Coffee Talks with Educators

As a full-time education consultant, Allison Zmuda works with educators to grow ideas on how to make learning for students challenging, possible and worthy of the attempt. Over the past 19 years, Zmuda has shared curricular, assessment, and instructional ideas, shown illustrative examples, and offered practical strategies of how to get started.

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Summer is a perfect time for reflection and imagination to continue to pursue student-centered actions. It also is the perfect time to spend time with my family — including a rising Senior and rising Freshman in high school. While my kiddos continue to make their way through the world and test out aspirations, I have been privileged to continue to engage in a series of Coffee Talks with Educators.

If you haven’t checked out the earlier ones, watch now: Yvette Jackson, Devin Vodicka, Brandon Wiley and Bob Lenz, Pat Deklotz, and Trevor MacKenzie.

Over the course of the past few weeks, Bena and I have chatted with three inspirational educators and rose up to be the newsletter theme.

  • Mike Anderson, an author and education consultant,  talks with us about how choice is a significant lever for personalizing learning. However, he suggests that providing choices depends on a clear understanding of what their options are and how each will impact their learning plan.
  • Mike Mohammad, an AP Physics Teacher invites us into his AP Physics class and shares how he has made a shift from a totally teacher generated curriculum to one in which students are invited to dig into thinking as scientists. He describes how he incorporates the habits of mind that a scientist needs as they are invited to wonder, question, investigate, and communicate about the critical science concepts in his curriculum.
  • Sam Nelson, middle school social studies teacher and avid blogger, uses his curriculum as an invitation not a mandate for personalized learning. Check out how he has built this approach with his 6th-8th grade students over the past three years.

We hope that these informal conversations reveals approaches, actions, and ideas with Personalized Learning. We will continue our Coffee Talks series over the next few months — looking forward to chatting with Janet Hale and Silvia Tolisano next month. If you want to recommend an educator that is doing something noteworthy and would be interested in having a conversation, please send the names along. (You also can nominate you!)

Allison Zmuda
Educational Consultant and Founder of Learning Personalized

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