My colleagues Heather and Janay and I have been eager and excited and planning to try Breakout EDU boxes in our classes for almost year. But of course, like introducing anything new and exciting, finding the time to do the research and the set up in order to implement is always a barrier. When I was hired by our school division as an Instructional Coach halfway through first semester, I quickly realized that helping bring this Breakout EDU box experience to reality would be one way to help out and get into high school classes.
Although we had initially considered making our own Breakout kits by sourcing all of the components ourselves, we soon realized that a) the variety of locks needed (colours, letters, shapes, etc) were not readily available at local stores and b) locks are expensive. So, in the end, I ordered a ‘class set’ of 6 Breakout EDU boxes directly from the Breakout EDU online store. The price didn’t look quite as good after USD exchange and hefty out of country shipping costs, but the boxes finally arrived. In my new position, I actually had time to properly unpack, inventory and colour code all of the various components for each box, especially considered that these will ultimately be used by classrooms of differing age levels across our school division.
Earlier in December, I spent a morning with Heather and Janay and we chose a pre-made game from the Breakout EDU store. Janay was looking for an English Literature review game – in the end, we chose a poetry review game. Together we printed the game resources, I then laminated and cut out the pieces, and organized them into envelopes for what I hope is a good, re-useable system. (I had to promise that I would not use this game with any of the EBHS feeder schools. Eventually, we will try our hand at making a complete game from scratch — Janay is an expert at riddles and puzzles!)
Like with anything new, there is a learning curve: how to reset and organize the locks, how to best sort, collect and manage the locks and ‘game resources’.
Heather’s Learning Strategies class did a test run of the game a few days before the full class experience. After a few minor alterations, we ran the first PRSD8 Breakout game the day before Christmas break. We invited a few adults to share the experience and help out in each group; this was a good strategy for helping students get past the inevitable points of frustration.
In the end, this was an awesome success.
- Students and adults alike had fun.
- Janay is already plotting ways to create her own original games — I figure this could be a great retirement project in a few years!
- There were 1 or 2 minor glitches with the materials and locks –things that would make the game-play better for next time. But as this was a learning experience for all, this makes sense–there is always room to learn and improve in anything that we do.
As anticipated, there is a bright future for the Breakout EDU experience in Prairie Rose School Division:
- Janay is already planning a Shakespeare/Romeo & Juliet Breakout experience for her academic Grade 10 English course next semester.
- I am hoping to take this Poetry Breakout to Angie in Foremost and Matt in Burdett after Christmas.
- I’ve got a Breakout “Staff Experience” prepared that Cathy and I will take to Oyen with us in February for the School Improvement Day
- Jason in Schuler is interested in a Breakout experience for his Junior High Phys Ed class in Schuler….