I’m not sure if you have tried HyperDocs or Mastery Learning, but the combination is a marriage made in heaven! Both topics are way bigger than a blog post, so if you want more info, check out the HyperDocs website for all things HyperDocs and Thomas Guskey’s work (here is one article) for Mastery Learning how-to. This post is just to show the magic of how one HyperDoc/MasteryLearning combo worked in my classroom and a starting place of how to try it in your classroom.
- Design Curriculum Backwards- Backwards design is a must! I use my own form of backward design to make sure that I know where I want my students to go, how I’ll know when they get there, and what we’re going to do on our learning journey together.
- Block and Build Learning- After I have sketched out my curriculum plan, I block it into sections that build on one another: Entry Event, Building Background, Diving Deeper, Producing the Product and Reflecting on Results. Each section builds on the previous toward a project that allows students to create something they will be proud of.
- Create Assessments- Then I plan assessments for each section by designing options that answer two important questions: What do I want students to know? How will I know that students have mastered this content? All my rubrics have three categories: Not Yet, Mastery, and Ownership.
- Plan Learning Experiences- Next, I design learning experiences to support students in mastering the content. Variety is the key here and with technology, the sky is the limit. I make sure to appeal to lots of learning styles, have clear directions, and provide helpful scaffolding options.
- Create Your HyperDoc- Now that I have done my prep-work, I am able to organize everything into a HyperDoc for my students. This keeps everything in one easy-to-access place and lets my students focus on the learning– not get muddled in directions, links, assignments, and everything else I used to throw at them. You can see an example here of one my units: Finding My Strengths in the Struggle.
Note that each section of my HyperDoc ends in “Stop for Feedback.” This allows me to check in with students as they work at a pace appropriate for them. If they show mastery of the content for that section, they move on. If not, I send them back into the HyperDoc (with appropriate scaffolding and feedback) for another shot.
Yep, you’re right, this process gets messy. What if students work at wildly different paces? What if some students are done early while others lag behind? What if students struggle after multiple attempts? There are a lot of “what ifs” with this process. However, I’ve found that there are even more “what ifs” without it. What if my students are just moving on without mastering the content? What if my students are bored because their potential is so much more than we are doing in class? What if I am not able to offer targeted feedback to support student growth every day? I’ve found that I would rather keep finding solutions to the “what ifs” that crop up now than deal with results of the “what ifs” of my old all-at-the-same-pace, one-and-done approach.
I have seen amazing results by combining HyperDocs and Mastery Learning. My students are empowered, engaged learners and I have my dream job: supporting every student’s learning every day. What if your students had the opportunity to show ownership in their learning? I’d love to help you if you want to join the journey– take the first step, email me ([email protected]). I look forward to hearing from you!
Katie Isch teaches high school English and supports teachers through professional development opportunities. She is a nationally-awarded curriculum author and loves to integrate technology and student-centered practices into the curriculum she writes. She believes in the power of student creativity and that all students are capable of beautiful work. You can follow Katie @PicassoPedagogy.
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