How I Use It
I found Classcraft when looking to engage older students in behavior management. For the class I had, Class Dojo simply wasn't going to cut it. Classcraft is similar to Class Dojo, but it has a fantasy RPG element to it as well. Students are given an avatar, which they can then customize to their liking. Student behaviors that are positive earn experience points (XP) for their character, whereas negative behaviors lose them health points (HP). Students also have powers for their character (varies with the character) and, should they choose to use them, will use up attack points (AP).
Setting up the system can take some time, and it's not a system to implement lightly. I was very familiar with the fantasy RPG genre, so learning the nuances and special features of the game was pretty easy for me. I spent time modifying rules, character stats, and special events to be suitable for a 4th grade classroom. My students had a training session where they learned all about Classcraft and the job classifications for their characters. They selected their character's job, and I set about creating clans. My clan makeups were based on other data in the classroom, but I did try to spread out the characters.
From that point forward, I worked with the program throughout the day. Once the iPad app was released, it became a lot easier to monitor. Teachers need to have a projector and display board so that students can see their progress throughout the day. At the end of the week, I would reward students who had not died in battle. Over the weekend, I would reset the character's health points, stating that the weekend was a time of rest. I did not change any of the attack points, however.
The concept was simple: behave and do good things and students' avatars would benefit. Misbehave and lose HP, and your character could fall in battle. If that happened, and a teammate couldn't save you, then everyone in your group lost HP as well. This could sometimes create a chain effect of falling in battle. Students also enjoyed the random daily events, which could benefit their characters even more. I deleted any negative events for students since mine were elementary, and some had a hard enough time keeping all of their health as it was.
Within the game is a section for forums for the class. I used the forums to help teach my students how to post online in a safe environment. They learned what was okay to share, and what was not okay to share. I also used the forums to post missions for the students to complete that related to content we were learning. For example, one of the missions was to create a tornado safety plan on a scroll that they could share with the residents of the realm.
This tool really engages kids into the program. They are more attention to their behaviors, and want to do better so that their character can do better as well. Kids learn to work together in teams and help teammates who may struggle with certain behaviors.The last thing any of my students wanted to do was fall in battle and take more damage. It only took a couple of weeks for students to realize that it was better for them to make good choices than misbehave.
One thing teachers need to watch out for is customizing. If you are using this program with elementary students, you'll want to carefully modify the game for them. Consider modifying character stats, as well as random events. Older elementary students are still learning to behave, and some of them will have a big issue with random events that take away almost all of their health or have a negative effect. I had to delete these for my students and insert more positive ones instead.
If you're looking for something like Class Dojo, but suited toward older students, then Classcraft may be just the thing you need!