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Video games in school? Help us to engage, enrich, and motivate student learning through the use of video games in the classroom! Read more

Buffalo, NY Video Games
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This project was successfully funded on May 7, 2013.

Video games in school? Help us to engage, enrich, and motivate student learning through the use of video games in the classroom!

Buffalo, NY Video Games
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About this project

Re-inventing English Language Arts through a video game-based curriculum.

We spend 3 billion hours a week as a planet playing video games. Isn't it about time we start utilizing their educational potential in our schools?

The goal of this project is to create a curriculum at John F. Kennedy Middle School where academics and gaming are combined! The English Language Arts curriculum that I would like to create and implement is heavily integrated with video game-based learning and digital-literacy.

How cool would it be to write in an English class where you can compare the character struggles from "The Lord of the Flies" to Steve from Minecraft?! Wouldn't you have loved to be in a learning environment where you could research Japanese culture, play through an artistic Japanese folktale in a game like Okami, then write an informational essay that ties it all together? 

Here, students will have the tools to access various gaming consoles, of which the games being played have specific learning objectives that are aligned with the national Common Core Learning Standards. 

As we continue to evolve into a "gaming" culture, it would be foolish for educators to not capitalize on students' high level of interest and immersion in video games. Games like Uncharted, Skyrim, and the Fallout series tell AMAZING narratives that not only engage the player, but leave a lasting impression, much like that of an amazing piece of literature. My goal is to merge the English Language Arts with high-interest video games. 

Ask an eleven year old to tell you about his or her favorite book and also their favorite video game. Which one is going to be more in depth?

 It is time for educators to show that the instructional value found in video games, far outweighs the media's perception that video games = violent youth. The reality is that APPROPRIATE VIDEO GAMES IN CONTEXT = HIGHLY MOTIVATED AND ENGAGED LEARNERS!


The Students:

Cheektowaga-Sloan is a small school district that is considered a first-ring suburb of Buffalo, NY. Economically, the area is below the national average for household income and households have an income tax percentage two percent higher than the U.S. average. This strain has caused tightened budgets and extremely limited funds for creative projects like gamification. 

We are considered a Title One school, with over forty percent of our students receiving free or reduced lunches. Even with these obstacles, we have amazing kids and a wonderful faculty that cares about their students.

I am fortunate to teach AMAZING kids! These students NEED a safe, exciting, and motivating environment to learn and explore. I envision a place where during and after school, they are learning and interacting with each other positively. Your donations will effect hundreds of young lives over the course of the next few years! Think about the ripple effect in their community and the learning excitement you will help to create!

The Curriculum:

My game-based curriculum is built around the national Common Core Learning Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy. Throughout our curriculum, we will use video games to:

  • Analyze genre, character, plot, and setting. 
  • Write argument essays based on game-themed topics
  • Write expository walkthroughs, personal reflections, game reviews, and creative writing pieces.
  • Practice grammar usage by examining character dialogue found in the video game's transcripts
  • Build visual representations of literary story settings
  • Examine character and plot development
  • See below for some examples of how the writing curriculum will align with the Common Core:
Click here for a link to the basic curriculum map
Click here for a link to the basic curriculum map

The Classroom:

A big part of our Kickstarter plan is to create an AMAZING learning environment that inspires. The game-based curriculum would change the way English Language Arts are experienced by our students. The goal is to have students excited about walking in and learning each and every day! Adorned with various seating styles, the class would resemble more of a creative tech-oasis than a boring, sterile classroom. 

On any given day a visitor could walk in and see groups of students writing in journals, researching on the computers, taking notes while playing on a gaming console, or engaged in intelligent group discussion.

This environment and curriculum design lends itself to intense differentiated instruction. Class instruction will resemble more of a flipped classroom than a traditional lecture style. This allows for small group-instruction, because students will be finishing game-based projects at different times. Highly motivated students may finish a lesson early and find out that for their next assignment they must create a building in minecraft that resembles a district 12 home from the book "The Hunger Games"! The teaching applications are endless!


Early Spring 2013-

  • Donor rewards sent out and created! 
  • Equipment set up and installed
  • Curriculum piloted with current sixth graders
  • Access for teachers to sign out the lab for curriculum integration
  • After school "sandbox" club to meet twice a week to brainstorm further classroom implications

Summer 2013- 

  • Adapt curriculum based on spring pilot and student feedback
  • Begin work toward staff-development training.
  • Continue research for other titles that have teaching relevance

September 2013-

  • Equipment and classroom set-up for optimal use
  • Curriculum up and running at 100%
  • Begin data collection to track achievement and attendance
  • Begin staff-development training 
  • Plans for future digital curriculum committee formed and begin concept designs!

SPRING 2014-

  • Year-end data analysis. If success rates match projections, work will begin to turn this gamified learning model into something available to school districts nationwide! You would be a founder in that!


We will evaluate the curriculum's effectiveness and how much game-based learning impacted our students. This data can be shared with our faculty, other near-by districts, and any teachers involved in or interested in the gamification of education. Some of the formative assessments are:

  • Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) will be created in September 2013, with targets set for year-end assessment. These goals will be compared to similar goals of non-game-based classrooms.
  • NY State Ela exam growth will be compared to previous year (before curriculum was in place)
  • Student surveys every quarter (10 weeks)
  • Attendance numbers will be compared to years prior

Where are your donations going?:

This curriculum requires a lot of technology to achieve our goal of educational immersion. With districts budgets continuing to be cut, the hope for a gamified curriculum and progressive classroom is found solely within YOU AMAZING DONORS/HEROS! Any funds achieved beyond our goal will be applied to more game titles, corresponding technology, and possibly ANOTHER GAMIFIED CLASSROOM! 

(We already have 1 of 2 XBOX consoles and a Nintendo Wii console that have been donated from faculty)


XBOX 360 Console 4GB  

XBOX 360 Wired Controllers 

Playstation 3 500GB Instant Game Bundle 

Playstation 3 Dual Shock Wireless controller 

Ni ni Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch PS3 

Uncharted: 1 & 2 Dual Pack 

Journey: Collector's Edition PS3 

XBOX LIVE 1600 Points Cards (To purchase the game: Braid)

Minecraft XBOX 360 

Portal 2 XBOX 360

Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword 

Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess 

APEX 39" Class 1080p 60Hz DLED HDTVs

Lumisource Boom Chair Stingrays 

Item Total = $2,729.59

Tax @ 8.75% = $238.84

Total = $2,968.43 of $3,800.00


(The additional $831.57 would help pay for the rewards and Kickstarter cost. If we raise more than our goal, we will put all money towards more game titles to be tied into our curriculum and the creation of a second gamified classroom. )


Currently, thanks to the overwhelming amount of support, we are on pace to surpass our original project goal! Depending on the amount we go over, we will be able to add more titles and possibly another gaming system for the creation of local network-based lesson plans. Here are some of the stretch goal ideas thus far:

$3,800 - $4,000

If we reach this total, we will be able to purchase more games that can be interwoven into our curriculum. Some of the titles are:

Wii Okami, Wii The Last Story, PS3/XBOX360 Sid Meier's Civilizations, PS3/XBOX360 Eternal Sonata, PS3 3D Dot Game Heroes, PS3 Wonderbook: Book of Spells (Playstation Move)

$4,000 - $4,500

With this amount funded, we would look to upgrade the basic Wii, to the next generation WiiU console. It would include additional controllers, and possible game titles Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, Super Mario Bros. U, and/or Disney Infinity Starter Pack.

$4,500 - $5,000

At this level, we could purchase an additional PS3, additional TV, and duplicate games to enable local network cooperative play. The idea of having the capability to plan lessons for up to eight players simultaneously, is exciting and full of possibilities!

$5,000 - $5,500

This stretch goal would enable us to purchase multiple licenses of RPG Maker VX ACE. This program would allow the students to ACTUALLY create their own Role Playing Games (RPGs) using any and all story elements, dialogue, and character development. The idea of creating young game developers, would enable us to tap into SO MANY higher-level thinking skills!


I might pass out, but I will find MORE titles that I believe can be useful  in the classroom and create lesson plans for them as well!


We have come up with some AWESOME student-based rewards. We will be putting our creative writing skills to the test and offering some great post-apocalyptic memorabila (my favorite game genre) that fit with our classroom's online narrative, where we have implemented other aspects of gamification, found at! In fact, you can even become one of our characters!

visit our online narrative!
visit our online narrative!

By making a contribution, you will be re-inventing how curriculum is delivered to students. With your help, we will inspire new learners and evolve English Language Arts!


Risks and challenges

All items are currently in stock. We see no setbacks in the acquisition and installation of any technology.

Any technology issues will be worked through with our tech department. XBOX 360 and PS3 come with manufacturer's warranties. is hosted by Host Gator, which provides customer support.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter


Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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  • You selected
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    15 backers

    PAC MAN:

    You will receive a hand-written thank you postcard from one of our JFK Middle School English students.

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    25 backers


    Everything from the PAC MAN level, plus
    your name engraved on a founder's plaque (hung in our classroom), and a VERY RARE JFK "K-claw" tote bag! These black totes are only available to students and donors! They have our logo and read: "Live to write - Write to live".

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    8 backers Limited (92 left of 100)


    Everything from the MEGA MAN level, plus a post-apocalyptic creative writing piece written by one of our students with YOU as a main character! Your story will be hand-written, bound, and shipped to you as a thanks!

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    19 backers Limited (1 left of 20)


    Everything from the MEGA MAN level, plus our Minecrafters will create an homage to you that will forever exist in "Hero Garden" in our FIRST JFK Middle School-built world. You will forever be remembered in our 3D textured world! We will send you a screenshot of our creation once it is finished! Please allow a little extra time for this reward if chosen.

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    2 backers


    Everything from the MEGA MAN level, plus your very own Patient Number Zero T-Shirt! The shirt is based on our class' online creative writing narrative (, screen printed, and packaged by our sixth grade students! Please be sure to specify your size.

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    6 backers


    Everything from the SPACE INVADER level, plus a 24" X 32" Patient Number Zero poster of our logo signed by one of our classes and DIGITAL COPIES of any video game-based lessons created (at least 3 for each title = 36 lessons)! Posters are only going to be created for this event! Please allow until September for lesson plan delivery.

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    1 backer Limited (24 left of 25)


    Everything from the FROGGER level, plus an avatar will be created in your honor using and included in our online story at as a NPC (non-playable-character). Your character may appear in any of our four quarters of curriculum. Will you end up being included in a band of waste-landers, a resourceful mage, or something else? Your character will help shape how each student's story evolves!

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    0 backers


    Everything from the FROGGER level, plus an awesome pair of steampunk goggles that fit the theme of our post-apocalyptic story. The lenses will be signed by two of our top English Language Arts students! You will own an awesome piece of donor memorabilia!

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    0 backers Limited (4 left of 4)


    Everything from the GORDON FREEMAN level, plus your likeness will replace one of the's four main protagonist. You are one of the most prevalent characters in the storyline, and one that the student's will be relying on. Help Patient Number Zero to uncover the truth!

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    0 backers Limited (4 left of 4)


    Everything from the GORDON FREEMAN level, plus your likeness will replace one of the's four main ANTAGONISTS (Leaders of the Oracle Society). Your character's role will be significant in the story, and you provide the many twists and turns. Only these characters really knows the truth behind the Patient Number Zero initiative. What surprises have I designed for you? Only you will have the ability ahead of time to find out!

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    Everything from the GORDON FREEMAN level, plus a STEAMPUNK STYLE HELMET SIGNED BY ONE OF OUR FIVE CLASSES! We love the post-apocalyptic video game genre, so you will have your very own apocalyptic headgear/gas mask to commemorate your genorosity! When people see this item, you can tell them about your heroic donor endeavor!
    *Helmets will be of the steampunk genre; THEY ARE SURE TO BE AWESOME!

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    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)


    Everything from the GORDON FREEMAN level, plus the ONE OF A KIND role of main narrator, Dr. Tumultus (Or the name you choose), at The avatar will be re-formatted in your likeness. I won't disclose whether you are a hero or a villain, because you are the second most important character in the entire storyline! You are the first voice that Patient Number Zero will hear when she wakes in her abandoned cell, and possibly the last!

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Funding period

- (35 days)