Over time students’ learning needs will become more and more diverse, and having three whole class lessons does not best meet the needs of all students. Additionally, over time students will become more familiar with the skill development book and how to use it to access information. Perhaps after a few weeks of the program, it is worth considering replacing one “whole class skill lesson” per week with one “skill of choice lesson”.

The two biggest challenges in this type of lesson, and how to overcome them are…

1. Students have difficulty choosing a skill to work on. Each homework sheet is set up so all prerequisite skills for any question are covered in earlier questions. This means the best place for a student to start is at the earliest question they are “having trouble with”. So what does “having trouble with” mean? Here is a process you could use to direct students.

  • Look at the highlighted grid in your awesomeness tracker, focusing on the 5 most recent homework sheets.
  • Starting with question 1, look at each row and find a question that has 2 to 3 gaps in the highlighting.
  • Look over your homework and see what types of errors were made. If you are only making minor arithmetic errors this may not be an appropriate skill. Once you find a skill that you have gaps in because you don’t yet know how to accurately do the skill you’ve found your “skill of choice”.

2. Students who don’t know what to do if they get stuck. The following list of steps is a good guide for students

  • Read through the information in the right hand column opposite the set questions.
  • Ask a peer for assistance*
  • Ask your teacher for assistance

It is important that students don’t rely on you for assistance every time they get stuck. That would make this lesson completely unproductive as there are often many students who need help at one time.

*To make the “ask a peer for assistance” really effective it can work well to have a table of experts list. Students volunteer to be an expert when they are comfortable enough with a skill that they could explain it to someone else. It’s nice to invite everyone in the class to be an expert on any skill they would be comfortable with, then reducing the list to 5 people per skill in a way that each student appears in a roughly even way (not always possible, but a good goal!), A sample of this is below and a template is here