My students are wrapping up their unit on multiplying fractions, so we are now doing some quick review before we take our assessment. I had 2 students who did an entire review page without missing a single question. The rest of the class...not so much...so what do I do with them? Make them sit through review that they don't need? That brings me to my current issues, which all surround mastery teaching.
I've always been frustrated with the fact that as a teacher, I'm almost forced into teaching to the middle kids. Going too slow for the high kids, and often too fast for the low kids. I've found that my flipped class (as I currently teach it) allows me to reach out more to some of the students who are having issues. It also allows the higher kids to proceed to extension projects. Now I'll be the first to admit, my extensions need work (right now it's limited to things I can find on-line that are already created because I honestly just don't have the time to work on them).
I'm also finding that when it comes time to take our assessment, the students either totally get it, or totally don't-there isn't much in between. Typically I spend a week reviewing before the test, in hopes that the students who didn't get it yet, will understand when it's not new content. I think that catches some of the kids, but again, not enough. Plus, what are the kids who already have it doing? Twiddling their thumbs (obviously I don't have them sitting there twiddling their thumbs, they are most often helping other students). But is that the best use of their time? For some kids, maybe it is. They thrive on being able to help others. For others, perhaps not. Their time might be better spent moving on.
So back to the topic...mastery teaching. I would LOVE to have the freedom to let kids truly learn at their own pace. I would REALLY LOVE it if my students took ownership of their learning. Take the assessment when they are ready, when they truly have mastered the content.
I brought this up to my principal, and I think I might have him on board with it for next year. However, that makes me very, very, very nervous for several reasons.
Reason #1: What if a student doesn't get through it all (all meaning the content)?
Reason #2: What if a child lacks self discipline and doesn't do anything all year?
Reason #3: What if a student gets through everything with a month left?
And what about these potential issues:
Issue #1: How in the world do you keep track of where every student is at in the curriculum?
Issue #2: Holy cow! I could see having to have 5 different sets of materials ready for each day.
Issue #3: Will I now need to make quizzes for each lesson objective to determine if the students are ready for the "assessment"?
Bonus #1: With the flipped class, assuming I use the same videos, I should be able to meet each kid at their level/content area.