Wait…I’m Not Personalizing?

A little less than a month ago, I sat in a PD session with my teammates and Jamie (@mrsackart), our Innovation & Learning Coach. The screen said “Personalized Learning.” I immediately thought about all of the things I was already doing in my class to personalize learning for my students. Jamie clicked to the next slide and I stared at the following chart by Barbara Bray (@bbray27) and Kathleen McClaskey (@khmmc) – for more information, visit www.personalizelearning.com.


Personalization v Differentiation v Individualization (v3) from Barbara Bray and Kathleen McClaskey


I’ll never forget the feeling I had when I realized I didn’t personalize anything for my students. I created an environment where I individualized everything, then turned around and said that I personalized learning for my students. My team and I looked at each other at the same time, and we shared a look that signaled the beginning of a journey that led us to where we are today. I did what every educator does when they need direction…I sent George Couros (@gcouros) a tweet! Within minutes I had a notification feed full of contacts and educators willing to help.

Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 12.17.22 AM

From that tweet, I came into contact with Travis Lape (@travislape). He was willing to take time out of his day to do a GHO with us and fill us in on what he and his district in South Dakota are doing to personalize learning for their students. It was after this conversation that our team said this is exactly what our students need…and we were officially in! We’ve been developing our plan to personalize math for the rest of the year ever since. Today was the day we presented everything to our students. Angela (@benner4) created a great slideshow explaining what PL is and what it is going to look like in 5th grade at Lewis & Clark Elementary. We are excited to get the ball rolling. Even more than that, our kids are excited to be able to take ownership over their learning. It is their learning after all. They realize that. What took us so long?

Later this afternoon we will begin day 1 of our students taking more ownership of their learning. Many outsiders think that means the job is easier for the teachers now. Ha! No, our job is not easier; our job is different.


I’ve held off blogging for many years, just like I held off joining Twitter when it first came out. That was a mistake, and I think I finally realized that this was a mistake too. I’m excited to share my thoughts and document our journey. It would be an honor if you joined in with us!