The Old Song and Dance Routine

Let's face it, as teachers we pretty much rely on the song and dance routine to keep our students engaged, entertained and motivated to work. And right around this time of the year my song and dance routine is downright old and pathetic. 

There are basically three versions of my students at this point: 
.the ones who do work because they know they are supposed to; 
.the ones who know they don't have to do summer school and have now quit working completely; 
.the ones who know they have to do summer school and have now quit working completely.

I blame it on state testing...lets spend all year preparing them for a test and then leave six weeks of school after said test...but that's a post for another day.

Around this time last year I decided to try a new unit in my web design class: video game design. And I posted about it here. What I didn't foresee at the time was how amazing this unit would go, how many students would eventually sign up for web design just to do this unit or how truly engaged it keeps them. aka no behavior issues. zero.

The program we use is Game Star Mechanic
Scholastic approves it so it must be decent.

Here are the highlights aka why you should try it out like yesterday:

.it's free. 
teachers love the word free

.it's easy.
all you have to do is set up a account and provide the link to the students for them to create their own username: no downloading software, no adding usernames, no maintaining lists

.students must play through five quests in order to publish any games.
this takes about five or so class days if you were doing it for the full period, it requires no instruction from you except to start the quests

.students will seriously be playing video games in each quest.
a student's dream.

.prewritten lesson plans. 
.if you want to ensure that it is all educational like there are prewritten lesson plans with handouts and extension activities aka no extra work on your end.

.thinking planning and attention to detail.
.once the students have played through all of the quests they can then design their own game from scratch with as many levels as they or you see fit: this is going to end up taking us about two weeks of class time.

.students get to play each other's games and provide feedback.
.be warned students might spend the entire unit begging you to play their game. its like a tug a war of your attention.

.core subjects aren't left out.
.there are also extension lessons that can incorporate the core subjects into the final video game design: .A Mythical Tale. The Deep Earth Explorer.

.You could have students tell a story through video game design about any unit you are studying.

And because sometimes it nice to be able to brag on how awesome my students are here are two of the many amazing games I have seen designed over the last three semesters of using Game Star Mechanic in my room.

So if you are tired of the old song and dance routine and looking for a way to keep those kiddio's engaged as the end of the year creeps closer, wanting a way to reward the students for being awesome or just want to have your students think you are the absolute coolest teacher. ever.
 might I suggest Game Star Mechanic! 

How are you keeping your students engaged?

Linking up with Holly at Fourth Grade Flipper.

- The Babbling Box!


  1. We are doing this TOMORROW. I only wish I had 22 computers. Oh well...they are just going to have to take turns. Maybe this will motivate them to get their biographies finished and turned in....early! :)
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

    1. You so should! Make them write down their username and password, since its free they can't reset it, I should have included that in the post. You could totally have them take turns to, my seventh graders are really good about helping each other pass levels that the other can't. Its sort of sweet. I wish I could use it to motivate my other classes to get their projects turned in but chances are they will have web design in the coming years and then it wont be new and shiny. New and shiny is always key.

  2. I am totally putting this on the list for June!!Thank you! How about my school where there were ten weeks of school left after the state test?!? Grrr...You're a lifesaver!
    Fourth Grade Flipper