Saturday, July 22, 2017

What is Personalized Learning?


Hello All! Welcome back! Lord, July is almost over already! You know what that means? Back to School! Arrgggghh! We official go back to work on August 9th (Very early, I know). But, I work at a charter school so it kind of comes with the territory. Anywho, by this time of the year, I’m pretty much ready to go back to work anyway. The kids are out of camp, and I am over washing dishes every hour on the hour!

I received some pretty AMAZING news this week. My classroom has been chosen to transform into a model personalized learning classroom. What does that mean? NEW FURNITURE! Yayyy! I was blessed with $5000 worth of awesome furniture from a model showroom as well as $2500 worth of furniture from a top flexible learning designer. How cool is that? I cannot wait to show you guys this great transformation we are about to undertake. The only drawback is that the furniture will not be available until after the first few weeks of school. At first I was a little bummed, but then I realized that would give me the chance to introduce flexible seating and class routines without the overwhelming excitement of brand new class furniture.

As I began to think about my new class design, I decided that I want to dive deep into the personalized learning realm. By this, I mean true personalized learning (not just groups of highs, mids and lows). I give student interest inventories at the beginning of each year and by October they are gone by the wayside. However, the information I can gather is significant in getting to know what each child likes, their strengths and areas of improvement. Although, I love these, I realize I teach 2nd grade and the inventories are more times than none completed by the parent, read by me once and never seen again! Last year, my school started to redesign our framework to better support PL. We implemented student learner profiles! This is a digital record of the student’s academic data, goals, strengths, areas of growth and parental notes. I conducted 1:1 interviews with each student and gathered as much information as I could. During parent-teacher conferences, I shared the learner profiles with parents and added any extra information they provided.

My favorite part about our learner profiles is that each student has access to their learner profile and may enter any goal setting or goal tracking data they want to share. Yes, we did this in 2nd grade! My students were so excited to show how much they have improved in their area of growth and develop plans on how they want to work. It was truly amazing.  Here are a few resources I have used to help develop my student Learner Profiles:

Now I am at a crossroad; I have the flexible learning environment and I also have the learner profiles. My question is what is the next step? What do I do what all the information I have gathered? How can I implement student interest when I have a set curriculum that I must follow? This year, I want to think outside of the box and allow the students to drive their own learning with me as a true facilitator. But, where does that begin?

If you have any experience, insights, thoughts, comments or questions about personalized learning, please share in the comment box below. I would love to hear about your classroom and where you are in the PL journey!

Until Next time!


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