• Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Archives
    Archives Contains a list of blog posts that were created previously.
  • Login
    Login Login form

Posted by on in General

Personalized Learning and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) can feel like new initiatives that are just “one more thing.”

When it comes down to it, though, many initiatives fit together nicely, and can help support one another. Through working with schools, districts, and teachers I’ve found that when we look at new ideas as something extra (as opposed to something that can help enrich, or enhance the already great work we are doing) it can hurt our view of whatever that initiative is.

Two very common initiatives I hear a lot about are Personalized Learning and Universal Design for Learning (UDL). (If you need to brush up on either, here are two articles for you: Personalized Learning + UDL). Many times these are discussed as completely separate, but when we look at how they can support each other, they become even more useful to us as teachers.

Here are some things Personalized Learning and UDL have in common and how they lend themselves to supporting one another.


Last modified on

Posted by on in General

Competency Based Learning (CBL) is gaining popularity and has been growing as more schools, districts, and educational systems realize the many benefits it offers.

Called by many names and crossing over many initiatives, including: Mastery Learning, Personalized learning, Formative Assessment, and Differentiation, competency based learning can truly help educators meet the needs of all students. This also begs that we understand what it is, and more importantly, what it isn't. 

What is Competency Based Learning?

The US. Dept. of Education defines Competency Based Learning as: "Transitioning away from seat time, in favor of a structure that creates flexibility, allows students to progress as they demonstrate mastery of academic content, regardless of time, place, or pace of learning (ed.gov)."

Last modified on

Posted by on in General

As you read this you probably have a lot of ideas floating through your head about the amazing learning activities you’re going to experience with your students. Whether it is an idea you read about in an article, something a colleague of yours has tried, or an awesome PD session you’ve attended, it’s time to put those concepts into action! Regardless of how far into, or away from, the start of the year you are, I’d like to share 7 simple ways that you can start increasing student success in your classroom today! 

1. Set Systems and Routines:

I don’t want to beat a dead horse here ,or echo the wisdom of Wong and Wong, but the key to any successful instructional environment is systems and routines. Students will do better in an environment that is safe, predictable, and positive in nature. I would also argue, based on experience and observations, that it is a foundation of systems and routines that can allow for greater student freedom in the classroom. By providing this type of environment you will allow your students to thrive! 

2. Let Students Set The Pace:

If you did an evaluation of the most common reasons why management issues occur, or what causes student frustration to increase, or if you reviewed the most common interventions for special needs students, pace would be at the core of it all.

Last modified on

Posted by on in General

There is a question that I’m getting more and more at workshops and trainings and that is "how do I motivate my students to work?" I hate to break it to you, but there is no “magic bullet” solution to this. Every student is going to have their own solution to getting motivated.

However, there are some things you can ask yourself when a student feels “unmotivated” or is unwilling to put forth the effort to learn that you think they are capable of. Instead of assuming “they just won’t work”, ask yourself these questions: 

Question 1: Are They Engaged?

Engagement is one of the most powerful motivators when it comes to your students. Are the learning opportunities you're providing worthwhile to your students? Do they peak their interest? Are they varied enough to keep them interested?

This is probably one of the most common things I see when motivation declines in learners. Either the tasks are repetitive and monotonous (example: constant textbook work), or they are “worksheet” driven and don’t allow students to interact with the world around them.

Last modified on

Posted by on in General

Personalized Learning is possible.

As you continue reading more research and hearing about the amazing things going on in education, I would bet you’re starting to see a lot of stories and info on personalized learning. The basic philosophy is pretty simple; give students what they need, when they need it, and allow them to explore curriculum in ways that personally interest and engage them.

This idea and philosophy is simple in concept, but it can become complex when introduced to the wide variety of students in your classroom.  So before you dive in, here are 3 things that should already be in place at your school, or in your classroom, to set you up for success with personalized learning!

1. Self-Paced / Mastery Learning:

I know it sounds like “another thing” at first thought, but trust me, if you build the foundations of mastery and self-paced learning in your classroom, personalization becomes a much more natural progression. More importantly, by implementing these methods you can use “time” as the first degree of intervention that all students receive. By allowing students to master content at their own pace and show mastery with multiple attempts, implementing personalized learning by adjusting to student needs and interests will be much easier.

2. Systems and Routines:

This gets said a lot, but it doesn’t ever seem to lose its importance. Creating a safe, productive learning environment is dependent on systems and routines in your classroom. In fact, I often tell teachers that it is the structure, systems, and routines that allow for the freedom and true student-centered instruction to occur. Otherwise, any student-centered initiative like personalized learning (and many others) would turn into chaos very quickly. So, as you begin to think about personalizing the learning in your classroom, start thinking about things you absolutely need to control to let that happen. This way, you can take full advantage of the benefits personalization has to offer for your learners!

Last modified on