Today I would like to share with you observations I made about personalization while visiting Mosaic Elementary School in San Jose, CA. I had to look up the definition of personalization and found in verb form it means to make personal, as by applying a general statement to oneself. The school creed and core values are general statements applied to every student in the school. The songs they sang were picked purposefully for their message about positive differences, I think these too are examples of personalization for their community.
Another definition I found is to design or tailor to meet an individual's specifications, needs, or preferences. Guided reading and guided math groups would meet individual needs. Sight word list were broken up into chunks of ten words and I believe the children could progress through these list in learning to read and write them. The fourth grader I was talking to about tangrams had his own choice/center folder and he told me they each might have different things to work on in their folders. I'm not sure how the computer program work in the learning lab is personalized but I think there is potential there. When I asked someone who helped over see the learning lab she said she would hold up a picture for the program the children were to be using. I shared with you before the state percentage scores are posted in the room and while I don't think that would be considered personalization some of my friends saw the charts like the one in the photograph at each child's seat with individual goals for each child. I'm not sure we asked enough questions about personalization while we were there.
I am wondering does personalization lead to differentiation? I love working with small groups but is that enough personalization? How can children take more ownership for personalization? I'm wondering if there is a correlation between personalization and student growth and is class size a factor in making personalization successful? Mosaic Elementary had 30 students, so may be not.