The Teacher’s Role in the Grid Method

Meghan HoseyBlog, Differentiate Better, Engage Better, Innovate Better, Lesson Plan Better, Manage Better, Mastery Done Better, Personalize Student Learning Better


  • One teacher’s experience using the grid method.
  • A focused look at the role of the teacher in the grid method.

“So you don’t really teach anymore.” 

“The students teach themselves.”

“When will I get to see you teach?” 

In implementing the grid method, I’ve heard them all and I’ve heard them a lot. 

So what is teaching and what does it look like?

Teaching is coaching or facilitating people to grow their knowledge.  Although I can sum up what teaching is in one sentence, I cannot tell you what it looks like. Teaching looks different in each classroom. 

The nontraditional classroom

I don’t have a “traditional” classroom.  If you walk into my room, you won’t see me standing at the board going over a concept for 45 minutes.

What you will see are 25 students actively engaged in their learning.  25 students taking ownership of their learning.

I coach, I facilitate, I support, I guide. Daily.

I coach, I facilitate, I support, I guide. Daily. Click To Tweet

I introduce new concepts and support my students in their practice of those skills. Plan learning opportunities and facilitate their learning through those opportunities.  Actively engage with students individually and in small groups every single day. Guide students through problem solving.

This is what teaching looks like in my classroom.  

Running a self-paced, mastery learning framework means that my classroom looks different than most.  But doing things differently does not mean you are doing things wrong.

I start my class with a mini lesson to review a skill or introduce a new one.  My students then work through their grid, which means I have 25 students moving at their own pace.

During their grid time, I work individually or with a small group of students to guide and support their learning.  I’m able to support my struggling students in a way that I never could before. I am able to provide almost immediate support, feedback, and re-teaching when needed. I am also able to challenge, question, and enrich so many of my students.    

So much has changed since the last time I sat in a classroom as a student.  Most would say my classroom is “non-traditional.” I would agree.

But even though the setting may look different, the focus is and always will be what is best for the students.  And if that is the focus in your classroom, then you aren’t doing anything wrong.

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About Meghan Deegan

Meghan Deegan is a 7th grade math teacher in the Chicago suburbs and the Lead Ambassador for the Teach Better Team. She has a Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction and is a Nationally Board Certified Teacher. She loves working with and connecting with fellow educators and is active on Twitter and Instagram.

Meghan loves spending time with her two dogs, boyfriend, family, and friends!