Independent Student Learning

Self-Paced Writing Prompts

Initially, the writing product was the major focus in my classroom. I noticed the products overall were not meeting grade level standards. Therefore the focus shifted to the writing process and doing each part of the process well. Giving students the opportunity to choose not only the place but also the pace at which they complete a prompt significantly changed the learning outcomes and products. A self-paced writing prompts give students the option to choose the order in which they will complete the writing prompts assigned for a unit of study. Making the writing prompts self-paced also gives students the freedom and latitude to simultaneously grapple with content and the writing process to produce a quality product.  

Strategy Resources (2)
Online Student Resource
 
 
Snapshot of workflow guide on our class wiki. It outlines the activities students may choose to work on independently.
 
Online Student Resource
 
 
Snapshot of workflow guide on our class wiki. It outlines the activities students may choose to work on independently.
Tanesha Dixon
Wheatley Education Campus
Washington, DC

Initially, the writing product was the major focus in my classroom. I noticed the products overall were not meeting grade level standards. Therefore the focus shifted to the writing process and doing each part of the process well. Giving students the opportunity to choose not only the place but also the pace at which they complete a prompt significantly changed the learning outcomes and products. A self-paced writing prompts give students the option to choose the order in which they will complete the writing prompts assigned for a unit of study. Making the writing prompts self-paced also gives students the freedom and latitude to simultaneously grapple with content and the writing process to produce a quality product.  

 

About this strategy

Prep Time:
Long
Subject:
Social Studies
Grade:
Eighth grade
Similar Strategies
Instructional Openings
Independent Learning Zone Expectations

At the beginning of each Independent Learning Zone class session, I do a quick review of Independent Learning Zone Expectations. This strategy encourages the whole class to come together as a community with common expectations in mind before students begin working independently for the remainder of the class.

 
Stakeholder Collaboration
Teacher Assistant Support

Even with the best set of directions students still needed some guidance or individual assistance. My school currently uses a full inclusion model (Special Education students are included in the general education classes) and SPED students often need additional support. I want all my students to learn to be independent and take ownership of their learning but I also do not want them to "suffer in silence" if they need help or are incapable of access the material. Having a co-teacher adds an extra set of hands and eyes to the classroom and gives my the flexibility to even create multiple classrooms within the class.

 
Blended Learning Model Overviews
School of One Mastery-Based Model

In 2011, my school was awarded a grant that brought the School of One mastery-based blended learning model to MS88.  School of One allows students to learn at their own pace in a totally redesigned, open classroom that can fit well over 100 students in different centers of the room.   Students are assessed at the beginning of the year and given a “learning trajectory” for the entire year.  Every day, each student is assigned new individualized lessons in different parts of the classroom in one of seven different learning modalities: virtual instruction/reinforcement, independent practice, small group/peer-to-peer collaboration, live investigation, and task projects.  At the end of each class, we use an “exit slip” to evaluate and regroup students based on their progress. They are required to demonstrate mastery in each skill or concept before they can move onto new skills and concepts.


Number of Students: ~300 students

Number of Adults: six teachers; one Operations Technology Associate; SPED teacher(s) and/or paraprofessionals (as needed)

Length of Class Period/Learning Time: 92 minutes (divided into two 36 minute sessions)

Digital Content/Ed Tech Tools Used on a Regular Basis: proprietary web-based software;  IXL, LearnZillion, VirtualNerd, Khan Academy, MangaHigh, Math XL, TenMarks, I Can Learn,  Khan Academy, Engrade, Educreations, Padlet, Remind, Weebly, Google Apps for Education

Hardware Used on a Regular Basis: student laptops (1:1), iPads for teachers, SMARTboards

Key Features: competency-based; student agency;individualized learning paths; project-based; innovative use of time; innovative use of talent; co-teaching


 
 
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