TSo, after a couple snow days and changes in schedule, I am now ready to share what I have learned so far since starting this personalized learning journey with my third graders. After explaining all of the resources and going through each part of schoology assignments with my students, the feedback I got was that they were feeling stressed and overwhelmed about the amount of choice. Many admitted they weren't comfortable with that much choice and weren't sure what I expected of them, so I changed somethings around. I kept my discussion pages, kept all the information on Schoology, but I simplified the project information and told students that for the first few weeks, they don't need to think about the projects at all. I asked them to erase any project fears from their memories. I also told them that for the first week or so, I would not be holding any mini lessons as I wanted students to get as comfortable with the idea of choice as possible. I also had students only make a choice between the orchestra and the composers to help lessen some stress and ease them into it. I functioned during these classes as a "tech coach" helping students utilize the resources they had in the best possible way. I started to end the choice based learning time about 5 minutes early to discuss what they had done. In three columns, I asked students who chose to learn about the composers share any information they had in their own words. I did the same for students who worked on the orchestra as well. During the last lesson of the first week, I added the choice to sing along with So-Me stories, written by Stuart Manins, with the CD reading along and helping reinforce pitch for students as they worked together in a small group. That option was then added to the columns we discussed at the end of class. Below is a picture of one of the third grade discuss what you learned columns. I used this to show students that they were learning on their own, and didn't need me to stand in front of them in order for them to leave the classroom with something new in their brain that they didn't learn before. When I asked for feedback from students about the personalized learning "experiment" as we call it, most students said they were feeling more comfortable and they were excited that they were learning on their own. They really were proud of being able to leave class with their own new information to share with their classmates who were doing other things, and also their parents. Many students also shared comments about their learning in the discussion pages on Schoology as well. Simplifying and taking the process a little bit slower and easing the students into choice and voice in their learning was much easier for them to understand the importance of their learning and to feel more comfortable about the "experiment".
The picture below shows students at work using their 1:1 devices to explore the pathways of the orchestra and composers(Mozart, Joplin, Grant-Still, Amy Beach, Fanny Mendelssohn, Clara Schumann). You can see that students were using a lot of different resources on their devices to learn about the pathways in different ways. Students chose a pathway at the beginning of class, and delved into it using the resources they chose from the Schoology page.
Below is a tiny chunk of video showing students who chose to work on their pitch matching and music reading using the So-Me stories by Stuart Manins. It was taken toward the end of class, but these ladies were singing throughout the class along with the books.