Teacher Review For Cool School: Where Peace Rules

Very good resource on social skills and conflict resolution

Linda G.
Classroom teacher
North Allegheny School District
Pittsburgh, PA
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My Grades 4, 5
My Subjects Arts
My Rating 4
Learning Scores
Engagement 4
Pedagogy 4
Support 2
My Students Liked It Yes
My Students Learned Yes
I Would Recommend It Yes
Setup Time Less than 5 minutes
Great for Further application
Small group
Teacher-led lessons
Whole class
Great with General
How I Use It

The game does not shine brightest on its own. There are wonderful lessons and gameplay is pleasurable, but the most mileage will be gained by a creative teacher. One who presents it alongside other learning activities. For that reason, I would not choose to place students in a computer lab on it and have them play wherever they wanted, without teacher-direction.

I would use it in weekly class meetings, while responding to the climate of my classroom on that day. I would choose adventures carefully and be prepared to initiate other activities with it. For example, if we are having problems at recess, we would visit the "playground" section of the game. I would involve all students in game-play decisions and perhaps watch a video that coordinates. We would discuss our results and follow-up with a role-playing activity, that we could even take out to the real playground.

As a class, we would take advantage of opportunities to discuss and reflect together. We would embrace chances to respond to student's thoughts and feelings about situations.

My Take

Cool School Game is a free, web-based game that serves as resource, when working with young students (K-2) on conflict resolution strategies and anti-bullying initiatives. The players voluntarily may enter age and gender information, which is used to improve future versions of the game (not saving any personal data).

Cool School Game is not accompanied by any additional resources or lesson plans at this time. However, as stated on the teacher page, the developer is interested in working with educators "in the utmost altruistic and cost-free manner". Interested teachers are invited to contact them.

The interface is engaging and colorful, with the premise of a fantasy school where the students are classroom objects come alive. Players move throughout the school, where scenarios are specific to the problems that students are likely to encounter there. One of the game's greatest strengths is that these situations are so general, common and typical in K-2. No matter what anti-bullying / conflict-resolution program is used (Second Step, Responsive Classroom, Olweus, etc), Cool School Game will be a good fit.

Throughout game play, students are provided with phrases and responses to situations. The characters present diversity in race and gender, but are are voiced by adults imitating children. Unfortunately, the phrases used are sometimes rather trite.