Friday, October 2, 2015

Personalized Learning: part 2

Personalized Learning: From "Trending" to "It's just the way we do it"  Part 2

     At the end of last 2014-15 school year, I was gearing up for staff professional development for this 2015-16 school year. Our goal with pd this year, our challenge, is to bring all staff closer to providing personalized learning experiences to our students. This is a lengthy process and it involves changing the roles of teachers as they go through the stages from teacher centered to learner centered. (refer to Bray and McClaskey "Making Learning Personal)
    Last year we had one team of teachers combine their kinders and their 1st graders (K/1 Fusion) and were very successful in making inroads to personalized learning. We connected with other schools that were on a similar journey and exchanged valuable ideas and resources. Their experiences as teachers have been exciting and our parents and students have noticed the difference. (read one of the teacher's most recent classroom experiences here)  I hope to capture more of these comments and experiences by setting up a "parent interview booth" at our October parent-teacher conference nights. (thanks to @galvin1821 Principal Shawn Galvin, Lincoln Elementary in Jaynesville, Wi. for the resources and idea!)

      Over the summer, I purchased books for the teachers, set up a Google Classroom and began assigning tasks for the teachers to complete. Some assignments had them reading blogs from other schools that are on a similar journey and leaving comments. Other assignments were chapter book talks, making Codes of Cooperation and sharing of them, 60 second elevator speeches convincing others of why this is a great way to learn, as well as exploring PLPs, Backpacks, and the Seesaw app. Sometimes they do these assignments from home, and sometimes we meet face to face and have a working morning where they choose what they work on and whether they work alone or in a group. I think this is the kind of pd opportunities teachers appreciate. We will continue this manner of pd for the remainder of the year, and I have told staff this is at least a 3 year process. I read recently a blog from @mclane_ryan that outlines their school district's vision of personalize learning with reaching the goal by 2020. I may be a little ambitious with a 3 year goal for our building, but I agree that 5 years for an entire district is probably very realistic.

    What we were doing five years ago is different than what we are doing today. Five years from now, I hope I can say the same thing.