I teach at a school that is 99% African American in composition. The district serves a community that ranks among the poorest in the state and among Arkansas Delta districts. One Hundred percent of our students qualify for free lunches and breakfasts, and for some of our students these meals may be all they get during the week.
I teach Social Studies. This year I am teaching Economics, US History and AP US History. The students at my school have a poor record of achievement in academics and on standardized testing for literacy and math. Over 80% fail to achieve a "proficient" rating on the various standardized tests administered each year. There is a considerable amount of apathy and lethargy when traditional teaching approaches are employed. I attempt to overcome these barriers by engaging students not only in games that I invent (or adapt from famous games on TV), but also by having students create games.
I have six classes daily. Three in Economics, 2 in US History and 1 in AP US History. The games and drills we create--sometimes I create them and sometimes the students create them--help students get past the apathy, lethargy and negativity that is present in regard to learning. We sometimes use StudyBulb for drills, but the use of the Eggspert machine has demonstrated a greater level of participation and retention of studied material. My largest class has 27 students. In that class 4 Eggspert machines could be used to allow students to run their own games and drills while I monitor, encourage and assist where needed. I want to have more student-created lessons and games so students take ownership and responsibility for their learning.
Four Eggspert machines would allow all of my students relatively equal access to the games and drills without having to wait until others have either completed a round or "zonked out" (as we call it in some games). Additionally, these machines could be borrowed by colleagues on my floor at school, including English and Communications classes.
Each of my floor colleagues have spent over $200 out of their own pockets to provide supplies for their classrooms. Three of these colleagues are TFA volunteers (Teach For America) that receive a lower rate of compensation. We are dedicated educators that love to teach but are faced with cultural, socio-economic and interpersonal barriers regarding the value of education. We all struggle to find ways and methods to make learning interesting and effective. Our school, and the district as a whole, has a history over the last 15 years of not performing well due to the issues outlined above. The community at-large is not all that supportive of education. The entire region is economically depressed. All of the regional school districts are experiencing financial woes and cutbacks. I believe that adding the Eggspert machines will help to create a buzz for learning in my classroom and among other classrooms.
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