Monday, 21 October 2013

Strategies for Personalization at the Intermediate Level

Last year, one of my goals was to provide more personalization within my intermediate science classes. However, personalization at the intermediate level presents a few additional challenges. How do we offer choice and individual experience to a younger group of students who also need structure and clear expectations? In addition, the study of science at this level provides an introduction to the different disciplines within science, so students are not yet ready to follow their own individual interests.


In Grade 7, my students used the blended learning model to work through part of the Heat and Energy Transfer Unit. I set up a series of online learning activities that students could complete independently, covering the concepts of conduction, convection and radiation. Once they felt that they had mastered a particular concept, they would answer an ‘entrance card’ that would allow them to begin the associated lab activity. This allowed them to personalize their experience by moving on when they felt they were ready.


At the beginning of the mini-unit, the students were arranged into two main groups with two different suggested pathways, generally alternating between a class spent learning content, and a class performing a lab activity. 

There was one day set aside partway through the unit where we all came back together to perform a series of teacher-led demonstrations, ensuring that everyone was again at the same spot in their learning journey. For students who worked through the content quickly, extension activities were available at the end of the unit allowing them to deepen their exploration of radiation.

By removing myself from the active teaching of content, I was able to spend more time in conversation with the students ensuring that they had a good understanding of the material and its applications.

The students enjoyed the feeling of a higher level of academic freedom – they felt trusted in their abilities to self-pace and to decide for themselves the best way to spend their time. By removing myself from the active teaching of content, I was able to spend more time in conversation with the students ensuring that they had a good understanding of the material and its applications. The series of entrance and exit cards allowed me to keep track of the students, and to have a good sense of their individual progress.

Using technology-rich resources, I was able to guide my Grade 7 students through a series of lessons at their own, personalized pace with reinforcement and extension if needed.

Samantha Moser
Science Teacher

No comments:

Post a Comment