Once a week, about 40 students gather to participate in all things Pokemon. Special Education teacher Cinda Rinard and fourth-grade science teacher Jacob Glaspell lead scholars in their quest to be the very best Pokemon trainers.
Scholars are given multiple ways to participate in the club. One class is filled with scholars trading cards while another room serves as the stage for competition in the Pokemon card game. Students who decide to play the card game get lessons on anything from basic gameplay to expert strategies. The Pokemon anime series serves as the backdrop for club activities, as well.
Rinard said students are having fun with the club and the group has grown from an initial 12 participants.
“They’re usually very engaged,” Rinard said. “For Halloween, we handed out Trick or Treat packs to kids. Anytime me and my husband open a box at home, we try to give extra packs and cards to the kids at the club.”
The club originated from the Rinard’s love of the trading card game. Cinda said her husband learned the game two years ago. The couple both collected trading cards as children, but learning how to play the card game reignited their love for pocket monsters.
The Rinards started playing in regional tournaments and have traveled to compete. When Cinda floated the idea for a Pokemon Club to her husband, he said he would support her efforts.
Glaspell has come in to help, and he said the club has been a beneficial way for scholars to think strategically.
“I have taught kids how to play, and it’s been amazing,” Glaspell said. “They realized it isn’t about just the card or the Pokemon on the card, but they’re seeing the strategy. They’re starting to think three moves ahead, and now they can translate that into a life skill. Seeing those light bulb moments is neat.”
Glaspell said scholars are using wisdom to make the right trades and use the right strategies in the game. Respect is a major aspect, too, having to treat others and their belongings with respect. Learning about Moral Focus in a variety of ways is one reason Pathway has outperformed the local district for 15 years.
The opportunity also gives students more opportunity to interact and learn from others they might not usually be around.
“We have second graders who aren't even in the hallway of the third through fifth grade and so the second graders are able to look up to the fourth and fifth graders and see how they behave,” Glaspell said. “We’re building relationships outside of the school week. We're trying to teach them, not just math, and English, and social studies, and science. We're trying to teach them in life.”
Keep up the great work, Cinda and Jacob!
Pathway School of Discovery is a tuition-free, public charter school in Dayton, Ohio, serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes more than 100 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit nhaschools.com.
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