We got a great note the other day from Max Roach, a Utah-based educator, and wanted to share it as an example of how some people are using the Learner Sketch Tool with their students.

How are YOU using the tool, or the other resources associated with the Faces of Learning campaign? Share your voice with us . . .

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I just used the Learner Sketch tool with my classes and WOW! It was fantastic. The class is 9th-12th grade Learning Strategies, a class where we explore the constructs of the mind and how our minds’ makeup interacts with academic tasks (among other things). This tool’s exportable PDF learning profile is a fantastic way to frame a meaningful conversation about learning outcomes as an expression of our cognitive strengths and weaknesses. -And of course that we all have them! What I like most about this tool is it gives students, parents and teachers specific strategies to overcome difficulties.

I would recommend this tool for any classroom teacher, parent or student. Whether studying English, math, history, etc., every student can benefit from knowing more about how they learn and getting specific study strategies CUSTOM TAILORED to their learning profile. Here is a basic recap of how I used this tool over two class periods.

Day 1:
1. Whole group demonstration and introduction to Faces of Learning website.
2. Students asked to go online and explore website for 5 minutes.
3. Whole group debrief. Prompt: What did you find that might be of some use on this website?
4. Whole group demo of tool on overhead projector. Note: Demonstrate that there are three areas within the sketchbook and that students should consider each statement carefully before choosing where to put it. Say, “Be sure to place statements that represent a weakness for you in the ‘Not Me’ spot at the bottom of your page.”
5. Students asked to log on to website and complete a learner sketch.
6. Students required to download a copy of their learner sketch for themselves and to email it to their parents as well as to me, their learning strategies teacher.
7. Homework, print and read your learner sketch with your parents (if possible). Be prepared for activities and discussions about the document during the next class.

Day 2:
1. Review/ preview major sections of document on whiteboard: Write: “About Your Sketch, My Strengths, Not Me, Explore More, Ideas for Further Exploration.”
2. Prompt students to share what they recall from each of the sections and write a summary of the purpose of each section on the board alongside the section heading.
3. Students will re-read each section, underlining key points and making comments in margins (active reading strategies previously taught) in preparation for a “Think, Pair, Share.”
4. Think Pair Share: Write prompt on board: “Think about what surprised you, what you already know about yourself, and what could be useful to you in each section (I minute silent review of document section). Discuss one section of the document at a time. (4 minutes each section). -Total five minutes per section for each pair of students.
5. Whole group debrief. Prompt students to share with whole group one section at a time: “What did you find interesting About Your Sketch section? Use terms like “useful,” “meaningful,” “thought provoking,” etc. When you get to the “Not Me” section, point out that the format changes to include “strategies that may help.” Prompt students to share any strategies they found particularly useful. Ask, “Did any of the strategies spur your thinking on another strategy you might use to bypass or improve on a weakness?” Continue section-by section debrief through the rest of the document.
6. Close by recapping the importance of knowing how how we learn as a component of making well-informed and most productive decisions about what to do when we face a learning challenge. Recommend that students share some of their thoughts on these activities with parents.

My students reported that they enjoyed these activities because they were online and user-friendly, not too jargon heavy, and offered meaningful strategies. I could also see this tool used as a homework assignment for parents and students together… -That they complete a Learner Sketch themselves and then guide their children through the process and discuss the document with them. With this tool, the possibilities are endless! …And no, I don’t work for Faces of Learning. ;-)

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