Series: Getting Better at Personalized Learning


Common core State Standards

  • ELA:  English Language Arts
  • RI:  Reading Standards for Informational Text 6-12
  • 9-10:  9th & 10th Grades
  • 1: 
    Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text
    says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

Download Common Core State Standards (PDF 1.2 MB)


Common core State Standards

  • ELA:  English Language Arts
  • RI:  Reading Standards for Informational Text 6-\x80\x9312
  • 9-10:  9th & 10th Grades
  • 2: 
    Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course
    of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific
    details; provide an objective summary of the text.

Download Common Core State Standards (PDF 1.2 MB)


Common core State Standards

  • ELA:  English Language Arts
  • W:  Writing Standards 6-12
  • 9-10:  9th & 10th Grades
  • 2d: 
    Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas,
    concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective
    selection, organization, and analysis of content.

    a. Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information to
    make important connections and distinctions; include formatting (e.g.,
    headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to
    aiding comprehension.

    b. Develop the topic with well-chosen, relevant, and sufficient facts, extended
    definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples
    appropriate to the audience'\x80\x99s knowledge of the topic.

    c. Use appropriate and varied transitions to link the major sections of the text,
    create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and

    d. Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to manage the
    complexity of the topic.

    e. Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to
    the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.

    f. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports
    the information or explanation presented (e.g., articulating implications or
    the significance of the topic).

Download Common Core State Standards (PDF 1.2 MB)

Making Learning Personalized & Customized
Lesson Objective: Make learning personalized and customized through a workshop model
Grades 9-12 / ELA / Workshop
ELA.RI.9-10.1 | ELA.RI.9-10.2 | ELA.W.9-10.2d

Thought starters

  1. How does Mr. McComb use success criteria to help students be more self-directed in their learning while making progress towards the standards?
  2. What structures and supports does Mr. McComb have in place to ensure students are engaged and productive during the workshop?
  3. How does Mr. McComb formatively assess students during and after the the workshop?

Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful project and teaching strategy. I'm launching passion education projects this year and this gave me so many ideas! You did a fantastic job scaffolding the tasks and setting the students up for success.

Recommended (0)
Such an informative and cool video with full of information, He had great experiences in his academic life, He delivered his leadership skills to students in better way and also worked with and other ghost professionals in his carrier that is the reason he is becoming much popular in field.
Recommended (0)
hahahhaha good children and good and good stuff nice to see this on social media on digital learning i have another one check this
Recommended (0)
Great video! Love to see this in action at the secondary level! A must see for my teaching staff!
Recommended (1)
I trust that personalized learning is, as it were, much an indistinguishable idea from an Individual Educational Plan (IEP) that is basic for Special Education kids. It ought to show the qualities and shortcoming of the kid. What adjustments of the educational programs and methods should be taken to beat his shortcomings and see that he is not additionally punished by them and how his qualities will be utilized to further his instruction. I am student and get help from to complete my projects. The parent and kid if mature enough ought to be counseled in drawing up the arrangement and given a duplicate of it also.
Recommended (0)


  • Making Learning Personalized & Customized Transcript

    Speaker 1: Last year, I had this wonderful gift of a year to reflect on

    Making Learning Personalized & Customized Transcript

    Speaker 1: Last year, I had this wonderful gift of a year to reflect on education and my own practice, to learn from other great teachers and a look at what other models were out there. The whole time I'm thinking about when I come back to my classroom, how I wan it to be better.

    All right, if you're just coming in, grab a computer and have a seat please.

    My Getting Better Together project this year is to create learning for students that is more personal to them, more based on their interest and their curiosities and the feedback and learning they get to move them along in continuum is more customized to them and their needs.

    Our focus is to continue to think about how do we pursue justice and a big piece of that ...

    When I thought about coming back to the classroom, I thought how can I have structure that allows for students to work in different content areas all at the same time.

    We're going to break into workshop in just a second here.

    For me, a workshop model allows a student to make choices around content while we're still unified in our workaround skills.

    Prison reform, you're going to hop over there in just a second.

    Last June, I gave the students a survey and I chose current event issues that are prevalent in the news and I also offered them other and said, "You tell me what you all care about and we'll try to build a class around that." It was their voice that brought those topics up and then I spent some time building some resources to help their research.

    [crosstalk 00:01:34]

    Let's talk about and share some key ideas.

    The lesson you're about to see today is a full workshop model.

    Where is their main idea?

    First, the mini lesson at the front helps with skills around reading informational text.

    What were they doing up here with these other ideas?

    Speaker 2: Right there, they were like, I guess they were showing the opposing ideas.

    Speaker 1: Then what did they do after that?

    Speaker 2: Then they ...

    Speaker 1: As their reading articles and doing their research, I want to make sure they're also building their skills around identifying key ideas in details.

    What are they doing here?

    Speaker 3: They give you counter examples.

    Speaker 1: Right and what do they do the rest of the article?

    Speaker 4: They prove them out.

    Speaker 1: Think about that as the technique. They lure you in, then once they say this is how it really is, how do they support that? What are the key details?

    One option that you'll have in workshop is try to apply this way of thinking to an article that you're reading for your topic.

    Then the next step, soon as we'll go to different stations within their workshop.

    All right, go ahead.

    Speaker 5: What kinds of jobs are people with major criminal able to get?

    Speaker 1: Some will be interviewing, someone who's working on the social justice they've chosen.

    Speaker 6: How about we tell this side of the story?

    Speaker 1: I had students who were preparing to interview someone who worked for an organization helping refugees here in America. Others will be working on continuing their research on a topic of their choice and I had students who were working with me in a small group to work on a targeted skill. Then finally, some students working on creative writing. They haven't selected these groups. They selected topics and then those topics became mixed groups.

    You should be able to walk through this paper, just follow this direction. Some of this you'll do independently and then some that you'll do together as a group.

    When students go to each of these places, there is a protocol given to them on an assignment sheet and so I don't have to be present with them and walking them through it step by step.

    [crosstalk 00:03:32]

    Speaker 7: Another main thing you can do is just raise awareness so that other people who have the ability to do stuff like that can. You can always try making a YouTube channel.

    Speaker 1: The work that students are doing now is going to culminate in a few pieces. One is an awareness campaign to help shed light on these social justice issues. The other piece is a service project and that's going to need to be a coordinated effort.

    Speaker 8: Try to get a view of someone who actually experienced it, not just trust what the internet says.

    Speaker 1: I think it's a combination of seeing work that goes out and lives in the real world, as well as developing their skills. That, combined with topic choice, really allows them to apply their own talents and interests and curiosities to their learning.

    Did you look at the models of the creative writing?

    Speaker 9: Yeah.

    Speaker 1: Okay and you feel like yours is in line with the models?

    Speaker 9: Yeah.

    Speaker 1: Okay.

    Something that I am working toward and something that I think is key to facilitating more self directed learning is by including and being more definitive in success criteria for students. I think the best example I can give is with their creative writing assignment. On the WIKI are three examples of an excerpt from creative writing that I've written in student voice.

    All right, so we're looking at this first example here which ...

    I provided a voiceover talking about how each one does or does not meet the success criteria to really give students a concrete example for what they're looking for in order to be successful.

    Think about all of the intentional choice in words and phrases that go into creating a sentence like that.

    It really is quite an interesting process to try to figure out how do I set students up for success in the process, but also in the product.

    You're interviewing Danielle McGregon.

    Here in the first few days of this model, I don't want to stress students out with so much change also around a pile of work that is due, due, due, due.

    Is that the one you're trying to get to?

    Speaker 10: This one right here.

    Speaker 1: I think it's okay to let kids settle into this type of work and make an adjustment to it and then once we're used to this kind of work, then hit the accelerator.

    Speaker 11: I think we should start with social service director, what do you do for the company.

    Speaker 1: I had a group of students who selected the topic of criminal justice reform. The students read some press that they've gotten around their work and about their organization and they formed questions.

    Speaker 12: If you're good, I think they're ready to just start hitting you with some questions.

    Speaker 13: Yeah, absolutely.

    Speaker 1: Students make sure they're able to negotiate those terms of prioritizing which question and is it based on who or is it based on the quality of the question.

    Speaker 14: What do you specifically do for the company?

    Speaker 13: Yeah, the company I'm working for right now is called Work Pittsburgh. It's a construction company that hires people with criminal backgrounds and ...

    Speaker 1: Today was our first interview. I didn't how that was going to work, if it was going to work and what that would look like. I'll go back and listen to their recording and reflect with the students afterwards and that will inform how we'll get the next group ready for their next interview.

    Speaker 14: How do you counsel felons into not recidivating?

    Speaker 13: Yeah, great question.

    Speaker 1: There is success criteria around being ready to be prepared for the interview and there's also look-fors. I'm looking for students asking follow up questions. That shows active listening.

    Speaker 14: Do the criminals ever relapse while on ...?

    Speaker 1: They actually went twice as long as he had originally committed to, so that's a sign that it was going well.

    Speaker 13: I'm going to turn the camera around. Here's the factory. This is the house we're working on right now. It's coming along really nice.

    Speaker 1: What a great moment for kids to see the reform that they are researching and working for and raising awareness for live and in action and I think that's a priceless moment for a Tuesday in high school.

    Speaker 13: Thanks so much.

    Speaker 1: Appreciate you.

    Speaker 14: Thank you so much.

    Speaker 1: All right.

    Speaker 13: Best of luck.

    Speaker 1: Cool.

    Speaker 14: Did you see how it works? [crosstalk 00:07:24] They work so hard.

    Speaker 1: Yeah, they wanted you to know they work hard.

    Speaker 14: I'm so proud of them.

    Speaker 1: That's good to hear. Think about this in the context of what you're reading and researching. How can we tell that story to people? How can we make them aware that the way think about criminals and prisons maybe isn't the whole story?

    In all this work, the kids are working toward the standards.

    Speaker 15: You need to do anything ...

    Speaker 1: Kids are working on speaking/listening. Kids are working on their writing skills. Our mini lesson today was all about reading informational text. These skills are what drive all of our work.

    The key for your interview prep is to think about I'm learning about this piece of this issue and I have these questions that I'm pursuing. Where do those two factors cross? Does that make sense?

    Speaker 14: Yes.

    Speaker 1: Okay.

    Speaker 14: You have to do research on this first and then we come up with questions to ask around how we can do it as students.

    Speaker 1: What I'm looking for in any given class within this model is for students to be authentically engaged and making progress in their learning, enough that I'm able to give my attention to small groups of students in targeted ways that can really help them close gaps while other students are still continuing to make progress.

    Your topic is?

    Speaker 16: Refugees.

    Speaker 1: Can you maybe write a sentence where you include the definition of a refugee?

    I had students, who in a previous piece of writing, had used some domain specific terminology without defining it for the reader.

    Speaker 17: A refugee has something going on in their country, like a war or just crisis, like Syria.

    Speaker 1: They're forced, right.

    Last piece of practice, can you maybe write a sentence that you might use in a blog post?

    Speaker 17: Okay.

    Speaker 1: At the same time, there was one student who opted into a conference because she wanted support with her writing.

    Right now you're doing some research around race. Let's talk about this question you have. I don't know what this is and you need to make a point because overwrite. Explain this to me a little bit more.

    Speaker 17: When you try to write an essay, I don't know [inaudible 00:09:27] kind of writing everything.

    Speaker 1: Every idea that comes to mind, okay. Let's try to talk about some concrete terms.

    Having a structure that is flexible, that allows students to make their needs known when the writing is so fresh and the mistake is familiar. It's so important to try and fill in and close that gap in that moment. For that small group of students, I think that that certainly happened.

    Also what you did here that's great is that you said about the commas, that parenthetical statement of yes.

    What I was able to see was students revise that writing so that it was evident and I saw them transfer that skill to a new piece of writing.

    It did take a lot of time, so it took time that students weren't making progress on their projects, but I think as I get to all students that that will even out.

    Speaker 18: How can we help separate the refugees from the view points of ISIS and ISO?

    Speaker 1: There is always the question, if I'm not with them, are they on task, but at the same time even though we're a whole group, are they on task? Are they authentically engaged? Right now I am erring on the side of giving students a choice and trust and ownership in what they're learning is more likely to produce meaningful, authentic engagement, then my decisions around task and time. More might get done, but what value is that? Does that leave students wanting to learn more?

    When we fill out this workshop log, can we try to be a little bit more detailed in not just telling me what you did, but how it went?

    Toward the end of class as I'm collecting workshop logs that will give me a reflection and feedback on the progress they have made for every student.

    Did it make you think about what you're going to research next at all?

    Speaker 18: Yeah.

    Speaker 1: How so?

    I think I want to continue to work through this tension of students saying today "I'm going to work on" and "Here's how it went" and push them to give me a couple of look-fors for the next day. Tomorrow I'm going to work on this and I want to get this accomplished and then how far did we get. How are we going to really pace ourselves? I'm thinking right now about maybe some backward mapping from due dates at this point. Say we've had some days to really get into the learning and work that process, now what needs to happen in the interim to get you there and help you really think about managing your time because time management is really something that's really important for this model to work.

    What do you do next? Research?

    What happened today was great. It's what I'd been hoping I would see for months of thinking and planning.

    Good job.

    To put all those structures in place, all around thing they have chosen and things that matter to them, I wish I was in a high school class like that when I was 15.

Related Blogs

img alt text
Professional Learning

Professional Learning

School Details

Patapsco High & Center For Arts
8100 Wise Ave
Baltimore MD 21222
Population: 1434

Data Provided By:



Sean McComb
English Language Arts / 9 10 11 12 / Teacher


Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Subjects / Collaboration

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Subjects / Planning

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Subjects / Engagement

Lesson Idea

Grades 9-12 / ELA / Tch DIY