Thursday, July 27, 2017

Summer Book Study: How to Personalize Learning Chapters 7 & 9

The conversations for #plearnchat on 7/27/17 involved Chapters 7 and 9 of How to Personalize Learning. Chapter 7 "Delve into Deeper Learning" is about how learners use voice and choice to develop agency. Here's an overview of that chapter from page 113, "When learners have agency, they are taking ideas and concepts deeper. The learning environment changes. The culture and climate in the classroom changes. Yet these changes do not happen right away."

Chapter 7 provides strategies to go deeper by incorporating the process of project-based learning (PBL). "PBL activities serve as a strategy to allow learners to play, experiment, do meaningful tasks, and collaborate with peers and community members on local and global issues." p. 115 There are planning forms, templates, activities, stories, and tips for PBL.

Chapter 9 "Create a Culture of Learning" is about building a positive culture based on trust and respect. On p. 149, there is a description about "when you walk into a school, you can get a feel for the culture just by listening and seeing what is happening in the halls, classrooms, and faculty room." This chapter explains why relationships between personal needs and school practices matter. There are culture building activities, stories, and tips.

The big question for #plearnchat Summer Book Study for Chapters 7 and 9:

"How do you create an environment that encourages
deeper learning and builds a positive culture?"

The questions and responses for the Summer Book Study used the Q1, A1 format:

Discussions were lively and #plearnchat was trending with all the tweets. This was fun and some didn't want to stop. Below are just a few of the quotes and graphics from tweets that were retweeted multiple times.

Darren Ellwein @dellwein
"Find a connection to a problem, even a global problem, to be solved. The #designthinking process with Ss white boarding!"

Beth Topinka @BTopink
"My community problem solvers club is pursuing an evolving PBL, tackling local invasive species problem. High level of student engagement."
Lee Araoz @LeeAraoz
"The Inquiry Learning Cycle can be used for personalized, passion-driven learning." 

Mary Kay Kelly @mkkelly1966
"Learners must find a topic they are passionate about. It is our job to help and support them as they focus on this passion." 

Elyse Hahne @Hahne_Elyse
"Students need to feel comfortable enough in their classroom to take risks, be encouraged, and to be challenged. Cultivate relationships."

Sean M. Arnold @seanmarnold
"Monitor the rubric-also does the project solve the problem in the best way - did you consider the user through design thinking."

Jodi Moskowitz @JodiMos
"Relationships are the key 🔑 to everything! We can't teach students without them. We can't work with others without them."

Pam Hubler @specialtechie
"Without relationships, teachers don't know what their students need, desire, fee, etc. Students have to know they come first."

LemarrTreadwell M.Ed @LemarrTreadwell
"Relationships are the glue that allows the greatest student learning. Period!"

Brandon Brown @branowar
"Relationships are vital components of engagement, management, effort, attitude. I mean, what else is there? So powerful!" 

Brian Durst @RESP3CTtheGAME
"Have learners attach commentary to changes they make throughout the revision process. Strong metacognition practice."

Gavin Sonntag @Gavin_Sonntag
"Have them assess their learning! Self-assessment allows students to understand the purpose and where they match up to the learning goal!"

Tosh @ToshMcGaughty
"They can read and track feedback from (hopefully) a variety of assessments to compare with their learning goals."

Noa Daniel @noasbobs
"Relationships are foundational and dynamic. We can't nurture something that isn't alive and growing."

Shelly Vohra Ph.D. @raspberryberet3
"The first month of a school must be about building community; if you don't know your students, how can you design rich experiences? If you class/course was optional, would students sign up?"

Julie Giese @juliegiese
"My mindset changed when I realized that everyone's light bulb goes off at a different time, and they shouldn't be penalized for this."

Several people mentioned Rita Pierson's Ted Talk from May, 2013 "Every kid needs a Champion" when we discussed relationships. So here it is:

How to Personalize Learning is your practical guide to getting started and going deeper with personalized learning. Corwin has offered our followers a 20% discount code. Go to Corwin Press and use the discount code N169O6 for your own copy.

We archived the entire #plearnchat about Chapters 7 and 9 below for your convenience and as a resource.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Summer Book Study - How to Personalize Learning, Chapters 4, 5 and 6

In the third session of our Summer Book Study, our conversations around Chapters 4, 5 and 6 looked closer at using the UDL Lens of Access, Engage and Express. Using the UDL Lens in a three-step process that includes the Learner Profile, Personal Learning Backpack and Personal Learning Plan helps each learner tell their story and acquire the tools and skills to be independent learners. This lead us to the next conversations about how to PL for a whole class and design lessons with all learners in mind.

Session 3 - July 20th
hosted by Kathleen

Chapter 4: Discover the Learner in Every Child
Chapter 5: Personalize Learning for the Whole Class
Chapter 6: Lesson Design with All Learners in Mind


The Big Question 

How can the UDL Lens be used to develop learner agency with all learners and to inform your daily instruction?


We used the Q1, A1 format and asked the following six questions:

The conversations began about learners sharing their stories using the Learner Profile, what is in their Personal Learning Backpacks and what goals could be created in a Personal Learning Plan. This created a dynamic dialogue that we have shared below. From this #plearnchat, Pam Hubler created a #hyperdoc on becoming an Expert Learner. A visual of that is shared below the quotes. Enjoy!

I strive for my student learning to be visible whenever possible. When I can see them learning and growing w 100% engagement!
I really look to the classroom snapshot when trying to start with addressing room full of different learners. It is invaluable.
Know what your students need to be successful. Design lessons and supports with them in mind. Be flexible!

Lisa Murray

Conference w/ Ss and reflect on work. Plan together. They are more vested and understand why they are learning it.

Sean M. Arnold
I’ve got a pretty full backpack-some cool new tools are some VR apps to help students with mobility issues have experiences.

 And here is the Hyperdoc created by Pam Hubler after this #plearnchat. Thank you, Pam!

Join Barbara next Thursday on Chapters 7 and 9!


How to Personalize Learning is your practical guide to getting started and going deeper with personalized learning. Corwin has offered our followers a 20% discount code. Go to Corwin Press and use the discount code N169O6 for your own copy.

We archived the entire #plearnchat about Chapters 4, 5 and 6 below for your convenience and as a resource.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Summer Book Study: How to Personalize Learning, Chapter 3 and 8

Chapters 3 and 8 were grouped together because the focus was on learner agency in both chapters.

In personalized learning environments, learners understand their strengths and challenges and are able to deploy learning strategies to support their learning. They are developing the skills to be self-directed learners who are able to monitor their progress and make connections with prior learning. In reviewing both chapters, we wanted participants to use resources from the book and go deeper into learner agency. The big question below is from our book, How to Personalize Learning on p. 35.

"How can you help learners develop agency to become self-regulated, expert learners?

We used the Q1, A1 format with these six questions:

Some of the graphics and stories participants shared were right out of our book or from their school or district. So we decided to share several tweets and examples from the chat along with the archive below.

Meredith Johnson @mjjohnson1216 who co-hosts #BookCampPD reviewed the Big Question and tweeted "love this graphic to help me understand about learner agency and it must be different from what most adults experienced."--->

Jodi Moskowitz @JodiMos discussed "how learners must get to know themselves as learners to make good choices in learning. This will make them enjoy learning and make it be meaningful."

Cathy Wiederick @cathylw2 answered a #whatif question with "learners and teachers as co-learners and co-designers. Design, innovate, empower! Fantastic!" And she added that evidence of learning is "when learners take it on themselves to care for projects out of hours, e.g. feed fish before class or construction lab on their own time."

Wayne Dorio @waynedorio shared "how rural Wilder, Idaho is leading the personalized learning revolution." --->

Marisa Hoskins @MsHoskinsTech shared a post "From a childhood love of Legos to careers in education and software engineering
Meredith Johnson @mjjohnson1216 shared evidence of learning with "learner interest = staying active during inside recess time, being part of a team and MUSIC." --->

Jill Gasson @GassonJill replied with "it means helping learners go from being receivers of knowledge to creators and discoverers of knowledge." Then she added "Voice and choice increases motivation, connects to their interests and builds confidence."

Benjamin Gaines, EdD @BGainesSummit invited us to watch: Handing over the Learning Keys from Vista Unified School District.

We would like to thank Meredith Johnson @mjjohnson1216 and Teresa Gross @teresagross625 for hosting #BookCampPD and for encouraging authors including us to do a summer book study.

Just received the #BookCampPD badge. Feeling appreciated!!

How to Personalize Learning is your practical guide to getting started and going deeper with personalized learning. Corwin has offered our followers a 20% discount code. Go to Corwin Press and use the discount code N169O6 for your own copy.

We archived the entire #plearnchat about Chapters 3 and 8 below for your convenience and as a resource.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Summer Book Study - How to Personalize Learning, Ch 1 & 2

This summer we were invited by #BookCampPD to conduct a book study of How to Personalize Learning. Each Thursday this July at 7pm ET, 4pm PT, we will conduct a discussion in #plearnchat to dive deeper into our book. We want to send out a special thank you to Meredith Johnson (@mjjohnson1216) for including us in #BookCampPD.

Here is our first session where we discussed building a common language around personalized learning and how we can understand how learners learn best using the UDL Lens.

Session 1 - July 6th

Chapter 1: Build a Common Language

Chapter 2: How Learners Learn Best

hosted by Kathleen

We used the Q1, A1 format and asked the following six questions:


The conversations about shared vision and beliefs and how the UDL Lens can be used by teachers and learners offered new insights on personalized learning that we have shared here.

Pam Lowe @prlowe91
Being without a shared vision & belief system is like a train engine w rail cars coming unhooked rolling in all directions!

Jacie Maslyck @DrJacieMaskyk

A shared vision says-"this is what we are all about" as a school/district. Communicate what you value + m
odel what you expect.

Barbara Bray @bbray27

A shared vision builds a culture of learning. Learning is a journey and more fun when all go on the journey together.

Tony A. Smith @MsToniASmith
Every student can learn and it is the role of the teacher to help unlock the best strategy to help the student to do so.

Shelley Vohra, Ph.D. @raspberryberet3It (UDL Lens) is a great framework for Ss to self-assess and self-reflect & have convos w/Ts, Ps and their peers about how they learn.

Susan Zanti @SusZanti5
Common language reinforces common expectations/goals-provides consistency/reliability in an otherwise unpredictable journey!

Tara Schuhmacher @Schuhmacher22
I believe each learner is unique and it's my job to provide them w/choice and facilitate their learning.

Mary Kay Kelly
Ls need to understand UDL because this helps create their personal learning backpack. Ls taking charge of their learning!

Charity Dodd @CharityDodd

UDL allows Ts to help Ss set goals and gain skills to be successful.

Mike Mohammed @Mo_physics
All stakeholders need to believe in the importance of empowering learners to own their learning.

Jodi Moskowitz @JodiMos
Common language is a part of a common vision.
Common vision = essential to accomplish goals.

Carol Reinagel-5th @MrsReinagel
We need to work as 1, not against each other. If the vision is not shared
, different paths lead to many ends, instead of 1.

How to Personalize Learning is your practical guide to getting started and going deeper with personalized learning. Corwin has offered our followers a 20% discount code. Go to Corwin Press and use the discount code N169O6 for your own copy.

We archived the entire #plearnchat about Chapters 1 and 2 below for your convenience and as a resource.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Design Thinking and UDL for Makerspaces in STEM and STEAM Classrooms

Some makerspaces are set up in separate rooms down the hall, in the library, or in another building. Kids may only be able to use the makerspace once a week or month. Some activities may focus on how to use the resources available and not connect the activities to the curriculum or around a real world problem. If this is how the makerspace is set up in your school, then your kids may not have access to the resources, materials, and tools when they need them, especially for STEM or STEAM. 

This is why we decided to focus on this topic for #plearnchat and created a planning tool for makerspaces in the classroom using the Design Thinking Process and Universal Design for Learning®. For more information about this process and the Planning tool, go to the post Design Thinking & UDL Planning Tool by Barbara Bray and Jackie Gerstein. 

We would like to thank Dr. Jackie Gerstein, @jackiegerstein for being the co-host for #plearnchat.

Dr. Jackie Gerstein's byline is, "I don't do teaching for a living. I live teaching as my doing . . . and technology has amplified my passion for doing so." Gerstein has been teaching in-person and online for several decades. Currently she teaches master's-level online courses in educational technology for Boise State, American Intercontinental, and Western Governors' Universities.

She believes that one of the roles and responsibilities of the 21st century educator is to share resources, ideas, and instructional strategies with other educators. Jackie actively blogs at and tweets at

Introducing Design Thinking to Elementary Learners
UDL and the Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture

The big question: How can a maker and design thinking mindset encourage deeper learning for STEM and STEAM?

We used the Q1, A1 format with the following six questions:

The questions scaffolded using UDL and Design Thinking to build a maker mindset. The conversations went deeper as the hour passed and brought up multiple retweets and resources. 

Charity Dodd @CharityDodd
"UDL provides Ss with supports so that they ask questions, create agency and take ownership of their learning."

Kathleen McClaskey @khmmc
"When UDL is used to empower learners and how they learn, then self advocacy and deeper learning can result."

Kristin Castello @kcastello93
"By providing multiple means of engagement/representation. Teachers ensure all students are involved in learning."

Kathleen Johnson @mskmjohnson
"By giving students freedom to express their own ideas and share with one another. Also allows students to give feedback to one another."

Mike Mohammad @Mo_physics
"Design thinking forces learners to put their ideas forward to be tested. They own the risk."

Carol Reinagel-5th @MrsReinagel
"Encourages innovation by giving students freedom to explore with no fear of failure."

Nancy White @NancyW
"I love the marriage of design thinking with makerspaces. It gives just enough structure for meaningful making. :o)"

Leslie Wise @runninthemiddle
"Makerspace Goals: Short--Learn new tech tools and projects over summer. Long--more cross-curricular maker opportunities."

Kathleen Johnson @mskmjohnson
"For math, UDL can allow students to show multiple representations of the same material to show they truly grasp the material." 

Lauren Kersey @LFKerz
"A culture that fosters risk-taking is a must have! And chances for teachers to collaborate authentically."

Jodi Moskowitz @JodiMos
"We know silos don’t work….learning doesn’t stick for long. CONNECTIONS are where it’s at!"

Submarino Pedagógico @buszoemocional
"Mindfulness can help Design Thinking in Education. Everything starts with oneself."

Congratulations to Kathleen Johnson @mskmjohnson for winning our book, How to Personalize Learning

Kathleen Johnson just finished her 3rd year of teaching after graduating from Clemson University in 2014. She works with all the freshmen at Greenville High School in Greenville, South Carolina teaching both Algebra 1 and Geometry. She has just begun classes to get her masters in Educational Technology from Boise State. Kathleen helps lead FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) at her school as well. She's currently a part of a digital learning community of 8 teachers from her school to help the entire school prepare to go 1:1 with chromebooks in the next 2 years.

"I really enjoy not just teaching my students but building relationships with them in other ways such as attending their sporting events, concerts, art shows, etc. My classroom is always open at lunch as well as I really enjoy when students come to eat with me in my room!"

Class site:
Grad school blog:
Twitter: @mskmjohnson

"Remind yourself it doesn't hurt to try. Encourage and help other teachersAsk for teachers to come watch and gain feedback. "
Kathleen Johnson @mskmjohnson

How to Personalize Learning is your practical guide to getting started and going deeper with personalized learning. Corwin has offered our followers a 20% discount code. Go to Corwin Press and use the discount code N169O6 for your own copy.

Join #plearnchat for the month of July for #Bookchats on specific chapters from our book, How to Personalize Learning.

 Monday, June 26th 10-10:30p ET
BookCampPD for overview of Bookchat

On alternating Thursdays in July with
Kathleen McClaskey and Barbara Bray

July 6th 
7p ET, 4p PT
Chapters 1 and 2 (Kathleen)

July 13th 7p ET, 4p PT
Chapters 3 and 8  (Barbara)

July 20th 7p ET, 4p PT
Chapters 4, 5, and 6  (Kathleen)

July 27th 7p ET, 4p PT
Chapters 7 and 9 (Barbara)

We archived the entire #plearnchat about Design Thinking and UDL to create Makerspaces for STEM and STEAM classrooms below for your convenience and as a resource.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Global Collaboration Projects

"Modern learning must be global, providing intercultural understanding and collaboration to personalize learning, achieve curriculum objectives and bring the world to students. This calls for a shift in pedagogy, a shift in mindset and the integration of digital and online technologies." 
---The Global Educator

It was wonderful that Julie Lindsay, author of The Global Educator, and Linda Ullah who designs global projects and online courses were our guest hosts for the May 22nd, 2017 #plearnchat. Here are quotes from our guest hosts.

Linda Ullah @Linda_Ullah
"Globally literate people understand diversity, culture/language allowing them to live/work together in peace. 
Give students the opportunity to become aware of and appreciate each other’s cultures."

Julie Lindsay @julielindsay
"A modern learner is connected, communicates reliably and “flattens” walls to enhance learning. 
A global education leader has many guises - a teacherpreneur, an outlier, a learning concierge - less hierarchy, agile leadership."

The questions on the back cover of The Global Educator helped us consider more questions. How do we navigate these new waters of networked learning? What model can be developed for globally connected learning that will support classroom teachers, education leaders and higher education? So using these questions and more, we came up with this big question:

"What can educators do to guide learners to connect and grow as global citizens?"

We used the Q1, A1 format with the following questions:

The conversations were fun and engaging with a twist. It seems like Twitter changed some privacy settings so some people and their tweets didn't show up in the feed. We recommend checking your privacy settings and turning off protected tweets if you plan to participate in a Twitter chat. We searched and finally found the missing tweets and added them to the Storify archive below. We appreciate the quotes and participation from so many awesome educators who we added here plus we included some graphics on global collaboration from Julie.

Meredith Johnson @mjjohnson1216
"Children without the benefit of growing up with cross cultural relationships can develop deeper understanding from online community."

Lisa Guardino @LisaGuardino
"So many skills can be learned and modeled through teacher and student collaboration. But most of all, it builds empathy."

Francois Provencher @jfprovencher27
Emerging technologies help in providing tools to meet outcomes. However, the technologies are not the "why": they are the "how".

Jodi Moskowitz @JodiMos
"In today’s world it's essential for students to be connected in authentic ways. This is today’s world. School must match the real world!"

Shelly Vohra, Ph.D. @raspberryberet3
"Helps to develop important skills like communication, problem solving, examining different perspectives, thinking, but most important are the habits of mind; empathy, fair mindedness, open mindedness."

Bonnie Lathram @belathram
"All learners on the planet deserve relevant and meangingful learning opportunities. This is the imperative."

Mollie Nye @mollienye72
"While learning to appreciate/honor/value our uniqueness and differences, we also see our similarities."

Noah Geisel @SenorG
"When Global Collaboration is done well, I think it's the bedrock of learning that will be remembered in 10+ years, because it's still impacting lives." 

Anne Mirtschin @murcha
"Leadership styles are changing. They are becoming more organic, collaborative, global & for anyone who is passionate."

Christine Rogers EdD @TheChristineRog
"Before becoming globally minded, we need to create a class that is open to ideas starting with being open to each other."

Congratulations to Pam Hubler and Shelly Vohra for winning The Global Educator

Julie offered to send her book (PDF versions) to two of the participants of tonight's chat. So we picked 2 times in the chat and look who came up.

Pam Hubler @specialtechie is the Personalized Learning Coach at A.C Corcoran Elementary in Charleston, SC.

Contact info for Pam

More information about Pam on #plearnchat 7/6/15

Shelly Vohra @raspberryberet3 is an Instructional Coach and PhD Candidate in Educational Technology for the Peel District School Board in Ontario, Canada.

Shelly's Linkedin
Shelly's Website:

More information about Shelly on #plearnchat 8/24/15

Congratulations to Cathy Benge @CathyBenge1, who won our book, How to Personalize Learning

Cathy Benge has taught 4th and 6th grades at elementary level, 6th grade Literature in middle school and then earned her M.Ed. in Library Media Sciences (graduating May of 2017!). As Library Director at Longfellow Middle School, Cathy has implemented the Read-A-Latte Cafe. A year-round fundraiser selling snacks and fruit juices to everyone and coffee/tea to adults, the cafe has brought in nearly $1,000 since March! Cathy is also writing grants, proposals, and letters to prospective private donors to fund ideas and activities. In the past two and a half months, she has been awarded over $3,000 in MakerSpace items and English and Spanish fiction titles for her middle school library.

Cathy is looking for ways to connect her students to the world around them! You can find her on Twitter @cathy.benge.1, #oklaed, #oklamakerspace, and FaceBook’s Future Ready Librarians. An enthusiastic participant in the edcamp movement, Cathy is co-hosting Oklahoma’s first edcamp for Librarians, Tech Educators, and Literary lovers this summer -- EdCampMoreThanBooks, July 13, 2017! Click here for more information or register on eventbrite.

"So many students in my town don't leave our state… It certainly helps starting with meeting people of other cultures and values. In a non-diverse area of the world, I want to bring in as much diversity as possible!"

"Isn't it imperative that learning be made relative? The goal of education is independent, fully functioning adults working in the world."

Follow Cathy on Twitter: @CathyBenge1

How to Personalize Learning is your practical guide to getting started and going deeper with personalized learning. Corwin has offered our followers a 20% discount code. Go to Corwin Press and use the discount code N169O6 for your own copy.

We want to thank Linda and Julie for co-hosting #plearnchat and
providing resources. We highly recommend The Global Educator for our readers.

Save the Dates for our next #plearnchats

 Mondays: 4pm PST, 5pm MST, 6pm CST, and 7pm EST
June 5th   TBA
June 19th TBA

We archived the entire #plearnchat about Global Collaboration Projects below for your convenience and as a resource.