Thursday, March 20, 2014

Personalized Learning in a 1:1 Classroom: A Tour Through My Inbox

I know there is a lot of buzz about personalized learning these days. Lots of it comes at a cost where some service will assess your students and provide just-in-time learning. It is tempting to purchase one of those and feel comfortable that the curriculum is being covered at a pace that is right for each student. Although I do use many tools and apps,  that's really not what personalized learning looks like in my 1:1 language arts classroom.

So, what does it look like?

I don't think I can answer that question in a short post. However, I believe that a little tour through my email inbox may provide a glimpse. It hit me last night when I opened my school email.
Literacy= communication, and I do use email as one tool for communicating with my students. 

We read. We write. We edit.  We discuss. We think. We reflect. We create. Why would this look identical in a group of unique individuals?

What follows represents a sample from my current inbox. These are waiting for my reply, feedback or next steps. I have not chosen anything on purpose. I'm just sharing the process. This represents the ongoing learning conversation between my students and me. 
A 5th grader emails to tell me what salary he would like for the documentarian job. He also suggests two new jobs.
A 5th grader shares his updated narrative writing with me. Below is a short snippet of  an 8 page story

Another  5th grade narrative
a 4th grader shares a link to the book quiz he wrote on Goodreads
A 4th grader wrote an epilogue to Wonderstruck using Book Creator

5th grade character trading card
4th grade "visual vocab"
This conversation and creation, this journey, is why I love my 1:1 iPad classroom. 


Tracy Watanabe said...

Hi Andrea!

I love this tour through your "inbox" showing us what differentiation and personalization looks like with 1:1 iPads in your classroom. With a glimpse in your inbox, I see students who are given permission to share their creativity. From class jobs (showing their opinions and voices matter, make a difference, and should share) to narratives, creative writing, quizzes, etc. All showing standards based learning with 21st century skills of creative and critical thinking, communication, etc.

Do you think your inbox would look like this if you didn't establish a class culture of innovation and risk?

Thank you for inspiring me!

Kind regards,

Andrea said...

Hi Tracy,
Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. I have to say I love this post, too :-)
I have always struggled as a teacher with the worry that I'm not doing enough, not doing it right, etc.

But taking a small step back and looking at the sheer amount and variety of communication I have going with my students- both in the classroom and through other channels- I feel more grounded that I am creating the class culture that is in line with what I believe. And I think that most of my students are thriving despite the fact that this is new for them. Most are used to a more teacher-centered environment and being asked to take ownership of the classroom and their own learning proves challenging.

I don't know what other teachers' inboxes look like. It would be interesting if all the teachers in a school shared an "inbox tour." I do know that, as part of a school that has student blogfolios K-8, looking at the students' artifacts gives me a good sense of the kind of learning environment of the classroom.

Thanks for helping me extend my thinking on this. You're the best!

Unknown said...

My name is Katherine Harvey and I am a student in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama. I think using your email is a great way to interact with your students. It's provides the students with a way to contact you immediately. You can receive these email updates through your phone so that you can really from anywhere.