Saturday, May 26, 2012

An adventure in self-pacing

I've been very intrigued with mastery teaching lately (as you might have noticed in my last post), but I've not been sure where or how to start.  I decided that one of the best ideas was to ask my students.  During class this week, I talked to my flippers about mastery teaching.  The whole process of trying to go to mastery teaching, self-pacing, etc. is a little overwhelming for me right now, and I wanted their opinion.  I passed out a sheet that had every video/assignment for our last unit (unit 11) on it, and I basically asked them for their help...what did they think I could do to make this work.  The conversation that came after that was so interesting.  Below are some of the ideas that they came up with:
"You should make groups on Edmodo for each unit, then post all the videos within that group."

"You should post all the videos at once so we can just keep moving through them."

"You should give us a packet that has everything we'll need for a whole unit so we don't need to go searching for materials."

"Maybe we can have a quick check at the beginning of the lesson to see if we really need to do it, or if we already understand it."

Notice how they were all talking in present tense...and this is our last unit together :-( Makes me sad these kids won't be able to see how this turns out.

And one of my favorites:

"This isn't fair, if you would've done this this year, we could've been done in March & been working on extensions!"

From that point on, my flipping group were working at their own pace.  Some students are almost done with the entire Unit 11.  Some students aren't even started because they weren't ready to test yet on Unit 9.  It was very nice to not have to make everyone test when I knew they weren't ready yet. 

Here's what I've discovered so far...
First:  Holy cow have I been holding some kids back by making them stay with me @ my pace.
Second:  Mastery teaching is going to really require students to manage their time well.
Third:  Mastery teaching is going to teach students A LOT about themselves as learners.  Already I've had a few students think they were ready to move on, when it was very evident that they were not.

I look forward to some more experimentation, and the summer, where I'll have some time to create some quizzes to use with my math lessons.

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