Independent Student Learning

Digital Content Notebook

The students' Digital Content Notebook is where Pencil and Paper Notetaking occurs. It is exactly what it sounds like. No frills. But it is even more essential in a blended format. My colleagues and I did a lot of note-taking style modeling at the beginning of our year to set the expectations in our blended classroom. 

Strategy Resources (3)
Student Work Sample
 
 
These are the notes of a student from an independent learning zone (virtual learning) session. This student takes excellent notes in the blended format.
Students In Action
 
 
This is a short video tour of the beginning of an Independent Learning Zone session. You can see the start of a lot of pencil and paper note taking.
Student Work Sample
 
 
These are the notes of a student from an independent learning zone (virtual learning) session. This student takes excellent notes in the blended format.
Students In Action
 
 
This is a short video tour of the beginning of an Independent Learning Zone session. You can see the start of a lot of pencil and paper note taking.
Aaron Kaswell
Middle School 88 Peter Rouget
Brooklyn, NY


 

About this strategy

Prep Time:
Moderate
Subject:
Math
Grades:
Sixth grade, Seventh grade, Eighth grade
Similar Strategies
Instructional Closings
Synopsis

My colleagues and I have students write a Synopsis of their learning after every Independent Learning Zone period as well as after Live Investigations. The Synopsis acts as a reflective tool for both large and small concepts. I often tell my students to write what they actually learned or improved upon, not what they THINK I want them to write. I train my students to make a space for the Synopsis in their notebook headings. Occasionally, I will have my students read their Synopses out loud, but most often I walk around and do a quick check, as they are mostly a personal reflection for my students.

 
Independent Student Learning
Self-Paced Writing Prompts

Initially, the writing product was the major focus in my classroom. I noticed the products overall were not meeting grade level standards. Therefore the focus shifted to the writing process and doing each part of the process well. Giving students the opportunity to choose not only the place but also the pace at which they complete a prompt significantly changed the learning outcomes and products. A self-paced writing prompts give students the option to choose the order in which they will complete the writing prompts assigned for a unit of study. Making the writing prompts self-paced also gives students the freedom and latitude to simultaneously grapple with content and the writing process to produce a quality product.  

 
Independent Student Learning
Workflow Guide

My students crave independence, but they are sometimes unable to prioritize, monitor, and regulate their progress. My students are also often unable at the beginning of a school year to articulate how or where to start an assignment. This strategy is designed to give my students a model of how to manage their own workflow. Having a Workflow Guide is a good strategy to teach in Social Studies because it gives my students a step-by-step pathway to competency. This strategy is particularly well suited for middle grades because they need an increased sense of agency that allows them work independently as they prepare to transition to high school, college, and their careers.

 
 
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