Teach Super

We live in a society that idolizes super heroes. Everyone wants to be super, and teachers are no different: They can teach super. An elementary school teacher’s impact on a child surpasses almost anyone else in their life, other than parents and close relatives.

Do you know how important you are to your students?

By sparking curiosity and interest in a subject like science, you can build the foundation for a future career and lifelong passion. But it takes more than just an attentive teacher; it requires making STEM fun and playful.

Just last December, Getting Smart magazine noted how important it is to make science a fun activity. “Implementing a STEM curriculum during the early elementary grades which combines play with direct instruction can lead to long-term interest in these subjects,” writes Tracy Derrell. Maintaining interest from elementary and through middle school requires engagement.

That’s where teaching super comes into play.

The Need for Super Teachers

Teachers can be super by engaging students in science lessons.

The need for super teachers is real. Only 34% of 4th grade students achieved a score of “At or Above Proficient” on the science portion of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

The United States needs its youth to take on STEM careers. The country is currently reliant on foreign workers to fulfill its STEM workforce.

So how does an educator make science fun and playful?

For starters, you can make a game of it. That goes well beyond Legends of Learning’s elementary suite of games. There are many ways to make content accessible to students.

For example, consider these eight fun resources we found to help teachers preparing science students for tests. Or find a different way to make science more interesting and applicable to students’ real lives. There are hundreds of such activities across the Internet.

When You Teach Super

Two Legendary science teachers at FETC in Florida.

Experienced teachers know success often bubbles up as singular breakthrough events that occur during the long march of a school year. Teaching can become a slog, particularly in the winter months when the days are short and the work is long.

But then there’s that student who suddenly comes alive. Or that class that really gets into a lesson. Maybe a former student comes back to visit or reaches out and thanks you for providing that spark.

Consider how these two students fell in love with science as a result of witnessing the total solar eclipse last summer. The experience infused them with a new excitement for science.

So, Legend, every day is a great day to teach super.

Let us know how we can support you.

Summer Learning Day: Last Chance for $300 Game Trial

National Summer Learning Day is just a month away! What are you doing to celebrate? Legends of Learning is extending its $300 trial offer until July 13 to help teachers and students better enjoy summer learning.

Students enrolled in summer class need a break from the daily routine, and Legends of Learning middle school science games are a great tool. Games offer kids an opportunity to enjoy summer school a little more, while simultaneously improving subject mastery. Original research backs up the impact of games!

Summer is a critical time for students to stay on track and close achievement gaps. Strengthening learning programs can give districts, teachers, parents, and students a much-needed boost. For more information, check out our summer learning white paper.

The National Summer Learning Association reports most families not participating in a summer program say they would if one was available, but the average cost of these programs is $288 per student per week.

As part of its launch, Legends of Learning provided teachers who signed up on its platform $300 worth of edgames for free. After July 13th, initial trial coins will be reduced to $100 for free.

Sign up for free games today!

Summer School Science Content for Free

Let’s be honest. Summer school can be a drag for students. Why not liven up the classroom with middle school science games?

With Legends of Learning’s $100 in complimentary game coins and no obligations, teachers (and schools) have nothing to lose. In a period of six weeks, a class of 30 students could play a game every school day and there would still be extra credits left over.

Science games offer kids an opportunity to enjoy summer school a little more, and play games that facilitate learning and subject mastery. Teachers address NGSS and state standards while providing fun and engagement.

There are 900 games currently available in 90 lessons spanning Earth and Space, Life, and Physical Sciences learning objectives. If you are teaching any middle school science content, there is a game for you. Log in or create an account today, and explore our library.

Make summer school a more engaging experience than the average class. Your students will appreciate it, and their test scores will improve. Just press play.

P.S. If you are looking for more ways to make summer learning a fun experience, download our white paper, “How to Prevent Summer Learning Loss and Close Achievement Gaps.”

What Makes a Successful Game Based Learning Environment

The following is an excerpt from our new white paper Introduction to Game Based Learning. Download it today!

Few blended learning studies exist to date, but those that do highlight some best practices. Legends of Learning’s own GBL study, “Substantial Integration of Typical Educational Games into Extended Curriculum,” identifies several elements essential to overcoming challenges found in blended learning environments. They include the following three:

1. Student choice from a set of teacher-curated games
2. Competency-based game mechanics
3. Strong teacher instruction

A Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation RAND study, Interim Research on Personalized Learning, notes an additional four attributes common to successful blended learning environments. Jamee Kim and Wongyu Lee name two more characteristics in their study conducted at Korea University. The six cumulative characteristics are:

1. Learner profiles
2. Personal learning paths
3. Peer interaction
4. Competency-based progression
5. Flexible learning environments
6. High levels of teacher support for the digital material

The qualities further detail the three identified by Legends of Learning and Vanderbilt University in their collaborative study. The six also recall James Paul Gee’s 16 tenets, suggesting they build upon the best practices of the past while encountering the present and looking forward to the future.

Turning Curriculum into Interactive Game Content

However, true success with GBL cannot be limited to engagement alone. Games must help educators deliver lessons for them to have long-term value and impact. That means they must connect to the curriculum in some way, as well as support other learning goals related to the subject matter, lesson plan, or grade level.

Robert J. Marzano, who conducted a five-year study of game based learning, makes the argument in his findings. He says, “If games do not focus on important academic content, they will have little or no effect on student achievement and waste valuable classroom time.”

European researchers Venera-Mihaela Cojocariua and Ioana Boghiana also believe that games need to have a clear and understood role in the classroom. They state, “In order to exploit the advantages of using game-based learning in class, there is a clear need for standardization and regulation on the use of games in teaching-learning-evaluating.”

Legends of Learning and Vanderbilt University similarly tie GBL success to the rigors of learning. Their study shows that GBL efforts integrated with the classroom curriculum cause quantitative and qualitative improvements in content mastery as well as engagement.

Balancing engagement with content mastery remains a challenge. If students aren’t interested in the teacher-approved games, they won’t play them. Gee and other researchers note that games must be interesting and fun, while delivering educational content, for them to produce results.

In a productive GBL environment, learning and engagement operate hand-in-hand. One cannot succeed without the other.

As a result, educators will need to carefully evaluate games to make sure they both engage students and support the curriculum.

Get the entire white paper Introduction to Game Based Learning here!

For Teachers
For Schools
For Districts