"What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade."
—Gertrude Jekyll

June 2019

Dear Colleagues,

I love the idea of June as the "time of perfect young summer" and hope that your summer season stretches out ahead with opportunities for rest, reflection, and renewal—promises that come with the season but also from the hard, enduring work of improving outcomes for children. We are certainly looking forward to all of those things here at the Center on Innovations in Learning

Soon, we will be closing out our time as a Center and before we do, we have one small request: Would you take one minute to reply to this email and share a quick memory, encounter, or improvement story that you experienced because of our work together or as a result of content, trainings, or conversations that we provided? We'd love to compile a reflection segment for our final newsletter and share some of the ways we've made an impact on the work of educators to improve outcomes for children. We will keep responses anonymous at your request, just let us know. Thank you so much!

In The Field
A snapshot of how our work comes alive in states, districts, and schools throughout the country and with our colleagues and partners in the United States Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
Educational Leaders in Kansas are immersed in the Personalized Learning Framework, culminating in the development of a personalized Kansas definition of Personalized Learning and training modules for improving understanding and implementation of PL across the state and within districts and schools. 

On May 29, 30, and 31, Center on Innovations in Learning representatives Stephanie Bisson and Maureen Richel traveled to Kansas to present Personalized Learning Training to Kansas Department of Education (KSDE) leadership and supporting groups. The training was part of a three-day professional development initiative coordinated between KSDE and the Central Comprehensive Center (C3). C3 representatives Donna Richardson and Kris Shaw coordinated the logistics and focus of the three-day training, which was modeled after CIL’s Personalized Learning Academy.

Participants in the training were designated as either a Trainer or a Connector. Trainers participated in “train the trainer” activities and are expected to deliver the content to additional groups in the future. Connectors experienced the content in order to effectively and directly connect districts and schools to the work of Personalized Learning.

On the final day of the training, participants worked hard and thoughtfully to use what they learned in previous days to draft a clear and comprehensive definition and graphic of Personalized Learning for Kansas. Additionally, they began to develop training modules for a one-hour Personalized Learning overview, as well as a three-hour and full-day Personalized Learning Professional Development session to assist district and school leaders and teachers in improving their understanding and implementation of Personalized Learning.

Featured Resources

Big Four Strategies

In the personalization of learning, CIL stresses several validated instructional techniques, including these “Big Four” instructional strategies: Close Reading, Learning Pictures, Active Student Responding, and Norming. Each strategy represents one of the personal competency domains (Metacognitive, Cognitive, Motivational, Social/Emotional). “Big” strategies, just like “Big" Ideas, reflect the essential component or concept of something. They help provide both a conceptual and actionable framework for prioritizing learning habits so that educators both understand the goals of the Big Strategy and can take action toward implementing the strategies in their instruction. The strategies are big in the potential they hold for transformation—in attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors of both teachers and students alike.

Big Four Strategy: Learning Pictures
A Metacognition Competency

Understand the Concept.

Metacognition is one of the four essential personal competencies emphasized by the Center on Innovations in Learning (Redding, 2014a, 2014b). Simply stated, metacognition is the process of thinking about thinking. But how do we do that? How do we know what we know, or what we don’t know? This is a critical skill that must be fostered in our students. Using Learning Pictures is a terrific way to get started. Learning pictures are stories easily conveyed and reveal knowledge, status, relationships, and anomalies in ways that are easier to comprehend. 
Access the full topic brief by clicking on the image or by clicking HERE.

Educational Tools

This month, we are highlighting Oxplorean app in our Common Core and Instructional Content shelf, and Handwriting Without Tears, which can be found in our 21st Century Skills shelf. 

Oxplore (Free; Web-based), on the 21st Century Skills shelf,  is an innovative digital portal created and hosted by Oxford University. Calling itself the "The Home of Big Questions," the goal of the site is to encourage young people (or anyone!) to consider fresh aspects of an important or timely question while stimulating further reading, exploration, and critical thinking. Users learn about and debate various tricky issues of our time (all while guided by resources culled from the expertise of Oxford academics). When a student goes to the site he or she is confronted with a selection of “big questions” that start with a yes or no answer (for example: Could time travel ever be possible?; Is it OK to ban certain books?; Would it be better if we all spoke the same language?). After voting yes or no, users are walked through more detailed talking points and debate. After reading various considerations based on academic input, users vote again. By then, the answers are more nuanced than ‘yes or no’, and users might have a different position. Each question goes down various paths resulting in the opportunity for a wide cross-disciplinary discussion (for example, ‘Can money buy happiness?’ spans history, philosophy, theology, psychology and economics). With thoughtful (and current) big questions, lists, videos, articles, and podcasts, the site may foster reading and thinking outside the school curriculum.

Handwriting Without Tears (Free/Paid, iPad), on the Common Core and Instructional Content shelf, is based on the popular and effective Handwriting Without Tears® curriculum. This app can add more fun to handwriting practice. With Wet-Dry-Try, students learn correct formation habits and practice writing capitals, numbers, and lowercase letters. The app simulates HWT's Slate Chalkboard and Blackboard with Double Lines, based on research on developmentally appropriate, multisensory strategies for early writing. Learners can practice letters in the HWT developmental teaching order or any order desired. Each letter/number has three levels of difficulty to progressively build skills; the app provides two options for sensitivity so parents or educators to can adjust the writing tolerance. When students master a level they earn a star;  three stars earns win a letter card that can be collected for a grand prize.

As always, be sure to check out this month’s spotlighted e-sources, below, which are drawn from CIL’s searchable Resources Database: Resources for Leaders of Change. This collection is continually updated, containing more than 2,500 freely accessible resources that have been vetted by staff as providing useful and reliable information on topics related to the center's work.

Marilyn Murphy

Science of Innovation, Personalized Learning

Schools Lead the Way But the System Must Change: Rethinking Career and Technical Education
Georgia Heyward for the Center on Reinventing Public Education

"CRPE has identified 32 programs around the country that represent the variety of efforts being used to reinvent CTE." A website link to the interactive report includes videos, case studies, and profiles. Schools are seeking creative ways to award credit for learning opportunities outside traditional classrooms, funding options, community partnerships, seat-time flexibility, real-world learning, and more.

Published: June 2019



Personal Competencies: Social/Emotional Learning

State Responsibilities and Opportunities for School Improvement Under the Every Student Succeeds Act
K. Young & E. Webb for Council of Chief State School Officers
"This report gathers timely, comprehensive information across SEAs on how state leaders are working to implement their vision for school improvement under ESSA. Our goal is for SEA leaders to use the information, resources, and examples provided in this report to inform their school improvement efforts."

Published: 2019

Personalized Learning

How Does Personalized Learning Affect Student Achievement?
John F. Pane, Elizabeth D. Steiner, Matthew D. Baird, Laura S. Hamilton, Joseph D. Pane for RAND Corporation

"The research described in this brief presents an evaluation of Personalized Learning schools and student achievement based on fall 2014 and spring 2015 mathematics and reading test scores. The schools received funding from the Next Generation Learning Challenges initiative to support highly personalized approaches to learning."

Published: April 2019

Personal Competencies: Social/Emotional + Cognitive; Learning Technologies: Technology of Teaching

Core SEL Competencies (infographic and videos)

CASEL, Montgomery Co. ESC, & Ohio Dept. of Education

"The Montgomery County (Ohio) Education Service Center and Ohio Department of Education have teamed with CASEL to produce a series of brief videos explaining and showing the five SEL competencies in action": self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. "CASEL’s integrated framework promotes intrapersonal, interpersonal, and cognitive competence."

Published: June 2019

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