By Denise Wydra
With a simple change of routine, my third-grade teacher transformed my understanding of school. Each day, Miss Meloche listed the required work on the blackboard. The pace, sequence, and method for getting through these activities was up to us. And when we were done: free time! (Well, not completely free. But burrowing into a book of my choice was heaven for a bookworm like me.) My teacher was a constant presence, helping the kids who needed it and making sure we were all staying on track. I remember her talking with each of us individually, just about every day.
Words cannot convey my disappointment upon starting fourth grade. Once more, seat time and lockstep progression became the norm, serving to frustrate and disengage 75% of the students at any one time.
My third-grade class was a limited experiment in Competency Based Education (CBE), but some basic dynamics were there.