"Personalized learning is not what is done to the learner or about tailoring the learning. It is about helping each learner to identify and develop the skills they need to support and enhance their own learning so that agency and self-advocacy can be realized" (Kathleen Mccluskey, 2018).
Personalized Learning at Calgary Changemaker School
A personalized learning plan for each student is considered in partnership with parents, the student, all teachers and the greater school community. Empathy, flexibility and student 'choice, voice and challenge' will be at the heart of all we do to support each student as a leader and Changemaker.
The Emergent Curriculum
Although we will meet and exceed the mandated Alberta Program of Studies (curriculum),we will not be following a prescribed schedule of when and how we will cover its outcomes. Our classes will often combine several grades in order to provide our students with the most flexibility to collaborate with and be challenged by peers at a similar level and pace.
Teachers and students will discuss general outcomes from the curriculum and make choices together about what direction activities and projects might take. Then, both individually and in small groups, students work with their teachers as their 'guides on the side' to discuss and interpret observations and continue a deeper exploration and practice. Most often the curriculum outcomes can be flexibly adjusted to suit the interests of the student and emerge organically as each activity or project progresses.
Projects are often at the centre of our learning experiences. Research supports our belief that learning through meaningful, hands-on project work improves long-term retention and engagement leading to deeper understanding and better results on standardized tests. Projects can last from a few days to an entire year and can take place both indoors and outdoors. They may start from an idea that emerges during outdoor play, stem from a topic the teacher introduces, or may be directly related to a problem posed by one or more students.
Literacy and Numeracy
We encourage our students to approach literacy and numeracy from the lens of a leader and Changemaker. In order to effectively solve problems, make a difference and become a strong leader in their field of interest, they must have very strong written and verbal communication skills and a solid number sense. Our students will have many opportunities each day to practice and develop core skills in engaging and meaningful ways.
The Calgary Changemaker School’s assessment process is based upon the teacher using a variety of assessment tools to help support and develop each student as a unique learner focusing on their personal strengths and areas for growth. Due to the inquiry philosophy and project-based learning model followed in our school, two key forms of assessment are at the core of our practice: Pedagogical Documentation and Student Portfolios. Report cards followed by parent-teacher-student conferences will also be incorporated into the school year.
Pedagogical documentation is a process for documenting children's experiences, using a variety of tools, to allow for reflection of how and what children reveal about their views and knowledge of the world.
It allows for children’s ideas, questions and their learning as individuals and group members to be made visible. Daily tools used in this documentation by both the teacher and student include photos, videos, recorded conversations, observational notes, and student artifacts. This documentation will play a crucial role in the assessment and understanding of the learning of each child and in communicating student progress to parents.
The purpose of the student portfolio is to capture a purposeful, meaningful and authentic image of each student as a learner and support the pedagogical documentation. The teacher, with support from the student, will maintain a personal portfolio for each child, including digital documentation, personal artifacts of their learning and samples of their work that will focus on the student’s development and growth throughout the year.
While our program is unique, much of what we do is inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach. Learn more by watching this video: