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CCE staff and partner reflections on our collaborative work to create schools where learning is engaging and rewarding, and every student is set up for success.

6 & 6 for Implementing Personalized Learning in Your Classroom

In March 2016, the Center for Collaborative Education launched the first cohort of the Massachusetts Personalized Learning Network (MAPLN) with Framingham and Revere School Districts. Inspired by this work, we bring you six resources and six simple strategies to begin personalizing learning in your classroom:

Six Resources for Personalized Learning

1. Performance assessments are an integral part of a curriculum and assessment system of the 21st century. CCE has been specializing in performance assessment work for over 15 years. Learn about performance assessments here.

2. From the Buck Institute for Education, the book Setting the Standard for Project-Based Learning provides readers with a process for creating, implementing, and assessing project-based learning using a classroom-tested framework.

3. Since 1994, CASEL has been providing educators with research and resources for integrating academic, social, and emotional learning in classrooms across the country. Click here to watch a video featuring a student’s and teachers’ reflections on the impact of social-emotional learning in a Chicago elementary school.

4. Competency Works is the leading organization on competency-based progression. This research brief provides advice from local leaders on implementing competency education in K-12 school systems.

5. From Next Generation Learning Challenges, this Personalized Learner Profiles tool helps students to identify academic and social-emotional needs, goals, and pace; keep track of them; and enable teachers to use them to truly personalize learning.

6. Blended: Using Disruption Innovation to Improve Schools by Heather Staker (of the Christensen Institute) is a highly recommended educator’s guide to implementing blended learning in classrooms in ways that enhance student learning.  

Six Strategies for Implementing Personalized Learning

1. Student Choice: Allow students to determine the input and/or output of assignments, projects, or assessments. Identify where you can introduce choice in a way that doesn’t interrupt the integrity of the educational activity.

Example: As an English teacher, you might have all students read To Kill a Mockingbird, but students determine whether to write an essay or do an oral presentation on the book. Or, at the front end you could allow students the choice of reading To Kill a Mockingbird or reading another book of choice, fiction or nonfiction, that addresses similar themes of race, culture, power, and equity.

2. Classroom Norms: Invite students to create classroom norms as a means of creating buy-in and ownership of a culture of trust and respect.

Details: There may be one or two non-negotiable needs that you or your school has that you add to the list. 

3. Learner Profiles: Administer a survey to learn about your student’s interests and strengths.

Example: Naviance has a great collection of interest surveys including StrengthsExplorer and Career Exploration.

4. Classroom Layout: Break free from your traditional classroom set-up strategy.

Details: Each week, redesign your classroom layout to reflect the purpose, content, and activities of instruction and learning that week. Bonus points if you welcome student input on the classroom layout decision!

5. Thinking Big: When deciding curriculum, instead of getting stuck in standards, think about competencies or broader learning targets you desire for your students and use those as a foundation for project-based learning.

Example:  In an ELA setting, bring together the Common Core Standards of Persuasive Writing and Speaking and Presentation -- tie it to a piece of literature like Romeo and Juliet -- and have students write and deliver persuasive soliloquies taking a point of view on the story.

6. Self-Assessment: Provide students opportunities to reflect on and self-assess their own learning.

Details: Self-assessment is an important element of social-emotional learning and developing agency, as students examine their progress toward fulfilling personalized learning plans. Aim to provide space for self-assessment frequently. 

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