Saturday, December 16, 2017

#K2CanToo - Holiday Breakout EDU for Little Learners!

In my previous post, Little Learners Love BreakoutEDU, I shared a number of examples of BreakoutEDU being enjoyed by primary-aged students.

Breakout is a wonderful way for even very young students to engage all of the 4Cs of modern learning: Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Creativity! If you haven't heard about this amazing game-based learning platform, please check out their website at

Digital Tools

Whenever possible, I try to include clues or activities that require students to utilize the available classroom technology during the Breakout. Whether it's a fact to research, a video to watch, or some other digital activity, it's awesome when students recognize that technology can be used as a tool to find information or solve a problem.

Because I work in a district that is 1:1 with Chromebooks, Google Classroom is a great option that serves as a place to hide links to additional clues or activities. For iPad users, QR codes are another great way to do this! 

Santa's Workshop

Check out this example of a Christmas-themed Breakout EDU game for second graders. There are a number of clues that ask students to use their Chromebooks, including a story to watch, a puzzle to complete, and a Google Drawings sequencing activity!

Scenario: Elves have lost the key to Santa's Workshop!

4 Digit Lock: 7687 When students combine the number of gifts made by each elf team, the answers are 7 RED. 6 GREEN, 8 BLUE and then repeat 7 AGAIN. 

Key Lock: This task gives away the location of a hidden key. Under the statement. "All I want for Christmas", I wrote the title of a book students could find in the classroom using invisible ink. This could also be a toy or stuffed animal where the key is hidden! Students will find a UV flashlight to read the invisible ink in another task!

Five Letter Lock: This is a Jigsaw Planet puzzle that is linked in the students' Google Classroom. I usually leave a Google Classroom icon on the table as a hint that the students should check Google Classroom for hints and clues! When the students arrange the puzzle pieces, it reveals the question, "Who are we?" Students must know that the plural spelling of ELF is ELVES, which is the answer to their 5 letter lock.

Directional Lock: This task was inspired by Parri Harju's Reindeer Games. Holiday trees arranged in different directions act as the combination to the directional lock. This can be adapted to be more or less complex by separating the tress and mixing up the order, asking students to realize that the tree with only one ornament goes first.

Four Letter Lock: Patti Harju also created this ABC Rebus chart in her awesome game, Reindeer Games. I created a new Rebus puzzle that when decoded says, "antonym of naughty." This would give them the answer NICE for a 4 letter lock.  The ABC chart is usually hidden away from the rest of the puzzle, so students have to realize the two pieces go together,  and then solve the puzzle.

5 Digit Lock: This is another activity that asked students to utilize their technology! First, they had to watch an online version of The Gingerbread Man. I used the resource to give a child-friendly version of the YouTube video. Then, students opened this Google Drawing file that asked them to put the elements of the story into the correct order. A hint tells the students that the elves only use odd numbers, so they then discover that the secret code is the 5 digit number, 93117. This clue can be adapted for iPads (which don't have Google Drawings), can be adapted to a non-digital option, and also can be adapted to be a 4 digit answer instead.  See the SANTA'S WORKSHOP FILE for instructions on these potential adaptations.

3 Digit Lock: These Christmas ornaments can be printed and cut apart and set on a table, or perhaps get hung on a classroom Christmas tree! Students use place value to determine the 3-digit number that opens a small locking box that holds the Rebus ABC chart and the UV flashlight!

Inside the large box, hide this sheet. 

Want to play Santa's Workshop with your little learners? The full file can be found here:

Print the file as is, or make your own editable copy of this by selecting FILE and then MAKE A COPY.

#K2CanToo! Tips for Little Learners:

Model, model, model.
If it’s your first time playing Breakout EDU with little ones, take a few minutes to show them some basics of how the locks work. I’ve seen many students spell out the correct letters or combination on a lock, but didn’t realize there was a specific place/mark on the lock where the dials should be lined up. The directional lock can be a challenge for learners of all ages! It’s a good idea to show the kiddos the mechanics of how to make the lock work! You may want to utilize these Breakout EDU Lock Practice Cards to let students become with familiar with the lock mechanics before playing an actual Breakout EDU scenario:

Small groups work well!
I prefer to have the students work in small groups, and usually bring three boxes to the primary classrooms. If you don’t have access to multiple boxes, consider using a lock combo recording sheet with each team. Many of the games on the Breakout EDU website include some variation of this recording sheet for playing with teams:

You could also run the game like you would centers. Have a different puzzle/clue/task lock at each station. Either have each group work on a separate lock, or have groups rotate through the clues and reset the lock or puzzle when the groups move to the next table. 
Get help, especially the first time!
It might be a good idea to plan your Breakout at a time when you have an aide or parent helper in the room. Consider inviting instructional coaches or administrators in for the fun, too!  
Everyone plays! 
To maximize engagement and keep kiddos on-task, include some activities that EVERY student needs to accomplish (a great example of this would be an instructional video on how to draw the Cat in the Hat, and when ALL members of the team share the drawing to the Breakout Facilitator, the team gets a key, hint, or clue!)

Here are some additional Breakout games I've designed for young students. Please feel free to copy and modify as needed for your own students!

Autumn Fun
Pete the Cat
The Snowman

More Resources:

Original Blog: Little Learners Love Breakout EDU
Breakout EDU Getting Started
Breakout EDU Blog

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