Monday, December 16, 2019

Breakout: It's a Celebration!

As semester exams draw nearer, students in Mrs. Butler, Mrs. Harris, and Coach Smith’s 6th/7th Compacted Advanced Math classes at Medlin Middle School have been hard at work. Over the last week they have worked together to create an epic digital breakout experience to review all content from the semester. The idea of using a breakout to review or interact with math concepts is not new. In fact, these students have experienced the use of digital breakout type activities created by their teachers all semester.

Throughout the fall semester, students have had the opportunity to participate in several digital breakout experiences. Similar to an escape room, a variety of puzzles and scenarios lead students through an engaging interaction with content. Along the way codes are revealed that, in the end, unlock the “locks”. Digital breakouts can be used across content areas and grade levels. When asked about learning through breakouts, Gage was excited to share. “I like the technology experience. It's a new way to look at math and it makes it more fun. It’s definitely more interesting because it makes math a part of our real world." 

And now the tables have turned. The secrets to creating an engaging digital breakout have been revealed and students have been equipped with the tools to create. Ify has enjoyed the process because she says it’s given her a “behind the scenes look" at creating activities like her teacher. It has also inspired her to explore career paths that may involve coding or creating digital materials for others. After being given the content to be used, Google Forms, Google Slides, and Flippity were the platforms selected by most students. Their teachers helped organize all created breakouts on a Google Site that was then shared with students as their semester review. 

Click HERE to access the student created breakouts

So, why use digital breakouts? The better question may be, why not? Digital breakouts...
  • Promote collaboration and communication within the classroom
  • Enhance problem solving and critical thinking skills
  • Reinforce grade appropriate Technology Application TEKS and Digital Citizenship curriculum
  • Motivate and spark new learning opportunities
  • Empower students to own and apply their learning

Mrs. Butler also gives a compelling testimony for the integration of Digital Breakouts in the classroom. “There is a special energy that fills the room when students are completing a breakout session. Students are engaged and eager to advance through the activities. Students enjoy taking on a challenge and competing to be the first group done. Best of all, students receive immediate feedback on their content knowledge which is huge for a learner's success.”

If you are considering the use of digital breakouts with your students, reach out to your campus Instructional Technology or Library Media Specialist for help. There are many resources available to help make your breakout dreams a reality. 

This project will be submitted as an interactive presentation and considered by the campus committee to represent Medlin at Expo 2020. For more information about Northwest ISD Expo event, please visit

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