Wednesday, May 11, 2016


Engaging? Critical Thinking? Problem Solving? Persevering? Collaborating? 

#BreakoutEDU has quickly become a hit in our district, and it employs each of the skills listed above.  

I was first introduced to #BreakoutEDU via Twitter while exploring different up and coming educational resources. Our ITF team began discussing this as something we may want to try, and Donna Wells, one of my AWESOME teammates explained how #BreakoutEDU had a Facebook Group, and she had been silently following them and exploring for a while.  Donna was given the go ahead to purchase a kit and do some hands on exploration of her own.  Classrooms and students across Burke County have been "Breaking Out" ever since!! 

With #BreakoutEDU students have 45 minutes to work collaboratively solving clues and puzzles in order to break codes and open a locked box.  There is nothing amazing inside the boxes, just a few signs that say "WE BROKE OUT", "WE SOLVED IT", "WE ARE PROBLEM SOLVERS". The amazing thing is the level of thinking that takes place in order to reach the common goal.  

Through #BreakoutEDU I have watched students struggle and work through frustration, but at the same time I have watched them not know how to think critically, apply prior knowledge, and I have watched them give up when at first they did not succeed. After each #BreakoutEDU experience I ask myself if we are truly teaching kids to be thinkers and doers or are we programing them to be robots with a set answer and a scripted way to accomplish something?  

If we truly want our students to pursue knowledge we not only have to teach them content, but more importantly we have to teach them how to learn, teach them how to question, and teach them how to embrace failure as a means for learning and moving forward.   #BreakoutEDU is not "the end all be all" definition of persistence and the pursuit of knowledge, but it is definitely an engaging way to start. 

Now, the set up, I am not going to lie, is quite cumbersome the first time, but to see the struggle during the activity is worth it!! I am looking forward to working with a team of teachers to create their very own #BreakoutEDU game.