I finally tried out a Breakout EDU with my upper level French classes earlier this week and it was a success! I’m very fortunate that my department will be receiving several Breakout EDU kits next school year and I wanted to try one out on a very small scale. I’d never experienced a breakout before, so it was a completely new experience for me.
There are lots of French breakouts already created, so I started with one from Noelle Young. I can’t remember where I found this breakout because I had added the files to my Drive, but it was a great starting point for me. I only used part of her breakout because we didn’t have access to all of the locks needed and I didn’t want to do something too big since this was the first time implementing one. Here is a link to what I used. This breakout was VERY easy for my upper level students, but I could definitely see using this for my French 1 students.
I had two different upper level classes attempt this French 1 breakout and both classes successfully escaped. It was really interesting watching the students solve the puzzles and listen to their discussions. At first, one of my classes considered dividing up the puzzles, but they decided against it and worked as a team for most of it. Most everyone was engaged and actively participating the entire time. They really enjoyed it and one student asked if we could do this every day.
Here are a few things that I learned:
- Have small groups
- I had a group of 10 and that is too large. It was easy for a student to become disengaged because someone else was willing to do the work.
- Hide the clues or have each clue locked
- I didn’t hide the clues in difficult locations and didn’t have them individually locked. Having them locked or needing a clue to find the next puzzle would require students to work together as a team the entire time.
- Time them
- I was so excited about the activity that I forgot to time them. They asked me how long it took them and I couldn’t tell them. I think this would be fun for some students who are competitive.
After seeing how engaging this activity is, I am going to work on incorporating this into a choice activity for my students next year. Breakout EDU requires students to work collaboratively and apply their learning to solve puzzles. I see this as being a fun, motivating activity for students. I’m really looking forward to having Breakout EDU kits next year and now need to create some of my own breakouts!