Sunday, February 1, 2015

Let's Get Personal!

I am about to embark on my second personalized unit. I created my first personalized unit for our Rome study. That one lasted four weeks. This go around we are studying the Middle Ages for approximately three weeks.

First, let's discuss what personalization is in education. It's the insertion of choice and voice and the removal of place and pace. Let's first talk about what I've put into the lessons: choice and voice.

The idea of choice and voice is moving away from the direct instruction where the teacher drives the content delivery. This is very active for the teacher and extremely passive for the student.  Giving the student choice can through what is known as a choice board or task sheet.

Each SOL has a task sheet. A change that I made from the last personalized unit with in regards to the task sheet are each SOL has its own task sheet and each task sheet has six tasks. Click the link below to view a pdf of my task sheet.

Voice comes into play a couple of ways: First, I asked students what they thought and what they would like to see change the first time around. I took the suggestions under advisement and implemented most of the suggestions. One of the suggestions is on the task sheet- the option to test out of the majority of the work. This rewards students who come to class with prior knowledge who do not need to spend as much time on a strand that they already know. I set up a fill in the blank quiz on Schoology. The quiz is timed and the student must score a 100 in order to test out.

So let's now discuss place and pace. Pace is much easier to allow for. Students are given a dead-line for everything to be completed (all tasks sheets, the capstone (see later post about this) and the summative assessment. What they do between the introduction and deadline is up to them. I expect them to work while in the classroom. However, I tell them they probably won't finish if they just work in class. Most students utilize their connections class (think study hall) to get the work completed. Another great benefit is for students who are absent. I currently have a student who is a page at the state capital and this program is perfect for someone in this situation. The ultimate strategy for this type of learning environment is to rid the student of specific periods where they need to be in a specific room for a specific piece of time. In this scenario the student would come to school, check-in with teachers that they need to see and then work on assignments given to them: either through the choice boards/task sheets or independent assignments. I imagine it like a school/college hybrid.

In the next few posts I will be narrating how things are going in our class, challenges, and happy moments from our personalized unit.

Happy Teaching!