I feel like I’m on a learning Merry-Go-Round. I learn something new, I apply it to my teaching, I reflect on it, I show my students my reflection, they share their thoughts with me, I learn something new, I apply it to my teaching, I reflect on it…and so on and so forth.
My “AHA” moment this week was after our first Math test. As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been trying to personalize learning in my classroom as much as possible. I attempted to that for our math test as well, in the best ways I could think of. I differentiated the questions and ways of responding for each student, I pre-recorded all the questions on the test for my auditory learners, I provided manipulatives, charts and other visuals for kinesthetic and visual learners. We had quiet spaces where students could work, I thought I had it all figured out.
After the students got their test back, I asked them to reflect on their learning and how they experienced writing the test. I got some excellent feedback that I hadn’t considered before. One of my students, whose first language is not English, commented that although he understands the math very well, the non-math language used in some of the questions was confusing. Another student told me that she learns best when she can talk things through out loud for herself and was wondering if an environment could be available to her the next time she writes a test.
As I’ve been on this journey of making my class personalized to each of my students, there have been many moments when I’ve been overwhelmed by the thought of needing to come up with all the different pieces for each individual child. But now I realize that by modeling my own needs and discoveries, my students are feeling more comfortable and able to identify and ask for their own needs and discoveries, which in turn makes my job so much easier because I am becoming less and less responsible for coming up with the ideas on my own…AHA!
My next step in my wonderful world of Personalized Math is providing an assortment of open ended math tasks (thanks to Marian Small‘s Open Questions for the Three-Part Lesson) and will be guiding students to choose the questions that will help them learn what they need to learn, and will allow them to show what they know in a way that matches who they are as a learner.