Academic Culture

Introduction to Mastery Based Learning

In the traditional classroom, time is constant and understanding is variable from student to student. The Flipped Mastery model inverts the traditional relationship between time and understanding, letting understanding be the constant and time be variable. All of my students are held to the same high standards, but they master standards at a pace they feel comfortable with and are ready for. Initially, many of my students are confused about what a self-paced mastery-based class is all about, so my co-teacher and I find it helpful to introduce the concept to our students in a very strategic and explicit way at the beginning of each school year. 

Strategy Resources (3)
Poster
 
 
Given that mastery-based learning is a new concept for most students, I hang this poster, explaining the mastery cycle, at the front of my classroom.
Student Handout
 
 
This is the syllabus I send home for parents to sign on the first day of class. Given that mastery- based grading is novel not only for my students, but the parents as well, strong parent communication is essential. The syllabus helps parents understand mastery-based grading and what is expected from my students to pass each trimester.
Poster
 
 
Given that mastery-based learning is a new concept for most students, I hang this poster, explaining the mastery cycle, at the front of my classroom.
Student Handout
 
 
This is the syllabus I send home for parents to sign on the first day of class. Given that mastery- based grading is novel not only for my students, but the parents as well, strong parent communication is essential. The syllabus helps parents understand mastery-based grading and what is expected from my students to pass each trimester.
Benjamin Siegel
New Visions Charter High School for the Humanities II
Bronx, NY


 

About this strategy

Prep Time:
Long
Subject:
Math
Grade:
Tenth grade
Similar Strategies
Instructional Openings
Demo Discussion

The Demo Discussion is a strategy I use to provide an interesting and memorable in-class demonstration of complex concepts that my students will learn about in class on a given day, using a variety of digital resources. The Demo Discussion is an excellent way to promote student curiosity about scientific phenomena. The "demos" provide access points for my students to witness and wonder about complicated chemical processes that they will eventually explore and understand at a much deeper level. By leveraging additional physical and digital tools, I can facilitate in-depth analysis and support the development of models to explain the science behind the demo. This strategy also allows me to surface my students' questions and interests about the day's Learning Targets (please see the "Learning Targets" strategy video), to which I can refer and make connections throughout our exploration of that content.

 
Instructional Closings
Quick Write Summary

Truly understanding science requires my students to think in ways they might not have experienced before. Conceptualizing something that our eyes can't always see is difficult, and so it's valuable to provide graphic organizers, visual models, and other support tools as resources that my students can access while diving into content. One of the richest ways to get students to build their own methods and approaches to solving problems is to allow them to think on paper. Lessons involving direct instruction are always broken into small segments with short, casual writing periods built into the end of each one. These Quick Write Summaries are meant to focus on content construction and are free of structural analysis. I don't grade them, but I'll always help students put together their thoughts and present them with questions that guide them to the answer. Writing-to-learn strategies like the Quick Write Summary help visual learners with long-term comprehension of scientific terminology and sets the stage for students demonstrating their knowledge through writing in future assessments. 

 
Stakeholder Collaboration
Ben's Approach to Collaboration & Communication

Communicating and collaborating with both colleagues and students' families is crucial in a blended environment. This is especially true if a teacher is doing something that looks very different from other teachers at his school. Check out how Ben communicates and collaborates with both his colleagues at school and his students' families and how his methods of communication and collaboration have evolved over time.

 
 
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