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Below are some of the most common scenarios that teachers encounter in the classroom. Go through each and consider how you would handle each situation. Included below each scenario are examples of teacher practices we’ve seen work, but they are not at all exhaustive or guaranteed to work. Use them to spark ideas for what will work in your specific context.

SCENARIO #1: Racing ahead

You’re about to teach a 3 week unit on linear equations. Halfway into the unit, you realize your entire class has completed all of the linear equations skills except for three students who still have about 5 more skills to do each.

What should you do?

Possible solutions:

  • Have everyone who’s done with the unit work on a project that helps them apply and deepen their knowledge of the unit concepts
  • Use small-group and one-on-one sessions to work with the three students who need more help; match them with peer tutors
  • Enable students who are ready to move on to the next unit
  • Give students time to set their own goals and to learn something they are passionate about discovering

SCENARIO #2: Swiss cheese holes

While teaching two-step equations, you realize that roughly 60% of your students are getting confused with negative numbers and fractions. The test is next week and you are concerned that your students will do poorly.

What should you do?

  • Recommend that students who are struggling with negative numbers and fractions work on related skills on Khan Academy as needed
  • Use one-on-one and small group sessions to help struggling students master negative numbers and fractions
  • Use peer tutoring to enable students to help each other
  • Consider giving the test on a few different dates so students who need more time can learn to mastery and those who are ready can move on

SCENARIO #3: Classroom management obstacles

You have a handful of students who just listen to music and watch YouTube videos every time they are supposed to be working on Khan Academy.

How will you handle this situation? What can you do to prevent this situation?

  • Use youtube for schools (youtube.com/schools) to filter youtube for educational content only
  • Use the daily activity report to track how students are using their Khan Academy time in class, and use class incentives (grades, points, rewards) to motivate students to use time responsibly

SCENARIO #4: Cultivating a specific classroom culture

You have a student who is far behind the rest of the class—and he knows it. He is working incredibly hard on Khan Academy, but he gets disheartened during class when he sees his peers working on more advanced topics.

How can you create an environment that values his hard work?

  • Talk to your class about self-pacing. Bring in examples from outside of school (e.g., sports, music) to make it clear that everyone learns at different paces, and that’s just fine
  • Celebrate each student’s individual success by praising students who work hard
  • Close class some days by having students share something they learned that day, and praise students for effort

SCENARIO #5: Math is the worst

You have a student who absolutely hates math. He doesn’t think he’s any good at it, and he begrudgingly works on the Khan Academy skills you assign him to do.

What can you do to invest and motivate this student?

  • Look at his individual data and praise his hard work, including any badges he has earned that might highlight his perseverance and success
  • Have him set some goals on Khan Academy of his own choosing. Allow him to select any skills (perhaps even outside math) he’d like to tackle, and praise him for showing initiative
  • Ask him to work with a motivated student on a project or Khan Academy
  • Identify whether he has gaps in his math background, and enable him to fill those gaps (even if they are below grade level) so that he can become successful

SCENARIO #6: Math is the best

You have one student who has mastered almost every skill on Khan Academy and is hungry for more. She is well past your curriculum.

What can you do to continue challenging and engaging her?

  • Encourage her to move on to more advanced content on Khan Academy. Track her progress, and praise her motivation
  • Have her help her peers with topics they’re struggling with to reinforce her own knowledge; just ensure she is learning new concepts too!
  • Challenge her with interesting projects and interdisciplinary learning opportunities, such as using Khan Academy’s Computer Science platform