In Thompsonville C.U.S.D. 174, a rural district in the south of Illinois, Title I Reading teacher Robin Culbreth decided to try Skoolbo. The result? An amazing beginning to an unfolding story of engagement and improvement! Currently, the Thompsonville Tigers have answered nearly 400,000 questions from just over a month on Skoolbo. Ms. Culbreth shares her experience with us below:
How did you hear about Skoolbo and how did you roll it out to your school?
“A colleague saw Skoolbo on Facebook and shared it on my timeline. As the Title 1 reading teacher for our school district, I thought it might be a great way for our students to work on their literacy and numeracy skills over the summer and help to lessen the summer slide. I wanted to make sure the students had a good introduction to the program and time to play it at school well before summer started. I have half of each class every other day, so I introduced it to each section on the SMART Board. I set up each class and teacher, showed the students how to log on, make their avatar, and play the games. Once all students had been introduced to the game, I passed out the papers from the Skoolbo site with directions of how to log on at home with all of the students’ passwords on them. The students were immediately as excited as I was! I had shared with the teachers the information about Skoolbo prior to introducing the students, but the teachers did not realize how excited the students would be until they returned. Skoolbo was the talk of the school.
We have an early morning “Tiger Tutor” program where twelve junior high students come in at 7:30 a.m. and volunteer their time to help students with homework under the supervision of a teacher volunteer (myself). The students also have this time to work on Skoolbo, which has been a very popular activity. Every computer and iPad is completely full in the morning with students working toward getting more points toward their certificate.”
Has Skoolbo been effective with your students?
“We have only been using Skoolbo for one month, but we have had several success stories already that have brought tears of joy. It has been a positive experience for our students with Individual Education Plans. Students who are usually unmotivated are now mastering multiplication facts and are very proud of it! A student who loves competition has worked very hard on Skoolbo and brought up his monthly assessment scores in 3 out of 4 categories by a large margin. Our grade school students were talking about Skoolbo so much that the junior high students asked for usernames for the program. We are a very small rural school district with an enrollment of 141 students in kindergarten through fifth grade and our students answered 212,077 questions the first month. That is a success story for us. And they are still going strong!”
Can you share some tips for educators who want to implement this at their school/district?
“My tips for success for Skoolbo include ensuring the staff is familiar with the program when you kick off the program. Celebrate the students’ successes as well as the classroom successes. I go into the classrooms about twice a week to hand out certificates and the whole class will clap for the students. We also celebrate when every student in a class has earned 1,000 points (that is announcement worthy!). If your school begins to slow down, offer up a week-long challenge and reward the class that earns the most points. If you decide to print out the certificates for the students as I do, provide a clipboard or dry erase board for the students to sign so you can refer to it when it is time to print certificates. It can be time consuming to search or try to remember.
I also keep a poster that has the top two improved students in each class (Skoolbo Scholars) and the points each class earned for the week posted on my door. It is easy to find on the leaderboard page. Use the “Set Task” option on the Reports page to ensure students get enough practice on a skill so they can master each skill. This is an easy way to make sure they can get enough practice to master the skill and “graduate.”
This is the first program we have ever had where every child loves it and wants to play it at home. The teachers can have an avatar that plays, the junior high students want to play, and they are learning! The whole time they are playing, the room is full of joy and happiness!”
We are so excited for these students and we can’t wait to hear more about the improvement and excitement that is sweeping Thompsonville C.U.S.D.!
Do you have a success story from your own school?
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