Building a great learning space in the classroom is important for helping students grow. Teachers can create a dynamic learning environment by incorporating learning centers. Of course, planning effective and engaging centers is wonderful on paper but the follow through takes work! Making the most of center time calls for some careful planning and smart execution.
December 2nd is National Special Education Day and it holds a special place in the hearts of educators and advocates alike. On this day in 1975, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was signed into law, reaffirming the importance of inclusive education for students with special needs. As we commemorate this occasion, it's an opportune time to delve into its history, grasp its significance, and explore how technology, such as interactive displays and learning apps, plays a pivotal role in promoting inclusivity in today's classrooms.
Ensuring equity in education is critical, more so given the recent rapid changes in how instruction is delivered and received. Every student, regardless of their abilities, should have a personalized learning program that supports their needs, and this is where Project-Based Learning (PBL) comes into play. PBL is a valuable approach to foster equity and fairness and promotes active engagement while helping to develop essential 21st-century skills such as critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and problem solving.
We are at the mid-year mark (Spring Break…woohoo!) and it’s time to really look at how students are progressing. With the challenges of school closures, it is important to know how much students have been able to retain and identify the learning goals that still need to be met. This knowledge can lead to personalized instruction that is tailored to each student, meeting their academic needs, strengths, and interests. Not sure where to begin? Here are some quick tips for increasing personalized learning:
There are clearly some potential barriers for teachers as they seek student input into their lesson design and curricular choices. It can feel overwhelming on the teacher’s end, and might be considered just one more thing for them to think about. It can be hard to trust that the students will actually be good co-pilots on the learning journey—even if all the desire in the world is present, it might be hard to know how to actually put it all into action.
Fortunately, we have a few models we can look to that will assist us in how this can look in the classroom. These concepts might seem divergent and like squeezing a round peg into a square hole, but even so, I think the philosophies are definitely worth considering for every teacher.
With all that's been said about how we can include students in the process for helping to design—and therefore improve—student learning, there must be a good reason to do it. I always discourage teachers from following educational fads. They might seem great at first, but with all the time required to change course, we only want to do so with a proven strategy.
So why should teachers begin to personalize learning for students? I use these four Ms when thinking about personalized learning: motivation, metacognition, modeling, and making connections.
It’s midyear and time to really evaluate your students’ progress. What kind of growth have they made? What goals still need to be met? What about those state assessments that will be here before you know it? Here are some easy tips for increasing personalized instruction and maximizing your students’ growth: