I feel like the edu-blog niche is pretty full but I’ve begged for, borrowed from, or flat out stolen some really amazing ideas from other teachers. Here’s what’s going on in my class.
Beg, borrow, and steal away:
I’ve been interested in Personalized Learning (PL) since I first heard about it when I attended the Charleston Educators Symposium. I saw student data notebooks and was interested in having my class track their own learning. I also liked the idea of letting students work at their own pace. I spent all summer creating these “placemats” for every 4th grade standard in math–including proficiency scales, anchor charts, and spaces for pre- and post-test scores.
I created this roadmap for the students to color. I wanted the students to be able to follow the path throughout the year. I spent two math periods explaining what the standards meant, how teachers were supposed to use them, and what a proficiency scale was. (I wasn’t super clear either, but I used the same bike analogy that I heard during the symposium).
Level 4 – Going above and beyond (a person doing wheelies on a bike)
Level 3 – The standard–what a fourth grader needed to be able to do (a person riding a bike)
Level 2 – A student can do the skill with help or support (using training wheels on a bike)
Level 1 – The student doesn’t know how to do the skill (cannot ride a bike, even with training wheels)
My guinea pig class was in to the tracking sheets, but I was having a hard time keeping up… especially printing them and having the copies ready for the kids who were moving fast. I also stole the idea from the presenter at the symposium to have a “Must do/May do” list on my board. I was also having trouble coming up with activities for the may-do list without doing drill-and-kill sheets or easy to print math games from Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT) that in the back of my mind I knew were busy work.
Pretty soon, I got overwhelmed, and long story short, I gave up. I was literally waking up in the middle of the night thinking about math. It wasn’t healthy, and when I almost fainted and ended up in the cardiologists office, I realized I had to do something different. For the rest of the year, I did mostly whole-group math instruction, with a day of rotations and small groups thrown in here and there. But I was always thinking about how I could get back to that feeling of excitement and intrigue I had during the symposium when I first heard about PL.