What makes a ‘good day’ for a school administrator? In today’s environment, it could simply be survival. But as a retired superintendent of schools, I can tell you that my best days were those in which I could visit classrooms! There’s nothing quite like connecting with teachers and students. As a matter of fact, when one of those ‘tough days’ as a school administrator had me shaking my head, a visit to a kindergarten classroom was the best way to ground myself in why the tough days were worth it.
From my experience, the best time to visit the kindergarten classroom was during storytelling. There’s just something about seeing the teacher reading from a chair with students all around them intently following along with the story of the day. It’s a teaching skill that — for the most part — is wholly under-appreciated. That capacity to read the book sideways while concurrently showing the picture while managing the room all at the same time is, well, a superpower!
It’s humbling to be the guest reader for kindergarten story time when you quickly realize that when it comes to reading a story, you don’t have the same superpower as the teacher! I know from experience. But what I came to realize is that the students were engaged in the story not so much because of the way I was reading it, but because of the beautiful and complex illustrations that accompanied each page.
When a good storyteller delivers a good story complete with interaction and graphics, it’s a magical event. It describes the ongoing brilliant work of Don Rawitsch, RE@L’s Executive Vice President for Product Development. Through his creative genius, the legacy education simulation, The Oregon Trail™ was born several years ago.
One of Don’s most recent simulations, a web-based anti-nicotine, anti-smoking, and anti-vaping curriculum called 1Up On Vaping™, is indeed one of those rare good stories with good storytelling built in through the use of interactive graphics. I liken it to my favorite Archie and Jughead comic books ‘come to life’ in a useful, engaging format designed to help educators deliver a required middle school curriculum with results behind it.
Gather round for this spoiler alert: here’s the engaging story plot of 1Up On Vaping™.