Assessing Students with Breakout EDU

About this time last year, I discovered Breakout EDU, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

If you’re not familiar, it essentially turns your classroom into an escape room environment where students solve a series of puzzles to get INTO a box. (That part confuses them at first, but they get over it).

Image result for breakout sketchnote

The best part is that once you get started with a kit, the possibilities are endless! There are tons of breakouts available for free on the website, and once you get the basic idea, you can modify them (or even create your own).

I’ve been using them this year with my intervention students as our “fun day” activity. Little do they know, I’ve been selecting and designing the puzzles to force them to apply the skills we’ve been working on.

Do I want them to pay more attention to details? Hide the clues deeper in something they have to read.
Do I want to see if they understand coordinate planes? Include a clue that uses one.

You can make clues that have to do with a variety of content topics and skills, and you’re able to see very quickly who has a handle on things and who doesn’t. It’s been a great tool for me this year as I’m working with my math intervention students on problem-solving skills and my reading intervention students on close reading techniques.

I have a “Breakout EDU Wall of Fame” that I post their pictures on after they breakout. I try to do one a month, and I have to add it to our classroom calendar so they know when it is (or I get asked every day when the next one is going to be).

Can you assess all things all the time with Breakout EDU? Of course not – but it certainly deserves to have space in your assessment toolbox.

If you’re not interested in purchasing a box from them to start, you can “open source” your own kit at stores in your town for not too much money. Regardless of how many students you have, you can get by with one box (see this blog post for the how-to), and you can start with a game that doesn’t use too many locks. If you want to go all in with an official kit, you can try a Donor’s Choose project!

So, the next time you’re looking for a fun way to engage students in assessment – give Breakout EDU a try! I’d love to hear from people how they use Breakout EDU in their classroom or other fun ways to engage students in assessment.

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