Personalized Learning in Middle School Math

A Best-Practice Reflection by: Erin Kingston, Max Aitken Academy

Traditional teacher-led classroom instruction is just one of the ways students learn, however, this is not the preferred style for all students. There are several other methods to reach students at their academic level, and North and South Esk Regional High School is certainly offering their students different ways to learn.

During my recent visit, it was obvious that their personalized approach is appreciated by their grade 7 & 8 students.

All of the learning cards are organized in bins. Students can go get the cards and take them to their work station. Students complete the number of practice questions assigned by the teacher.

In an effort to improve student engagement in Math and personalize learning in my classroom, I visited NSER School to observe their Math classes.

Beginning last year, NSER has implemented learning bins, which were developed using curricular outcomes and learning goals. Students work through progressions to master concepts.

Vice-principal Angela Murphy and her colleagues were very welcoming and willing to share their experiences, answer questions and offer resources.

The tables are tall enough that students can stand comfortably to work or sit on a stool.

I really liked the way the cards were organized and how students could progress at their own pace. In speaking with the students, they all knew what they were working on and where they were going next.

The grade 7 students set a weekly learning goal for Math, which their teachers feel helps keeps them accountable. By giving students the ability to learn at their own pace, self-direct and problem solve, students are working on global competencies and skills.

Their refurbished tables can be written on with white-board markers.

The classroom is large, with a wall knocked out in between, and there are different seating/standing arrangements to choose from, which I think is ideal for students.

This was a very worthwhile experience and I am grateful that I had the opportunity to visit NSER.

I look forward to trying a similar Math program in my classroom in the near future.

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