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Personalized Learning in the Middle Grades

How do educators personalize learning to engage, inspire & motivate students?


"Personalized Learning in the Middle Grades: A Guide for Classroom Teachers and School Leaders" by Penny A. Bishop, John M. Downes & Katy Farber

We’re pleased to share that our new book, Personalized Learning in the Middle Grades: A Guide for Teachers and School Leaders, will be available beginning May 7th.

It’s available now for preorder.

Teachers in grades five through eight can use personalized learning plans (PLPs) to increase student agency and engagement. PLPs help students establish learning goals aligned with their interests and assess their own learning. This particularly improves essential skills that cut across disciplines.

Drawing on our research and work with 50 schools in Vermont, we show how personalized learning aligns with effective middle grades practice. We provide in-depth examples of how educators have implemented PLPs in a wide range of schools, representing different demographics and grade configurations. Grounded in experience and full of engaging examples, artifacts, and tools (generously shared with us by Vermont educators), this book builds on the emerging field of personalized learning. It connects personalized learning with the developmental needs of middle schoolers to provide a valuable resource for classroom teachers, teacher teams, school leaders, teacher educators, and others.

Advance Praise for the Book

This book blends theory with practice, weaves what we know about young adolescents and best practices in middle grades, and gives specific, detailed descriptions of every aspect needed to implement personalized learning. Personalized Learning in the Middle Grades provides theory, tools, examples, and insights to develop an exemplary middle school. As a middle grades advocate, I love how this book details how we can meet the needs of young adolescents using this practice. — Nancy Ruppert, professor and chair, Department of Education, University of North Carolina, Asheville, and past president, Association for Middle Level Education

Personalized Learning in the Middle Grades is a must-have guide for anyone wishing to implement or improve personalized learning in the school or classroom. It is chock-full of vignettes, research-based rationales, and practical how-tos that give middle level educators a clear picture of personalized learning as well as the tools and strategies needed to create a student-centered culture that fosters academic learning and personal growth in the best way possible. — Patti Kinney, National Middle Level Principal of the Year, and past president, Association for Middle Level Education

List of Chapters

  1. Personalized Learning for Young Adolescents
  2. Personalized Learning Plans (PLPs)
  3. Laying the Groundwork for Personalized Learning
  4. Launching PLPs with “The Learner Profile”
  5. Designing Flexible Learning Pathways for Young Adolescents
  6. Scaffolding for Equitable, Deeper Learning
  7. PLPs and Proficiency-Based Assessment
  8. PLPs, Goal-Setting and Student-Led Conferences
  9. Sustaining Innovation in Your Classroom, Team or School

Supported by and for the #vted environment

We have spent the last 10 years talking to teachers and students about their amazing work. We’ve been guests in your classrooms and helped you tell your stories. We have seen what it takes to make student-centered innovative school change possible. And we are incredibly thankful to those teachers and students, without whom this book would not have been possible.