Monday, June 13, 2016

Explore Like A Pirate Book Study Chapter 2

Today I am linking up with Sweet Sweet Primary for our book study of Michael Matera's book Explore Like a Pirate. Join us each Tuesday as we share our takeaways from this book that is all about engaging your students.   If you missed my previous posts you can find them here:

If you would like to read along with us, you can find the book here.  It is also available for free on Kindle Unlimited right now.

Chapter 2
Tall Tales: Dispelling the Myths of Gamification

Chapter 2 is all about reducing your fears (or perhaps the fear of others including administrators, parents, and students) about game based learning.

Matera says that the most common question he hears is "What is gamification?"  He supplies this definition:

He says this definition is a great place to start the conversation, but there is so much more to it.  He says success comes when we are intentional about the ways we use gamification in tandem with curriculum standards.  You use this method along with other tried and true methods.  I definitely appreciate this, because it often seems that when new methods come along, we are asked to throw away everything else we are already doing regardless of whether or not it was already working.  I like the idea of this being an addition rather than a replacement.

Matera addresses several common myths about game based learning including:

Myth 1: Games are just for play.  There is no challenge or educational rigor.

Not so, says Matera.  He says the truth is that games are filled with a "motivational complexity" that can be used to increase content acquisition.  

He asks, why do students play games like video or board games?  No one makes them play, they choose to do so on their free time.  In fact, it is their number one use of time.  By the time students complete high school, they will have spent over 10,000 hours gaming! As educators, we need to meet the students where they are - with the games!

Myth 2: If I give them a badge or points, my class will be gamified.

Matera dispells this myth by saying that without an engaging setting or purpose badges or points are not incentives.  This makes sense to me, because I notice that most of my students are not motivated by grades - I think this is how they view them.

Myth 8: My classroom doesn't have enough technology to make this work.

I am FINALLY getting 1 to 1 ipads in my classroom this year - I say finally because all of my team mates have had them for at least a year or more.  I was last man on the totem pole so I have been patiently waiting. So, that means I get this if you don't have technology in your classroom yet.  Luckily Matera says that YOU decide what this looks like in your classroom.  It doesn't have to be electronic.  You can play ANY kind of game.  I have links of a few examples below.

Games to play in the classroom when you don't have technology:

Do you remember doing this when you were a kid?

As you can see from their smiles below, my kiddos LOVED doing it too!  Instead of just solving math problems, we turned it into a game when we checked the problems.  You can read more about it in this blog post.

and water balloon fights are also fun ways to practice skills.

What kinds of games do you play in your classroom?  Leave a comment below, and share any links as well.  We would love to see them!

Last but not least, head on over to my giveaway page to enter our current giveaways!


  1. Those games look like a lot of fun! Did you use actual water balloons with the water balloon game, or just the water balloon cards? I bet your students had a blast!

    1. Thank you! We just used the water balloon cards - you could always take them outside after and give them the number of water balloons equal to the number of cards they earned... you might have just given me an idea for next year!

  2. There are so many ways we already include gaming in our classes. We'll find out more about how to link these games together in future chapters. Thanks for linking up!

    1. Thank you again for hosting! I am really loving this book!


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