Giving Voice to Teachers

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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As the school year is winding down for many, educators are in a unique space to look back on what was accomplished, what didn’t quite go according to plan in order to rejigger or reimagine what is possible for students next year. So we want to give voice to teachers to share the lessons they have learned and the aspirations they have with their students next year.

First up is an interview with Trevor MacKenzie, a high school English teacher and author. Bena Kallick and I had a really interesting conversation about how to inspire, expose or unearth curiosity in students. He shares strategies as well as visualizations of what his journey looks like.

Next, it was such a joy for me when two fabulous teachers (Laura Stott and Craig Gastauer) from two very different places (Madison, CT and Vista Unified, CA) got to meet face-to-face and generate such fascinating insight around what they have learned the hard way when it comes to personalized learning. I asked them to capture their thinking which resulted in a co-authored blog post — How Not to Do Personalized Learning.

In the spirit of reflection, high school English teacher Brian Durst wrote this insightful blog post in which he offers practical and powerful advice to support teachers as they start personalizing learning in their own classrooms. He was gracious enough to share this with our Learning Personalized community.

Denise Clarke, a veteran English teacher, dared to try something new — her blog post Going in Cold explains the journey of what happens when she reads with her class for the first time and what she learned about the four attributes of personalized learning along the way.

Lauren Gilchrist, a digital content specialist at Skyward, was brought to my attention by one of her colleagues who is a regular reader of the blog. Lauren provides an insightful and entertaining perspective of a rural district in Wisconsin that created an innovative agri-science program to give students hands-on experience with agriculture. Her post provides a wonderful account of the way New Holstein High School students are learning by doing.

Last and definitely not least, Visual Arts teacher Ellen Tarabara’s classroom transfixed me the minute I walked into it. She teaches Kindergarten-8th grade using the Teaching for Artistic Behavior (TAB) pedagogy and Personalized Learning lens. This is her first guest blog post for our community and hopefully we will hear more from her in the upcoming year.

Always love to hear from YOU — from topics to interview ideas to illustrative examples. This community is stronger because your voice is in it.

Allison Zmuda
Educational Consultant and Founder of Learning Personalized

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