Personalized Learning

Discussion in 'General Education' started by runsw/scissors, Jan 22, 2019.

  1. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Jan 22, 2019

    I know I haven't been around for a while (life does get in the way), but I am hoping some of you can offer some insights. I began a masters program in Curriculum and Instruction last summer. The current class I am taking is about personalized learning. There are only four of us in the class, and after meeting the first time on Saturday it looks like this course is almost an independent study. In short we are supposed to collect articles and "experiences" (observations, blogs, workshop attendance, etc.), develop a project about personalized learning in our classrooms, execute it, and write up a report about it all. Everything I am finding is about personalized learning at the secondary level and/or building implementation. I am struggling to find information about personalized learning at the elementary level, and as an ELL teacher with 30 min. pull-out classes I'm not sure how to efficiently personalize the study the way it has been described in the articles I have found. Does anyone use personalized learning either as an elementary teacher and/or as a specialist? What seems to be most effective for you?
     
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  3. Unetheladyteacher

    Unetheladyteacher Rookie

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    Jan 23, 2019

    I did not know that what I do may qualify as personalized learning, because I don't always have classes that require as much individualized, differentiated instruction as my low-level ENL group does this year. I have a group with three students: a newcomer, someone who is solidly a beginner, and someone who is solidly transitioning level. The three students have vastly different needs, and only sometimes reach points where they can all benefit from the same lesson. I realized about a week into my newcomer arriving at school that doing whole-group lessons would put him at a severe disadvantage, being that he came in below level in both his native language and English.

    What helps me use something similar to this model is setting goals at key points during the year (the beginning of the year, the middle of the year after New Years, and usually after a few key benchmarks the school really wants to focus on and gather data for). I don't set goals every class or even every other week -- just after I assess and notice a student has surpassed a previous learning goal. Setting goals too often as a specialist with short class periods would be too overwhelming. I use an approach that might come across as centers -- in my lowest level ENL class, I have my two female students complete one set of activities, because for writing and reading they often fall into the same categories, and my newcomer student completes entirely different activities. I introduce both activities at the start of class to make sure the students know what they are doing. I try to bring each group of students to the small-group instruction table, as needed, to reteach, show them new skills, or otherwise remind them of things they used to do but are no longer doing. This means that I try to teach a skill and then give students time to use the skill both with me and in group or independent settings. That way, one group can be working semi-independently or independently while I work with another group. I rotate through these groups in the same way someone would structure reading groups or writing groups. I try to make sure all my students get the same amount of direct instruction, and I challenge students to ask each other for help before they ask me, so I can spend as much time with each group as possible before I provide feedback to the group having independent work time.

    What seems to be the most effective is not always having students cycle through centers. In small groups, centers can be very time consuming if they are overly complicated, and I only pull these students out for 40x minutes of instruction daily. The rest of my instructional time with them is in a co-teaching setting, so I can't have lessons be this individualized when I work with another teacher. I need to occasionally reflect on the group's needs and do a whole group mini-lesson such as a shared reading activity or an interactive writing activity to make sure students are on track and showing me good development of key skills. Plus, there are still times when my students can benefit from leveled, whole-group activities where I can have them use what they learned to complete a project. Those days give me time to meet with students, watch their progress, reflect on my teaching, and reflect on what students are capable of doing.

    My biggest struggle is having personalized learning in such a short time period. Creating these learning paths, setting goals, and having students reflect on their process takes time. It is always a balance between needs, time, and methods of delivery for me. I never seem to have enough time in the day to do more than one center for each group, so I have to make that center worth the time it takes to explain it. I also use the school's RTI forms to set goals for my students, and I constantly gather data to see a student's progress toward their learning goals. Also, students have come to me and expressed concerns or things that excite them that let me know we need to reset some of their goals. In addition, I have a 3-2-1 assessment chart in the classroom that I use to have students assess their progress during the day or in regards to a particular goal. Three means they think they have mastered the goal or skill, two means they need additional help, and one means they need more time to learn the skill because it is currently too hard for them to master. I usually have students use this 3-2-1 chart at the end of a class or after an assessment to let me know how they think they are doing. This year, the level of my students was so low at the beginning of the year that I could not use the chart in its traditional form -- I simply had students give me one, two, or three fingers, and as the year progressed, they were asked to start explaining their thinking behind the score they gave themselves.

    I am constantly working on using more teaching of this nature in my low-level ENL course, so any resources or insight you have would be greatly appreciated! Following because this is exactly what I need for one group of students!
     
  4. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Jan 27, 2019

    Bump!
    Other terms for personalized learning include student-centered learning and maybe blended learning. Does anyone use these teaching methods?
     

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