.Bring Education to Life is so excited to be sharing Level Up Learning with educators.
Leveling Up Learning Pedagogy
This is the the beginning of a vision we had for advocating best teaching practices across multiple content areas and pedagogy. These practices include promoting gamification through a systematic method for individualized differentiation, personalized learning., cooperative learning, engaging all learners, and building in movement activities. Bring Education to Life has developed pocket charts as a Leveling Up Learning tool that will facilitate implementation of these best practices. Our future goal is to have Level Up pocket chart (gameboard) and card kits available.
While teaching Algebra 2 in an economically disadvantaged school Northwest of Houston, Cyndi found it difficult to reach every students' needs. A coworker shared the idea of having students practice their math in game form that also scaffolded necessary skills as well as differentiated for students with learning gaps. This strategy also helped identify these gaps. Cyndi also noticed how engaged every student was in this activity because all students could be successful, due to the "Level Up Learning" structure as well as the "Cooperative Learning" framework..
April, while teaching at an elementary school on the north side of Green Bay, was also finding it difficult to meet every students needs. She wanted to find away to engage and differentiate to empower all learners across subjects. During a professional development, April had the opportunity to learn more about the concept of Leveling Up from two intermediate school teachers, Amanda Jacobs and Leigh Destache, in the Howard Suamico School District. She continued to see value and has been exploring ways it can be used more efficiently and in other subject areas.
When investigating where the actual idea came from they discovered that Cyndi, Amanda, and Leigh all were looking for a way to engage kids using their interests such as video games and Leveling Up. Both groups started in a very similar way, but Cyndi evolved the idea a little differently.
In the beginning, Cyndi used business envelopes stuffed with math problems from a cut up worksheet. Then, as an instructional coach, Cyndi realized using a pocket chart helped to better organize the activity for students. Teachers' however lacked time to make their own Level Up Learning tools. Thus, when Cyndi provided the tools, teachers observed how this activity greatly increased engagement thereafter some teachers would take the time to create Level Up Learning activities because they saw the value. Our desire is to teach more educators about this strategy and our future hope is to make the necessary tools more easily available.
Being teaching sisters, Cyndi and April discussed teaching strategies, frameworks and methods frequently even though Cyndi's interests were math and April's was reading and word study. When April moved to a new state, she chose to not return to the classroom, but to support education through a new venue. It was a perfect time to explore creating a pocket chart that would more effectively meet the needs of students and teachers.
The original pocket chart was designed and produced in the Fall of 2018. There was a bit of failing forward. Sewing on vinyl turned out to be difficult. Also trying to get the vinyl laid out and kept in place for sewing was a challenge. April tried tape, but that gums up the machine so she had to make sure not to sew on it. The tape left residue which made more work involving goo gone. Finally, April discovered a sewing foot for her machine that glides right across the vinyl. Phew!
Cyndi then tested the chart in classrooms of her school with classroom teachers and students at the middle school level. Cyndi and April reflected on video and teacher observations to determine improvements that could be made.
.They determined the color should define the level, the cards needed to be larger, and the space between the columns needed to be larger. Cyndi also decided a new way of scaffolding across the life cards would be helpful. (see the game instructions for more explanation of these.) Cyndi has been working on the cards and a template that teachers can customize. She is working through trial and error attempts to get the cards to match on both sides for being able to print double sided.
This is how the latest pocket chart and cards came to be. To learn more about level up please use this link. They have been working with manufacturers, but have not found a good fit at this time so the search will continue until a good solution is found..
April Padalino and Cyndi Dull
We are educational coaches with a passion for learning and empowering students, parents, and educators to Bring Education to Life.