Differentiating Instruction: Beginning the Journey "In the end, all learners need your energy, your heart and your mind. They have that in common because they are young humans. How they need you however, differs. Unless we understand and respond to those differences, we fail many learners." * * Tomlinson, C.A. (2001). How to differentiate instruction in mixed ability classrooms (2nd Ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
Differentiated Instruction Defined “Differentiated instruction is a teaching philosophy based on the premise that teachers should adapt instruction to student differences. Rather than marching students through the curriculum lockstep, teachers should modify their instruction to meet students’ varying readiness levels, learning preferences, and interests. Therefore, the teacher proactively plans a variety of ways to ‘get at’ and express learning.” Carol Ann Tomlinson
Key Principles of a Differentiated Classroom • The teacher is clear about what matters in subject matter. • The teacher understands, appreciates, and builds upon student differences. • Assessment and instruction are inseparable. • The teacher adjusts content, process, and product in response to student readiness, interests, and learning profile. • All students participate in respectful work. • Students and teachers are collaborators in learning. • Goals of a differentiated classroom are maximum growth and individual success. • Flexibility is the hallmark of a differentiated classroom. Source: Tomlinson, C. (2000). Differentiating Instruction for Academic Diversity. San Antonio, TX: ASCD
Assessment in a Differentiated Classroom • Assessment drives instruction. (Assessment information helps the teacher map next steps for varied learners and the class as a whole.) • Assessment occurs consistently as the unit begins, throughout the unit and as the unit ends. (Preassessment, formative and summative assessment are regular parts of the teaching/learning cycle.) • Teachers assess student readiness, interest and learning profile. • Assessments are part of “teaching for success.” • Assessment information helps students chart and contribute to their own growth. • Assessment MAY be differentiated. • Assessment information is more useful to the teacher than grades. • Assessment is more focused on personal growth than on peer competition.
Assessment is for: Gatekeeping Judging Right Answers Control Comparison to others Use with single activities Assessment is for: Nurturing Guiding Self-Reflection Information Comparison to task Use over multiple activities Two Views of Assessment --
FLEXIBLE GROUPING Students are part of many different groups – and also work alone – based on the match of the task to student readiness, interest, or learning style. Teachers may create skills-based or interest-based groups that are heterogeneous or homogeneous in readiness level. Sometimes students select work groups, and sometimes teachers select them. Sometimes student group assignments are purposeful and sometimes random. 1 3 5 7 9 Teacher and whole class begin exploration of a topic or concept Students and teacher come together to share information and pose questions The whole class reviews key ideas and extends their study through sharing The whole class is introduced to a skill needed later to make a presentation The whole class listens to individual study plans and establishes baseline criteria for success Students engage in further study using varied materials based on readiness and learning style Students work on varied assigned tasks designed to help them make sense of key ideas at varied levels of complexity and varied pacing In small groups selected by students, they apply key principles to solve teacher-generated problems related to their study Students self-select interest areas through which they will apply and extend their understandings 2 4 6 8 A differentiated classroom is marked by a repeated rhythm of whole-class preparation, review, and sharing, followed by opportunity for individual or small-group exploration, sense-making, extension, and production
Differentiation of Instruction Is a teacher’s response to learner’s needsguided by general principles of differentiation Respectful tasks Flexible grouping Continual assessment Teachers Can Differentiate Through: Process Product Content According to Students’ Readiness Interest Learning Profile
CONTENT Pre - Post - Ongoing ASSESSMENT for Interest – Readiness – Learning Profile by Self – Peers - Teachers PRODUCT PROCESS
Flexible Grouping Students are part of many different groups (and also work alone) based on the match of the task to student readiness, interest, or learning style. Teachers may create skills – based or interest – based groups that are heterogeneous or homogeneous in readiness level. Sometimes students select work groups, and sometimes teachers select them. Sometimes student group assignments are purposeful and sometimes random.
A Differentiated Classroom in Balance Teacher-Student Partnerships F L E X I B L E Solid Curriculum Shared Vision Shared goals Inviting Shared responsibility Focused A Growth Orientation Concept- based Product Oriented Sense Of Community Resource On-going assessment to determine need Feedback and grading Time Groups Respect For Group ZPD Target Approaches to teaching and learning Safe Respect for individual Shared Challenge Affirming Tomlinson-oo
How Does Research Support DI? • Differentiated Instruction is the result of a synthesis of a number of educational theories and practices. • Brain research indicates that learning occurs when the learner experiences moderate challenge and relaxed alertness –readiness • Psychological research reveals that when interest is tapped, learners are more likely to find learning rewarding and become more autonomous as a learner.
Checklist for Brain Based Classrooms Brain organization and Building safe environments: • Do students feel safe to risk and experiment with ideas? • Do students feel included in the class and supported by others? • Are tasks challenging enough without “undo distress?” • Is there an emotional “hook” for the learners? • Are there novel, unique and engaging activities to capture and sustain attention?
Checklist for Brain Based Classrooms Recognizing and honoring diversity: • Does the learning experience appeal to the learners’ varied multiple intelligences and learning styles? • May the students work collaboratively and independently? • May they “show what they know” in a variety of ways? • Does the cultural background of the learners influence instruction?
Checklist for Brain Based Classrooms Assessment: • Is there enough time to explore, understand and transfer the learning to long term memory (grow dendrites)? • Is there time to accomplish mastery? • So they have opportunities for ongoing, “just in time” feedback? • Do they have time to revisit ideas and concepts to connect or extend them? • Is metacognitive time built into the learning process? • Do students use logs and journals for reflection and goal setting?
Checklist for Brain Based Classrooms Instructional Strategies: • Are the expectations clearly stated and understood by the learner? • Will the learning be relevant and useful to the learner? • Does the learning build on past experience or create a new experience? • Does the learning relate to their real world? • Is it developmentally appropriate and hands on? • Are the strategies varied to engage and sustain attention? • Are there opportunities for projects, creativity, problems and challenges?
Checklist for Brain Based Classrooms New Models: • Do students work alone, in pairs and in small groups? • Do students work in learning centers based on interest, need or choice? • Are some activities tiered to provide appropriate levels of challenge? • Is compacting used to provide enrichment and challenge? • Is integrated curriculum, problem based and service learning considered? • Are contracts negotiated to provide appropriate learning activities for students?
Best Practices forStandards-based Instruction Best Practice, New Standards for Teaching and Learning in America’s Schools (see references on External Links page of Blackboard)
Best Practices forStandards-based Instruction Within these recommendations, growth does not necessarily mean moving from one practice to another, discarding a previous instructional approach and replacing it forever. Instead, teachers add new, effective alternatives to a widening repertoire of choices, allowing them to alternate among a richer array of activities, creating a richer and more complex balance of instruction.
Best Practices forStandards-based Instruction Physical Facilities • From: • Set-up for teacher-centered instruction (separate desks) • Rows of desks • Bare, unadorned space • Textbooks and handouts • To: • Set-up for student-centered instruction (tables or groupings) • Clusters, centers, etc. • Student work, friendly • Purposeful materials
Best Practices forStandards-based Instruction Classroom Climate / Management • From: • Punishment and rewards • Teacher-created and enforced rules • Passive learning • Solely ability grouping • Rigid schedule • To: • Engagement and community • Students help set and enforce norms • Purposeful engagement • Flexible grouping • Flexible time based on activity
Best Practices forStandards-based Instruction Student Voice and Involvement • Balanced with teacher-chosen and teacher-directed activities: • Students often select inquiry topics, books, writing topics, etc. • Students maintain their own records, set goals, and self-assess • Some themes / inquiries are built from students’ own questions • Students assume responsibility and take roles in decision making
Best Practices forStandards-based Instruction Activities and Assignments • From: • Teacher presentation • Whole-class instruction • Uniform curriculum • Short-term lessons • Memorization and recall • Short responses, fill-in-the-blank • Same assignments • To: • Students experiencing concepts • Centers, groups, variety • Topics by students’ needs or choice • Extended activities • Application and problem solving • Complex responses, evaluations and writing • Multiple intelligences, cognitive styles
Best Practices forStandards-based Instruction Language and Communication • From: • Forced constant silence • Short responses • Teacher talk • Focus on facts • To: • Noise, conversation alternates with quiet • Elaborated discussions • Student-teacher, student-student • Skills, concepts, synthesis, evaluation
Best Practices for Standards-based Instruction • From: • Products for teacher / grading • No student work displayed • Identical, imitative products • Feedback = scores or grades • Seen / scored only by teacher • Teacher grade book • Standards set during grading • To: • Products for real events / audience • High quality / all students • Varied and original products • Substantive, varied, formative feedback • Public displays and performances • Student-maintained portfolios, assessments • Standards co-developed with students Student Work and Assessment
Best Practices forStandards-based Instruction Teacher Attitude and Initiative Toward Students: • From Distant, negative, fearful or punitive To Positive, respectful, encouraging and warm • From Blaming students to Reasoning with Students • From Directive to Consultative
Best Practices forStandards-based Instruction Teacher Attitude and Initiative Toward Self: • From Helpless victim To Risk taker, experimenter, creative agent • From Solitary adult To Member of team within school and network beyond school • From Staff development recipient To Directing own professional growth • From Role of expert or presenter To Coach, mentor, model and guide
Persistent Underachievement Help the student accept control over his/her decisions and life. Be clear and specific about tasks and requirements. Use appropriate consequences for work done/not done. Break tasks into small segments. Check in with the student often. Be firm but warm. Don’t tell him/her you know he/she can do the work. Coordinate approaches with a counselor and parents when possible. All Learners in Academically Diverse Classrooms Help students understand that everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Celebrate and understand student learning differences. Help students learn the power of controlling what they can in their lives. Help them understand our shared needs for success, to belong, to trust, the future, etc. Help them see that each person is irreplaceable – uniqueness is a plus. Help students learn to set their own goals and chart their progress. Teach in varied readiness levels, interest and ways of learning; Have you ever said …’I just don’t know what to do with that kid’?(Remember, don’t overgeneralize. There’s great diversity in all groups!!!)
Students with Learning Disabilities Emphasize strengths. Develop ways to compensate for weaknesses so they don’t inhibit what the student can do. Help the student distinguish between and explain both strengths and weaknesses, as well as plans for both. Shoot high and then scaffold the weakness. Be clear about what the student should know, understand, and be able to do – but offer options for explanation, expression and assessment. Students with Retardation or Similar Struggles Focus on essential concepts and principles as a context for applying IEP skills. Use IEP goals in ways that integrate students with their peers rather than isolating them. Whenever possible, teach for meaning rather than rote – uild frameworks of meaning. Spotlight the student’s legitimate successes and contributions. Use small groups for teaching needed skills, re-teaching by need. (Remember, don’t overgeneralize. There’s great diversity in all groups!!!)
Advanced Learners Emphasize quality of thought and expression vs. accuracy. Balance student choice and teacher choice tasks to allow independence but still ensure encounters with rigor. Help the student learn to compete against him/herself. Necessitate and commend intellectual risk and perseverance. When “raising the ceiling,” support the climb! Teach for success. Be flexible. Invite student imput. Use small groups to extend thought and skills levels. Students with Behavior Problems Coordinate efforts and strategies with specialists. Help the student articulate difficult areas and learn to look for signs of them. Be sure the student has an easy “way out” of tough spots. Provide “safe” spaces to be alone / work alone. Acknowledge successes. Allow choices when feasible. Be flexible about movement. (Remember, don’t overgeneralize. There’s great diversity in all groups!!!)
Second Language Learners Link classroom & ESL resource work. Ensure that the student has useful tasks at all times andis accountable for them (listening/reading with tapes, writing, translating, vocabulary practice). Don’t let the student sit idle and isolated. Use students who can bridge the two languages. Plam specific ways each day to involve the student in coversation & contribution. Chart growth vs. only comparison Use small groups for teaching next-step skills. Culturally Diverse Learners Help build peer-support systems. Be sure you offer varied working arrangements and modes of expression. Invest time in the student in ways that communicate your berlief in his/her success. Help the student develop “school skills” that may be weak. Teach from whole to part. Be clear about expectations and that students both understand and know how to achieve them. Don’t let work slide. Emphasize contextualized learning. (Remember, don’t overgeneralize. There’s great diversity in all groups!!!)
STUDENT DATA SOURCES Journal entry Short answer test Open response test Home learning Notebook Oral response Portfolio entry Exhibition Culminating product Question writing Problem solving TEACHER DATA MECHANISMS Anecdotal records Observation by checklist Skills checklist Class discussion Small group interaction Teacher – student conference Assessment stations Exit cards Problem posing Performance tasks and rubrics THINKING ABOUT ON-GOING ASSESSMENT
Learner Profile Card Gender Stripe Auditory, Visual, Kinesthetic Modality Analytical, Creative, Practical Sternberg Student’s Interests Multiple Intelligence Preference Gardner Array Inventory
In general, these are held steady as a core for nearly all learners in a differentiated classroom* Planning a Focused Curriculum Means Clarity About What Students Should: Know Facts (Columbus cam to the “New World” Vocabulary (voyage, scurvy) Concepts (exploration, change) Principles/Generalizations (Change can be both positive and negative. Exploration results in change. People’s perspectives affect how they respond to change). Skills Basic (literacy, numeracy) Thinking (analysis, evidence of reasoning, questioning) Of the Discipline (graphing/math/social studies) Planning (goal setting; use of time) Social Production Understand Be Able to Do As a Result of a Lesson, Lesson Sequence, Unit, and year *Exception--linear skills and information which can be assessed for mastery in the sequence (e.g. spelling)
Know These are the facts, vocabulary, dates, places, names, and examples you want students to give you. The know is massively forgettable. “Teaching facts in isolation is like trying to pump water uphill.” Carol Tomlinson
Understand Major Concepts and Subconcepts These are the written statements of truth, the core to the meaning(s) of the lesson(s) or unit. These are what connect the parts of a subject to the student’s life and to other subjects. It is through the understanding component of instruction that we teach our students to truly grasp the “point” of the lesson or the experience. Understandings are purposeful. They focus on the key ideas that require students to understand information and make connections while evaluating the relationships that exit within the understandings.
A Student who UNDERSTANDS Something can… • Explain it clearly, giving examples • Use it • Compare and contrast it with other concepts • Relate it to other instances in the subject studies, other subjects and personal life experiences • Transfer it to unfamiliar settings • Discover the concept embedded within a novel problem • Combine it appropriately with other understandings • Pose new problems that exemplify or embody the concept • Create analogies, models, metaphors, symbols, or pictures of the concept • Pose and answer “what-if” questions that alter variables in a problematic situation • Generate questions and hypotheses that lead to new knowledge and further inquiries • Generalize from specifics to form a concept • Use the knowledge to appropriately assess his or her performance, or that of someone else. Adopted from Barell, J. (1995) Teaching for thoughtfulness: Classroom Strategies
Able to Do Skills These are the basic skills of any discipline. They include the thinking skills such as analyzing, evaluating, and synthesizing. These are the skills of planning, the skills of being an independent learner, the skills of setting and following criteria, the skills of using the tools of knowledge such as adding, dividing, understanding multiple perspectives, following a timeline, calculating latitude, or following the scientific method. The skill portion encourages the students to “think” like the professionals who use the knowledge and skill daily as a matter of how they do business. This is what it means to “be like” a doctor, a scientist, a writer or an artist.
Ways to Differentiate Content • Reading Partners / Reading Buddies • Read/Summarize • Read/Question/Answer • Visual Organizer/Summarizer • Parallel Reading with Teacher Prompt • Choral Reading/Antiphonal Reading • Flip Books • Split Journals (Double Entry – Triple Entry) • Books on Tape • Highlights on Tape • Digests/ “Cliff Notes” • Notetaking Organizers • Varied Texts • Varied Supplementary Materials • Highlighted Texts • Think-Pair-Share/Preview-Midview-Postview Tomlinson – ‘00
WAYS TO DIFFERENTIATE PROCESS • Fun & Games • RAFTs • Cubing, Think Dots • Choices (Intelligences) • Centers • Tiered lessons • Contracts
USE OF INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES. The following findings related to instructional strategies are supported by the existing research: • Techniques and instructional strategies have nearly as much influence on student learning as student aptitude. • Lecturing, a common teaching strategy, is an effort to quickly cover the material: however, it often overloads and over-whelms students with data, making it likely that they will confuse the facts presented • Hands-on learning, especially in science, has a positive effect on student achievement. • Teachers who use hands-on learning strategies have students who out-perform their peers on the National Assessment of Educational progress (NAEP) in the areas of science and mathematics. • Despite the research supporting hands-on activity, it is a fairly uncommon instructional approach. • Students have higher achievement rates when the focus of instruction is on meaningful conceptualization, especially when it emphasizes their own knowledge of the world.
RAFT RAFT is an acronym that stands for Role of the student. What is the student’s role: reporter, observer, eyewitness, object? Audience. Who will be addressed by this raft: the teacher, other students, a parent, people in the community, an editor, another object? Format. What is the best way to present this information: in a letter, an article, a report, a poem, a monologue, a picture, a song? Topic. Who or what is the subject of this writing: a famous mathematician, a prehistoric cave dweller, a reaction to a specific event?
RAFT Activities Language Arts & Literature Science History Math Format based on the work of Doug Buehl cited in Teaching Reading in the Content Areas: If Not Me Then Who? Billmeyer and Martin, 1998
Create an activity that is • interesting • high level • causes students to use • key skill(s) to understand • a key idea High skill/ Complexity Low skill/ complexity Chart the complexity of the activity • Clone the activity along the ladder as needed to ensure challenge and success for your students, in • materials – basic to advanced • form of expression – from familiar to unfamiliar • from personal experience to removed from personal experience • equalizer Match task to student based on student profile and task requirements Developing a Tiered Activity 1 2 • Select the activity organizer • concept • generalization • Think about your students/use assessments • readiness range • interests • learning profile • talents Essential to building a framework of understanding skills reading thinking information 3 4 5 6
The Equalizer • Foundational Transformational • Concrete Abstract • 3. Simple Complex • 4. Single Facet Multiple Facets • 5. Small Leap Great Leap • 6. More Structured More Open • 7. Less Independence Greater Independence • 8. Slow Quick Information, Ideas, Materials, Applications Representations, Ideas, Applications, Materials Resources, Research, Issues, Problems, Skills, Goals Directions, Problems, Application, Solutions, Approaches, Disciplinary Connections Application, Insight, Transfer Solutions, Decisions, Approaches Planning, Designing, Monitoring Pace of Study, Pace of Thought
Designing a Differentiated Learning Contract A Learning Contract has the following components • A Skills Component • Focus is on skills-based tasks • Assignments are based on pre-assessment of students’ readiness • Students work at their own level and pace • A content component • Focus is on applying, extending, or enriching key content (ideas, understandings) • Requires sense making and production • Assignment is based on readiness or interest • A Time Line • Teacher sets completion date and check-in requirements • Students select order of work (except for required meetings and homework) 4. The Agreement • The teacher agrees to let students have freedom to plan their time • Students agree to use the time responsibly • Guidelines for working are spelled out • Consequences for ineffective use of freedom are delineated • Signatures of the teacher, student and parent (if appropriate) are placed on the agreement Differentiating Instruction: Facilitator’s Guide, ASCD, 1997
Ways to Differentiate Product • Choices based on readiness, interest, and learning profile • Clear expectations • Timelines • Agreements • Product Guides • Rubrics • Evaluation
Creating a Powerful Product Assignment • Identify the essentials of the unit/study What students must: • Know (facts) • Understand (concepts, generalizations) • Be able to do (skills) As a result of the unit/study 2. Identify one of more format or “packaging options” for the product: • Required (e.g. poetry, an experiment, graphing, charting) • Hook • Exploratory • Talent/passion driven • Determine expectations for quality in: • Content (information, ideas, concepts, research materials) • Process (planning, goal-setting, defense of viewpoint, research, editing) • Product (size, construction, durability, expert-level expectations, part
Creating a Powerful Product Assignment, cont’d • Decide on scaffolding you may need to build in order to promote success: • Brainstorming for ideas • Developing rubrics/criteria for success • Timelines • Planning/goal-setting • Storyboarding • Critiquing • Revising-editing • Develop a product assignment that clearly says to the student: • You should show you understand and can do these things • Proceeding through these steps/stages • In this format • At this level of quality • Differentiate or modify versions of the assignments based on: • Student readiness • Student interest • Students learning profile • Coach for success! It is your job, as teacher, to make explicit That which you thought was implicit
Map Diagram Sculpture Discussion Demonstration Poem Profile Chart Play Dance Campaign Cassette Quiz Show Banner Brochure Debate Flow Chart Puppet Show Tour Lecture Editorial Painting Costume Placement Blueprint Catalogue Dialogue Newspaper Scrapbook Lecture Questionnaire Flag Scrapbook Graph Debate Museum Learning Center Advertisement Possible Products Book List Calendar Coloring Book Game Research Project TV Show Song Dictionary Film Collection Trial Machine Book Mural Award Recipe Test Puzzle Model Timeline Toy Article Diary Poster Magazine Computer Program Photographs Terrarium Petition Drive Teaching Lesson Prototype Speech Club Cartoon Biography Review Invention