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The path to personalized learning is not straight

The Hechinger Report – Tara García Mathewson

“Three different districts. Three different time zones. Three different paths to the same general goal — personalized learning. Administrators from Henry County Schools, southwest of Atlanta; School District 51 in Mesa County, Colorado; and CICS West Belden, a Chicago International Charter School campus, discussed their efforts to personalize learning during a panel at the recent iNACOL symposium in Orlando, Florida. All were between three and four years into their work. “Personalized learning” is defined differently by many of the schools and districts that employ the model, but in general, it refers to a style of teaching and learning that prioritizes student wants and needs.”(more)

Less plastic, more trees: New effort seeks to reinvent preschool playgrounds and capture kids’ imaginations

Chalk Beat – Ann Schimke

“The idea is to create outdoor spaces that capture kids’ imagination, connect them with nature and keep them active in every season. Such efforts grow out of a recognition in the education field that healthy habits start early and boost learning. Step by Step staff members had talked many times about their stagnant play space. But it was hard to envision anything different until they attended a design workshop with experts from ECHO, a partnership between the National Wildlife Federation, Qualistar Colorado and the Natural Learning Initiative at North Carolina State University.”(more)

Why a Colorado researcher believes preschool students should learn — and play — with math

Chalk Beat – Marissa Page

“What do preschoolers need math for? Doug Clements argues preschoolers use math everywhere from reading to play — and engaging early mathematics instruction can help better prepare young students for later learning. Clements, the executive director of the University of Denver’s Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy, has spent nearly his entire career studying and advocating for introducing math concepts in early childhood education. He and his wife Julie Sarama, Marsico’s co-executive director, developed preschool lessons and tests for teaching mathematics to early learners. Their hallmark program, Building Blocks, has taken hold in cities such as Boston and Buffalo, N.Y., where both Clements and Sarama have conducted research.”(more)

Real talk: This is what successful blended learning actually looks like

E_School News – Andy Franko

“In theory, blended learning sounds straightforward: You replace a portion of the traditional face-to-face instruction with web-based online instruction. In practice, though, launching and sustaining a blended learning initiative takes planning, training, tech tools, and the flexibility to change course midstream. Colorado District 49, where I am superintendent of the iConnect Zone, started down the road to blended learning in 2009, and we are still learning. Here are five lessons we can share from our years of experience on sustaining a blended learning initiative.”(more)

Farm-to-lunch-table program helps Colorado students understand that food doesn’t just come from the supermarket

The Denver Post – Monte Whaley

“Condon is part of a national movement started in 2009 by Chef Ann Cooper aimed at helping schools get access to fresh, healthy food. Cooper began the Chef Ann Foundation to head-off a national obesity epidemic among school kids and to ensure they avoid diet-related diseases. “We just wanted to try and make sure every kid has access to fresh and from-scratch meals,” said Cooper, who also is also director of Food Services for the Boulder Valley School District. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Cooper has 40 years of experience as a chef, including 17 years in school food programs. She speaks nationally about efforts to change how school districts feed students. Cooper uses programs such as Project Produce to provide tools, training, resources and funding to alter school lunches so they offer more fresh alternatives. So far, the Chef Ann Foundation has reached more than 7,000 schools and 2.6 million children in all 50 states.”(more)