Thursday, May 14, 2015

Level Up!

When I was a kid, I had a neighbor who had a cool, new Nintendo game system. We had an old, knock-off Atari-wannabe at my house. 

But my neighbor, Laura, had a Nintendo – and had a Super Mario Brothers game! Every afternoon, I went to her house and waited patiently for my turn to save the princess.

This was the biggest deal in the neighborhood. At any given moment, all of my neighborhood buddies and I knew who had gotten to what level and who had discovered what secret passage and what secret point booster and every other “Easter egg” in the game.

There was nothing more satisfying than that musical beeps (de-de-de-da-da-DEE)  and the announcement “level up!” from the game.

I was thinking about the idea of students ending another year of school and thinking about as an academic (and social) “level up” in their lives. And I was wondering what skills a kid would need from this year for their next year. 
For example, I was wondering what two or three major things an 8th grade US History teacher would want his kid to remember from 7th grade or what skills an 11th grade US History teacher would want a kid to remember from 10th grade World History.

So, here’s my challenge to you, in these last few crazy weeks of school.

Have a conversation with a colleague who teaches kids the year after you and make sure you’ve covered or emphasized the skills and content they need for their “level up”. Then, try to have a conversation with a colleague that teaches kids the year before you and tell them the two or three major things you want their kids to retain for your upcoming class.

Then, make sure you review those skills, concepts, or content (one last time) before the year is out.

It’s a quick and easy way for us to do vertical teaming.  It’s a quick and easy way for us to prepare our kids for the next “level up” that comes with a new grade level.  It’s a quick and easy way to put a little “big picture” into your review season.

Do you do this? If so, I love to hear how you do it! Let me know! 

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