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Student Support Structures for Personalized Learning

Providing multiple types of support to balance students’ needs and teachers’ time

Overview

Valor teachers have created a variety of support structures to help students working through their blended content who need additional help. Initial supports are provided by playlists that students work through independently. The playlists contain scaffolded content, starting with the introduction of a topic and moving through more complex material with checkpoints, short self-graded assessments, embedded to identify whether a student has mastered the material and can move on. This ensures students are working at their right level and have access to appropriate resources to meet their learning needs. Many of the online resources included in the playlists also have additional supports embedded, such as the “get help” and “hint” features on Khan Academy.

Support for Valor students also extends beyond blended content. Teachers frequently make use of partner practice following direct instruction, which provides students with the opportunity to help each other clear up any misunderstandings or misconceptions. During independent work, teachers request that students “ask three before me,” meaning they should see if three other students can help them before escalating to the teacher. In addition to reducing the time burden for teachers, this approach not only helps struggling students get support faster, but can also deepen the learning of the students who are providing the support. Lastly, the teacher is available to support students upon request and is often circulating the room to provide support when able to do so.