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As a science teacher, I guess I would classify myself as a bit of a nerd or geek. I have always been that person who asks a lot of questions and tries to figure things out. I was the annoying little girl who wanted to follow my dad around while he was trying to fix things around the house. I can tell you I am not an engineer. I don’t always do things the easy way or the most practical. However, I love a good puzzle.

Another interesting fact about me is I love to play games. I grew up playing various card or board games with my family. Still to this day, when my family gets together, our gatherings usually revolve around two things: food and games. This has led to my competitive spirit. I wouldn’t call myself a sore loser, but I will admit I do like to win.

So why am I telling you this? It’s not like you all want to get to know me. In September, I came across a new educational game: Breakout EDU. I checked the website and decided to order a game. I figured worst-case scenario I would have a new game to add to my collection for family/friend gatherings. This game reminded me of a new craze I had been hearing more and more about: Escape Rooms. I had never been to an Escape Room, but I loved the concept of piecing together clues and critically thinking to win a game. I also loved that this concept involved a team. My husband will tell you I do know a lot about some things, but I am an embarrassment when it comes to history or geography knowledge. I love the idea of pulling together a team of individuals with various strengths to beat a challenge.

Anyway, I received my box in October. I was already intrigued about the concept of the game, but as I explored the developed games on the Breakout EDU website, ideas of integrating this into a classroom exploded in my mind. I needed to get this into my district’s classrooms. You see I am no longer a classroom teacher but a K-12 Curriculum Director. How was I going to get my teachers excited about the many educational possibilities this product offered? They needed to play a game. I first played a game with a group of friends at a Halloween gathering. I played the same game at a junior-senior high school professional development in early November. The staff loved it! It was great to watch the teachers interact with each other-- veteran teachers, new staff members, science teachers, social studies teachers, music teachers, etc. Standing back and watching the teachers work together and problem solve was motivating. The teachers didn’t even notice when we went over the time allotted for the PD session. They were working late and were so engaged they didn’t notice.

My next obstacle was figuring out how to convince my superintendent to purchase more boxes. How did I do this? I had him play the game. He did, and he was hooked. He even asked to take it home and play with his family.

I have continued to present about this resource and expose various individuals, principals, curriculum directors, teachers, superintendents, middle school students, high school students, intermediate students, etc. The list goes on. I will tell you each time I present and facilitate a game I love the engagement of the participants. I love the post-game buzz. I love hearing teachers brainstorm about ways to incorporate this into their classroom.

I have recently started writing my own Breakout EDU games. Taking this next step has increased my love for this product. The possibilities are endless. Tying in content is so easy. Students don’t even realize they are learning. It is beautiful!

Are you looking for a way to engage your students? Are you looking for a way to get your students to critically think? Do you want your students to collaborate, communicate, and think outside the box? Breakout EDU is a great way to do that.

To learn more, I encourage you to check out the BreakoutEDU website or follow them on Twitter @breakoutEDU.

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