Students love experiencing new views of their subjects. When they reach a new vantage point and find their footing (get comfortable with the process) they ask for more. Gamification and collaboration open the door to new perspectives and help students soar. How do we enjoy the experience and let students have fun without wasting valuable instructional time? Planning. Have questions tying directly to the curriculum ready to go, prep students ahead of time by reminding them of the purpose, and bring it all home with a solid debrief.
After a class has bought-in to the idea of gamification and they are eating up the curricular activity, there is a temptation to keep playing and just skip the debrief. We think, “It’s time to wrap up if we want to discuss this, but the kids are enjoying engaging with the material…We can debrief tomorrow.” NO!!! This is a fatal mistake. Debriefing an activity is incredibly important. Activities themselves provide so many talking points and enrich the curriculum of any subject–when addressed directly so the whole class can share insights and dig in even further. Handling a debrief in timely, efficient way is critical. If your class lingers too long, focusing on the activity and never getting to the heart of the lesson plan the purpose of the journey is lost. Kids will remember the fun stuff and want to do it again, but there is more to be learned.
In my work with scoring collaborative learning, I use concept games to introduce collaborative thinking skills. Many approaches are possible including verbal and listening communication, visualization, strategizing, and a plethora of other methodologies for collaborative problem solving. Students readily engage in these events. To bring home the message, debriefing is essential for the students to digest what they just experienced.
Sometimes, when soaring to new heights we find ourselves in a cloud of potential directions to head next. Students want to continue the activity, but time restrictions and subject relevance remind the teacher that it’s time to land the plane. “What happened, So what, and Now what? Are guiding lights in a debriefing process bringing us right to the runway with powerful insights to consider the rest of the semester.
Our debriefing form is simple, and so is the process, but it takes some practice to get the most out of the experience. Drop us a line. We would love to share!