choices that determine their placement on the board, you know you could have them add new rules to various games, how can you have uno and in 10 cards or less, which would be my dream. You know just even have them play around with rules of existing games and then you know when kids design games in classrooms. A lot of times they look like the games they know Trivial Pursuit monopoly Candy Land and, you know, and when kids only have access to those games, those are the types of things that they come up with but if you want to do game design in the classroom. You know you can give them sort of carte blanche like I do, but I don't give them carte blanche from the start. That's horrifying you know the blank piece of paper nightmare. But I spend a lot of time and granted I have a semester, not everybody has this, but I was semester so we spend a lot of times just playing games and learning about the different mechanics are in the game so which mechanics they like and they have to just play a lot of games. In order to get a sense of like, I get ideas basically on what they can put into their game, and then their first games aren't going to work, and you have to prepare them for that, but also not squash their expectations too much it's a very delicate dance like hey, some things are going to work out well. Some things aren't going to work out well but everything is a growth opportunity and let's talk about it, you know. So, when it comes to having kids design games in the classroom. The only thing I would say is like if you can have kids, put players in positions where they can make some choices, and try to minimize the use of randomizers or modify the use of randomizer so if there's going to be dice in the game. Maybe they can choose which dice they roll they could have different colors they could have different things, or at least the players have some sort of like agency over what they're doing is not I roll the one
cool you rolled a six
great you're winning you're, you know, six times as made more progress and I and that's no fun for anybody you know, so it can be hard but remember, designing lessons and game designers so similar as a game designer myself I can say this you know when you've got a game you're like what's the experience I want players to have, what's the goal of this game. Well, that's what's the experience you want your students to have and what's the objective of the lesson. And then you come up with something and you try it and it works out, there's some things that you would do better he make changes to it, so that when you do it again, you can tweak that and you can improve on that and it's, it takes work like it's hard to do. There's nothing about it. That's easy but I think if you're wanting the creative challenge to really push and stretch yourself. You know, my students are so tolerant of when I'm trying something new with them, and I say this is the first time I've ever done this, and I want your feedback in terms of what worked for you what didn't work for you, and the more even that you have them do that they get better at articulating their ideas and putting them forward so
don't be afraid to try. If you can,
yeah I think a lot of what you said, can kind of go back to teachers using the games in our class two are deciding what games to to use in class as you mentioned that you play a lot of games with your students. I think if teachers want to use any games, they also need to play a lot of games themselves.
Yeah. So, um, if you are there any limits or restrictions that you ever put on students in terms of games in your classes.
What do you mean exactly I guess, like, as far as games that they that I would not bring to class.
Um, I would say more like rules as far as when you have kids, I mean maybe not because you would teach college level and I teach middle school so that's probably very different approaches. Okay, let me reframe the question then. Was there anything that surprised you about using games in the classrooms with the students that you were working with.
That's a better question what a two part question, I guess. When I first gamified my class
or not let me take that back.
I can't remember now. Oh my gosh. Was it it was either the first semester. The second semester, but it was the first time, because I always I always use some games in my, in my throughout the course of the semester, or like in my lessons and so one semester weather is the first semester last year the second semester. Last year I can't remember, but I actually had a couple students say that we played too many games. Usually, usually at the end of the semester. The recommendation, the feedback is to play more games, because for language learning I think there's a unique advantage to where just about any thing we do that's game related. I mean, you could argue there's different, different efficient, there's more efficient games than others but any game that I do use, there is some language element to it. So there's some sort of input or output of language learning, if I use the game in class so it's more refining the ones that work more or like better than others, but that was kind of a surprise I guess because I didn't think I used too many that semester but maybe it was just a couple of students that, you know, maybe didn't enjoy some of the games or yeah I didn't make it clear what the reason for doing the game and in class was, or maybe I miscommunicated that. So it could have been a couple different things but usually students are happy to do the games and usually that's the feedback at the end of the semester is like. I really like the games you should do more games and so I was a little surprised at that this last year.
Well, and I think too sometimes you know when it comes to you know college classes when. Yeah, if the expectations aren't clear or if you know you're kind of in that mode where you're just like, give me the information so I can know it and just spit it back to you, obviously. Right. Games require engagement mean and maybe they're just like, you know, they'd had a day, and they're just like ready, but I think that's you know that's interesting because especially you know one thing that kind of drives me crazy a little bit, and this is a bigger problem but you know when I see teachers classrooms like even now we're have, you know so 12 1314 year old kids and I'll walk past the teachers classroom and they'll have games in there that are meant for much younger kids in there, you know, like even like Candyland or sorry, or something like that and and so it's like on the rear, at times, where they may have kids were had to have some time to play a game, you know, always is trying to get teachers to, you know, put better games in their classes and that's hard because then you have to teach them, you know, don't expect non gamers to just pick up a game and read it and use it and implemented is tough to do so. I'm always trying to, you know, expand what they know in terms of games so that they can implement better games it's funny because when you're talking about with the the language differences and stuff like that and the speaking components. It made me think about the summer I went to the UK games Expo and I was demoing the game medium, which is a really fun party game, so we probably need to figure out a way to use that one to really fun party game from greater than games, was working with. And the funny thing was so you basically have a word means there's you know you go head to head, and so each person has a word like let's say I have Japan, and you have monster. Right. And so we have to basically look at our words and then we have to try to come up with a word that's right in between them. So you look into each other's eyes and like 123. What were what Where do you think it is like conceptually between monstering in Japan, what would you say,
so I have, I only have monsters on the table. Maybe, maybe kaiju,
okay, right, so people usually say like kaiju or they say Godzilla, you know somebody's gonna be like super clever be like mothra you're like all right fine, you know, whatever, right, so they say something like that and so then we say okay so I said Godzilla, you said kaiju. Now we have to figure out what's the word in between these two words. And so it doesn't matter what we said before you just can't repeat them in any way. So now we said kaiju. And I said Godzilla, then we have to come up with a new term so here so you think of a new word between them. We're playing this game right now, you're a reptile reptile okay so well I was gonna say 123 but it's finally to make that clear. That's all right, man who's gonna be laser, right, so now it's like third and final try we have to try to come up with a word that's between reptile and laser, and. Right, exactly. So, but it's weird though because sometimes like people have these two crazy words, and to create crazy words and, you know, you never know what they come up with I forget what the what the pairing was that UK games Expo, but it was like mirror. And something else. And so, mirror and bread. And so the one guy said that and so the other guy said like larb. It was his word and like we're like, What does larb mean he's like it's bread backwards. You know, it's like or whatever was there like drama or whatever was like it was, it was so funny. But the one thing that I really like it especially for when I was in the UK, is you know people talking about like British people feeling embarrassed or whatever else culturally, you know Okay fine, but if people didn't know what they were going to say if they didn't have a word they would say nothing. And so just say something like think celery, because as long as you give a word. The game can progress, it doesn't matter anymore. If it doesn't exist, you don't have to worry about getting it right. You want to get it right peaches also just have to say a word and people wouldn't say a word if they didn't like, why didn't know what to say. It's like, save say salary. It was kind of interesting. Those are like little cultural differences. When it came to like teaching the game but that's another one actually that probably would have some really good applications to the classroom, especially when anything that you can have people do at the same time it's always a good thing. And sometimes there comes a time where like having people like you know perform on their own. You know that can be totally fine too because sometimes it's nice for people to not always constantly have to be on sometimes.
Right, right. Yeah, I can already see that being a great like science game to review, different con Oh yeah,
there's I mean and, and you. Yeah. Oh, do you know one other one that I want to mention actually we're going to talk about this and I'm supposed to have them on the show. The game flux, which a lot of people are aware of, you know, it's got like crazy rules that can constantly change they also make a series and they'll have them on an upcoming episode, but they make this game where you get to basically print on demand, where you can upload, like a word bank, and have the cards printed. And so it's something that as you play cards you know kids you know you can have them like look for pairs or look for whatever else you're doing but they've got this really interesting game says this is not really helpless as I'm speaking of it in such generalities but but it's another way that you can like basically it's a game structure that you'll be able to import your own concepts have your own cards printed, and it can be everything from math facts to words or whatever else pictures even so that'll be in a future episode so yeah so and I love that there's more of like the attention on games in the classroom, one of my newest roles, is that I'm on gammas Education Advisory Committee, and there's a bunch of different aspects to this, you know, in terms of like for manufacturers being able to educate distributors and retailers about what happens on the manufacturing side so there aren't necessarily surprises or, you know, there's misunderstandings when it comes to the retailer side, but especially for the games and education side, a lot of times there are people like, Oh, I'd love to have teachers play this game. Yes, I bet you would and I would love for them to be able to play it, but there are a series of significant obstacles towards doing that so you know like what are the things that games and game companies should do, or could do to get themselves into the classroom more, you know, what are the types of things that teachers are looking for in terms of games in the classroom. And so I'm excited to see where that goes in terms of creating opportunities for gamers game designers I'm going to be cool if you could just have like an ideal suggests or who knows may go nowhere but it would be cool if you could have a classroom game design competition like design a game for the classroom, you know like, it would have to play up to 25 people, you know, it would have to do like various things. And it would be really cool to see what people would come up with so it wasn't just, we are taking a game that is used for one purpose and you know reconfiguring it for our own purposes but it'd be really nice if you could say you know will be really cool is if you could have this happen in the game, you know, and then it's some way that you can apply it to all different contexts.
So that'd be kind of a fun thing.
Yeah, I think, I think that's, I think that's what's really key is collaborating among the community of teachers that have used games and education and kind of figuring out how or what works and creating a streamlined process for it so a teacher can kind of look at this. Maybe this handbook that's already been been created through all the fails and failures and successes of other teachers Yeah, and
I think to then you know when it's just because I've
had people approached me say hey I've got this game I'd really love to have it played well it's like some of them may be so content specific that I, you know, I have to teach this content in order for them to play this game and I don't know that I can do that I don't know that I want to do that I don't know that I have time to do that, you know, and so, even to have, you know, better resources out there as far as what games are out there and what content they teach so that people can use games in the class that they would want to use I mean there's so many opportunities I think when it comes to gaming in the classroom, that it's just exciting that you and I, like, are getting to talk to people who are helping to make that happen.
Agree 100% and I'm, I'm happy, I'm happy that we've been able to get together, too.
Well, in, I guess. One last thing is we sort of wrap things up. Is there anything that you have in your mind as far as a goal that you would like to accomplish next when it comes to games in the classroom and what you're trying to do.
I think that something you touched on and I've been kind of thrown around in my head is is creating some sort of database where teachers are teaching a unit on something and they can go on there and see what kind of games they can use in their class to either tackle review or tackle preview and concepts of the whatever material they're learning. It would be really good for teachers to find like a resource where they can just go to, and save time and kind of have this lesson plan that they can use.
Yeah, I mean it's like it's tricky because there's some games to where it's like I always want them to buy the game, you know, don't just like take a break from it but on the other hand, I also know the reality is to have education so, especially for any kind of like older game, you know, public domain like monikers is another really good example where you put basically everyone writes on a card like a person or an idea, and then you shuffle them up and then you deal them to teams and then you kind of like go through them and get everybody to guess, you know, by what you're saying or what clues you're giving to guess what's on that term like that's another really great one that could be used in the classroom. Well, that might be, that's a whole other. Yeah, that's really cool. That's a good idea. I mean, how about how about you. For me, the thing that I really need to do is I really need to look at the curriculum that I have and formalize it a little bit in terms of standards that it's meeting. That's something that people ask me about that I don't really ever have had to do. And I think it's something that I'm interested in one because it will make it even easier for people to use these resources in their classroom but it also. I'm really like thinking about the idea of like, you know, kind of like standards, not necessarily in like must be able to, but what are the things that people could do to get their kids to think like game designers to use design thinking, using games, what would be appropriate, you know the early elementary level, the later elementary level the middle school level the high school level you know what are the like the different things you could have kids do. So that if somebody wants to do something with game design in the classroom, they've got a better chance of success that they're not over shooting or under shooting what their kids are able to do but also in terms of tying this, you know, more specifically to actual curriculum, you know, then it can be easier for their administrators to use especially when you So, look at all these different things that this can do because it's such a comprehensive unit in terms of everything from, you know, steam to, you know everything under the sun, you know like there's a research component of writing technical writing prototyping you know there's so many different things to it and especially the more I can articulate that I think will help other teachers so that's kind of my big project for the year is to formalize the, the curricular writing aspect of it.
For sure. yeah i think i think that's that's really important to have, especially like even when we're talking about using games is how do they align right at a stand rights to that one goal that I had a thought about or a plan to do it maybe any of your listeners, want to reach out is in LA we plan to create a meetup sometime for teachers to meet up and talk about using game based learning and then play some games afterwards so that's a very short term goal that hopefully will be
some good people out there that I can put you in contact with who I think would be amazing assets for this. Awesome. Well we find you to wrap this up because we've been going on and it's all been I'm going to talk about all the there's something we talked about so many different things and some things we talk a lot more on and some we can talk to you and we're on but I think at some point, we'd probably just stop. So Dustin where can people find you if they want to know more about what you're doing. We're on the internet
board game with education, calm, or any, any social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, it's either board gaming with education or BG underscore games, or my email. The email is podcast at board gaming with education. com.
You can find me at Kathleen mercury calm or you can send me emails directly. You can also find me on Twitter at at mercury was seven m so at mercury. I'm not on Instagram because when my students calls it, basically, board games my dogs and me with too much makeup on when he's not necessarily wrong on that. But I'm also on boardgamegeek is funk donut. And I really hope that if, if I've said anything that's of interest to you that you want to do more with please please please feel free to reach out contact me I love helping people figuring out how they can take what I'm doing modifying it and making it work for them in their classrooms and so please reach out everything is for free. Take it make copies might do better than I tell me how you did it on an episode of games and schools and libraries, really awesome. I'm
excited hopefully listeners to your show will discover our podcasts and hopefully listeners to our show will discover your podcast so really cool.
Sure, and I'm always looking for people who are doing something cool with games to be on the show and let me hammer away with those little questions.
Awesome. Well thank you again.
Thank you. That's it.
Well thank you for listening to this episode of the games and schools and libraries podcast. You can find out more about us the people who create this show, over to inverse genius calm and all of our other wonderful wonderful shows, including on board games on RPGs the inverse genius podcast, and the room escape divas, we're also now joined by the party game cast, and Nebula, who you might remember as Stephanie previous co host here on the games and schools and libraries podcast and our friend, Linda theory. Thank you for listening.
Games in schools and libraries is produced in association with the Georgetown County Library System,
its relationship with this group of students. Now, she credits the world's XP or the gamification system for that. But I think, overall, no matter what most students develop pretty strong relationships with her as a teacher because that's just the person she is she's very considerate and understanding to her students needs and making sure our students needs are met. Another way that student teacher relationships can develop in a gamification or gamified classroom or using a game in class, think about a time you pulled off a super sick move on a video game or you finally beat a level you're working on for hours, or pulled off a great combo in a card game or board game. So, these moments can be described as fearow and Jane McGonigal his book reality is broken, talks about this term but essentially Fiero is that proud feeling or sense of satisfaction. So, if you're running a game in your class for example you can do a an escape room and escape rooms are great for creating these moments, if you've had the experience of going into an escape room there's usually a countdown timer of an hour and you try to make it out within the hour. Now, a lot of escape room companies are really great at making sure that each group is coming very close to that hour mark before getting out, because you don't want it to be too easy. You don't want it to be too difficult so you can create these escape room it experiences in your class through, maybe a review game and different puzzles can be integrated into or tied into your learning outcomes or review of a lesson. So, one resource you can check out as breakout. edu. That's break out one word and edu, there will be linked to that resource on the blog post as well so you can check out that resource that's a great way for creating these fear of moments because then students are just maybe you set a timer and they just make it out in time, or, you know, as a teacher, a lot of times we we adjust the timer based on our students needs and maybe we can kind of add in another couple minutes to and not tell our students to see if they can just make it out in time. Another great example that I really love this story from Extra Credits Extra Credits is a YouTube channel that explores video and game studies and dives into the industry a bit, there's a video by extra credit that's titled because games matter so you can find that on YouTube just search extra credit because games matter you can find this video where essentially a high school teacher connects with the student through the game Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts is a video game, the student was very close off throughout the quarter, the teacher was able to connect through this video game I really recommend watching the video because the story is just a lot better told through the video and you really get a sense of how you can form these connections with students through games now, in this example doesn't always have to be games, it could be through different common hobbies or other interests that you share with your students.
And we got number
four, so games developed class culture, a great gamification system can help to foster a strong class culture. It provides collaborative elements cultural components specific to your classroom. So for example, maybe, imagine a classroom where each of your students creates a avatar, as a space explorer and throughout the course of the quarter they're exploring space by exploring different units. And they also control or have a ship that they all share and have different jobs with that shit. So this is a great thematic gamified classroom structure. And it really helps students develop a sense of pride and ownership in their learning environments because they feel like they are in control of their own ship they're piloting their own ship, we've had a recent episode from our podcast with Alan girding, he's the one of the CO owners of the board game company Tuesday night games and he is also a psychology professor, and it's really cool episode where he talks about using in group and out group psychology to motivate groups of students, essentially, he sets up His course in a way that each group of students creates their own class identity, and you have rival classes versus each other. And then at the end of the semester, all of the classes come together to beat the ultimate, like, I think he calls it the dragon classroom, whatever it's named in his course, so they're competing together at the end to fight this final boss so I recommend checking out that episode with Alan Gurney that's Episode 64 Tuesday night games, featuring Alan girding.
Number three. So, number three so games can be a classroom management tool. So games can be a classroom management tool, or they can really help you to assess the one you currently have in place. So by adding elements of gamification to your classroom or your learning environment requires a great level of thought on what classroom management structure you already have in place, it helps you develop stronger strategies also for your learning environment. So think about your current classroom management structure what sort of gamification overlay can you add on to it. So I've told this story on the podcast before but I think it shows or illustrates a great example of how games can be a classroom management tool in my first year of teaching in Korea. I had a group of students that were really difficult for me to manage in the classroom. I used a star system that the after school program or cram school they call it, or, or hug one in Korean. And I use their structure or their system, and it was a star system and you had blue stars for reinforcing positive behavior and red stars for reinforcing negative behavior. And this was one of the systems that the school used as well as some of my own individual management classroom management techniques but in this class A lot of the things I was doing in other classes that that were working pretty well, were not working in this class, I had a class of about 12 students ages 11 and 13, most of them were boys except for one or two girls at one point, and I would get out of their seats, they would play fight with her classmates that only speak Korean, which was not allowed in this second language school. So as a first year teacher I was struggling and I was trying to come up with a way to solve this problem at the time I didn't realize I was employing gamification techniques to my classroom management, but it solved a problem that I had as a teacher, and what I did was, grab something that was very popular. That was, that maybe I shared an interest with my students and that was the movie Avengers so at the time the first Avengers movie that's very popular. So I read theme, the star system and I added a couple of mechanics to it as well. So what I asked students to do was form groups, and then they each chose and adventure. And at the end of the board, they had to reach Loki on the other side and to get there. They had to answer your question correctly then move over one space or if a student was doing something that I wanted to reinforce maybe student Bob was working on his question number four quietly and I'd say oh Bob is working on Question number four quietly his group. His superhero, whoever Spider Man moves across the board, and they had to make it to the end of the board to face Loki, so they were competing among each other as groups, but I also had them compete against me as a teacher because I didn't want to take away their superhero who Spider Man maybe he's doing really good I didn't want to take away something they worked well to do by moving Spider Man backwards so instead I created, or I chose one of the superheroes, and I moved my superhero across the board to fight Loki, looking back at this structure that I had in place I think it would have been really cool to maybe print a big printout of myself in like a really tacky superhero costume, and then it's like superhero Dustin moving across the board, or at the end when they face Loki maybe there could be a short mini game to fight Loki, maybe they just have to like throw a crumpled up piece of paper on the board and hit a target and if they miss, then another group has an opportunity to try to fight, fight Loki and they move back a couple spaces, but usually I would time it to where the number of questions in the classroom that I would get to or ask them to answer would be close to what they needed to face Loki. So, this behavior management system works so well that I've used it, or different versions of it in different classroom or learning environments to reinforce behavior or to encourage behavior that I want in my classroom. So for example this past couple years when I was in the university, teaching in Taiwan, I would use something similar where I drew three stick figures on the board, and I wanted to encourage my students to speak English, because there are adults and I don't necessarily need to reprimand them for speaking in their own language they're allowed to do that if it's necessary at certain moments in class and not disruptive, but I also want to really encourage them to speak English, to help with their language acquisition. So in order to do that I drew the three stick figures, and each stick figure. We're floating in some water. So underneath the water they had to light fest as well. So if anyone in class at any time, for whatever reason, spoke a language that was not English, one of the stick figures drowned. So I would erase one six figure from the board. Now, the life fest came into play because if a student really needed to speak their mother language for whatever reason, they were allowed to raise their hand and ask to speak their language maybe they needed clarification and their mother language to understand what was happening in class, they were allowed to raise their hand and ask, so that helped to encourage students to use the to use.