How to create a self-paced learning environment using Google Drive folders


The problem: At the end of this school year, the last day was rapidly approaching, and students were working at wildly different speeds on our final project.  The task was a multigenre research project: choose a topic, research it, then write about the findings in poetry, narrative, expository and more.  The old plan to go through genres one-by-one, day-by-day wouldn’t work.

The goal: Have all students work on the project at their own pace and have access to all of the lessons I wanted to teach.

The raw materials: Mentor texts designated for mini-lessons, slides explaining the nuances of each genre, the Screencastify Chrome extension (publishes directly to Google Drive), a list of every student’s Gmail address.

The solution: (1) Create a “resource library” for students to access at their own pace.  This was a folder in Google Drive containing all of the mentor texts that I wanted to share with students, along with short explanatory screencast videos. (2) Share that folder with each of my students. (3) Allow them to work at their own pace on the project in class and individually conference with students to check on their progress.

The results: The final projects included many examples of writing I only taught through the resource library and had not addressed in whole class mini-lessons. To me, this is evidence that the resource library was a successful way to deliver content to students in a way that was time-efficient and allowed for student-centered, self-paced learning.     

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