This year is a year like NO other. We have had to adapt and change, especially in regards to technology. I’ve been fortunate to have one-to-one devices with my students the past 5 years and I thought I was tech savvy. However, this year technological skills have exploded as we navigate through various models of distance learning. If anything good has come out of this pandemic it’s that our students and us have learned SO much more about technology integration in the classroom and how to use different platforms. One AWESOME and super interactive type of resource I’ve been delving into is ‘Learning Paths’. They are similar to Multimedia Text Sets if you are familiar with those, but if not I’m glad you’re here to learn! These are a GREAT way to get your kiddos from the scaffolding stage to mastery of a skill exclusively using technology! Here you’ll learn all the different pieces of a Learning Path and see how to use them. I will also share with you templates and bundles for you to create your own or use ready to go material in your virtual classroom. I’ve created a Learning Path for Addition Within 10 so you can see exactly how this works for students and how they can navigate through the path on their own. Are you excited?! I know I am! Let’s get started!
The Learning Path Components
Learning Paths are amazing because they could be created for any skill, from literacy to math and all the proficiencies in between that you may be teaching your students. As stated earlier, with this resource we will be taking students from beginning to end of mastery with a skill. The components of the path include a mini lesson, various learning activities for practice, and assessments. In the paths I’ve created, I add in a read aloud piece because who doesn’t love literature?! If you feel emboldened to take on creating a path yourself, I also made an editable template where can house all the specific pieces of your students’ learning. As you can see students will always begin with the mini lesson and end with the formative assessment. The real powerful part are the activities because it allows for ample student choice. Whatever practice activity they choose in between is up to them! Now that you know the components, let’s dive into the specific pieces of the path and what that can look like for students.
Starting with a mini lesson provides students with just the right amount of background knowledge and new content for students to understand and interact with. The cool thing about all this technology is that you can get really creative with your mini lessons since engagement over these screens is crucial. There are a multitude of options for creating your own mini lesson for students, such as Google Slides, Tik Toks, Youtube, or Instagram Reels. Platforms such as Edpuzzle and Nearpod have begun to include more engaging tools to use while teaching. When using these platforms you are able to record your lesson in that program and while students are working through your lesson, they can interact with the content while learning! You can add questions for students to answer and even link a quiz for them to take after learning. No matter what tool you use for your mini lesson, make sure they are mini. The reason they’re so important is because they’re MINI. There is significant research that students lose focus after about 6 minutes so make sure your lessons over the screen don’t exceed that before you engage them in some sort of interaction.
This is the most fun and flexible part of our learning paths because your learning activities can literally be ANY digital activity you want! I love housing my Learning Paths in Google because it is easy for students to navigate to tons of other platforms. As you can see in the path I’ve created, students are utilizing Boom, Google Slides, and YouTube. You could insert a game link to Khan Academy, transport students on a field trip by linking a virtual museum tour, and even lock them into a digital escape room to find clues to breakout! You are only limited by your creativity! Possibilities are endless and you can really gear these activities to cater to all of your student’s interests and modalities of learning. These learning paths help us gain back a sense of flexibility in our teaching and allows for more student choice because they are able to choose what fun activities to engage in to reach mastery of the skill. Take a look below at some of the different activities I’ve created for students to use with Addition Within 10.
Why not have students always reading?! I’ve chosen to include a read aloud in my path because there are TONS of great books out there that help emphasize skills for just about everything; literacy, math, science, social justice, history, the list goes on and on. Having students consistently engaging with text is so important and I want them to read books as much as I can facilitate for them. But again, the beauty of this learning path is that it is FLEXIBLE! Don’t want a read aloud? Take it out! Include something different! I love how easy these are to edit and make your own to meet the needs of YOUR students.
We all know assessment drives instruction and so of course these are a KEY part of The Learning Path and should be completed at the end of learning. After we go through all the hard work of teaching the lesson and facilitate opportunities for students to practice the skill, we need to know that they mastered the skill. We do this with assessments. If mastery isn’t achieved, we can look at the data to see where my students still need some instruction. But how do we assess students digitally? Google Forms are my FAVORITE new way to create formative assessments for students! They take a little time to play around with to learn all the different tools, but are really fairly simple to use. However I must say, the best part about digital assessments is the fact that they are automatically graded for you! And if that wasn’t enough, it also gives you data trends by the entire class or by individual students! I was shocked and amazed to discover this feature. Why have I not been using these sooner?! Here are some pictures below of the assessment I created for Addition Within 10. You can also see how the assessment breaks it down by trend and student.
SAVE YOU SOME TIME!
Sometimes we just want someone to do it for us. That’s why I’ve begun creating these paths for educators. These paths include EVERYTHING you need to teach and assess your students. I’ve started with first grade math standards but will soon be diving into reading standards as well. Have a different grade and skill you want a Learning Path for? Let me know! You love the path but want to use your own mini lesson or activities? No problem! These are COMPLETELY editable and you can keep or take out anything you don’t want or need. Each path will include separate resources that can be purchased individually or as a complete bundle with the whole path. Want to do it all yourself? There’s a completely blank template you can use as well! You can grab just the template to fill in your own lesson, activities, and assessments, or the entire bundle and have all the work done for you! With the bundle you even get an added bonus of a How-To video for teachers to utilize all features of the path! You can also check out my Instagram for in-depth stories on more benefits of The Learning Path.
Something brand new I’m starting is Custom Bundles. You can pick and choose ANY of The Learning Path components you would like and bundle them together at a discounted price! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will create a custom bundle to meet the needs of you and your students.
Thanks for reading and learning with me here! Don’t forget to subscribe to my email list! You will get the most up to date tips, tricks, and classroom projects… and of course more fun FREEBIES including the Addition Within 10 Assessment for Google Forms FREEBIE! If you would like to learn about this and other things happening in my classroom follow me @sweetnsauerfirsties on Instagram.
To follow me on TPT and get all the latest updates on HALF OFF new products, click HERE!