I had heard so much about digital escape rooms, how easy they are to make, and how it transforms class into an engagement magnet. BUT, I’m a teacher and we have so little time to work with, especially this year, so I never really got around to making one… until last week.
My kiddos were in a slump, the daily grid of hybrid learning had started to take it’s toll on them (and me!). The normal bells and whistles of class didn’t seem to be catching them. So, the problem solver that I am decided, “This is it! Bring on the Escape Room!”
I’m not gonna lie… I didn’t read other blogs about how to make one using Google Forms, and I didn’t watch any YouTube videos. I just opened up a blank form and began. Although it wasn’t “difficult” (I’m pretty proficient with Forms), because this was my first one (and I’m a perfectionist – have you seen my blog title?!), I worked on it until 1AM. But, it was worth EVERY hour of sleep I didn’t get! Let me walk you through the process I used.
Step 1: Choose a Skill
This was easy for me. We’re in the middle of a unit about routines, and we’re studying French Reflexive Verbs (so much fun, right?). Truth be told, I am not a grammar guru – unlike most of my French colleagues. So, when it comes to grammar, I try to gamify EVERYTHING. Because if I’m not having fun – they aren’t either.
Step 2: Choose Your Activities
I quickly decided which Google Forms question types I was going to use. First, I made sure to keep the question types as diverse as possible so that my kiddos lost ZERO interest while they were completing this. Then, I stacked the question types in an order that I thought made things progressively more challenging as the escape room went on. Differentiation is still important in virtual / hybrid / distance learning!
Lock #1 = Multiple Choice
Lock #2 = Checkboxes
Lock #3 = Grid
Lock #4 = Drop-down
Lock #5 = Short Response with Text Validation
The text validation here is KEY. By adding text validation students have to submit EXACTLY correct responses (capital letters and periods included).
These activities on their own are BORING!!! What makes EVERYTHING MAGIC in a Digital Escape Room is the storyline! The storyline COMPELS students to keep going and engages them in the content.
Step 3: Create Your Storyline
This was THE BEST part! I made up an evil doctor of words with a forté in grammar – Dr. Franglish. She is infamous for her Grammar Games. This is the first time my students have “met” Dr. Frangish, but I have a feel they will be seeing more of her in different places as the year continues.
My storyline was fairly simple: Evil doctor makes an escape game in an old, haunted school. I made sure that the game went all through the school to keep things moving. My students had to unlock locks in the Tower of Terror, Hallway of Horror, Classroom of Concentration, the school gym during Hoops of Hope, and the auditorium for a Spelling Bee.
Without a good storyline, the digital escape room is not going to engage the way you want it to. Take some time and make this part as compelling as possible! I promise you won’t be let down!
Step 4: Play and Enjoy
When I announced to my kiddos that they were going to do an escape room in class (a grammar-based escape room, mind you), they were HYPE!
Share the link to the Google Form with your students. Then, sit back and watch all of your hard work pay off! And by “sit back” I mean be ready to facilitate the lesson, cheer kiddos on, appreciate the happy moment that this brings, and pass on the word to others to try this out, too!