EDU629: Module 4 Blog Post

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EDU629: Module 4 Blog Post

The blog in the course will function as a way for students to chronicle their learning and the development of their expertise in the areas of differentiating instruction and social emotional learning as means of individualizing instruction.

Each blog post will run 550-650 words in length. For each blog post, you are to engage in a substantive discussion on the module readings/contents. Then, you are to apply what you’ve learned to discuss the following:

In what ways does the content in the module promote your learning about yourself as a teacher?  
What is your understanding of differentiating instruction and promoting social emotional learning?  How has this changed since the beginning of the semester?
What questions do you have about these approaches to teaching and learning?  How could you address these questions or find solutions to issues/challenges in implementing differentiated instruction and social emotional learning?  

Curriculum, Differentiation, and the Teacher as Changemaker  -Organizing curriculum along essential content learning goals  -Curricular focus on extending student understanding  -Social-emotional skills and learning outcomes      Module

The topic of change making, specifically quality service learning, resonated with me as I teach an inclusion woodworking course in addition to my regular full course-load. I was interested in how Hansen outlined the six hallmarks of a service learning project. I was able to utilize this and reflect on an entrepreneurship unit I established in my Engineering 1 course where those students co-design products with my inclusion students. We’re clearly applying the skills of my Engineering 1 students to a challenging task that both meets a community need while challenging them to include their voice and the voice of others. An area I must work towards reinforcing is how students evaluate how they’ve met standards as well as where they are to reflect on their service work. I initially intended for reflection to be aligned with selling products at our Inclusion Prom in the spring, but with distance learning and Hansen’s hallmarks I realize reflective practice must happen throughout the project work. I now question the best points at which reflection should happen prior to students working with inclusion students and during work with the inclusion students. How this takes shape, especially with inclusion students as a stakeholder and co-designer, must account for accessibility and may utilize digital tools such as flipgrid. What I enjoy about this type of work is that it meets criteria of my departments entrepreneurship unit and feels fairly authentic. It’s authentic in the sense that it asks for students to use knowledge, skills, and ways of working an expert would(Tomlinson, 2018, p. 62). Based on our reading I feel that this type of work is what I should be striving for as much as I can in courses that are flexible enough for it. Judging student willingness and engagement from all parties involved is also a huge influence on me continuing the work.

What I have found interesting and engaging is the role of personalization and individualization in defining differentiation. The books have given me a sense of permission to not have to always individualize each assignment, but rather to structure my assignments and assessments to have meaning and authenticity (Tomlinson, 2018, p. 16). While I feel that I already do an okay job at connecting with my students as individuals I should focus on how to give my student agency and freedom in how they connect with my content area. Prior to this course I’ve felt like peers in my workplace have always focused on personalization, and this book allows me to have a clearer framework for how I should be operating in planning my courses and within my classrooms. While students already have much freedom in designing their own project work within my courses I must loop back on how they learn the content or skills prior to working on projects. This year I began working towards reflexive pathways for students to complete projects based on readiness and interest, and I want to work more towards building better learning profiles with my students(Tomlinson, 2018, p. 14). Starting from the beginning of next year I hope to reflect on how my students perform on different tasks as well as have them reflect on how they feel during early units to inform the types of contents and processes I offer in later units.

Hansen, C. B. (2019). The Heart and Science of Teaching: Transformative Applications That Integrate Academic and Social–Emotional Learning. [VitalSource Bookshelf]. Retrieved from Tomlinson, D.A.S.C. A. (2018). Differentiation and the Brain. [VitalSource Bookshelf]. Retrieved from