For the second edition of our Featured Educator blog series, Quizizz touched base with Josh Arnold, 8th grade American history teacher at Walker Middle Magnet IB World School in Tampa, Florida, United States of America. As a 20-year veteran educator with a tremendous heart, Josh is known for his tireless efforts to create a classroom environment where children are supported, and rewarded. “The past three years of teaching have been the hardest ever,” Josh told Quizizz. “I know I’ve done my best with students in helping them connect with each other by building and maintaining relationships in the classroom.”
Beyond his heartfelt connection with students, Josh advocates on their behalf through his long-standing DonorsChoose page, an initiative that earned him the Tuesday Teacher Spotlight recognition from his district’s Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) at the start of the 2020 school year. As the challenges of the pandemic played out in classrooms across the country, Josh not only used Quizizz to spur engagement, but he conducted rigorous fundraising for resources to ensure student safety and promote learning.
Generating more than $1,500 for three different projects, Josh purchased iPads and Apple pencils, an air purifier, and desks that are more conducive to social distancing. Josh’s DonorsChoose site still continues to receive funds for other ongoing projects, including his ‘classroom store’ stocked with incentives to encourage good behavior, and his ‘Take a Break’ center equipped with tools to help kids decompress and refocus. Not all teachers would go the extra mile for their students like Josh, but he is certainly a special, standout educator.
Below, we ask Josh a few questions about how he empowers students, fosters engagement and uses technology — including Quizizz.
What motivated you to become a teacher, and what keeps you motivated today?
Being there for the students is what motivates me. Teaching starts and ends with the students. Kids have always been vulnerable, and with the last few years of education being what it has been, they need a strong ally more than ever.
What are a few words you think your students would use to describe you?
I believe they would say I’m kind, as well as honest.
What is one of your highest professional certifications that you’re proud of as an educator?
I’m a National Board Certified teacher in the area of Social Studies Adolescence. To earn this, I had to complete a process in which I demonstrated my mastery of standards of teaching with video lessons, and detailed answers to various prompts.
Can you share an anecdote about a particular lesson or challenge in the classroom that interactive, gamified learning helped you address?
In every classroom, a student is waiting to be reached. Quizizz can absolutely reach that child. Worksheets and rote learning are not for every student, so Quizizz can be a voice for those kids who prefer not to speak out in the classroom. To break the ice, I love seeing the end results of the Quizizz data standings with a student who I previously thought was not understanding the material, but suddenly, they’re now at the top. It’s very rewarding for both of us to see that growth.
How have you used Quizizz during remote/hybrid learning, and in the classroom?
When teaching went remote, it became clear that if a Zoom class didn’t have some sort of engaging game during the session, students were going to check out. In the classroom, it’s not much different…
Kids will check out if you don’t have an interactive tool ready to reach all learners. That’s what’s great about Quizizz. It’s more than a game, too; it helps teachers plan different parts of instruction, and it really motivates the students.
You’ve inspired so many teachers. Who are some educators and edu-creators who inspire you?
- Tom Rademacher: Tom, a Minnesota Teacher of the Year award recipient, keeps it real, and he understands a lot of the parts that make teaching hard.
- Ralph Pantozzi: Ralph, a Rosenthal Prize winner, runs an account that has many interesting thoughts on education and society.
Be sure to check out these awesome educators, and hear more from Josh by following @GuyCivics on Twitter.
With a mission to ‘EMPOWER every teacher and MOTIVATE every learner,’ Quizizz focuses on educators who help us navigate through the EdTech industry. We are honored to serve our teacher community by providing a product that enables educators to fully support students — from instruction to reinforcement to review. Together, we are on our way to motivate every child to achieve mastery in the classroom and success in the real world.
If you know a teacher using Quizizz to make a difference, give them a shoutout on Twitter with #quizizz and they just might be selected as our next Featured Educator!