Even though I’ve never played Dungeons & Dragons, I thought this was a neat example of gamifying the classroom:
Teachers already have to purchase and create so many of their classroom supplies and materials. When gamifying the classroom, both Wells and Roman suggest getting creative and using the resources you have available. “I used an extra fire escape map of the school as a dungeon,” says Wells. “My students started at the entrance and had to get to my classroom, but there were zombies everywhere. Every time they encountered one, they had to answer a quiz question.”
Sending your child to school isn’t easy. You’re sending them off into the unknown. Sure, you know that there is safety and structure, but you have no clue what their teacher might be like. No clue what is going on in the classroom or the playground. Unless you ask.
To cut through the fog of school, you need to frame questions in a specific way. Questions that move beyond simple one word answers.
Instead of asking: How was school today?
Ask: Who did you play with today on the playground?
And as a follow up: What did you play?
Parenting is all about playing the role of the detective. Ask questions and then listen. Be present. Avoid distracting thoughts. Your child knows when they have your full attention.
Questions to further push through:
What made you laugh today?
Who did you sit by at lunch?
What was the most fun part of your day?
Did anything surprise you today?
What did you learn in music (P.E., computer lab, etc.) today?
As you listen to your child, you’ll discover what frustrates and excites them. Don’t be afraid to turn one of their answers into a teachable moment. It is your job, as a parent, to help your child make sense of the world. To cut through the fog.
Today Wyatt had a math test. We were running late. Test anxiety, tiredness, and general panic filled the car as we drove to school. It is on mornings like this that I am happy we have a short five minute drive. But still, there is traffic. Other parents rushing their children about. A regular suburban war zone of cars, humanity.
As we got closer to school, Wyatt asked if he could pray. I told him sure. He prayed for the usual things, family safety being key. I navigated us into the parent drop-off lane. Reminding him that there was nothing he could do about the test this morning. All he could do is do his best.
Driving through the final drop-off area, my grown-up six year old melted before my eyes. He was crying. I reassured him that he was going to have a great day. The door opened, he gave me a hug and got out.
I don’t have these moments too often, moments where I want to swoop in and protect my kid. But this morning, this was a morning where I wanted to do just that. I wanted to protect him, reassure him, let him know that the world is an okay place. It is on mornings like this that I wonder if my wife and I should homeschool. Academically challenge him in ways public school is failing at. Another discussion for another time though.
My heart hurt this morning. It sucked. I had to trust that Wyatt would have a good day. Knowing that he is a super smart kid and would do just fine on his test. I had to let go… and I didn’t want to.
Being a dad can be hard. Understatement of the year.