Credit Recovery Courses

I have found that one of the great advantages, and challenges, of being a teacher at a Title 1 school is the abundance of opportunities for the students to make up credit, get ahead, and improve their grades. This winter break, students had the opportunity to retake classes they previously failed. An entire semester’s worth of Introductory Biology over four days, for eight hours a day. And yes, I taught it! It was a refreshing change for me since I haven’t been able to put my passion for biology to use this year, and gave me a new interesting perspective on all the opportunities we provide to our students to ensure their success. I was happy to see students taking advantage of that opportunity and working hard to improve.

Essentially, each day was close to an entire six weeks of content, and seemed like the students were seeing this material for the first time in their lives (granted, that happens after just a weekend, too!). Eight hours is a long time to spend working on only one subject, but I found that using inquiry and continually referring to the “big questions” kept the students engaged. This time schedule actually lent itself quite well to the use of inquiry, as many labs and activities can take hours. But with only four days to cover an entire semester, one might wonder how much the students are actually learning anyway, and how much they are just regurgitating. Here I say, once again, inquiry to the rescue! Tell me if you disagree, but I find that learning through inquiry makes it almost impossible to forget…

So, my question for you all… If you had four days to teach an entire semester’s worth of content, what would you focus on? How would your class run? Would you rely on inquiry? And finally, and perhaps most importantly, do you think it’s really possible?

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