The Diverse Learner in an Elementary School

I have been contemplating blogging for a few months now…definitely has been my goal, but nothing has truly inspired me to write more than the 140 characters from my twitter account…well, until Saturday!

Saturday morning I woke up and began my normal Saturday morning routine:

1.  Stagger out of bed about 7:00am while my family is all still sleeping.

2. Head down to the kitchen and brew a huge pot of coffee.

3. Pull up “Tweetdeck” on my laptop and set up my columns to prepare for #satchat.

(For those of you who don’t know: #Satchat is a saturday morning twitter chat for educators from 7:30-8:30am EST moderated by @ScottRRocco, @bcurrie5 and @wkrakower!

This weeks’ topic, guest moderated by @jimmy_casas,  was: Meeting the Needs of Diverse Learners.  Here is a snapshot of a few of the tweets from the chat:

Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 1.12.31 PM

After the chat, there was still so much more that I wanted to say about the diverse learner. The chat felt like the very tip of a huge iceberg that I still wanted to discover.  As a result, I have been thinking a lot about the diverse learners in my school and my diverse learners at home.  ( I also have two daughters with varying abilities.)

So…I know diverse learners.

So…How do I meet the needs of the Nauman girls and the other 728 students at our elementary school as the lead learner?

I am still working on my final answer, but there are some non-negotiables when meeting the needs of diverse learners:

1. Integrated technology is a must for each subject, every day!

~We are working on moving to a 1:1 or a BYOD learning environment.

2. The teachers must be “Pirates”!

~Dave Burgess’s “Teach Like a Pirate” is a must read for all educators. Passion, Immersion, Rapport, Ask and Analyze,  Transformation and Enthusiasm are the key ingredients to student engagement.

3. Professional Development based on teacher choice is needed for innovation.

~Educators should become connected. Using Twitter is an awesome way to connect.  Also, give teachers choice in PD. Just recently, our district had a entire PD day set up similar to an EdCamp.  We are working on creating Delaware’s first EdCamp and EdChat.

4. We need the parents as partners.

~We couldn’t do what we do without active, engaged, and supportive parents.

5. Our focus needs to be on teaching students not teaching to a test.

~With high stakes testing tied to teacher evaluation this can be hard, BUT we have to rely on great instruction and know our job is to have our students ready for the next grade level (and the world) not crammed with information to do well on a test.

6. Our students need choice and instruction needs to be student-driven and/or student-centered.

~#Geniushour is a great way for students to explore and expand their own learning. Choice boards and centers work well for differentiation and choice in the elementary school.

I like that I don’t have all the answers. I also like that I am thinking more and more about how to meet the needs of each wonderful, diverse learner at our school. What do you think? How do you meet the needs of diverse learners?

Thanks to #satchat and all of the people in my talented PLN that inspired me to think and to write. Thanks for reading my very first blog post!  ; )

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10 thoughts on “The Diverse Learner in an Elementary School

  1. Jenny,

    I’m thrilled you have joined the blogging world! I have watched, read and discussed topics with you on twitter and I appreciate your willingness to be open. This is a terrific post, the Diverse Learner is all around us, every student is diverse in some way. You bring a unique perspective, your willingness to share about your daughters really grabbed my attention.

    I love your first point…Technology is a tool and it should be integrated daily. This is a non-negotiable. Thank you for stating it and believing it.

    I hope you will continue to share Jenny. I enjoy connecting on Twitter and gaining insight from you.

    -Ben

  2. Congratulations on starting your blog! What a fantastic first post! I also draw great inspiration from my PLN and from chances to connect in wonderful places like #satchat. I love all 6 of your non-negotiables and really appreciate the mention of Teach Like a PIRATE…thank you!

  3. Great job! Diverse learners also require diverse teachers – and teaching. The one size fits all model doesn’t belong in education. So grateful to be part of an institution that allows me to grow and explore as not only an educator but as a student as well.

    One of the greatest challenges to diverse learners is the misconception of parents that all classrooms should look the same – typically quiet and rote. Organized chaos is a good thing and quite often an environment that allows diverse learners to feel “at home” rather than out of the loop.

    Happy Blogging!

  4. What a powerful first piece! The openness to share your personal circumstance with your own children only helps to let the reader know how incredibly passionate you must be for providing the best possible experience for all of the students in your building! I look forward to learning with you through your blogs and tweets. Have a great day and enjoy the snow.

  5. Jenny,
    Love the blog! We as educators need to embrace each child as they come to us. Each and every child is special and unique in their own way. Not all kids fit into the perfectly sculpted round circle. There are many shapes and sizes. Embracing this knowledge, allows educators to reach ALL children.
    Kelly 😉

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