Adaptable strategies For Middle And High School Classrooms from Personalized Learning Elementary Schools .
It's natural to want to learn from those who teach the same grade and content as ourselves. However, there's no denying that the older kids get, the less they like school so it's worth our time to take a look at what's working in elementary. (It's a cop out to say that disengagement is a natural part of growing older- and research on non- traditonal strategies and homeschooling anecdotes prove it a lie.)
I have recently seen a lot that can apply to middle school from elementary school personalized learning classroom tours. Below are photos of things you may want to try. Scroll through and if you see something that could work for you, I can help you adapt it to your students. If a photo doesn't appeal to you, keep scrolling. The goal is to find one or two things that inspire you.
You don't have to officially declare yourself a "Personalized Learning" classroom to adopt some of these. In fact, you may find that your classroom is somewhat personalized already and it's not even about the tech you use. Mr. Monismith as a health teacher always begin class by giving students the final exam. From there he could decide what to teach and what had already been mastered. You could do the same with the terms concepts or curriculum goals of your class.
Thanks to the schools for letting us tour and for the teachers featured.
Creating a "Choice Board" that appeals to multiple intelligences means that more of your students will be engaged in learning your content. Without a choice board, only those who have a similar taste to you will be truly engaged. I can help you make a choice board, if you are drawing a blank. Work as a PLC to design them or even let students brainstorm some ways to show what they know using their own strengths.
Older students still need practice in social and emotional areas yet we let that training slide when they reach middle and high school because we don't think we can afford the time or we don't think it "relates" to our content. Why not make a shoutout board so students can thank each other for kindness?
If Elementary School kids can own their learning and make their own choices, your students can, too. When they own it they will see the value in it. Older kids shut down when work is thrown at them with no choice, relevance, or ownership, You're kidding yourself and selling your students short if you think that they can't. It will be a challenge, yes, but don't you have some kids who are challenging you right now? That's part of our job and why punish all the others for those who will resist nomatter what.
Below are two slideshows of strategies in use in Pineville and Smithfield Elementary classrooms. Each photo was taken because I thought it could be adapted to work in an upper level teacher. What do you think?
This blog is a compendium of District and Piedmont -specific PD opportunities, trainings, and notes.