QotM-2020-06 (Karla Hawkins)

June’s Quest of the Month: Preparing for middle school

Your students have navigated through the perils of elementary school, kept learning during a pandemic, and finished their school year … virtually! … now their next great adventure awaits! 

But are they ready to venture to … middle school?!?

With a little magic and a lot of excitement, this interactive quest will get them there! 

Each month at Classcraft, we choose one awesome quest — personalized, self-paced, choose-your-own-adventure lessons for students — to share with educators everywhere! Classcraft’s Quest of the Month for June, “Journey to the Tower of Change” by Karla Hawkins prepares students to take on the next grade with confidence.  

Karla’s quest fills the gap for the transition activities students may have missed due to the pandemic, and focuses on some of the key questions and concerns they may have about moving on to middle school. 

With a compelling story that transports students to the island of G5, they’ll reflect on “strength of character, a belief in self, and the commitment to support others” on their journey to Tower of Change.  

As they negotiate the confusing new land with twists, turns, and dead ends, they’ll look back on the social emotional learning competencies they’ve gained like self-awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making. 

Students will also explore how skills like resilience and time management can prepare them for what’s ahead and reflect on what it’s like to say goodbye, have the support of friends, and plan for self-care strategies. Their end goal? To obtain the Key of the Future to unlock their next life adventure.

Import this quest here to start using it with your class. 

If you use Classcraft, you can submit the quests you’ve created for the next Quest of the Month on our submission page. Our goal is to spotlight the amazing educators who inspire us and share creative, teacher-made content with our global community of forward-thinking educators.

If you’re new to Classcraft, check out how quests can supercharge your lesson plans. Whether you’re a Classcraft newbie or pro, everyone can level-up their quests with our free plug-and-play narrative experience, Story Mode

Now, adventurers, prepare to meet the Gate Keeper of this great journey. Take it away, Karla!

Gamemaster Karla Hawkins
Gamemaster Karla Hawkins

What are your teaching stats?

Karla: I have 18 years as an international teacher and administrator. I have worked in the Middle East, Bangladesh, China, and Zimbabwe. I have taught everything from two-year-olds to seniors. But as a psychologist, I have spent most of my time teaching psychology. My main job in the last few years has been as a Pastoral Leader and Counsellor. 

What inspires you?

Karla: The brain and its amazing ability to grow and adapt. I am always so in awe of the remarkable abilities tucked away inside people.

What made you decide to use Classcraft? 

Karla: Due to Covid-19 and lockdown, my grade 5 students were missing out on an opportunity to experience their transition from elementary school to middle school and I felt it was a missed opportunity. Transition is meant to be fun and add to the magic of moving into another chapter in their lives, and Classcraft offered me the space to bring a little of that magic to their transition that had been forced online.

Your favorite things about Classcraft are …

Karla: The ability to be super creative and bring some not-so-exciting topics alive. The artwork is amazing and I love the collaborative nature of the site, where everyone can share and support one another.

QotM-2020-06 Quest: Journey to the Tower of Change
Quest: Journey to the Tower of Change

Why do you love the quest you created?

Karla: This quest offered the grade 5 students who are transitioning into middle school an opportunity to explore some of the key themes that are usually addressed through transition sessions. It gave the children an opportunity to reflect on their time in elementary school and start preparing some of the changes and challenges they may face in MS. It offered a space for children to start preparing for their move, particularly at a time when schools are unable to transition their students on campus. 

What did your students think of your quest? How did they react? 

Karla: They loved it. They could not get enough and begged me for more quests and to upgrade to premium so they could pimp their avatars. 

As I am on the middle school end, they will be joining me in my school and leaving elementary behind, so now I am super cool and they love the fact that their first interaction with me was through a game. It has helped them accept me very quickly as their mentor and guide and are now excited about moving into MS. My plan is now to use it as a part of my social-emotional development program. 

How do you spend your summer breaks?

Karla: Adventuring. South East Asia is a popular destination, as is Southern Africa. I love camping, hiking, diving, and trekking through forests. As long as it is busy, active, and somewhere warm with lots of exotic foods!

Why did you want to become a teacher?

Karla: I hated high school. 

The stock standard way of teaching and the assumption that every student learned in the same way. There was no magic, no excitement, and very little understanding of brain development. So I made it my commitment to study the brain, get a teaching degree, and make every effort to impact teaching and learning in a positive way. 

As a psychologist, counselor, and administrator I play an important role in developing policies and wellbeing programs and that are really important to me. If I can positively contribute to the growth, development, and learning of some of the children who cross my path, then I have managed to make a difference. 

How do you remember all your students’ names?

Karla: I work with students across the school and therefore have to remember hundreds of names. I give them all nicknames in my head, which helps me remember them, I just have to be careful not to call them by their nickname! 

I had one student called Albert, but I called him Big Al in my head as he was a really big lad. I always had to take a breath before I addressed him just so that I didn’t call him Big Al. To be honest though, if I can’t remember a name, I just call everyone ‘Hon”. 

If your life had a theme song, what would it be?

Karla: “I did it my way.” (The Sex Pistol’s Version)

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