Investigating the Wild West


Junior Chase Sullivan serves grits

Kelee Mills, Staff Writer

English teacher  Cathy Wall’s junior students are competing against each other this semester. In teams, the students filled out a survey for who they wanted in their teams.  The students do all kinds of different activities to earn points. They complete SAT prep and play Kahoot games over the book they are reading among other things. Right now the students are reading The Great Gatsby. 

Students compete for points, stickers and candy. The points are added up at the end of each week and the team in the lead gets a sticker and candy.

 Junior Katelyn Hall thinks that the competitions have made the class more fun. 

¨They have been fun for my class because we are super competitive which makes it more exciting,¨ Hall said. 

Students get to show off their skills in class. They also get to prepare for their SATs that are coming up in March. Junior Bailee Clifton thinks that the competitions make class more interesting. 

¨It makes class more interesting because we aren’t always just reading and answering questions on worksheets,¨ Clifton said. 

Wall had students choose a theme last semester in preparation for beginning the games in January, for example, detective agencies or an arcade theme among others. Students chose a mystery theme. When they returned for the second semester, each team chose a name and created an avatar to be displayed on the leaderboards posted in the class. 

Wall came up with the concept from different workshop sessions she has attended.

¨I have been to two or three different workshop sessions about incorporating games into the classroom, and I also bought a book about the topic that was recommended in one of the workshops I attended this fall,” Wall said. “I would like to make it more immersive going forward, but I thought it was better to start small and grow the idea rather than trying to do too much at one time.”

Most students think that it would have been more fun if they would have started the competitions at the beginning of the school year. Junior Anna Kate Stanelle wishes they would have started even earlier.

¨I think that maybe starting this when school started would have been a good idea, but I also don’t really know which is better,¨ Stanelle said 

The students have a lot of favorite parts about the competitions. While some students’ favorite parts are that they get stickers and candy, junior Lylli Victoria´s favorite part is working with her team.

¨My favorite part is that we get to work in groups and earn points,¨ Victoria said 

Some students prefer what they have been doing in class with the competitions over the worksheets that they were doing in class. 

¨I do prefer this over what we were doing, I think having teams makes things more fun and overall easier,¨ Stanelle said. 

Having the students in groups with other students that they don’t usually talk to on a daily basis really helps students connect with each other. It helps them interact more in class with each other and with the teacher. 

¨I have seen an increase in classroom interaction in some students and that’s one of the reasons I love using games in class. It’s odd. The same content might not engage them at all if they were doing it for themselves, but make it a team activity and throw in some rewards and they become very animated,¨ Wall said. 

Junior Eli Fromm eats grits 
Juniors Chase Sullivan and Matt Watson serve grits