Sunday, September 14, 2014

Diving into Personalized Learning

I was on the California EdChat (#caedchat) this evening and was reminded of the importance of blogging to reflect and analyze my practice.  I took a few weeks off because I'm still learning how to budget time and manage being a full time working mom of 2 boys (a 3 year old and 3 month old).  It's hard and exhausting, but here we go!  This week begins my first official week of personalized learning.  I am extremely excited and anxious about how this will play out with the students.  I have so many ideas of how it should go and how the students will react, but no one knows until you dive in!

On Friday, I introduced the concept to my students and gave them the following unit sheet:
It has a place for them to plan out the next three weeks, which I had the students begin to complete on Friday.  There is also the list of assignments the students should complete in order to master the content.  I have built in choice assignments that hopefully appeal to the different learners in my class.  There are videos, basic worksheets, and even an opportunity for the students to make a music video.  If none of it appeals to the student, they have the opportunity to do independent research related to the topic or create their own assignments, they just have to clear them with me first.  We are also doing a consumer challenge in which the students will work in groups to test the claim of a product or compare two products (why not try a version of PBL w/ personalized learning...can you say crazy!)

We started the consumer challenge at the beginning of the week.  I introduced idea, we did some team building and following directions activities.  On Thursday, most of our students had their Chromebooks, so I showed them how to make a copy of the planning sheet, which is a Google Doc, and share it with their group members.  Below, you can see two different groups working on the Google Doc where they are developing their questions, determining the products they are testing and they began writing a material list and creating a procedure.

Final thoughts for tonight: I feel that the amount of personalization for the students will continue to increase as we go through the school year.  Like anything, I feel that I need to scaffold it for my students.  Start pretty structured and continue to give more voice and choice to the students.  Ideally, I would let them run with the concept completely on their own ASAP, but these are 7th graders.  This is their first year in middle school, their first year w/ A-F grades, their first year w/ multiple teachers and passing periods.  I truly believe in this style of learning and I believe that my students will be successful.  So, here we go...wish me luck and I'll be back to let you know how it's going =)

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