I would like to think of myself as an innovative educator. I am always trying to come up with a better, more efficient and effective way to teach and inspire students. Which brings me to a problem I had in my classroom that I would like to share with you.

Our district funded an “edtech” program that was supposed to help our students fill in the gaps and reach mastery of content standards. I was attempting to use this program with my students, but every time my students took out the Chromebooks and logged in, it became a struggle to keep my students on-task.

They hated working on it, which made my job even harder. I planned to work with small groups, walk around and monitor groups of students at different centers… all which were disrupted by unengaged students on this “edtech” program. It was supposed to help students learn and raise our test scores and close gaps, but it had the opposite effect.

I was tired of battling misbehavior while trying to utilize the program, so I asked my administration if using this program was mandatory, and I was told that if it is not helping my students and I don’t see it as effective then I did not have to use it. Ahhhhh, a sigh of relief. I was very fortunate that our leadership team trusted us and valued our opinions. After all, teachers are the closest to their students and know the needs of their children better than anyone else.

A few months later, I came across @educationgalaxy on Twitter. I hadn’t heard of it before so I navigated to their website, watched a video or two, and then signed up for a free account. The company claimed to be engaging and fun for students while also being aligned to my state standards. I thought I would give it a try.

On Twitter, I came across pictures of other teachers’ bulletin boards with these “Alien Ranking Cards” on them, and I thought what a cool idea to amp up the competition and celebrate their growth! After searching online and not being able to find these cards, I finally sent out a tweet,

On Twitter, I came across pictures of other teachers’ bulletin boards with these “Alien Ranking Cards” on them, and I thought what a cool idea to amp up the competition and celebrate their growth! After searching online and not being able to find these cards, I finally sent out a tweet,

And David Lozano from Education Galaxy emailed them to me within 5 minutes. The very next day, I had my bulletin board up in the hallway by my classroom door, and all of my student accounts ready to go! The people working for Education Galaxy were so kind, through emails, social media and even phone calls. Stephanie helped me upload all of my students with a spreadsheet which made it so easy and seamless for me! The next thing I knew, I rolled it out to my students and… wait for it… THEY LOVED IT.

I was in shock with how engaged my students were! Not to mention how easy it was for me to pull reports! I used them weekly to plan for small groups and inform my instruction. It couldn’t get any better than this! I had standard specific data from rigorous questions, and I could see individual and class averages at my fingertips without any grading from me! I’m telling you, it was great! They were having fun and learning, so they won. I was able differentiate and pull small groups without having to monitor behavior, so I won! It was the best win-win situation I have even experienced.

It wasn’t long before my colleagues noticed my bulletin board and started asking me what it was all about! Students in their classes started asking, “How come Miss Kuhl’s students get to play Education Galaxy.” That’s right play; students view it as a game when in all reality, they were working on test prep!

The rest of my 5th grade team hopped on the bandwagon about a week or so later. We used the program for about two months before we had to take the District Checkpoint Test. Our previous scores were less than impressive. On the last DCP, our campus was the third school from the bottom out of 33 elementary schools in our district. After using Education Galaxy for a short amount of time, our 5th graders scored above district average!

Soon after our Leadership team was intrigued and wondering what we were up to! Our whole campus tried the program out with our K-5th grade students, and at the end of the year our principal had us vote on which program we wanted to use for next year and Education Galaxy won! Our principal told us how happy she was that we chose Education Galaxy for a couple of reasons;

It was a lot cheaper than some of the other programs we had previously that were underused, and it had all of the subjects. So we were able to replace multiple programs with Education Galaxy, and
Our growth was evident between the district checkpoints, and our principal was excited to see what we could do with it in a whole year!

Through communicating with Education Galaxy employees and experiencing this revolutionary tool they have created, I formed a friendship with our EdGal Consultant, David, and I decided to leave the classroom this summer and join them in efforts to help more students and teachers have the same experience that I did!

This was a program that I become so passionate about that I want to help the company would grow and flourish. After meeting with Jeremy Verret, the CEO of Education Galaxy, I discovered how big his heart was. Hearing his goals to help educators and students touched my teacher heart. I knew this was the direction my life was meant to go; this was a company that I could really get behind and enjoy supporting.

I hope you enjoyed reading my story, and I hope you will remember to keep fighting for what is best for your students. Where there is a will, there is a way.