Open Source Template Tuesday Is Inevitable!

It’s Open Source Template Tuesday! Seventh graders assemble to outwit the Endgame!


Hi! If you’re new to the blog, welcome! I’m John. And I’m the author of EDrenaline Rush: Game-Changing Student Engagement Inspired by Theme Parks, Mud Runs, and Escape Rooms, a new book from Dave Burgess Consulting. I am RIDICULOUSLY EXCITED to share it with the world! And I truly believe that enthusiasm is infectious — so I love sharing lesson plans, classroom activity walkthroughs, and open source slideshow templates on this site whenever I get the chance.

Because great pedagogy isn’t relegated to any particular subject area. And we don’t teach content. We teach people.

I have a bunch of templates available on this site, and I wholeheartedly encourage you to adapt them to suit the unique needs of your classroom! Regardless of age, content area, or skill level — it is my sincere belief that, in the hands of a great teacher (that’s YOU!), a creative teaching tool or technique can be a total game-changer for any classroom.

So here’s where you come in!

Each week here on the blog, we celebrate OPEN SOURCE TEMPLATE TUESDAY in an effort to help readers get a clearer sense of how adapting shared templates from this site can be super helpful in saving teachers time, effort, and frustration.

Here’s how it works:

    1. For each OPEN SOURCE TEMPLATE TUESDAY, I’ll feature a guest blog from a fellow teacher who’s adapted one of the resources available on this site and used it to change the game in their classroom! I’ll also post an original copy of the template that inspired their lesson so you can see its life cycle in action.
    2. We’ll also feature a guest blog entry from the teacher who adapted each template in their classroom. This is their chance to talk about the tweaks, adjustments, and modifications that they decided to make to the original resource in order to help it be a neater fit in their classroom. It might also help inspire you to take their template (or the original) for a spin in your school! Click any of the links below or check out their Twitter handle to connect further!
    3. In the spirit of OPEN SOURCE TEMPLATES, everything that you’ll see in one of these guest blogs is designed to be shared, customized, and adapted for use in your classroom! Steel sharpens steel, right? And by paying it forward to fellow educators around the globe, the rising tide of #EDrenaline can truly lift all ships — inspiring untold ripple effects of teacher creativity and student engagement around the globe.


The Original Resource:
Fortnight-Inspired Battle Royale Review

(Inspired by Episode 041 of the “Talk To Mee in the Car” Education Podcast)

Today’s Guest Blogger:

Jen Harrits and Eli Mickelson, 7th grade language arts teachers in Edina, Minnesota
Connect with Jen and Eli on Twitter @MrsHarrits and @mistermickelson

How it all began:

We first stumbled upon EDrenaline Rush when our personalized learning coach mentioned that our new unit would be perfect for gamification.  We both looked at her, dumbfounded. She sent us a gamified rubric. We were still clueless. When we finally admitted we had no idea what she was talking about, she directed us to follow @MeehanEDU on Twitter.  Though we hardly know how to use Twitter, we managed to find our way to John’s Twitter feed and then to his website, blog, and podcast.

Within a day, we were planning how to gamify our Tom Sawyer unit based on John’s Huckleberry Finn text quest.  Our entire unit was transformed; kids were engaged and we were hungry for another chance to gamify.

Next, we read Michael Matera’s book, eXPlore Like A Pirate for more inspiration and guidance. It is a treasure trove of ideas that we flagged for consideration for next year.  In the meantime, we grabbed onto the idea of “Boss Battles” and incorporated them into a few classroom situations.  Our learners wanted more but we weren’t sure what to gamify next.

Inspiration hit when we realized that we still needed to give our learners some exposure to Greek and Latin roots and prefixes before the end of the year.  In the past, this unit was an independent study, and it was, quite honestly, not very engaging. After seeing John’s Fortnite review game, we thought about modifying it to help learners master the roots and prefixes we wanted them to know.  The planning began.

Rather than teach the content through direct instruction and review with a game, we decided to use gamification to teach the content. We also wanted to tie our content into this year’s spring blockbuster, Avengers: Endgame.


On Day 1 we started with an escape room activity that had learners working in groups to take notes and answer questions on word roots and prefixes while they went through each of their 7th grade “classrooms.” Once they reached the exit, groups chose their superhero identity for Day 2. We spent the remainder of this class practicing what they learned with Gimkit and Quizlet Live.

On Day 2, we were in the endgame.  When squads arrived to class, they received a card with their special power to use during class.  The main premise of the game was to solve a puzzle, earn building supplies, and build.

Similar to the #EggDashChallenge, each squad had to select a chest containing an activity.  We designed six activities (crossword, secret code decryption, tableau, etc.) that focused on word roots and prefixes and other recent class content. Once a squad had the answers, they got a chance to roll a special die (infinity stone) that determined how many building supplies (Dixie cups) they received. The team with the highest tower when the time ran out was the winner!

The Result

It was the last day of class, and students were huddled in groups trying to complete their tasks.  Groups came up with strategies for rolling for cups, choosing stones, playing their “power-ups” and building their towers.  On a day when we easily could have shown a movie or throw busy work at students, we created an engaging experience that helped students learn something new and enjoy their final day with their classmates.

We may have called this “The Endgame” but we know this is just the beginning.

Here is a copy of our version of John’s game, called 7th Grade: The Endgame:  

Author: John

John Meehan (@MeehanEDU) is an English teacher and school instructional coach at Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington, Virginia. He began his teaching career in 2010 as a career switcher through The New Teacher Project, after spending five years working in social media and event marketing. He is a 2017 ASCD Emerging Leader, and an alumnus of the 2016-2018 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Teacher Advisory Council. In 2016, he was named one of Arlington, Virginia’s “40 Under 40” by the Leadership Center for Excellence. He is a past presenter and regular attendee at educational conferences throughout the United States, including the annual conference for National Catholic Education Association, ASCD Empower19, and the Play Like a Champion Today: Character Education Through Sports summer conference at the University of Notre Dame. He’s an avid runner who’s completed more than three dozen marathons, half marathons, long-distance road relays, mud runs, and obstacle course races. John lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.

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