Chicago International Charter School (CICS) Prairie, managed by Distinctive Schools (DS), is part of the pioneering LEAP Innovations Pilot Network for Cohort 4. We began our eighteen month journey in Winter 2017 with the second and fourth grade English and Language Arts team: Mr. Brian Hall, Ms. Virginia Kelly, Ms. Keona Roberts, & Ms. Jessica Story. The Pilot Network brings together leaders and teachers from the Chicago area to, “design, implement and evaluate personalized learning practices and edtech tools in their classrooms.”
After analyzing data, looking at our current status, and learning more about the LEAP Personalized Learning (PL) framework of Learner Led, Learner Focused, and Learner Demonstrated alongside our Distinctive Schools PL Framework, we were able to identify and create a target for 2nd and 4th grade.
The Data: LEAP Personalized Learning Student Report
The desire to increase intrinsic motivation and measure growth was evident in the Fall 2016 LEAP Student Reports: The LEAP Personalized Learning Surveys are designed to measure the teaching practices and classroom conditions that enable personalized learning. In this report, you’ll need results for your school compared to results for geographically similar schools and all schools that participated in the survey.
The survey aligns to the LEAP Learning Framework. Scores have been created for three key components of the framework—Learner Focused, Learner Demonstrated, and Learner Led—as well as subscores for elements within each of these broad components. Additional survey items ask about flexible learning environments, access to technology and information, and out of school learning.
The LEAP Personalized Learning Teacher and Student Surveys are developed by LEAP Innovations® to measure personalized learning in classrooms across the country and offered at no cost to schools and districts.
Of the three components, the data shows, on the LEAP PL Framework, Learner Led is an area of improvement. With our work in Frontier, and around our PL goals, we hope to increase this score with the year end Student Report survey.
The Data: NWEA MAP Reading
Aligned with our DS vision, our Cohort 4 created a vision: Students are intrinsically motivated, use voice and choice, learner led experiences, know the why, and feel set up for success.
What is Frontier?
As a team we selected Frontier as our edtech product to start for implementation in the fall of the following school year. Frontier is a learning platform that allows for students to read and write using informational texts and videos around an essential question. The Frontier phases of the process are discover, explore, create, draft, revise, and publish.
Teachers are able to monitor student progress through the data dashboard which provides weekly email updates as well as real-time updates on student status. This informs teacher feedback and who to conference with based on what teacher action is needed: Check in, Give Feedback, or High Five. Ms. Roberts uses Mondays to conference with 2nd grade students using this Frontier data. This five-minute conference allows for reflection, guidance, and goal setting for the rest of the week.
Students are also able to give feedback to their peers on their drafts before publishing. Here is an example of feedback from Gina to her peer: You could get more examples and more evidence. And you could really use periods.
Once students are given feedback by teacher and peers they are able to publish their work. They can choose to share it with just their teacher or with the rest of the Frontier world!
What do the students have to say?
Here some student interviews from CICS Prairie, Gina 4th grade and David and Evelyn 2nd grade, who share the process and their excitement around using Frontier as a learning tool.
What is Frontier?
David: First I go into the next little Frontier thing. If there is a video I watch it if there is a article I read it. I go to the little box and write about it. Once I’m in here I look and see which is good for me to do first I did easy to hard and then harder.
Gina: We go on a few minutes, we get on half of the time. You get to do lessons and when you are done you can write about it
What’s a challenge of Frontier?
Gina: Typing isn’t really that hard if you just check it.
How do you choose what you want to discover?
Evelyn: I picked What is life like in the White House? I picked that one because I want to be a president when I grow up.
David: What is the best sport at the Summer Olympics? I picked this project because when I grow up I want to be a gymnast and first I want to know about it.
What are your feelings about Frontier as a learning tool?
David: I like Frontier because it helps me learn things I want to do when I grow up!
Gina: I rate this 5 out of 5 stars, I got to be able to write a story of my own and tried my best with all my work and I checked it.
Through innovation cycles, coaching and ongoing professional development partnered with LEAP the past 10 months, we are leaping through projects and understanding their needs, strengths, interests, and approaches to learning.
We are eager to analyze our NWEA Reading data and Thinking Maps: Write from the Beginning and Beyond data in Winter 2018 to inform our implementation. As well as Spring data in these ELA areas as well as the LEAP Student Report results.
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