Week 7 679

Essential Question: How do you or might you use language to change the way that your students think about learning in the classroom?

“His class helped us develop skills and passions that we will have the rest of our lives. I speak for my whole grade when I say that Mr. Matera changed the way we learn and inspired us to do more in and out of the classroom. Mr. Matera made my classmates and me want to come to school.” This is a quote from one of Mr. Matera’s students about his class.

Whatever the language you want to use, it’s important to remain consistent. He taught his students qualities that highly successful people have in common: confidence, creativity, enthusiasm, effort, focus, resilience, initiative, curiosity, dependability, and empathy and then used these words to define and drive what he calls Purpose-Driven Learning (Matera, 2015).

Confidence– As students get older, encouraging them to take risks. Their confidence will grow as they take chances. Let them know that they will sometimes not succeed the first time but to keep trying.

Creativity-The future belongs to those who can apply knowledge in new and innovative ways.

Enthusiasm– “When several of my students show up ready and determined, the entire feel of the class changes. “Beyond succeeding in the classroom, effort is important to every area of life, which makes this attribute one of the most important we can instill in our students” (Matera, 2015).

Focus– Focus requires intention and practice. Mr. Matera found he needed to remind his students need of this skill all of the time. I find that I have to remind my students as well.

Resilience- We need to help students understand that they learn as much, if not more, from their failures as they do their successes. “Teaching students that the word fail really stands for First Attempt In Learning is a great first step. Helping kids understand that learning is a process, we provide them with a chance to be explorers and encourage them to attempt to set sail (Second Attempt In Learning)”(Matera, 2015).

Resilience is more than just perseverance. Perseverance is about hard work and strong effort, while resilience is about adapting and overcoming obstacles. Students need to realize there will be times when it will be hard but they will overcome it if they don’t give up.

Initiative- Students instantly understand that taking initiative is the way to go if they want to win. They need to understand to get something done they need to take the steps forward to succeed.

Curiosity- Sparking curiosity sets the mind on fire. If we can connect our students’ passions to our content, we will ignite their drive to learn. Teaching students to be okay with this endless cycle of listen, process, ask, and repeat will empower them with confidence to explore.

Dependability- Students need to learn how to depend on each other. The more they work together and get to know and draw upon one another’s strengths, the better they do.

Empathy- We need to teach students how to be more inclusive, how to respond to other students’ questions, and how to build healthy relationships with one another. These are great words to use with your students to change the way they think about learning.

Holland (2016) would test her students and, based on the students’ answers, assign a weight in four separate categories: Socializer, Achiever, Explorer, or Killer. She says, “I use these results to inform how I make groups and how I ask kids to collaborate. It offers useful insight into how students will react in different situations, and also provides a starting point for me at the beginning of the semester.” I think this would be interesting to see how it would go. I would like to see how the groups act in this situation.

“I’ve found that understanding my students’ reasons for playing also provides insight into how they learn” (Matera, 2015). I talked about these gamer types last week in my paper. I will just point out how they are in class.

In your class, Achievers want to know they are doing well. Socializers in your class are also looking for meaningful relationships to be formed during the game.

Explorers will start the exploration phase by listening to the explanation of the game structure. Killers (Griefers) will be the first to talk about ways to protect and defend what their group has done. I know a few students who I know would be achievers just by the way they act and talk to me in class.

Gabe Zichermann developed the SAPS Model. SAPS stands for Status, Access, Power, and Stuff. This model is a powerful tool that can help educators to further understand what motivates their students. “The SAPS Model helps me incorporate different motivating factors to create a game-based course that ensures options for all students” (Matera, 2015).

Status- Our students need constructive feedback; they also need for us to hold up examples of excellence.

Access- People love to feel as if they’re part of something special, particularly when that access is based on conditions or accomplishments.

Power- All game players want some bit of power over the game.

“I occasionally do this by giving students choice over their projects or makeup of their work group” Matera, 2015).

Stuff -Done well, game stuff adds to the transformational experience that engages and escalates students toward becoming the best versions of themselves through exploration of the game (Matera, 2015).

These come from an article titled “Engaging Students in Learning,” which also points out that “Research has demonstrated that engaging students in the learning process increases their attention and focus, motivates them to practice higher-level critical thinking skills and promotes meaningful learning experiences. Instructors who adopt a student-centered approach to instruction increase opportunities for student engagement, which then helps everyone more successfully achieve the course’s learning objectives.” I think by following what Matera said and using this language in your classroom along with the SAP model and knowing your gamer type of students then you can change the way your students view learning in your classroom. If you are consistent and remind them daily of the words and meaning of these messages, then one day a student may say the same thing about your class and how it changed their life. This is what we want as teachers—to have an impact on a student and make a difference in each’s life. Following the model above moves us all closer to being able to achieve that.


Engaging students in learning. (2016). Retrieved October 19, 2016, from http://www.washington.edu/teaching/teaching-resources/engaging-students-in-learning/

Holland, B. (2016). Use the Four Gamer Types to Help Your Students Collaborate – from Douglas Kiang on Edudemic – EdTechTeacher. Retrieved October 13, 2016, from http://edtechteacher.org/use-the-four-gamer-types-to-help-your-students-collaborate-from-douglas-kiang-on-edudemic/

Matera, M. (2015). Explore like a pirate: Engage, enrich, and elevate your learners with gamification and game-inspired course design. Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc. Kindle Edition.

4 thoughts on “Week 7 679

  1. Theresa,

    Thank you for reminding me of this acronym: FAIL means First Attempt In Learning. This reminds me some of the writing process—the first step is a draft; it is expected that it will not be the end result and that it will take refining.

    Resilience and time do go together. I would rather cover a concept deeply and teach students how to learn that cover five concepts shallow and broadly and teach them that we need to turn that page and move on. Sometimes a spiral method helps, and I think gaming helps with the strategies of “coming back to that (or repetition).”

    The way you visually set up the SAPS Model is really helpful for me because it is clear; motivating students is acknowledging that they are different, and different is natural!

    I may have students given to me soon, as we have one teacher who is away until January. I think that whatever the content area, the reminder from your post that giving students choice is the most important. Since we are sharing students, I would like to keep my focus on the high students (in this case, students who read well enough to take off on side odysseys) being given choices.


    1. I would rather go deeply as well into a subject. I think all kids should know FAIL in any subject. I think they don’t realize that sometimes they will fail but they should not give up but keep trying. That is good I didn’t know you didn’t have students yet. Hopefully it is a grade you will enjoy working with. Good luck!


  2. Theresa,

    I loved your post. I think the best part was the part about confidence: “As students get older, encouraging them to take risks. Their confidence will grow as they take chances. Let them know that they will sometimes not succeed the first time but to keep trying.” This is something that I feel most people get wrong. There is a major misconception that students gain confidence when they achieve, so the bar is often lowered so low that our students never fail and their confidence suffers as a result. Risk-taking comes in many forms, from reciting a poem in front of the class to trying out for a team to inviting the new student to sit with you at lunch. While each of these actions might result in failure initially, that just means there is room for growth! It might also mean that a student discovers something new about themselves and tries something they wouldn’t have tried before.



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