Monday, February 12, 2018

Personal Learning February 2018


From “Why Personalized Learning is Imperative” by M. Horn
  1. In the United States, the factory-model schools prepared students for the economy of of the early 20th century and helped lift millions into the middle class. In 1900, the majority of students would take industrial jobs and did not need a deep education; only 17 percent of all jobs at the time required knowledge workers. The fact that many students dropped out of high school, did not attend or complete college, or — more to the point — did not learn much academically did not cripple students when they left for the workforce nor did it significantly hurt the American economy.

  2. Today,  countries are moving into an economy in which over 60 percent of jobs require knowledge workers, and we expect schools to educate all children so that they can realize their fullest human potential, it leaves too many students behind—and not just ones from disadvantaged backgrounds.

  3. Parents know, just because two children are the same age, it does not mean that they learn in the same way and at the same pace. Each child has different learning needs at different times. Some students quickly learn material, whereas others struggle to grasp its meaning. These differences often depend upon the subject or concept in which a student is working.

  4. Nearly all of us have had an experience of being stuck in a class in which no matter how many times the teacher explained a concept, we just couldn’t grasp it. The class whisked along, we fell further behind, and frustration mounted. Many of us have also experienced the reverse. Sometimes we understood things before our classmates. We grew bored when the class repeatedly drilled a concept for those who struggled to understand. A stunning number of students drop out of school not because they are struggling, but because they are bored. School should not be a place where our students are either frustrated or bored; it should be a place where they are engaged and excited to learn.
To optimize all students’ learning--so that each child can succeed not just in school but in life--we need to personalize learning for each student’s distinct learning needs. We cannot persist with an education that works for some students, sometimes.

Personalized Learning in Kindergarten

Phonological awareness refers to the ability to segment and manipulate the sounds of oral language.  It is not the same as phonics, which involves knowing how written letters relate to spoken sounds.  Activities that develop phonological awareness in children provide practice with rhyme and with beginning sounds and syllables. (from ILA, International Literacy Association)  The ability to hear the sounds in words and to isolate the sounds from one another can help a child become a reader. Even before he learns the letters of the alphabet, a child can say the sounds in his language. When he can hear the sounds in a word and tell where the sounds occur in the word, he is developing pre-reading skills.  “Research has shown that a child’s awareness of the sounds of spoken words is a strong predictor of his or her later success in learning to read.” (ILA)  The term ‘phonological awareness’ does not describe just one skill, rather it encompasses a whole list of important skills including: rhyme, alliteration, segmentation, sound and word discriminations, syllabification, onset and rime. Phonemic awareness is one component of phonological awareness, and a very important one. When children have phonemic awareness, they know how to segment, blend, or manipulate individual sounds in words.  Children have phonemic awareness when they can identifying beginning sounds in words, blend sounds together to make a word, and count the individual sounds within a word.
During Charge-Up time phonemic and phonological awareness activities are personalized to each individual child. The child sets a goal, decides how to learn it and then shows what he/she knows before moving to the next goal. Children are working both individually and in groups using activities of their choice. Some activities include: playing a game, completing an activity on an IPAD or Chromebook, building words or sentences out of scrabble letter or legos, writing, drawing or stamping letter and words, etc.  Parents, be sure to ask your Kindergartner what their goal is and what they are doing to work on their goal.  You can support this with activities and practice at home too.  The FIVE from FIVE website is a great resource with activities parents can explore at home with their child to help support the development of phonological and phonemic awareness. Click here to see a few ideas.   The Kindergarten teachers, Mrs. Koeppen and Mrs. Chambers have been working hard to keep these eager learners busy with lots to learn.

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