Our elementary school welcomes new and potential families on a regular basis. Providing tours to parents and their elementary-aged children is an inspiring part of this process. Despite our best efforts, kids can be understandably anxious, shy, or overwhelmed when visiting a new school. Some kids appear to cope fairly well, while others appear to be dying on the inside. (As the father of an introvert who struggles in social situations my heart goes out to these kids.)
Click HERE to view a PDF that triggers the video above.
It contains the directions for Grizz-e-mon GO.
This week we launched a tour option for new families that is based on Pokemon GO. (This is the same game that has my introverted daughter excited to wake up, go on family walks, and socialize with other Pokemon GO players in our neighborhood!) Our goal at school is to provide new students something safe to focus on that's fun, relevant to them, and a catalyst to deeper conversation with the adults they'll encounter on their tours. We're calling this experience the "Grizz-e-mon GO tour."
Here's how it works:
Kids are encouraged to free "Grizz-e-mon" characters from eggs that are found throughout our school. There are more than 10 eggs that have been conveniently placed at important spots that our tour guides typically stop at. As an example, there is a Grizz-e-mon egg placed in between a couple of our Mobile Makerspace carts in the Media Center.
There are also a few bonus eggs sprinkled in other places that will keep kids excited throughout their tours. The design of each egg provides kids a hint as to what animal will emerge when scanned using an augmented reality app called Aurasma. When a child discovers a Grizz-e-mon egg they can free the animal inside using Aurasma. (See sample photographs below.)
Kids who tour our school can play Grizz-e-mon GO for fun, or a tour guide can assist in posting pictures of Grizz-e-mon animals that have been rescued to our school's hashtag on Twitter (#GWgreats).
By applying a scant amount of innovation to the traditional tour format we're hoping kids are more comfortable. We also hope that families feel that our school is a place that prioritizes relationships and relevance because we’re seeking new solutions to break down barriers. We want all kids to feel a sense of belonging and wonderment in our school.