Talk to other teachers because they can sometimes have the most amazing resource up their sleeve!
Throughout my education at Eastern Illinois University (Go Panthers!), differentiation was the concept discussed the most. We often discussed how we would eventually be giving all students their own personalized education.
Another math teacher and I were at school working on creating materials for the next unit of our geometry curriculum one Saturday when we started discussing the struggles we noticed. It is so hard for students to get caught up in a math class once they get lost because it builds on itself so much. We had students who would miss because they were sick, participating in a school activity, or leaving early for an athletic event who would come back and be lost. We had some students who did not understand the first unit , struggled on the second and were now failing the third. The way we were doing things (guided notes for class, practice, test) was working for some but not all. I started talking about how nice it would be to give students more time to work on the lessons that they struggled on and that’s when she showed me flippedmath.com.
Flippedmath.com was created by four teachers (the Algebros!) for just this purpose. On their site they have a video to go along with a guided notes packet and practice problems as well as solutions to the practice problems AND more practice problems! They had built each of these resources for each lesson of a full Algebra, Geometry, Algebra 2, Pre-Calculus, and Calculus curriculum. The videos were great quality with entertaining factors thrown in to make it so much more interesting than a lot of math tutorials I had found on YouTube previously.
How I structured it
I built the course on Canvas and started it the next week in my Algebra class.
It was amazing. Here are some of the benefits I saw in switching to a self-paced method.
Basically, I love it. And my students do, too. I surveyed them at the end of the 1st semester and 83% of them said they prefer the self paced method and wished it could be adapted to other courses they were in.
Updates to 2nd Semester
For the small percentage who missed a traditional math class, I teach a short lesson twice a week in front of the class. It may be using the guided notes or it may be an activity, but it brings back some of the traditional components that a few of my students were missing. The remaining class time is spent in the same style as 1st semester!
There is so much more to say about this method and how to make it work better, but we’ll save that for another day!