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.
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Leave a comment and tell us how you are using CompassLearning Learning Profiler in your classroom.