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"Walking Time" to Support Standards Mastery

Supporting standards mastery with flexible classroom assignments


To help students recover unfinished learning time, teachers at Mt. Vernon Elementary School, a Chicago Public School, found a creative way to rework their schedule to help personalize and differentiate students’ learning experiences. As they worked to shift to mastery-based grading, teachers took thirty minutes from their ELA and math blocks to create “walking time” blocks to focus on the reteach of a specific standard and allowed for students to travel between classrooms to attend the reteach of a standard they still needed to master.


Using both informal and formal student data, teachers collaboratively planned to identify which standards they would prioritize teaching for their “walking time” blocks, which happened twice a week. During “walking time,” each ELA and math teacher in grades kindergarten through eighth taught a different standard. Based on their mastery trackers, students were able to go to the classroom where a standard they still needed to master was being taught. If a student was working to master above or below grade standards, they could travel between grade levels as well. Once in the classroom, students worked together in small groups or participated in stations and received targeted teacher support to help them with the mastery of the standard being retaught.

This strategy is a part of TLA's Hop, Skip, Leapfrog release, which explores the concrete ways in which schools and systems pursued student-centered innovation during COVID-19. Explore the full guide to find additional strategies, insights, and resources.