“Love the process and you’ll love what the process produces.” Jon Gordon
Personalized Learning (PL) is a great philosophy to reach the diverse range of learners in educators classrooms. I often get asked, “Am I doing PL right?” when I visit classrooms and other districts. There is no right way to “do” PL if you are focusing on the students taking more ownership in the classroom. There is also no right tool or program to make this happen. PL comes down to what the teacher does in the classroom; here are three ways to gauge yourself to see if you are on the path to personalizing instruction for your students:
- Your students understand WHY they are learning. It is important for students to understand that learning is a process. Students need to have time to be able to set learning goals and reflect on these goals. Having student data trackers allows them to see their growth overtime no matter where they start on the learning continuum for that objective to help guide their learning goals.
- Your students are learning in DIFFERENT ways: No one person learns content in the same way and a “one size fits all” approach has been proven not to work. Learning is ‘messy’ and not linear. We learn from failures just as much (if not more) as we do from successes. Allowing students to have choice and learn in different ways helps personalize it based on each students needs.
- Your students are connecting to their interests and/or passions: Learning is always more fun when we are learning about things we are interested in or passionate about. Understanding what your students are interested in and/or passionate about can help you connect learning outcomes for your students based on their interests/passions.
In my previous blog posts on PL, I offer lots of suggestion about how to make these changes in your classroom that you might find helpful. Creating a PL environment does not happen overnight! You should make small changes in your practice to make a big impact over time.
Personalized Learning from A- Z
Getting Started with Personalized Learning
Personalized Learning Barriers and How to Overcome Them
If you would like to see more PL posts click here to see all that I have written.
“All humans behavior and learning, including feeling, thinking, creating, remembering and deciding, originate in the brain. ” By Mary Helen Immordino-Yang
Neuroscience is the sciences which deals with the structure or function of the nervous system and brain. Understanding the brain is very important to understanding how one learns. I believe all educators should have to go through a neuroscience class to be made aware of how the brain works; below is a brief snapshot of three reasons why.
Neuroplasticity describes how the brain is malleable and changes over time and our lives. This change matters what we think about learners because intelligence can be developed as learning can literally change the brain. Students need to practice skills multiple ways as that helps build stronger connections in the brain. Intelligence is not fixed at birth but it is always changing and building neuropathways between neurons. It is important for children to know the brain is always changing and is malleable. Teacher’s views of intelligence affects students outcomes. If they view intelligence as fixed they will have negative consequences for students learning and the classroom has a different atmosphere because there is more judgement. In a growth mindset classroom there is more focus on nurturing and learning as a journey. Jeff Raikes, Former CEO of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation says that “Growth Mindset is a key to closing the achievement gap.” Read some of my previous posts on growth mindset here!
Metacognition is important because it links everything together as a result of thinking about the learning. The self-regulation approach aims to help learners think about their own learning more explicitly so as to take increased responsibility for achievement, resulting in the joy of the learning process. Integrated learning helps learners understand concepts on a deeper level because it is connected which promotes long-term memories verse factual single skills.
Neuromyth are misinterpretations of brain science data ie myths such as “We only use of 10% of our brains!”- This is NOT true! Another neuromyth is that we can multitask. You can not multitask as the brain can only focus on one piece of information at a time. When you are trying to learn something you need to focus. Trying to multitask impacts learning because it can lead to decreased memory, executive functions and increased brain cell death. It also comes with a cognitive cost of not becoming part of the long-term memory. This happens due to buildup of cortisol (stress hormone). Doing too much task shifting can have a negative impact on learning, attention and memory. It also changes the way one learns and lowers the ability to stay focused on one task. When multitasking it takes twice as long to complete a task and more mistakes are likely going to be made.
Want to learn more about neuroscience and learning, check out some of these resources:
Neuroscience and the classroom: Making Connections Site
Brain Rules: by John Medina
Lyman, L. (2016) Brain Science for Principals: What School Leaders Need to Know. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield.
“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” By Joseph Addison
It is that time of year again where I like to write about what educational summer books I am going to read….even though I am a year-round educator. Below are the books I will be reading this summer in no particular order:
*Bonus Read: Embracing a Culture of Joy: How Educators Can Bring Joy to Their Classrooms Each Day by Dean Shareski – This one I have already read this year but it is so good I have to add it to this list because I haven’t mentioned it in any other of my blog posts on educational reads! 🙂
Previous Educator reads I have blogged about which also make great summer reads!
“The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul.” By Dieter Uchtdorf
Makerspaces are a place to create and tinker. More and more educators are seeing the need for makerpaces in schools. Not that long ago I blogged about the 411 on Makerspaces and Makerspace in Education; I felt like it was time to update the list with newer tools and some different sites as makerspaces are always changing!
Tools for your Makerspace:
Websites/Resources for Makerspaces:
Make to Learn
Invent to Learn
“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun” by Mary Lou Cook
A HyperDoc is a Google document that incorporates different interactive features, such as links to content, maps etc. It requires the creator to think about the needs of the learners, how they will engage in the content, what ways they can reflect on their own learning, and how they can show what they know. A multimedia text set is a collection of lessons, various texts, and resources based around a unit, topic or theme. HyperDocs and Multimedia text sets were created by three ladies, Lisa Highfill, Kelly Hilton and Sarah Landis and have revolutionized the classroom.
How to create a HyperDoc:
- Choose your audience (students, teachers, staff)
- Choose a standard/topic/theme/unit
- Decide if it is a single lesson (HyperDoc) or a collection of learning resources, example for a unit (Multimedia Text Set)
- Create a doc and title it HyperDoc and name of standard/topic/theme/unit
- Add images, links, maps, instructions, learning experiences etc
- Be sure to set the share settings to view only so leaners can make a copy.
- There are multiple places to share your HyperDoc with other educators such as the below padlet or to Teachers Give Teachers.
HyperDocs are a great way to create personalized learning playlists and/or pathways. It is also a misconception that only teachers can create/use HyperDocs. It is a great way for administrators to model a way to integrate technology in a meaningful way for example in staff meetings or as a way to deliver professional development. Check out this link for HyperDocs for Administrators!
More resources on HyperDoc’s:
The HyperDoc Handbook: Digital Lesson Design Using Google Apps
Meet the HyperDoc Girls and Their Resources
Collection of HyperDoc Examples from 2nd-12
Collection of Multimedia Text Sets
“Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.” Edward de Bono
This week my blog post is different because I want you to read Tony Vincent‘s blog post, Print Custom Sticky Notes with Google Slides. It is chock full of amazing ideas, tips, tricks and templates for you to utilize in your classroom. The directions are clear, concise and so easy you could implement this tomorrow in your classroom. Happy reading!
“Action is the foundational key to all success.” By Anthony Robbins
Last week I talked about why we need to Reframe a Paradigm for Professional Learning. This week I share with you some ideas of how to do this in your schools/districts. We should be modeling what you want to see changed in the classroom. Here are three ways to model.
Face to Face (F2F): Traditionally in a F2F professional development it is a sit and get and the instructor teachers to the average. In a F2F professional learning educators should take a pre-assessment and the instructor should use that data to drive the instruction and next steps. Just because it is F2F doesn’t mean it should be one and done; this is a misconception. F2F should meet throughout the year, just like a classroom, but they should not sit through lessons/skills they already know.
Virtual: Virtual allows for anytime, self paced choice for educators to choose what they want to learn based on their needs.
Micro-Credentials: Micro-credentials allows educators to receive ‘badges’ signifying mastery of a specific skill. This is a ‘newer’ concept in education. Learn more about Micro-credential from these school districts that are using it: Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s Personalized Learning Department, Kettle Moraine School District and Surry County.
Six ways to offer professional learning that are not sit-and-get with resources to learn more on how to implement.
- Edcamps: No budget, no problem! Try this unconference style!
- Pineapple Board: Utilize your school days without making “professional learning” an event or another meeting.
- Book Studies in the Cloud: New twist on an older professional development.
- Instructional Coaching: Job embedded Professional Learning based on teacher’s needs.
- Edu Breakout: Gamify your professional learning into experiences.
- Student Protocol: Improving the way teachers look at student work through PLCs.
Here are three other ideas:
- Teacher and/or Student Showcase: Have educators and/or students ‘share’ and ‘showcase’ something that is working well in the classroom. I have seen this done many different ways such as through old schools science fair style or through Ted Talk style approaches.
- Innovate Time: This is time you allow teachers to research something they are interested in implementing in the classroom. The Principal or another administrator teaches the class so the teacher ‘gains’ time to do this research.
- Project Based Learning (PBL): Educators can do action research to help improve their classroom instruction.
Do you have other ways that you, your school or district are doing professional development differently? I would love to hear about it in the comments.