Pat Holliday Angela Szakasits Working Smarter, Not Harder: Differentiating Instruction
Our objectives for this workshop are to: • Provide an overview of Differentiated Instruction • Share several strategies for how you can differentiate in your classroom • Think of ways you can turn your classroom into a Differentiated Classroom • Answer any questions that you might have
What is Differentiation of Instruction? • Differentiating instruction is a teacher’s response to the learner’s needs • It is when a teacher begins where his or her students are and not in the front of the curriculum • It is how a teacher provides specific ways for each student to learn as deeply and quickly as possible
Why Differentiate the Instruction? • Not all children learn at the same pace or in the same way. • Some children have already mastered concepts and skills. • Not all children are “turned on” to learning unless they are interested and challenged.
The Basic Elements of Differentiating Instruction • Students participate in authentic assignments • readiness • interest • learning profile • Ongoing assessment is a must • assess students in multiple ways • be flexible, adjust as necessary • Most importantly-DIFFERENTIATION is not something you do every day, all day
How to differentiate • Content • Concept-based • Authentic • Transferable • Process • Concept-driven • Balancing critical and creative thought • Purposeful • Product • Concept-centered • Application of all key skills and understandings • Multiple modes of expression
Content Differentiation • Honors/AP vs. regular curriculum • Depth of the study of the topic • Contracts • Compacting • Group investigations
Independent/Learning Contracts • Contracts are negotiated agreement between teacher and student that give the student opportunities for choice and freedom of acquiring skills. • This is the perfect opportunity to integrate other subject areas and multiple intelligences.
Examples of Independent Contracts • Adventure Contract • Hatchet • Island of the Blue Dolphins • The Outsiders
Compacting • Encourages teachers to assess students before beginning a unit of study or development of a skill • Document what the student knows • Document what the preassessment indicates the student does not know • Plan for meaningful and challenging use of the student's time- students need to “buy in”
Methods of Compacting • Grammar pretests-option (less grammar tests to grade) • Math pretests-enrich (a step up in the curriculum or pull challenge activities from the textbook) • Pretest of focus skills or content-think about what information needs to known at the end of the unit
Group Investigations • Students are grouped based on learning interest • Choose a topic to research or investigate further • Research or investigation is carried out through a varying complexity of research materials
Example of Group Investigation • Topic: Oil spill • Given the topic, students would determine what they want to investigate, how they will carry out their investigation, what resources they need, and any other pertinent information.
Process Differentiation • Tiered Assignments • Learning Centers • Literature Circles
Tiered Assignments • Use when you want to ensure students with different learning needs work with the same essential ideas and key skills • Vary the level of activities on the same concept • Use a variety of resources and materials at different learning levels and use a variety of learning modes • Assure appropriate level of challenge • Be sure there is clear criteria for quality and success
Examples of Tiered Assignments • Government: How the Bill of Rights has expanded over time and its impact on various groups in society • Examples of issues research groups could study: how one or more amendments in the Bill of Rights became more inclusive over time and court decisions that redefined one or more amendments • Struggling readers, grade level readers, and advanced readers • Groups will investigate the topic using resources to match their reading readiness and/or familiarity with the topic
Learning Centers • A learning center is a classroom area that contains a collection of activities or materials designed to teach, reinforce or extend a particular skill or concept. • Learning centers should focus on: • Using materials and activities that address a wide range of reading levels, learning profiles and student interest; • Provide clear directions for students; • Focus on important learning goals; • Include instructions about what a student should do if he needs help; • Include a plan for on going assessment (observation and rubric).
Example of Science Learning Centers • Topic: Plant cells vs. animal cells Students should view a variety of cells with particular emphasis on the differences between plant and animal cells. • Students will rotate through each of these three centers: • Center # 1- Students will view sample plant and animal cells using a microscope. Compare and contrast. • Center # 2- Students will complete an internet scavenger hunt with questions pertaining to animal and plant cells using the Cells Alive! website. • Center # 3- Students will create a 3D model of a plant or animal cell.
Literature Circles • Many, many, many ways to do these • Use various levels of questioning • Literature Circle questions • Literature Circle reflection sheet
Product Differentiation • Multiple Intelligences-based • Menu/choice boards • Independent study or community-based product
Multiple Intelligences and Choice Boards • Choice board activities are excellent places to incorporate multiple intelligence-based activities • Getting to Know You • The Outsiders Choice Board
Independent Study or Community-Based Products • Students choose their topic based on their interests. • Benefits • Pursue topics of interest • Identify intriguing questions • Develop plans to complete investigation • Set goals, criteria, and deadlines • Present information to audience in format of choice • Graduation Project
Final Advice for Differentiating Instruction • Start small. • Let go of control. • Teach the students to bake the cupcake before adding the sprinkles. • Encourage students to become a problem solver. • Step back and reflect. It’s okay to make mistakes.
Resources • The Differentiated Classroom by Carol Ann Tomlinson, 1999 • Differentiated Classroom