Stevenson teachers are gifted at making learning engaging, interactive, and meaningful. Last year, Grade 11 English teacher Lucy Stockdale was able to create a particularly fun activity to help her students study The Crucible, Arthur Miller’s 1953 play that uses the Salem Witch Trials as a suggestive analogy for contemporary political repression, specifically the McCarthyism of Miller’s time. Stockdale decided to jump on the “Escape Room” craze by building her own literary adventure, in which students had to use their knowledge of Miller’s play and its historical context to advance through a series of puzzles until they solved the last—which would allow them to “escape” the room. Student teams competed against one another to see who could “get out” the fastest.
 
While students couldn’t physically be in the Escape Room this year because of Zoom classes, Ms. Stockdale was able to recreate the Escape Room online using a Bitmoji classroom (see image below). She filled the Bitmoji classroom with links to the clues students needed (as well as decoy sites to throw off participants), and she divided students into teams that met in breakout rooms. Each group was given a puzzle to solve in their breakout room—(e.g. could they match each symbol from the play with the corresponding element from McCarthyism and come up with the magic code?)—then they were directed to click on the image corresponding to their solution in the Bitmoji classroom. If they were right, it led them to the next puzzle—and eventually, to the last puzzle, which would allow them to “escape.” The team that ultimately completed all puzzles quickest was the winner. 
 
Ms. Stockdale explains, “The purpose of the Escape Room was to serve as a fun, interactive culmination of our time with The Crucible (which was intense at times), requiring students to pull from memory various moments from the play and connecting what they had read with real-world ideas—something we know enhances long-term retention. They had to do all this while competing with their classmates, infusing a fun ‘gamified’ element to English class which was a particular treat in this digital classroom setting.”