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Thinking about sticking your pinky toe into the gamification waters?  

EXPlore Like a Pirate is for you.

Already swimming in the deep end of the gamification pool?

EXPlore Like a Pirate is for you, too.

Michael Matera has made his author debut by bringing gamification to the Teach Like a Pirate ship, and let me tell you–it will quickly become a seminal read for anyone implementing gamification into the 3-12 classroom.

For those still uncertain about diving into the gamification waters, Matera spends the first few chapters of EXPlore Like a Pirate explaining the benefits of gamification and dispelling the myths–all of which will have gamification-loving teachers everywhere thinking #preachonmatera with every page.

In Part II of the book, Matera describes the philosophy of “Knowing Your Crew”–in other words, knowing the types of players in your classroom. He explains Bartle’s Player Types and how his students take a quiz at the beginning of each year to show him the type of player each of them is. He also emphasizes the importance of providing activities in your game that motivates all four types of players.

An unexpected section of the book is Matera’s use of Purpose-Driven Language in his classroom. He not only posts a list of this language in his classroom–a list that consists of words such as determination, focus, and empathy–but further explains how he uses this language with his own students to help them build skills/abilities beyond typical class content. This is a chapter I will reread several times.

The second half of the book is where veteran gamemakers will find the most inspiration.  Matera not only describes tons of game mechanics available when designing your classroom game, but he also provides examples of how to integrate these mechanics based on the theme of your game. Thinking about a Wild West theme? Space? Medieval life? Matera provides for all of these and more.

In addition are chapters on one-day games and playful assessment, all with directions and ready for use, or modification, in your classroom.

Chapter 6 provided me the most inspiration. No surprise, since this chapter described creating your game story and I’ve got a writer’s heart beating inside me. But even for a writer and ELA teacher like myself, planning a game can be overwhelming. However, Matera breaks the process down into four routes: theme, setting, characters, and action, and then he encourages teachers to choose one of the routes to start with–the one that inspires you the most. Once you select your route, Matera provides questions that get your brainstorming bubbling with ideas.

This latest installment from Dave Burgess Publishing is sure to please new and veteran gamemakers. Do yourself a favor and start exploring Matera’s ideas right now by clicking here.Screen Shot 2015-12-19 at 2.04.01 PM