Thursday, November 2, 2017

Breaking Out of Boredom: Using BreakoutEDU in Professional Development

Today I want to talk about one of the things I'm really excited about right now- using BreakoutEdu with teachers during Professional Development Workshops.

Just before I attended the Google Innovator Academy in Stockholm, Sweden (you can read about that over on my tech blog), Google sent each person in my cohort a BreakoutEdu kit. I'd only just learned about using breakout and escape room type games in the classroom a few months earlier, and was just beginning to create digital breakout games for teachers to use with their students. I was thrilled to get an actual Breakout Box of my own!

Of course, since I spend most of my time working with teachers, and leading workshops and other professional development, I immediately wondered how I could begin using this with my teachers. I found some awesome games on the BreakoutEdu site, BUT most of those designed for adults were related to team-building.

That didn't really help me- most of my workshops involve teachers from all over the county, and we're there to learn about ELLs, not build teamwork. Since I'm an ESOL Coach, I wanted to do games with my teachers that involved content related to the workshops I was teaching. To make that happen, that meant I needed to jump in and start creating my own games.

I looked at lots of examples, visited an Escape Room, and did lots of research. Then, I created my first game about The ESOL Bus- it focused on learning about three essential elements that should always be included in instruction for ELLs:

  • Build Background
  • Use Comprehensible Input
  • Scaffolding and Support

My teachers had a great time, and they did manage to breakout with just a few minutes remaining. Encouraged by that success, I then created a co-teaching game for a presentation I had planned for one of my schools who is implementing co-teaching. The same skills that are needed for a team to be successful in breakout- communication, collaboration, and respect- are also essential to building a good relationship with a partner teacher. So, teachers were able to explore best co-teaching practices to find clues and "breakout". Inside the box, I had candy (for the next activity on the agenda) and a card reminding them of those three essential "keys" to building a solid co-teaching relationship:

Later this month, I have my second session with the teachers in my Technology for ELLs Focus Group, and I plan to do a Breakout that will require them to use the skills they've learned about GSuite. I can't wait to see how it goes! 

After each breakout, I lead a reflection discussion so that we have time to discuss what we learned and what they thought of the breakout. 

All in all, if you are someone who leads professional development, I encourage you to consider how you can incorporate BreakoutEdu into some of your workshops. It's a great opener to get teachers up and moving and engaged, then you can tie in they clues they explored and what they learned during the Breakout to the topic of your workshop.

If you're already doing this, tell me how in the comments!

No comments:

Post a Comment