Bradley Reece | 5th Grade

Bradley Reece is a fifth grade teacher from Cleveland, Tennessee with more than 24 years of classroom teaching experience. Though he’s got a passion for playful pedagogy, coming up with just the right approach to keep his boisterous fifth grade students engaged on a daily basis is really something of an ever-evolving puzzle. And as a result, prior to finding his way to EMC² Learning, he often found himself scouring the web in search of high energy teaching strategies that, frustratingly, tended to lead to a bunch of dead ends. Here’s the story of how the EMC² Learning platform helped him start playing with purpose.

Throwing Good Money After Bad

I’ve been in the classroom for 24 years — and I still love teaching every bit as much today as I ever did! But there are only so many hours in the day, and it can be a real challenge making learning exciting and engaging and finding quality materials for the next day of classes. While I was intrigued by the concept of gamification, I also struggled to understand how all of those design principles really looked like and worked once they made their way into an actual classroom setting.

I had a hard time finding resources that were ready made that didn’t need a lot of tweaks. Try as I might, my searches for high quality, high engagement activities usually came up empty. I’ll be honest: the quality of most of those other resources were never that great. I spent tons of money out of pocket totaling well over $900 a year. It really started to feel like a serious waste of time and investment.

Investing In Sustainable Change

Though there was a brief moment when I will admit that I was worried about spending the money to become a member of EMC² Learning, it was easy to justify the cost after using only a handful of the products. They were engaging to my students and made learning enjoyable for everyone including myself. The products only required me imputing my subject matter and there were tons of activities to choose from. And once I tried one of the activities out with my students, we were all immediately hooked.

I decided to jump in with one of the Egg Dash Challenges, and I quickly prepared the activity with a worksheet that I was going to give the students.

"The next day students began playing the game and the room came alive with learning. You could hear the buzz and excitement as students were using accountable talk to support their reasoning. It was electric to say the least."

Once students began finding power ups in the eggs, things got even more exciting. Students found ways to sabotage each other, and they were excited to use the power ups to further their team’s effort. The best part of the day came after the game: my students wanted to know if we could do it the next day as well. They actually asked for more work! That was simply unheard of in my class until then. 

As I got the hang of each of these different pedagogical approaches, I started to become more comfortable introducing more and more gamified elements into my lesson plans. These days, my classroom is further along into gamification and I’m ready to step into a full blown yearly game next year. As I’ve taken steps to create cards and implement different ways to reach kids through EMC² Learning, my classroom has once again become an exciting place to teach and learn!

I want to thank you for creating such an awesome resource for teachers. Your hearts are evident in the amount of time, effort, and quality of the work you have made. I, for one, am a better teacher because of you all! 

EMC² Learning is home to more than 600 fully editable resources for any course or content area. Engagement Engineers and members of the Creative Corps enjoy a full year of access to each of these resources on demand. We hope you’ll consider joining us to unlock a full year of site access. For complete details including our exclusive limited time offer for annual site membership, click here.

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