About the Student Led Classroom

cropped-not-so-bright-idea-selfie.jpgFor years I carefully crafted unique and engaging lessons to deliver information to my students.  I spent weekends and evenings making graphic organizers, designing rubrics, creating hundreds of PowerPoint lessons and spending hours on Pinterest, all in the spirit of delivering dynamic and memorable lessons to my students.

Does this sound familiar?  It was almost like they were attending action-packed and well-orchestrated shows each day in my classroom…I imagined they asked themselves questions like, “What will we get to watch our teacher do today?  I wonder what she plans to do for us today?”  They were just waiting – watching – consuming the information I was feeding them – and I lived for the moments they appeared to engage with the material I was presenting.

I taught to the middle of the group – not too fast and not too slow.  It bothered me that I was leaving two very important groups behind, students who needed me to slow down and fill gaps, and students who were ready to move ahead of the pace of the middle. Worse than that, in those two groups were very important people, INDIVIDUAL students – the unique and special individual children I was supposed to be serving to the best of my ability in my classroom.  It was kind of exhausting work to be reaching only a portion of my students.  As teachers we are always reinventing ourselves and reflecting on our work, and like many of you – I just knew there had to be a design that would allow each child to flourish at his or her own pace/level.  Thanks to some innovative friends and co-workers, some dreaming, lots of reading and researching and a huge leap of faith, we shook up the traditional classroom model and dove head-first into the individually paced, personalized, Student Led Math Class!

No training wheels

As teachers, if we are responsible even in small ways for helping to prepare our portions of this next generation to be innovative problem-solvers who follow their dreams passionately and with confidence and perseverance, we need to shift our roles from “omniscient spoon-feeders” to “lead learners” and “roadblock clearers”!  Today’s students need to be practicing with big, real problems – identifying exactly what it is they need to know (learn) to be able solve them, setting their own goals to acquire that knowledge, working collaboratively and using various technologies to design ways to achieve them and then persevering until the problem is solved and the results are communicated.

The student-led classroom creates Fearless Learners.  Join us in transforming education!

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So how is the student-led classroom different from the traditional classroom?  Check out this step-by-step guide, including a PLC workbook component:

Fearless Learners Front Cover

Purchase the Fearless Learners guide to a student-led classroom!

My students and I are so excited to share how personalizing education through the student-led classroom has produced a community of Fearless Learners!  This website has been created as a place for us to document our discoveries and transformations – we hope you are inspired!


Be fearless ~

Kristin Westberry


4 thoughts on “About the Student Led Classroom”

  1. I love learning at my own pace because sometimes, people may need more help on something I can do very easily, and I may need more help with something other people find easy. We get to learn at the pace that is good for us and I like it :).


  2. I love learning on my own. We get to go on our own pace and we don’t have to be pressured in being on the same level of your classmates.


  3. I really like this idea, and I prefer this way of learning over the stereotypical “the teacher teaches and the kids take notes” style, I’ve always like learning at my own pace.


  4. This new way of learning has evolutionized math. In my opinion, most classes are told to sit through long lessons and have their teacher tell them everything and give them few time to learn or do things for themselves. With this way of math, we are able to learn to be independent and ask IF we need help. We are taught responsibility and time management (which is usually not taught in a math class.)


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