What I KNOW About Learners

OK, thanks to an earlier #eduread, I am now officially obsessed with teaching and differentiating by understanding learning profiles.  I feel like I'm a bit late to this party, and I found so many resources that I finally had to force myself to stop reading, bookmarking, clipping, and flipping articles and posts.  I also had to restrain myself with additional purchases, but I finally settled on one more book, Math Tools, Grades 3 - 12... by Silver et al.

I was thinking about a KWL chart for differentiation by learning profile, and for now, I have a lot of Ks and Ws!

I KNOW that differentiating by learning profile increases efficiency.
I know I have a better understanding of what it looks like to differentiate by readiness or interest (but just because I know what it means doesn't mean that I'm an expert!)
When I first started teaching (ahem...years ago) I thought learning style simply meant auditory, visual, kinesthetic, but now I know that a complete learning profile involves so much more.

During the past two years, my students and I have dabbled with understanding Gardner's Multiple Intelligences and Sternberg's Intelligences (creative, analytical, and practical).  Our  #eduread article introduced me to the Silver-Strong profiles (mastery, understanding, self-expressive, and interpersonal). And hooray, hooray, I just found an older ASCD article and then an image on this slide-share that put everything together for me!

I know I need to educate my students about the different profiles, that the styles fluctuate depending on the context, and that no one profile is better than another!
  • Idea for the first week(s) of school: give students a variety of inventories, have them create a learning profile a la the "Me at a Glance" pages on Sarah's blog.  For the Silver-Strong inventory, I found this post on Math Hombre's page, and he adapted the inventory to math. Teach the vocabulary.  Help students understand the philosophy of strategic flexible grouping.  (Some days we'll be grouped according to your strengths, and some days we'll make you work outside your comfort zone so that you'll be stretched!)  Work on the management aspect of how to let kids know the seating arrangement o' the day.  Create a Google form for students to record their preferred learning profiles.  
  • Oh, I also know that mindset will be part of this conversation, too.  If we're grouping kiddos or if the questioning/task is outside of their preferred learning profile, what can I do to help students persevere? What are their options when they struggle? 
  • I know that building a classroom community is an integral component of the big picture of differentiation, so with our discussion of learning profiles, I will also help students learn the importance of respecting the differences in all of us.
Unfortunately, I have absolutely no tangibles...YET...but at least I have a nebulous idea for the "2nd curriculum" objectives for the first week(s) of school.

A future post will focus on the WHAT.  What I want to know, my goals for the teaching, questioning, and assessing aspect of this idea.

Thanks for reading!  Any other insight on learning profiles?  Do you have favorite inventories that you have used?  

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