Part 1: It’s Time for a Change

Flexible-Paced Learning Classrooms Series


At the end of the fall semester, we sat down and reflected on the previous semester. We had both taught Physics using a traditional approach and incorporating some technology. This was Becky’s second year to have 1:1 Chromebooks and Staci’s first year with a class set of iPads. While the first semester went well, we each had some concerns that we felt needed to be addressed before the start of the second semester.

  1. How could we differentiate for all students?

Becky taught multiple levels of physics, but students had not always chosen the right level for their abilities or work ethic. For example, several students chose to take Honors Physics but lacked the prerequisite math skills for this class. Staci taught all levels of students (from SpEd to the valedictorian) in the same class period. How could we accommodate all of these students?

2. What do we do about students who miss class?

In our schools, the spring is filled with numerous activities, which means that since many of our students are involved in these extracurricular activities, they will also be missing class. We knew from previous years, that students felt overwhelmed and seemed to struggle when they missed numerous days of classes.

3. How can we improve our student’s time-management skills?

The other concern was the absolute lack of time-management skills our students exhibited. They have no idea how to balance their schedule. Typically the junior year has been more difficult than previous years. By the time they are juniors, teachers expect the students to be more self-sufficient and more responsible for their own learning. Many students have more out of class responsibilities with jobs, extracurricular activities, and childcare for younger siblings. With less parental oversight, our students were struggling to balance these responsibilities and manage their workload at school. As a result, their grades were suffering.

How could we address all of these concerns before the beginning of the spring semester? It was time to make a change…

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