Wednesday, August 9, 2017

8th Grade Advanced Historians

During the past three years the D. C. Everest Social Studies department has brought elements of personalized learning into several of its classrooms 6-12.  After visits to the Chaska, MN middle schools and reading several books on personalized learning by Bray and McCaskey as well as Spencer and Juliani ( put in links to books).  The staff was particularly interested in providing students with more voice and choice in the classroom as well as learner autonomy.

In the junior high, the 8th grade team (Nancy Gajewski, Christian Ammon, Mark Bohlman, and Lori LaPorte) implemented two programs the Voyager program and the Advanced Historians.

The Voyager Program allowed students to have some choice as to how much time they needed to spend in the classroom getting direct instruction. If students felt they could master the material on their own or in a small group they were able to work in the Personalized Learning. Students did the regular curriculum 90 percent of the time with a few special projects thrown in. 

The second year of the program led to the creation of Advanced Historians under the direction of Nancy Gajewski, which was a group of 12 students who were given a "compacted" semester curriculum in four weeks. This allowed each student to develop an approved history project of his/her choice.  The project was non graded and a final grade was based on student self-evaluations, reflections, and written feedback from peers.  Students met regularly with their teacher as well as the Social Studies Curriculum Coordinator and the Assistant Superintendent.  Students presented their final projects in front of parents and administrators during an evening program.

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