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Breaking Out of Mundane Lessons with Escape the Room!

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-Tips on how to get started:

Being mindful of the stress that comes with testing, I was inspired to offer a new approach – an escape-the-room game that incorporates team-building. After experiencing the game myself, I realized that it could be an innovative way to alleviate the general anxiety students feel before an exam.

First, I tried it with my Spanish classes, then modified the activities for my English Learners. I started gathering materials like locks, unusual boxes, puzzles, and other items for the game. The activities included a stack of verbs to conjugate. Each person was tasked to conjugate five AR, ER, and IR verbs within their team. They needed to edit each other’s work and do so quickly before submission. This allowed them to work together, review the material, and enlist peer help for editing.

The activities included completing a set of tasks and then solving a set of obstacles. The underlined letters in the puzzles revealed a message that provided a clue on where to locate the first key.

Next, I had students respond to more complex grammar and cultural questions. Upon completion, they were able to retrieve a flashlight that revealed invisible words in Spanish. Knowing the vocabulary led to discussions on its meaning, which revealed the next clue on where to find the next key. I added another layer of complexity, where they needed to be discreet about their movement, much like the escapees in Alcatraz. I provided brooms they could use to sweep around where they may find messages and clues.

Next, I had students respond to more complex grammar and cultural questions. Upon completion, they were able to retrieve a flashlight that revealed invisible words in Spanish. Knowing the vocabulary led to discussions on its meaning, which revealed the next clue on where to find the next key. I added another layer of complexity, where they needed to be discreet about their movement, much like the escapees in Alcatraz. I provided brooms they could use to sweep around where they may find messages and clues.

After completing this structured team-building activity, students felt better prepared for the next day’s test. They could ask questions, review grammar, practice vocabulary, and gain cultural understanding through Reading passages. This activity was a great way to focus their attention and immerse themselves in test preparation. It also provided opportunities to ask each other questions and alleviate any anxiety that generally comes before testing.


Tips for Starting an Escape the Room Activity:
1.    Plan Ahead: Like any lesson, planning ahead for your escape-the-room activity is essential. Consider what materials you will need, how much time it will take, and your learning objectives.


2.    Set the Scene: Creating an immersive environment can help students feel more engaged and motivated. Decorate the room with relevant props and set the mood with music or sound effects.
3.    Create Challenging Puzzles: Puzzles should be challenging enough to require critical thinking and problem-solving skills but not so difficult that students become frustrated. Test the puzzles yourself before presenting them to your students.


4.    Provide Clues: Students may need guidance along the way, so provide clues to help them progress through the puzzles. Consider providing different levels of hints depending on the needs of individual students or groups.


5.    Debrief: After the activity, discuss the learning objectives and reflect on the experience as a group. Encourage students to share their insights and observations.
6.    Relax! I completed a round at home to check that all the parts were there. Let go of worries because everyone will appreciate the change.
Students were so excited that they came wearing striped outfits, and I did too!


Resources for Escape the Room Activities:
1.    BreakoutEDU: BreakoutEDU is a website that provides ready-to-use escape-the-room games for classroom use. The website also offers tutorials and resources for teachers to create their games.
2.    Escape Room Z: Escape Room Z is an online escape room game specifically designed for students. The game is free to play and is aligned with Common Core State Standards.
3.    Can You Escape: Can You Escape is an app that provides virtual escape-the-room games. The app is available for both iOS and Android devices.
Examples of Escape the Room Activities:
1.    Math Escape Room: Create a math-themed escape room activity using puzzles and riddles related to math concepts such as geometry, algebra, and fractions.
2.    History Escape Room: Create a history-themed escape room activity by using puzzles and clues related to historical events, figures, and timelines.
3.    Science Escape Room: Create a science-themed escape room activity by using puzzles and clues related to scientific concepts such as anatomy, biology, and chemistry.


In conclusion, escape-the-room activities can be a fun and engaging way to promote teamwork, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills in the classroom. It can be used with staff members to help them start the year on a high note. The options and venues are unlimited!

#EscapeTheRoom #Teaching #CreativeTeaching