For Students

Making Learning Fun: Competitions, Games, and Community Service Add Student Engagement

by Tim Crowley | October 3, 2012

Reaves’ students entered these designs in a school Halloween nail art competition.

Reaves’ students entered these designs in a school Halloween nail art competition.


(submitted by Ann Marie Reaves, Henries School of Hair Design, Fitchburg, Mass.)

A little competitive spirit helps keep Ann Marie Reaves’ students sharp for their state boards. Reaves holds nail competitions for the different product types including gels, acrylics, polish, and nail art. She puts together goody bags for the winners that include new nail products for them to try, and she gets the other beauty instructors at the school to help with the judging.

Reaves arranges her nail art competitions around the corresponding holidays and encourages her students to send in their work to nail industry magazines to get them excited about their careers and artistry.

2. GAMES, a la La Tortuga

(submitted by Madelyn Johnson, Royal Beauty Careers, South Houston, Texas)

In Spanish, “la tortuga” means the turtle, but for Madelyn Johnson’s nail school class, it’s the name of a fun game to help study for the state boards. “We use it to learn about nail disorders and proper procedures, and all the other things students will be tested on at state boards,” Johnson says.

La Tortuga is similar to Hangman, with, in this case, the image of a turtle drawn one body part at a time. Johnson divides the class in half, then asks each team a question. When an incorrect answer is given, that team has to add to their drawing of the turle.

“We go over all the nail disorders and I ask them multiple choice questions. Sometimes I’ll ask them the steps to a process, and I’ll give them three steps and they’ll have to tell what the next step is. We do this for sanitation, enhancement applications, diseases, and everything else covered in the class,” Johnson says.


(submitted by Kamisha Winfield, Augusta Technical College, Augusta, Ga.)

The nail students in Kamisha Winfield’s classes know how to spread the love. On one Valentine’s Day, Winfield had her students provide mini manicures to the staff at the local college at which the beauty school is a part of. “We decorated the tables and had small cakes and drinks available as they relaxed and received cuticle care, some exfoliation, and hand massages,” says Winfield.

It was the first time something like that had ever been done at the school, and the students were very excited that they were able they were able to provide a warm and inviting service to the staff.

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