Self-Paced Learning

I have recently been encouraged to integrate self-paced lessons into my classroom. Honestly, this stemmed from a class full of accommodations that really made it difficult for us to be successful in a whole-group lesson setting. My idea for self-paced note-taking was mostly focused on my inclusion classes, but it turns out that it’s successful for my honors/gifted classes as well, but for different reasons.

I try to limit the amount of lecture and note taking in my class, BUT we all know it has to happen at some point or another! Google Slides has made my life a whole heck of a lot easier, especially with self-paced learning. If you need to differentiate between classes, you can EASILY use your Slides as task cards, printed practice, or a whole-group activity. 

Here are some options: 

  • Self-Paced Note-Taking or Vocabulary (DEVICE NEEDED FOR Ss): Index or Menu Slide with links to concepts for notes or vocabulary words; Ss can choose the words at random or by the list. Push to Ss through Google Classroom. 
    • Add your narration! While you can’t really add an “audio” file into the slide like you can on PowerPoint, you can still add a link to an audio file (online-voice-recorder.com will save the file directly to your Drive, giving you a “share link”). Another option to add narration is to turn your Slides into a screencast. 


  • Self-Paced Checking (NO DEVICE NEEDED FOR Ss): Feel like you’re losing your class when you’re checking a long assignment, like a study guide?? For me, this is when a lot of discipline issues arose in my classroom, but I needed them to have the correct answers in order to study. 
    • Here’s How:
      • In Google Slides, use one slide per question/prompt. 
      • Print 6 slides per page in portrait view, staple, to give to Ss
      • “Make a Copy” of Slides and add in ANSWERS (still one per slide)
      • Print 1 slide per page and write the prompt number on the back — HINT: Write the number upside down so Ss can just flip it up; just check after your first few 
      • Hang around the room/hallway number facing out (answer against the wall) — Remember to check to make sure the answer isn’t upside down! 
      • As Ss finish, have them get “approved” by you to begin checking their work (to make sure they don’t just copy as they’re checking) — have them check with a highlighter or pen so you know they aren’t changing their answers. 
      • Ss check by finding the number and flipping the card up to view the correct answer. You can even have a score breakdown posted, so they can write their score. This way, you can record the grade during class and Ss can take home to study. 
    • Need a Word Bank?? No problem! Here’s How: 
      • Follow same steps as before, BUT when you’re making your answer key, you’ll need to type the word (in large font) in the top half and the correlating prompt in the bottom half. — See picture below! 
      • Instead of writing the prompt numbers, you’ll just fold the paper in half and tape with the vocabulary word facing outward. I recommend hanging all in your classroom, so Ss don’t have to move around until they’re checking. 

Things to consider:

  • Management– For this to be successful, it is important to keep Ss checking their work silent to respect that others are still working. 
  • Fast-Finishers– Because this is self-paced, you will have some finish before others. You’ll need to have a plan for this. I usually write a “To-Do List” on the board and tell Ss at the beginning of class that they’re on their own pace, but they have ____ time to complete. 
  • Survey your kids– Find out how they feel about self-paced learning and why! When we try something really new, I’ll usually give a short survey and, since they’re middle schoolers, they’re pretty honest. Why not ask?

Need some examples or tutorials?? I’ve got you covered! 

Happy Self-Paced Learning!

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