Yesterday I introduced a number of math learning paths to help students gain computation standards proficiency. The class was full of energy, mostly directed towards the mastery goals set. I could tell that this open arena for exploration, practice, and study was a somewhat new learning venue for students. I don't think many have had this amount of freedom with regard to directing their own study and making related choices before.
One student, in particular, grasped the event with zest. He powered through a study packet asking questions and prompting me to ready more practice opportunities for him. He clearly understood the goal and knew how to get there. Another though sat quietly by waiting for much more leadership and direction from me. He really didn't know where to get started with this self managed study session. The rest of the students fell all along the continuum.
Today we'll meet on the rug and I'll better explain the idea of learning paths and the learning journey. I'll remind the students of the many resources and avenues for learning the specific standards that exist, resources such as online programs, working with partners, paper/pencil practice, and teacher support. I'll lay out the path once again, and then direct students to their next steps. I'm excited about this effort, an effort that also supports independent thinking as evidenced from this Edutopia article quote, "Only through strategy and design can the classroom become a laboratory of focus and attention. This is what we must do if we want schools to fulfill their purpose: developing young minds that have been assured new ideas are exciting and worth pursuing."