Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thursday Thoughts on Curriculum - Personalized Learning

Curriculum is least the methodology that is expected for teachers to teach it.  Differentiated Instruction, Multiple Intelligences, and other theories have been around for years, and won't be going anywhere, just taking on new meanings.  My first few months as a curriculum coordinator has truly opened my eyes to the thought processes and physical processes that go into running a district, school, and often times a state education system.  While researching curriculum for various reasons, I keep coming across "personalized learning."

Just in the past week, I have seen the idea of personalized learning come through my Twitter feed and my email.  I do have to hand it to the Kentucky Commissioner of Education; Dr. Terry Holliday.  He is very forward thinking and working towards great things in our state.  Our Accountability has changed, opportunities for schools are increasing, and he has been very visible in schools based upon his Twitter Feed and the Kentucky Department of Education's Twitter Feed.

Monthly, the Commissioner holds a Twitter Town Hall where teachers across the state, or even the country can ask questions related to education and get answers directly from the Commissioner.  I recently participated in one and asked about a program Kentucky will be implementing called "CIITS" (Continuous Instructional Improvement Technology System).  This program will be instrumental in the movement towards personalized learning.  It will provide opportunities for teachers to have access to everything a teacher needs to develop lessons and assess those lessons.

Through this Twitter town hall I not only got my questioned answered, I also saw the following exchange between the commissioner and a fellow educator:

It appears that Dr. Holliday understands this era towards Personalized Learning, while at the same time he is aware of the barriers that keep it from becoming a this time.  This was my first interaction with Personalized Learning.  My next came in the form of an email from Kelly Tenkely; someone who I communicated with on Twitter regularly when I was working on technology. 

In the email, Kelly has started a movement called The Learning Genome Project.  The idea behind this project is to make personalized learning a reality for all students.  In order for this project to move forward, it needs funding.  You can learn more about this project and help fund this project by visiting the campaign website on Indiegogo.  Sometimes it helps to know the back-story on how something develops.  You can read about Kelly's epiphany here.

How do we personalize education?  It is certainly a daunting task, especially for high school teachers that can go through a school year with 100's of students to try and personalize education for.  

The question I have for you, is in the current state of education, how you are personalizing education in your classrooms?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tuesday Teaching Strategy: Team-Pair-Solo

Not that I will completely move away from Educational Technology on this blog, I do want to start including some of what I am doing now as a Curriculum Coordinator to it.  One way I hope to do that is to provide a weekly Teaching Strategy that I think can be implemented across the curriculum and throughout all grade least I hope to do that the majority of the time.  

To start this off, I will start off with a fairly common one that some people might have heard of.  It is probably a strategy that several teachers are doing in their classrooms but were not aware that it had an official title or name.


Most of us have heard of “Think-Pair-Share” and have probably used it in our classrooms.  Have you ever thought about doing it in reverse?

“Team-Pair-Solo” is intended to help students learn problem-solving skills.  Working first in teams or in whole class, students will work on an area of content in your lesson (In math it might mean working on a single problem).  During this time students are discussing work and solution strategies, and helping others when they struggle.

After completion of the team/whole class section, students will be divided into pairs where they will continue to work on the area of content, or work on a new area of content that continues the progression within the content area.  Here it will be important to continue the pattern of discussion and mutual assistance.

Finally, applying the understanding and confidence acquired from the first two steps, each student works alone to complete a final aspect of the lesson.  By the time students work independently they should be able to assess for themselves how well they have mastered the new skill or concept.  During this final stage it will be important for the teacher to continue to monitor and check student progress.

In conclusion, students work on a small (1-3 problems/questions/prompts) section of your content to introduce them to what they should understand, then split into pairs providing further opportunities to expand their understanding, before finally working independently to complete their understanding.