A Best-Practice Reflection by: Amanda MacEachern, Tabusintac Community School
My experience observing a personalized learning environment at Superior Middle School was wonderful! We were greeted by the most amazing student tour guides who were knowledgeable and honest about their experiences as students learning within this pilot project. The teachers were willing to share their resources and I have brought back many useful tools and ideas to my classroom. As a team, the three of us have since brainstormed how this will assist us in mapping out our collaborative inquiry into creating more student success in our math skills assessments.
Authentic Student Learning and best practices in teaching and assessment was certainly at the center of Superior Middle Schools model. I was inspired and made note of some ideas that I felt could be implemented at our school. We are making small adjustments this term, but are interested in hopefully expanding it into middle school in the next school year.
A few ideas that I felt were manageable regarding our math initiative and worth a try were:
1. Scheduling a block of time in the morning where teachers could come together to plan, review data and readjusted student groups in order to make learning targets more personalized. This helps with accountability and the ability to prepare effective feedback.
2. Creating a more open communication among students about what they are learning and why. By posting outcomes per strand, students were able to check off what they accomplished and what they still need to work on. This was highly motivating!
3. Students were actively learning in a way they preferred (independently or teacher directed). I have decided to continue with my math stations, but have adjusted them to allow more flexibly with small groups.
4. Project based learning which allowed students to take charge of their learning and teachers were supporting them if they ran into complications. Students interests were taken into account and each student had check in points in order for them to stay on track and complete project by a certain time. I plan on allowing my students to take part in STEM activities to enrich their learning.