Teacher Spotlight: Shawna Carosello

Personalized Learning

Teachers are presented with diverse groups of learners that have a variety of knowledge, skills, talents, and interests. The challenge is to create a classroom in which every student is motivated and challenged at just the right level. Shawna Carosello has been working hard to personalize the learning for every student in her classroom in a variety of ways. One of the ways that she does this is by leveraging digital devices, many educators call this blended learning.

For the current unit of study on The Wanderings of Odysseus, she has created a playlist for students to choose their own learning path. The playlist is in both English and Spanish allowing students to use the language of their choice and for parents to be able to support at home in both languages. The playlist allows students to click on one of the learning targets which is linked to a learning task. The students use the resources on that page to complete the task and demonstrate that they have mastered the learning target. Students can choose the different tasks that they want to complete to show mastery of the learning target.

For example, if students click on the learning target, I can analyze the impact of figurative and connotative meanings, it takes the student to a page that presents them with a few different choices of how to demonstrate this understanding using the book The Wanderings of Odysseus.

Students all read the book and then use the playlist to choose a personalized path for demonstrating mastery of the literacy standards. This provides a large amount of choice and voice in the student learning and encourages students to be independent learners and leaders of their own learning.

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Classroom Environment

The classroom environment in Mrs. Carosello's classroom also lends itself to a lot of student choice when it comes to the environment in which they feel most comfortable. She has created many different seating choices and areas in her classroom so students can choose to work alone or collaboratively with others. When you walk in the classroom you will see chairs, benches, sofas, high table tops, low table tops, bean bag chairs, netted chairs, rocking chairs, stools, and more.

Odysseus Uses Global Outcomes to Overcome Obstacles

My favorite task is the Global Outcome Task. For this task students must identify 3 obstacles that Odysseus faces in the book in which he uses GO skills to overcome. The expectation for students is to use evidence from the literature to explain the thinking as to why Odysseus used that particular GO to overcome his obstacle. In addition, they must connect that GO to an obstacle they have faced in their own lives which prompts them to self-reflect.

Recently teachers from Tanzania and Costa Rica visited Mrs. Carosello's classroom to see how she uses personalized learning to increase student engagement and learning.

Innovative Educator

Shawna Carosello is always looking for ways to make her instruction innovative and more engaging for her students. She collaborated with instructional coach, Sonja Greenway to develop this personalized learning journey for her students.

In addition to teaching 7th grade language arts, she teaches a VEX robotics class to middle school students and coaches the middle school VEX robotics team with Nick Gooch. Mrs. Carosello knew nothing about VEX robotics until last summer when she took two classes to learn about it in order to bring this incredible opportunity to our middle school! Mrs. Carosello fully encompasses the term lifelong learner!

Thank you Mrs. Carosello!

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