This week's #EdSlowChat question is currently a "hot" topic in education... How do you balance "covering Curriculum" with "personalized learning"?
I am no longer in the classroom, but I still remember the struggle to meet each student where they were and take them where they didn't know they could go. Before school began each year I printed the state standards for my grade level. I examined them and placed them in a three brad folder. Then I laid out the curriculum that my district had purchased for me to teach. I began to "map" my year, looking back to my standards to clarify what the state said I should be teaching. If a standard or skill wasn't in my folder to be taught, and it wasn't foundational for another lesson I would "paperclip" it for a later date. As the year began, and I introduced a standard/skill I went back to my folder and highlighted the standard/skill taught with the date.
The most sacred teaching time for me was at my "flex table". That is the time of the day that I personalized the learning for students. I had three or four groups of four to six students at my table for 20 minutes each day, these groups changed depending on the needs of the students. This was the time that I explicitly taught the standard/skill. The resources I used at the table were not always provided by the school. I sought resources that I felt would assist the students to gain the knowledge they needed.
I believe teaching is a balancing act, making sure you reach each child on their level while teaching the curriculum and being authentic to your teaching style. Everyday should be an exciting learning adventure for each student. It requires teachers to know what they they are teaching and to know who they are teaching. Plan, Plan, Plan...