An edublog about integrating technology into the classroom.
CompassLearning Learning Profiler: Getting to know your students
What it is: At Anastasis Academy, we individualize curriculum for every student. We don’t purchase any boxed, one-size-fits-all curriculum. Instead, we create a learner profile for each student. I pulled together a variety of learning style inventories, multiple intelligence strength finders, and brain dominance predictors and mashed them up into a child-friendly teacher/student survey. Our teachers spend two days before the first day of school going through these inventories with students. I compile the information (along with their interests and passions) and put it all in an at-a-glance document. I’m just revamping the document a little bit to look more like a big baseball card with learning stats. We use these learner profiles all year long as a starting point for pulling curriculum, lessons and resources that will best meet the individual child’s needs. (Learning Genome 1.0)
Educators often ask if we can share this process, unfortunately right now it isn’t pretty or sharable in any meaningful way. When the Learning Genome is completed and launched, we will be able to share this process with the world.
Today, I ran across a tool that can help bridge the gap for teachers who are seeking a way to better customize the classroom experience for their students. CompassLearning has created a Learning Profiler that is free to use and the results are easy to share. While it doesn’t include all of the components of an Anastasis learner profile, it is a great starting point! Students (who are independent readers) can go through the online survey and learn more about their learning style, interest areas and expression style. This information would be SO helpful as a starting place for getting to know the students in your classroom better. It would go a long way in helping you pull resources and tools that will best meet the needs of the individual. When a student is finished going through the profiler, they can share their result “badges” with others through a link to the badges, through Facebook, Twitter, email or a printed report.
How to integrate CompassLearning Learning Profiler into the classroom: At the beginning of a new school year (or semester), students who are independent readers could complete the Learning Profiler on classroom computers in a center rotation, or in a computer lab setting. Results could be printed out or shared with the teacher via email. I’ve found it helpful to compile these results so that I can see overlapping interests and learning needs in the classroom. It would also be interesting to create a bulletin board with the different “badges” represented and with a picture of each student. Students can connect their pictures to the badges using string and push-pins or staples. It would be neat to have a web of information about your students visual for all students to see. This would be a good getting-to-know-you activity where students could visually see their similarities displayed.
For non-independent readers, the process would be a little more arduous. During a silent reading or independent work time, pull students one at a time to sit and interview them. I actually prefer the arduous method because you get all of the in-between commentary from the students which gives you a more complete picture of who they are, what they love, fear, get excited about, etc. Even with our independent readers at Anastasis, we create our learner profiles through teacher interview. There is something more personal and human about it. Using this method may take a few weeks to get through all of your students, the information you glean will be invaluable! If you teach younger students but have an older grade of “buddies,” it may be helpful to have the buddy help conduct the surveys and record the answers of the younger child. Again, this would be a great way for the students to really get to know each other.
After you have received the results, use the information to help you plan learning activities. If you have a student struggling in an area of learning, use the strengths and interests you know they have to come at the learning from a different angle. Education blogs, your PLN, and Pinterest are great places to find the perfect learning opportunity to help the students in your class. I promise you that when you connect with students this way, you will be showing them that they matter, that you care about them as an individual and that you want what is best for them. They won’t feel like a number! If you are looking for a specific technology resource, iLearn Technology is a great place to start the search. Over there —> in my right side bar you will find a multi category search. Narrow down the search by Bloom’s Taxonomy, resource type, subject area, etc. Click search and away you go! You can also search by keyword in the search box toward the top of the screen. I try to tag the bejeebers out of all of my posts so that no matter how specific the search, you will find what you are looking for. Full disclosure, I use that search box ALL the time when I am pulling resources for students at Anastasis.
Tips: Want to see what the future of personalized learning will look like? Check out the Learning Genome Project.
I’ve been nominated for a Bammy Award for Educational Blogger. I’d appreciate your vote to help spread the word about iLearn Technology. Vote here. Thank you for your continued support!!
Leave a comment and tell us how you are using CompassLearning Learning Profiler in your classroom.
What it is: What makes technology SO great is the way that it can make life (and teaching) more productive and fun. Over the years, I have found so many ways that technology can make reading more rewarding for both kids who love to read, and kids who dread reading. Today, I created an “Extreme Speed Booking” website for @michellek107′s class at Anastasis. I created the site quickly using Weebly, an awesome WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) website editor. Drag and drop website building is where it is at! The idea behind the site is to introduce students to a variety of books and form classroom book groups. How does Extreme Speed Booking work? A whole lot like speed dating. Students spend a little time with each book and then rate them accordingly with “I want to read more”, “Interesting”, “Not for me”, or “I’ve already read”. Students can also make a note of how interested they are in reading the book (maybe a 1-10 scale)? This process introduces students to a variety of books, genres and authors. Students may come across titles and authors they wouldn’t otherwise find. It also helps teachers form classroom book groups that are of high-interest and investment to students because they had input.
For our purposes at Anastasis, I created the Weebly website with a link to the “look inside” on Amazon. Because all of our students have an iPad, this was the simplest way to get the book preview into the hands of the students. Don’t have technology? No problem! Just make sure that you have enough copies of books so that each student can sit with the physical book during the Extreme Speed Booking sessions. If you have classroom computers, you can do a blend of both.
Explain to your students that they will have 2 minutes with each book. During that time, they can choose to read the introduction or first chapter, read the book jacket, or flip through and look at chapter titles and pictures. The goal during this time is to discover whether this is a book that they would like to read. It is okay if it isn’t a book they would want to read…the goal is to find out which book they are most excited about. After the two minutes is up, sound a bell that signifies it is time to switch. Before they switch, students can quickly make a note of the Title and rate the book. Continue on until students have had 2 minutes with each book. Collect the notes students have made and formulate book groups based on interest in the book.
I’ve added a few extra pages to our Extreme Speed Booking website including places where students can explore other books that they may like to read (Shelfari and Book Wink). I’ve also added a form that book groups can fill out as they are reading. The form gets emailed directly to the teacher. Our students will probably be blogging quite a bit of reflection about their reading. I thought it might also be useful to have a place for groups to answer questions, make comments, or update their teacher with their progress as a group.
@michellek107 created a Google form for her students to fill out while they are speed booking. Great idea! She is so smart. This will make it easy to collect all of the responses in one place to form groups.
Suggestions for books:
Choose books from a variety of levels, make sure you have a few book options for each reading level in your classroom.
Choose a variety of authors and genres, this is a great way to expose students to authors and genres they don’t normally seek out on their own.
Set up classroom computers with some book trailer videos from a site like Book Wink…this is a great “introduction” to a book or genre and acts much like a movie trailer.
Choose a variety of books from ONE author. After students have completed reading in their smaller groups, they can come back together and do an author study as a whole class; each group contributing something a little different.
Choose a variety of books from ONE genre. Students can read books in the smaller groups but discuss common features of the genre as a class.
Choose a variety of books on a similar topic. Students can read books in the smaller groups and then discuss the different character perspectives, author approaches, etc. This would be really neat to do with historical fiction, Holocaust fiction, etc.
Use non-fiction books that reinforce topics and themes that you are using in other academic areas.
Use biographies of presidents, change makers, authors, etc. Students can learn about a specific person in the smaller reading group and share what they have learned with the larger group later.
Tips:Extreme Speed Booking is a lot of fun with tech, but equally doable without tech! If you have access to a 1-1 tech environment, or can reserve the computer lab for a round of speed booking, you can use my technique above. Weebly makes it very easy to do this!
If you haven’t already, check out Shelfari and create a virtual bookshelf of book recommendations for your class or school. You can see our Shelfari shelf for Anastasis below. If you teach 3rd-12th grade it is worth checking out Book Wink!