Escape room style teaching resources are becoming a trend in education for a reason. They provide an engaging way for students to review a skill or concept while thinking critically about the material. The combination of high engagement and effective skill review makes escape room resources perfect for any classroom. In this blog, I share ideas for how to use both printable and digital escape rooms for engaging and effective skill review.
When to Use Escape Room Resources
Escape rooms are perfect for reviewing key concepts. Therefore, they should be used after the topic has been taught and students have had multiple opportunities to practice the skill in groups and independently. I think the perfect time to use escape rooms is right before an assessment as an engaging review exercise. They can also be used throughout the year as an easy and effective way to keep skills fresh or as part of a skill review before standardized testing. While they can be done independently, escape rooms usually work best if you give students the chance to collaborate with partners or groups.
Using Digital Escape Room Resources
Digital resources were obviously great when you were distance learning, but escape rooms are awesome because you can use the digital format whether remote or face-to-face. Digital escape rooms are a wonderful way to integrate technology into your lessons in a meaningful way. Videos are integrated directly into the digital units, and the answers are self-grading. When you use digital versions, students learn how to use technology in different formats. If you let the students collaborate in groups, then you will likely have enough devices for your groups to share.
All of my digital escape rooms come in Google format. I also created a brand new Webscape™ format that has been added to about a dozen of my most popular escape rooms. The Webscape format is the most immersive and engaging escape room experience available.
Using Escape Rooms in Webscape Formats
Webscapes were designed to provide a fully immersive experience with zero teacher prep. All of the instructions, activities, and answer sheets are in one place. Teachers simply share a link (the same link) with their students. These resources are self progressing, self-correcting, and highly engaging.
The video below is a walkthrough of one of my escape rooms in Webscape format.
Using Escape Rooms in Google Formats
The Google format utilizes both Google Slides and Google Forms. Google Slides house the directions, questions, videos, and tasks. Google Forms houses the “decoder”. The decoder is simply a form that students input their answers. This works well because it allows the digital escape room to be self-grading. Students will get immediate feedback as to whether their answers are correct. If they get a question wrong, they are prompted to retry the answer.
How to Use Escape Rooms to Promote Student Success
If you are using Google Slides and Google Forms, it will take some teacher modeling for students to be successful. Be sure you walk students through how to use both tools. The digital escape rooms are conducive to students completing them independently; however, keep in mind that if students are working independently they will likely take longer to complete each challenge. Many teachers are completing these collaboratively by having students work as partners. If you are using the Google format, you can assign one partner to be in charge of the decoder tool and one partner to be in charge of the Google Slides. Then students work together to complete each challenge.
Hold Your Students Accountable!
Hold students accountable for answering questions and showing work. For the reading comprehension escape rooms, students should be using the tools to highlight text evidence to support their answers. For math, students should be using a piece of scrap paper or digital tools to show their work. Be sure you hold your students accountable for these strategies. If they are not showing their work, make them go back to do so.
Just because the activity is multiple choice and self-grading does not mean it requires less effort for your students. The Webscape format will not allow students to continue until they answered each question in the challenge correctly. Likewise, the decoder in Google Sheets will not show students which answer is incorrect, so students must think critically and review their answers as they work to solve each challenge.
Once again, remember to do plenty of modeling to make your expectations clear for completing the work and working collaboratively.
Using Printable Escape Room Resources
The printable escape rooms are equally engaging and meaningful. They also have the option to use videos and technology, but this is not a requirement. The printable format allows students to collaborate in a team setting. The printable versions are great for teachers to print, laminate, and use year after year. If you divide your class into four groups, only one copy of each challenge needs to be made. Then, you can assign each group to start on a different challenge. Remember that the challenges are scaffolded, so you may want to review with the entire class once each team is completed with their work.
Integrating Technology with Printable Versions
One of the most engaging pieces of my escape rooms are the integrated videos that walk students through the entire story. Each challenge ends with a video that tells a piece of the story. I didn’t want this part to be left out of the print versions, so I integrated them into the challenges with QR codes. With that in mind, as students solve each challenge, they can “check-in” with their teacher at the end of each challenge for the teacher to check answers. If students answered each question correctly, teachers could have a tablet or device ready for students to scan the QR code to watch the short video clip before they move on to the next challenge.
Available Escape Room Resources
Each of my Escape Room Resources is focused on one reading or math skill, and I just released a growing bundle. Visit my Escape Room page to check out all of my escape room resources!