For those who have started the PLP implementation process, it's probably a good time to pause and reflect on progress. Here are some thoughts.
Using the Personal Learning Framework, students may be nearing the completion of the Identity phase. Introductions have been written, students have taken an initial measure of their strengths and challenges, and they have been working on developing positive relationships in the classroom.
If they haven't already, now is the time to begin the initial goal-setting of the Growth and Reflection phase. This year, Team Summit at Main Street Middle School has shifted their goal-setting to encompass one goal in each of the following areas: academics, transferable skills, sustainability, and extracurricular activities.
Using the SMART goal framework, students are self-selecting their goals, identifying why they are important and what principles and values they see reflected in those goals, and developing methods to track their success.
In conjunction with their goal-setting, students are developing an understanding of Dr. Carol Dweck's Growth Mindset. Academic language related to growth mindset is being incorporated into language arts classes so that students will be able to effectively self-evaluate and reflect on their progress.
It is always a good time to continually review elements of digital citizenship and to keep digital citizenship as a constant expectation in the classroom. Although it might be difficult to complete a piece by piece digital citizenship curriculum, employing components of that curriculum throughout the school year can be a great way of continually reinforcing your digital expectations and to create digital norms in your classroom.
Along with Common Sense Media's Digital Citizenship curriculum, Google has continued to develop an array of digital citizenship materials that cover a wide range of topics. You can find additional resources at the PLP Pathways website or by simply doing some quick research.
As personal learning plans become more integrated into classrooms and learning communities, it becomes even more important to reach out to parents and the community to explain this element of Act 77. In a previous blog we discussed developing different streams of information to reach out to your parents and interested parties.
If you have developed some structures for communication, now might be a good time to reach out to parents for feedback that will inform your work in the future. Quick Google Forms surveys, one or two phone calls to parents, or meeting in person can pay big dividends in terms of support and community understanding.
Professional Development and Resources
To help support your efforts with PLP Implementation, the Middle Grades Collaborative is supporting the PLP Pathways website. This site is designed as a guide for PLP implementation but also as a space for the collaboration and sharing of ideas by educators across Vermont.
In addition to this blog, PLP Pathways hosts a short television show and regular webinar to discuss issues related to personalized learning. If you have questions, concerns, or would like to collaborate with educators from across the state, don't hesitate to follow PLP Pathways on Twitter @plppathways, on Google+, or by sending us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
An essential element of the personal learning plan is the regular reflection by students on their growth and progress. Incorporating these exercises, in whatever mode you see fit, can provide crucial information for learners and teachers alike. As calendars get jam-packed and time becomes even more limited, now might be a great time to take a breath, slow down, and reflect on the year's progress.
Just as we recommend this to students, teachers who can find time to regularly reflect on their work will find that regular reflection can lead to celebrations of hard work, innovative teaching measures, small victories, and the recognition of colleagues and collaborators who make our work so enjoyable.