Gamifying My Freshman Biology Class

School starts tomorrow. (Ack!) And I am teaching 4 freshman Biology classes. (Ack!) This year, I have decided to gamify my classroom management system. (Read more about gamifying your classroom here.) Our school mascot is the Hawks, so the game elements are Hawk-themed.
All of my students will have Chromebooks this year, so advertising the game points, levels, and badges, will be a simple matter of setting up Google Sheets. Once things get rolling along, I will probably create a Google Site for a game console. I know these things are somewhat time consuming, but if the system results in more student engagement and less discipline, the time will have been well spent.
Almost all of my ideas are stolen from other teachers. In the coming days and weeks, I will probably have to adjust the game system, and if I don’t have a complete meltdown, I will post revisions here as I go.
Class “Hawk Points”
The entire class period earns a “Hawk Point” for the day if every student (or almost every student) meets three expectations:
  1. Ready To Learn: All or most of class is on time, ready to work with writing utensil, notebook, charged Chromebook, and no visible cell phone. Minimal bathroom trips; BYOH2O
  2. Act Like A Hawk: All or most of class shows common courtesy, learning norms (wait for cues to speak, whiteboard rules, no blurting answers or comments, etc.), polite language. Nothing is thrown.
  3. Keep The Nest Clean: No litter left behind, no trash in recycling bin, no writing on furniture, no messing with plumbing or gas fixtures, etc.
Class Levels
Each class period begins the game at Level 0
Whole Class Levels:
Level 0 = Noobs = no privileges 
Level 1 = Good Eggs = Feeding Behavior (food allowed, as long as the nest is kept clean) 
Level 2 = Nestlings = Singing Hawk (listen to music with headphones when done with exam)
Level 3 = Fledglings = Thermal (use notebook for 1 min during exam); Updraft (teacher provides 1 clue on one exam question)
Level 4 = Hawks = Invisibility (go to restroom ~3 min once w/o consequence); Shared Bounty (teacher brings snacks for class)
***Special Rule: At teacher’s Discretion, regardless of Class Level, there may be a “Coyote Attack,” which temporarily removes all class privileges back to Level 0. Class must earn Hawk Point for 2 consecutive days to regain their previous Level.
Individual HP and XP
Students will earn a certain number of HP (health points) each day based on two factors: first, the Class Level will set a base number of HP for each student in the class period; second, adjustments will be made based on individual student behaviors.
To keep track of these student behaviors, I will be using Class Dojo on my own wireless device (either my classroom iPad or, in a pinch, on my own cell phone). Random selection is considered a norm in my district, so I use Class Dojo’s random student selector to pick my students, so for me, Class Dojo kills 2 birds with one stone.
HP = “Dojo Points” = Number of HP points earned per day.
Level 0: +5 pts per day base.
Level 1; +6 pts per day base
Level 2: +7 pts per day base
Level 3: +8 pts per day base
Level 4: +9 pts per day base
Note: During Coyote Attack, base is 5 pts per day regardless of class Level.
Naughty Naughty HP adjustments:
 -1 HP per minute tardy
 -3 HP cell phone or similar distraction
 -3 HP sent out
 -5 HP littering, writing on desk, etc.
 -ALL HP if suspended from class
 +1 HP good response when called on
 +3 HP good deed
 +5 HP help clean up lab during office hours
Individual Badges
Students also have the opportunity to earn bonus HP with special badges. Most are awarded at the end of the week, although some can be awarded “on the spot.” I may create additional badges as the year progresses.
Cell Phone Samurai — phone was not visible for the entire week +5HP
Toilet master — returns back promptly from all restroom breaks.  +3 HP
Time Lord- effective use of time. Entire week withat no absences, no tardies, no missed deadlines, and no restroom breaks. +5 HP
Dragon Tamer– special badge everyone in class period earns if 80% of students pass an assessment with min score 3 out of 4. +7 HP
Lab Jedi– special badge everyone in a lab group earns if everyone in the lab group earns mininum score of 3 on lab report. +8 HP
Lab Safety — returned class policies; no horseplay; keeps goggles on; reports accidents or spills to teacher promptly +3 HP
Team Names
Throughout the year, I will be assigning group projects and laboratory experiments. Why not give each group a catchy gamified team name? I teach biology, so for each team name, I selected a famous biologist, and added a descriptor related to the famous biologist’s work.
Mendel’s Minions
Franklin’s X-Rays
Darwin’s Tortoises
McClintock’s Huskers
Linnaeus’s Listers
Carson’s Songbirds
Wilson’s Ants
Okazaki’s Laggers
Hook’s Wallers
Jenner’s Antibodies
Van Leeuwenhoek’s Animalcules
Pasteur’s Germs
Tyson’s Spacers
Watson’s Twisters
Morgan’s Fruit Flies
Hardy-Weinberg’s Balancers
Calvin’s Cyclers
Kornberg’s Enzymes

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