BIG Questions for Healthy Reflection

Brian Durst has been gathering wisdom from colleagues and creating memories with students for two decades in the classroom–a learner-centered, educational clubhouse. Brian seeks opportunities to network with other educators, share experiences, and advocate for students. He is a proud father of two, husband, varsity baseball coach, and English department chair at Grafton High School.

Read more from Brian at his website.


Learning Targets

Learning Target 1: (Not Yet –> GOT IT!)
I know the impact of personalized learning on student outcomes & educational experience.

Learning Target 2: (Not Yet –> GOT IT!)
I know the “look fors” in a personalized learning model.

Learning Target 3: (Not Yet –> GOT IT!)
I understand the next steps to apply components of personalized learning to my practice.

Learning Target 4: (Not Yet –> GOT IT!)
I create a personalized learning project, unit, or plan.


  • Would I want to spend the whole day learning in my class? Would I want my children spending the whole day learning in my classroom?
  • Would students show up to my class if they didn’t have to?
  • What do I spend time on or assign that has little to no impact on essential learning?
  • What would happen if I stopped addressing the entire class (or limited whole class instruction to 5 minutes)?
  • How could students access course content or find answers without a teacher’s specific direction?
  • What connections to course concepts could students make on their own? How could learners reframe (view through a different lens) topics we cover?

Where to begin personalization?

Learn more about personalized learning. Explore The Institute for PL honeycomb interactive link or peruse the resources mentioned on the final slides in the presentation

Get to know your students: Use Google Forms or another medium to create learner profiles and collect information about students.

Pick a class:

What is the purpose of the course? (What is essential/non-negotiable learning in the course?)

Pick a unit:

Unit Planning Guide

    • (Level 1) What are your essential questions for students to explore?
    • (Level 2) After being introduced to a topic of study, what are some questions learners might ask? Think big!
  1. What should all students know and be able to do by the end of the unit? (Know, Understand, Create, Do — Learning targets)
  2. Pick a learning target:
    • (Level 1) By the end of the unit, what does it mean to be proficient? What does proficiency look like? (define what meets the standard, then add criteria for “does not meet the standard” and what “exceeds standards” on the Proficiency Rubric)
    • (Level 2) Have students discuss and craft criteria for “meets the standard.”
  3. How will we formatively assess a learner’s level of proficiency of a learning target?
  4. Begin with the end in mind:
    • (Level 1) What is the typical summative assessment for the unit?
    • (Level 2) What else could students create to show evidence of learning?
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