Kellie Mallon is a 26-year veteran teacher who teaches sixth, seventh, and eighth grade Cambridge English in her home town of New Port Richey, Florida. In more than a quarter of a century inside the classroom, she’s seen all sorts of teaching fads and school solutions come and go. But for Kellie, EMC² Learning has proven to be every bit of the real deal. So much so, in fact, that she is genuinely considering extending her teaching career even after she reaches the age of retirement because she’s simply having so much fun with the work that she now does in her classes every day.
From Curious Onlooker to Creative Powerhouse
It was a typical school day about three years ago, and instead of tackling the endless essay papers, I decided to check out Candace Healing’s Twitter feed to see if she has any fresh ideas for engaging kids. She had just retweeted a post where a teacher had tried their hand at John’s Egg Dash Challenge, and I was instantly engaged myself and LOVED the excitement and joy that I saw. Those were happy learners! But as a teacher, I was particularly grateful that he provided a link to a blog entry that took us “behind the scenes” of all the fun and games to offer a detailed, step-by-step explanation of how the activity could be scaled, scaffolded, and modified for different groups of learners. I immediately followed him. and I went and got plastic eggs that night and did the Egg Dash Challenge the next day. My kids LOVED IT! It was so simple and yet so amazing.
“I didn’t want to come to school today until I remembered we were playing a game.”— John Meehan (he/him) (@MeehanEDU) April 18, 2019
Sign. Me. UP. #EggDashChallenge #EDrenaline
(And the big secret of it is? The “game” is just a Trojan Horse for some serious learning!)
Details here: https://t.co/32ZqQj64A7 https://t.co/vXumdIE7tJ
John’s work helped me find my way to Michael Matera’s podcast and the eXPlore Like a Pirate book. I devoured it that night, and starting practicing the “gamified magic” in my classroom. And when John released his book, I pre-ordered and I read it over 2 nights. I immediately started listening to their podcasts on my way to work — feeling like they were my teaching partners. By incorporating the strategies I was learning from John and Michael’s work, I started to see that my students were starting to be happy in class again and teaching was fun. I found that I was genuinely looking forward to the lessons we were going to cover. Happy kids = happy teacher! I was finding my tribe.
Having Too Much Fun to Retire
I’ve often heard John and Michael say “ You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” My teaching time is now spent with the community of Engagement Engineers, and my kids are loving school again. I’m a happy teacher and my kids are happy learners — the way teaching is supposed to be. I can retire in 3 years but I’m not sure I want to. With all the resources EMC² Learning offers, teaching is exciting and interesting and the kids love it. Student engagement is at an all time high, to the point where I’m honestly thinking that I’ll just stay and keep providing happy learning opportunities. I’m having a ball.
The EMC² Learning platform has been an amazing resource of high-quality materials and ideas arranged for beginners to masters. I am consistently impressed by their quality and the ease of use to implement them. The coaching courses help push my thinking and the Skill Builder courses are available on demand so I can facilitate my quest for learning in my time frame, and the Break Room has been a fantastic place to mix and mingle with other like-minded teachers, sharing fabulous ideas and asking questions. I feel empowered and accepted when I need clarification on something I am just not understanding, I know there is a community of fellow teachers who have probably had that question too and are quick to help. The platform is vast and inspiring, and I can spend hours there compiling resources and getting inspired about current and future lessons as well as reflecting on past lessons. Using the resources like An Eye for AI, Alternative Assessments, Fantastic Foldables, Lose the Lecture, Penny Pedagogies, Story Dice Central, and The Teacher’s Desk has made my grading load a lot easier and a lot more manageable, fun and creative!
If I could create a teacher meme of the exhausted teacher with a stack of endless essays and coffee with a forlorn look on one side of the meme and the other side a happy, vibrant teacher with kids laughing and collaborating behind me and the letters “EMC² Learning” projected in big letters on the screen behind them and the teacher and kids pointing to it smiling, that would be my visual literacy pic. That is literally how our classroom looks now! My grading is done in class — walking around spot-checking — and my kids are engaged in their learning now so I can do quick conferences at a desk instead of small groups and worrying about other off-task kids while I conferred. Their work samples have become so much more creative, intriguing, and interesting to grade. I actually look forward to grading their work from lessons brought to life thanks to the EMC² Learning resources!
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.