How do I self-pace?

Three easy steps to start!

Self-pacing allows students to be fully engaged and focused on learning meaningful science, not meeting deadlines.

Students have control over their learning and once they master a concept, they can move on.

Teachers spend time interacting with students instead of grading busy work and rushing to finish a lecture before the bell rings.

Setting up a self-paced unit takes some organization, but once you get going, the class will run itself!

Step One: Get Organized

  • Make copies of student work packets, rubrics, and extension activities.

  • Create spaces in your room for independent work, partner work, lab work, and whole class discussion.

  • Organize lab materials in bins and label EVERYTHING! You may have three or four different labs/ activities occurring at one time. We recommend four sets of materials for each activity.

  • Share digital files with students on your school’s platform (Google Classroom, Schoology etc.).

Step Two: Set Expectations

  • Explain where students can work (desks, tables, floor, lab space) and how they can work (individual, partner, small group).

  • Remind students that working at their own pace is a privilege. If they are not getting things done, they can come and work with you!

  • Share a calendar and/or due dates for each step of the unit. For example, “I expect that you will all complete question one today and some of you will also finish question two.”

Step Three: Manage the Learning

  • Start each day with a quick two to five minute mini lesson that reinforces what students have learned on their own.

  • Explain any safety rules or specific expectations for lab activities.

  • During class, check in with individuals or small groups of students.
    It is helpful to have students check in with you after each question or activity. This allows you to spend one on one time with each student and have the opportunity to reteach/reinforce learning when needed.

  • For standards based grading, each question in the student packet can be used as a formative assignment. The final project is a summative assessment.

More Tips

"How to create a self-paced classroom" on the Cult of Pedagogy podcast, talks about the benefits of self-pacing and offers additional tips to get started.