And you! The one flipping through your binders, hanging-files, or digital folders for lesson plans and resources to use again.
You too! Surfing PBS, The History Channel, and other providers of ready-made curricula and lessons.
Stop. And think...
The answer may not be entirely clear at first. The reality is that most of the pre-made materials are not. There are, however, ways to use these resources and refurbish them for personalized learning.
I recently facilitated a session with some teachers around using non-Calkins resources within the context of writing workshop. To start the hour off, we played a “yes-no game” based on a concept attainment activity. The gist is that we sorted examples into positive and negative groups, then determined the categories and gave them titles. This chart shows the results of our game:
The point is that when we embark on transforming our classes and schools into personalized learning environments, very few resources will ever be plug and play! We will always have to do some amount of refurbishing. No matter if the materials and resources are newly found or favorite oldies, we usually need to tweak them to support learner-centered proficiency-based practices. Here are some questions to help you do just that (I’m also working on a flow chart).
- What is it the students are supposed to learn from this resource?
- Is this something that all of my students need, or just a few?
- How can I use this resource to model or demonstrate something?
- Does the language or terms match up with the common language we already use in our class and school?
- Can I teach students how to make a resource like this on their own (great question for graphic organizers)?
- How might I support students in trying and reflecting on the tool itself, or the strategy learned from this resource?