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Wednesday, October 21, 2020
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30 Day eLearning Challenge

Day 10 #30DC14: Differentiate Lessons With Power My Learning

Power Up

Have you heard these questions and cringed on the last two?:

  1. What do we expect our students to learn?
  2. How will we know they are learning?
  3. How will we respond when students are not learning?
  4. What will we do if they already know it?

If you are like me, trying to answer questions 3 and 4 are so much tougher than questions 1 and 2.  When put on the spot, the typical answer is some sort of differentiation, yet how do you accomplish this efficiently with an entire classroom of students? The easy answer could be Power My Learning!  Power My Learning is a tool allowing teachers the opportunity to customize learning experiences as playlists for individual students.  The resources on this site are carefully collected and checked for rigor to ensure only the highest quality options are made available.  Each activity is closely matched with a corresponding standard and indicator thus streamlining the search for specific standards and/or skills.

Getting Started

Go to powermylearning.org/.  From there you will need to set up your class.  Don’t worry, these steps are simple and easy to complete.

Power My Learning

Power My Learning

Save the Class Code Number.  When students log in, they will need this Class Code to find your class more quickly than performing a search.  Note:  I would probably type this code into a flipchart with a large font so all of the students can view the code at once.

Next, students will need to open Chrome, go to powermylearning.org, and click Signup or Join Now.  Here are the next steps just for the students to complete.

Power My Learning

Power My Learning

Back On The Teacher Side

Now that your students have set up their accounts, you are going to want to assign some activities to either individual students, specific groups of students, or an entire class or classes. There are a couple of ways to search the site. I prefer the drill down method which begins with #2 below.

Power My Learning

Take a look at the results.  You can preview any of the activities to see if they would be applicable for your students.  If you find an activity that fits the bill, simply click Add to Playlist.

Power My Learning

Lastly, all that is left is to assign this playlist to students.

Power My Learning

Power My Learning is truly a simple, but dynamic tool to use.  It will easily improve your abilities to differentiate content for students.  You will no longer hesitate on numbers 3 and 4 below when someone asks you:

  1. What do we expect our students to learn?
  2. How will we know they are learning?
  3. How will we respond when students are not learning?
  4. What will we do if they already know it?

Your answer will be powermylearning.org!

Additional Resources

If Power My Learning is a great start, but you still would like to find more free differentiation resources  via digital tools try:

Suggested Uses

  • Reteaching
  • Remediation
  • Enrichment
  • Small Group Differentiation

Why It Matters (Teaching Rubric)

The essential teacher competency of Instructional Delivery (competencies 2.1 and 2.2) includes addressing individual student needs and maximizing student achievement.  Using Power My Learning allows the teacher to differentiate for individuals, small groups, and classes.  Students can use this resource for remediation or enrichment and anywhere else along that continuum of learning.

The Challenge

I think the real question here is not if you differentiate for your students, but how do you differentiate for your students?  How would you use powermylearning, learnzillion, or goorulearning with your students?  How do your groupings work for you – struggles or successes!


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29 comments

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Stacie Inman December 8, 2014 at 8:10 pm

I like the idea to find a standard and drill down. It seems much more user friendly and more interesting for students than other tools I have tried to differentiate. I will have to check it out.

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Latricia Barnes November 13, 2014 at 5:19 pm

I created an account on Power My Learning, but I’m still not quite sure how students access the site. Do they log in under students and then enter the teacher access code? Something else to consider is if I have to continually create assignments or can students just explore the subjects that interest them? I would like to implement this into my computer lab for second graders, but will need to explore the site myself a bit more.

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S Wright November 13, 2014 at 3:37 pm

Finally! A tool that includes Science and Social Studies, not just Language Arts and Math. I cannot wait to let my students loose on this site. I teach 5th grade Science and Social Studies. One of my classes consists of the Special Ed children and other struggling students. I can really see how this might help me to better their engagement in the topics. I constantly struggle trying to find a way to get the 5th grade standards across to students who read at only a first or second grade level. I think this will really help. The ability to filter activities that are iPad friendly is a big plus since we are a 1:1 school with iPads. I also really like that I can create my own playlists to assign to my students. I’m going to share this with my colleagues first thing tomorrow!

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Patty Horn November 13, 2014 at 8:12 am

I have just registered myself with Power My Learning. I am very anxious to try it as I feel that I do very little differentiation in my health classes because I don’t know practical ways to do it. So I am going to make myself familiar with this site and hopefully begin doing a better job of differentiating.

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Stacie Inman November 11, 2014 at 9:24 pm

Well, this is yet another idea to add to my list. Do you happen to know any third grade teachers who use it?

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Shane Brogan November 9, 2014 at 9:22 pm

I have a wide range of levels in my Pre-Algebra class. This site will work for me on computer lab days as a way to remediate my students who are struggling and a way to enrich my ones who do. We mostly use Acuity remediation during computer lab days but with some topics not yet being taught I can use Power My Learning to dig deeper into others that have been covered.

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Heather Coy November 7, 2014 at 5:06 pm

My teaching partner was ahead of me in the 30 Day Challenge (he has a student teacher), so he had called me over to check out Power My Learning. We immediately saw its value to our class and spent some time searching the available activities. I like the easy-to-us search parameters and the depth of information included in the literature activities. A lesson on The Epic of Gilagmesh includes the text, but also maps, timelines, and historical background. All the elements that are included in a standard textbook (which my class doesn’t use) but presents it in a less linear fashion. Students can make choices about where to go first based on their own interests.

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Melissa Mayer November 5, 2014 at 1:03 pm

This is a new site for me. I am the keyboarding and technology teacher so I do not teach core subjects. I could use this for them to go to if they finish a project early. I will be sure to share this with all of our teachers. I help during an intervention time so this could be something I use with that group. I like the report aspect so teachers can upload that information for their evaluation as an artifact.

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Chad Fetscher November 5, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Anytime I am at a professional development meeting or am presented with something “new” I always think to myself, what would this look like in my classroom? It didn’t take long to see how Power My Learning would become a permanent fixture in my classroom. In a student centered classroom it can sometimes be difficult to keep each student moving forward with meaningful tasks while you are helping their classmates. Power My Learning changes that. You are able to create a “playlist” of activities for students to complete. It isn’t just checking off one item after another but presents them with tasks that build skills to help push mastery of a key idea or standard. Playlists can be adjusted to each student which makes meaningful differentiation much easier. It enhances the way that you serve a students needs by providing them opportunities to grow them in certain areas while also providing an extension and push for stretching a student. I was happy with the multitude of activities and the ability to search within a subject matter and to adjust it by grade level. This is a keeper for us.

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Keshia Seitz November 4, 2014 at 12:47 pm

I am so excited to share these with my teachers! I am going to start by creating a test class and will practice with my own children! Several times over the past year and a half that I have been in my current role, I have reinforced the need to progress monitor, differentiate instruction, and reteach. However, up until now, I haven’t suggested a tool to neatly organize this information! What I really like about this tool is that the students can use one account to join more than one class via the class codes. Thanks so much for sharing this resource!

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Gayle Kiesel November 3, 2014 at 3:09 pm

The potential to move students who already know and understand the basics to the next level is exciting! In every presentation, there are always students who need more detailed explanations and those who are ready for more advance instruction.

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Kelly Bratcher November 3, 2014 at 12:55 pm

I would love to use one of these tools. The problem is that I don’t teach one of the core classes, so they never have any content for my classes. We are starting to use My Big Campus this year. I did see in here where you can assign different students or groups material. They also have a feature where you can bundle material and add locks where a student cannot move forward until they have reached a certain level of mastery. What I have currently been doing to differentiate in my web design class is use a tool called blendspace. I will put how to videos & instructions into the blendspace lesson. I will add extra how to videos for the advanced user. So when we learned photoshop, I only required them to use certain tools, but the advanced user could explore the other videos and use the more advanced tools in their project. Often times I fee like we teach to the middle level and add support for the lower level, but the advanced students get left out. These sites would allow us to reach all levels.

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Peter Barringer November 3, 2014 at 10:39 am

I differentiate on larger projects by allowing students to demonstrate proficiency in a variety of ways. In daily lessons, I group students by ability level and in mixed-level settings. I also use multiple intelligences as much as possible. However, those only address questions one and two.

I think questions 3 and 4 require extra thought and effort, which is why many of us have a harder time answering them. It’s easy to tell students who “get it” to work on Achieve articles or give them extra work for the sake of giving them something to do, but that’s not differentiation. In English classes, we always have the option of giving more difficult readings to the higher students and assessing them over the same standards. A site like this one would provide another measurable and specific way that you’re addressing student needs.

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Stacie Inman November 2, 2014 at 5:50 pm

Interesting! I may have to check it out!

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JD Weagley November 1, 2014 at 12:24 pm

This is new to me. I love learning about new tools that could benefit my students and this is one of those tools. As we move towards a 1:1 environment, Power My Learning could become a key tool for me – though it is just going off of what you have posted here – the site has a run time error as I have tried to explore it more (I will keep trying, as it looks like a great platform). I am also checking out some of the additional resources posted – I am liking what I am seeing from Gooru. I need to become better at differentiating my lessons, these tools might just help me do that!

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Shelley Breivogel October 31, 2014 at 8:31 pm

I’m so excited about trying Power My Learning! I can’t believe it is free! Since I teach computer class, I think I may begin by using this when students have any extra time between instruction or after completing projects we’re working on in class. It would be great if I could find a site like this that would solely address technology standards and skills. Most sites I’ve come across for differentiation have a steep price tag. Raz Kids is an awesome program. There is a cost, but Raz-Kids is well worth it!

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Jo Burns October 31, 2014 at 8:30 pm

Power My Learning sounds like an awesome site! I am excited to give it a try. I can see many uses with my Virtual Academy students. I think this will provide an excellent venue for assisting them in the mastery of their coursework.

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Patricia Claybaugh October 31, 2014 at 1:32 pm

I have used similar websites like Power My Learning in the past to differentiate lessons. I used Compass Odyssey before with a lot of success. I made an account on Power My Learning to see how I might be able to use this website. I liked the layout and it did have many different topics to choose from. One thing that I did notice is that you have to create a separate account for each student. That probably would not be an issues if the student could create an account themselves, but in first grade I would need to make all of my 25 students an account. Comparatively, I like that on Raz Kids, another differentiation website, I don’t have to create a separate account for each student. I can simply add them to my account. Also, while it is nice that Power My Learning compiles a diverse amount of resources from other websites, I would advise that teachers test the lessons before adding them to a playlist. I noticed that some of the sites that I worked with on Power My Learning either didn’t work properly or sometimes the procedures aren’t the way that we teach the skills. (Such as adding numbers to a ten frame.) I have had a lot of success adding sites to Symbaloo and using that as a differentiation tool.

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Daniel Watson October 31, 2014 at 1:48 pm

I am unfamiliar with Compass Odyssey. Is that a free service? I am going to Google it and take a look for myself. Yes, creating student accounts individually would be a pain, unless you were self-contained and had a smaller class. Screening games ahead of time before sending students to these resources are key.

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Patricia Claybaugh October 31, 2014 at 3:17 pm

Here is the link to it. (https://www.thelearningodyssey.com/). It’s not a free service. However, the EVSC has purchased it for the Virtual Academy and the title one schools.

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Jo Burns October 31, 2014 at 8:28 pm

Daniel, Compass Learning Odyssey is the current lesson delivery system being used by EVSC Virtual Academy. We hold k-8 license for or corporation’s use. Other teachers use parts of it for differentiation lessons. It is available for up to 999 students.

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Daniel Watson November 1, 2014 at 11:19 pm

Yeah after I did some digging I realized that it wasn’t a free program and then it hit me – DUH! The Virtual Academy uses it!!! I can’t believe I forgot that!

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sfeller2013 October 31, 2014 at 11:05 am

I have not heard of this site, but by signing in and checking it out it looks like a wonderful tool. I am going to send this site to all of the teachers here at school. It is a wonderful way to differentiate learning, it will be a good review for students. Parents being able to look at the site too, is definitely a plus. Giving reports is also another plus for this site.

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Daniel Watson October 31, 2014 at 12:17 pm

Yes I forgot to mention much about the report feature. It is nice to track to see how students are doing and how much time they are spending in the system. Plus you can print out these reports and upload for teacher evals.

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aknueven (@MrCoachK15) October 31, 2014 at 8:03 am

Doing a quick setup and exploring Power My Learning, I can absolutely see this being used in some supplemental math and language arts classes; keeping up with curriculum but supplemental activities for all levels. Even though Indiana isn’t using the Common Core and that’s how the site searches and labels standards, there are still great things here.

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Daniel Watson October 31, 2014 at 8:11 am

Yeah I am hoping that they will offer state specific standards for those of us that are no longer using CCSS. However, since several of the standards are similar, this site can still be a good resource to accomplish differentiation of student learning.

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Leah Simon October 31, 2014 at 6:34 am

Man, I want to try this with my freshmen algebra students! They are all over the place with their math skills from barely able to do basic add/subtract/multiply without a calculator to doing high school algebra easily- I could plan this so everyone had something to work on at the same time but different concepts. Can I get a day off to do all that I want?!:>

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Daniel Watson October 31, 2014 at 7:46 am

Amen. Yeah I feel like to really understand how to use a tool, you need time yourself to go in and explore. You are right on about the range of skill work Power My Learning Offers. Definitely can build math fluency with computational skills, but then also you can push into deeper levels of understanding with enrichment activities. Plus, since each activity is already correlated to a standard/indicator, it is easy to relate back for accountability purposes!

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Connie Scharre November 7, 2014 at 1:23 pm

The minute I read this I was thinking the same thing. Tell the math teachers! Talk about a subject where you can’t advance without the previous skills. My 9 year old daughters teacher has to break up her kids in various “levels” in order to get them somewhat close in ability but not everyone understands the skills at the same time even within a group. On the other perspective, I love the idea of enrichment. Give kids who are out ahead of the game more to challenge them.

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