Sunday, April 28, 2013

PLE Week 3 - Natural Differentiation

After a fun weekend with the in-laws, I realized I never blogged my reflection about how the week went in my Personalized learning class.  I'll be keeping this post short.

First, the biggest thing that happened this week is that, for the first time, I can say that all students finally "got it".  Now, we are 3 weeks in, so they are considerably behind the 8 ball.  However, looking on the flip side - this is a group of students that other teachers typically struggle with.  If I had students who didn't want to work or otherwise were slowing things down, I'd have the entire class behind.  However, because of this model, natural differentiation occurred.

Those that can work on their own can just go with minimal input from me.  Many others in the middle will ask occasional questions, but they work with each other a lot. Then there are the students who need more support or tend to be lacking work ethic in class.  I've been able to really focus my efforts on those students while not sacrificing the rate at which the top learners want to go.  Thankfully, because of social pressure, sudden awareness, or my the occasional check in with me, those that haven't done much yet are finally picking up the pace.

We only have a little over 5 weeks left.  Some students may struggle to reach the 33 standards mastered to pass.  However, they have a clear goal - they know exactly what is expected and exactly what is needed.  The only difference is, they need to do 100% work on 66% of the items, so at least I can say that what they can done they did well. I personally feel like that is a lot better than getting 66% done on 100% of the items.

I know I need to do a better job marketing the resources, and starting up the class. I feel some students still don't realize the power of the tutorials that are available.  Others don't want to use them, so I'm fighting students who are schooled in how school has always been run.  Who would have thought they'd want to hear me drone on?

Looking ahead, I really need to solidify my incentive system.  This is a key component that could really fortify the success of this learning environment going forward.  I also want to do some group activities, but with each student working on something differently, it would have to be something that is completely worth their while.  I'm toying with the idea of using a Challenge Standard as the basis for the class activity, which by the end, all students could hopefully demonstrate mastery. This could then count towards their overall total, and therefore no students' time would be wasted.

As I read the blog back, I realize this was anything but short.  I guess when you are passionate and excited about something, the words don't want to stop.  I hope this continues to go well, that I can continue to improve it from what I've learned, and that I will have strong data that backs up the effectiveness moving forward.

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