Quantum Leap into Open Source Template Tuesday

It’s Open Source Template Tuesday! Leap into the new school year!


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:
Gamified Syllabus

Today’s Guest Blogger:

Mat Barker, Ohio history teacher

Here’s the Story…


My name is Mat Barker and I am a 7th and 8th grade social studies teacher outside of Cleveland, Ohio. You can connect with me on Instagram and Twitter @BarkersHistory


Recently I have been very excited about the idea of gamified learning in the classroom and have dipped my toes in the concept the last few years of class, creating something I call “Clash of Classes” based off the popular phone-based game Clash of Clans. I actually really enjoy the game and many of my middle school students are big fans (even after the whole Fortnite craze came and went).

Starting two years ago I designed the game after reading eXPlore Like a Pirate by Michael Matera. I originally designed an entire Google Sites page that became a landing page for my class and the game.


However, I have wanted to expand my game and create more of a continuous thread throughout the year. I wanted a story and not just simply a head-to-head battle between students. After reading John’s book, I threw most everything out and restarted with a theme based on the classic 1990s TV show, Quantum Leap. If you are not familiar with the show, our protagonist, Dr. Sam Beckett, has created a time machine (the Quantum Leap Accelerator) that allows him to “leap” into the bodies of other people in time and fix issues in their life for the better. The show ended on a cliffhanger and where Dr. Beckett never returned home. My game picks up from there.


This is where John’s wonderful template comes in. I need to frontload a lot of information on my students in the first few days and weeks of the year. I have my students for two years and so establishing those routines now is important. I used John’s template of ‘The American Dream Rush’ and created my introduction syllabus. (You can find the link to the entire slide deck HERE). My theme has students collecting items to help start the rebuild of the Quantum Accelerator and the supercomputer Ziggy, which helps Dr. Beckett complete his quests.


Each student will form a “Task Force” kind of like a clan or guild and each class is a laboratory. While my game is centered around the idea that everyone is working together to help find Dr. Beckett, there are competitive elements to the game such as daily XP challenges, collecting Q-Sharts (game currency for power-ups), Side-Leaps (or side-quests if you’ve read eXPlore Like A Pirate), and quiz challenges I call Vocabulary Fusion Leaps (VFL) which is based off of Luke Rosa’s (@StudentsOfHistory) Vocabulary Football League idea.

image3Students will then launch into an entire year of gamified learning, complete with scenarios for each unit (HERE) as well as other characters in the game, simulations for them to “leap” into, and even a villain, or final “boss”, Professor Wyatt Vulpes, for them to defeat in an effort to return Dr. Beckett home.

I am really excited to get this year under way and am ready to dive head first into the gamified world. I sat on the sidelines for years believing it was too hard or too much work, when in reality, I really just needed some inspiration. Find your theme, build your game, borrow from others, and create and share often!


Good Luck…

PS: Special thanks to the following people for their help and inspiration. John Meehan (@MeehanEdu), Michael Matara (@MrMatera), Andrew Kozlowsky (@MrKoz31), Amanda Sandoval (@HistorySandoval), and Luke Rosa (@StudentsOfHistory).

Hi! John again. HUGE thank you to Jim for his contributions to this week’s Open Source Template Tuesday offering. Absolutely love it when teachers outside of the humanities classes get in on the game-changing action, and this scientific skin swap on the gamified syllabus is a fantastic example of how teachers of any course or content area can add a major dose of excitement to their classroom using a pedagogy that’s designed to get our students fired up to learn! Way to go, Jim.

Thanks for reading this week’s guest blog!

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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