Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Day 3

Advice from Students!
Sometimes, we get too "teachery" and we lose sight of the center of our energies: the students! My favorite quote from today was, "If we can't do anything ourselves, it's not a personal learning plan. It's just a learning plan." That gem of advice from a student is exactly what we need to remember during this process. My thinking has transformed immensely, just today. On Monday, I was thinking this project was so big--bigger than all of us. On Tuesday, I began to conseptualize how the PLP process could look in my classroom. However, today, I realized that my thinking was still too big. We really need to remember: one year, next year, rolling out to students and lots of faculty. In no way does this mean setting our sights and expectations low, but it does mean that we do not need a polished product decided for 5th through 12th grade at the end of this week. It means we need to work through out protocols and our whole-school work pieces. From there, we can personalize at the grade level. 

John Downs sat with our team today (see the notes for more details) and opened our eyes to the idea that the content may not have a place yet. If we want students to create authentic goals, we cannot back them into a corner surrounded by the CCS, EUs, MRGs, and vital results. Instead, we need this process to be organic. We need to teach the goal setting skills, the reflection skills, and then let students be students; allow them personalization. The students today offered great advice like 1) build a model portfolio, 2) offer suggestions to students around About Me prompts, 3) ask for their feedback. Although these were all teaching pieces, above all else, the students today pushed choice and freedom, because if they're not in it, then "they're just learning plans". As teachers, we must remember these items: choice and freedom. 

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