Each student has personalized goals that are categorized into five cross-curricular focus areas: Communication (reading, writing, speaking, listening); Empirical reasoning; Quantitative reasoning; Social reasoning and Personal reasoning. These focus areas recognize that a student’s success in becoming a problem solver and citizen of the world stems from both skills and habits of mind. They also take into consideration the fact that each child has a unique approach, pace, and style of learning.
Each student is evaluated in terms of his or her own growth and development in relation to his or her personal goals, as well as according to developmentally appropriate goals and objectives as set forth in the National Common Core Standards. The work toward achieving these goals is a collaborative effort of the teachers, advisors, parents and students.
There are a number of tools that we use to Personalize our learning at KSA.
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Multi-age learning provides a rich opportunity for interpersonal and individual learning by bringing children of different ages and ability levels together. Children work as individuals, pairs, triads, small groups, large groups, or whole class. These short-term groupings are based on interest, needs, learning style, problem-solving, skill instruction, and reinforcement.
Benefits of Multiage Learning:
- Children progress at their own pace and individual differences are celebrated.
- Children develop increased self-esteem, more cooperative behavior, better attitudes toward school in general, increased pro-social behaviors (caring, tolerant, patient, supportive), enriched personal relationships, increased personal responsibility. We also see a decline in discipline problems.
- The child is known as a whole person (socially, emotionally, physically, and academically).
- Interactive assessment is ongoing and diagnostic, providing information on a student’s strengths and weaknesses so that lessons can be tailored to the student’s specific needs
- Older students develop mentoring and leadership skills as a result of serving as role models and helping the younger children.
- Children do as well or better in academic learning as children in groups traditionally separated by age or grade.
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KSA offers a “hands-on” shop experience to all of its students. Projects in our shop are divided into four categories:
5th and 6th Grade Locker Projects
8th Grade Beit Midrash Projects
Media Production Lab
One of the rooms in the Negev (lower level) has been transformed into a media production lab. With green screen, live streaming and advanced audio and video recording capabilities, the media production lab is available to teachers and students throughout the year for projects and activities that complement and supplement their curricula. Just imagine your children creating a real weather report in front of a green screen during their weather unit (just like on TV!).
Check out KSA Today, a project of the Media Production Lab and members of our 8th grade class.
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We are proud to have a one to one Chromebook program at KSA for our middle school students. This one to one program allows for true differentiation and is a huge step toward blended learning and flipped classrooms.
In the lower grades all of our students and teachers have access to Chromebooks, SmartBoards in the classrooms and other age-appropriate technological educational tools. Read more about our Chromebook program here.
Google Drive is also an important part of our school work and life. Google Drive is a suite of free online tools including a word processor, spreadsheet, drawing and presentation programs. What makes these programs unique is that they are built around collaboration. Students and teachers can create documents, share them with one another and then collaborate on their work. No more printing, no more sending Word and Powerpoint presentations back and forth. Everything is hosted in the cloud securely, ready to be accessed through any browser. This means that while the Chromebooks live at school, students are able to continue their work and their collaboration using any computer or tablet with an internet connection. They just have to log into their KSA Google account and all of their work will be there.
A flipped classroom model takes the teaching of new concepts and moves it to an online format for students to learn at home, while bringing the activities (i.e., traditional homework) into the classroom. (adapted from www.knewton.com/flipped-classroom). Created and instituted by two science teachers from Colorado, Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams, flipped classrooms allows students to learn the concepts at home using a variety of multi-media (e.g., videos, articles, and online interactive activities), and learn the concept or skill at their own pace. As a result, learning is now both personalized (based on each child’s learning styles using Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences) and collaborative, through project based learning. Furthermore, each student is able to receive direct and individualized support.
At KSA, teachers are using both blended and flipped (and double flipped or flipped 2.0) models to reach every student. Be it watching videos or reading articles at home and answering questions to submit, to each student having an individualized activity plan that allows each student to select the path he/she chooses to learn the concept, every student is learning. Activities range from individualized assignments to collaborative project based learning. In addition, assignments vary to meet not only each student’s needs but also their interest. This is all done through careful planning, reflecting, and the use of technology. Incorporating new technology to make learning more meaningful is a core component of this teaching. In addition, teachers are now facilitators of and guides to students’ learning as students learn the skills of research, analysis, and reflection.
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