DEFINITION OF DIFFERENTIATION To differentiate instruction is to recognize students’ varying background knowledge, readiness, language, preferences in learning, interests; and to react responsively.
CAROL ANN TOMLINSON “At its most basic level, differentiation consists of the efforts of teachers to respond to variance among learners in the classroom. Whenever a teacher reaches out to an individual or small group to vary his or her teaching in order to create the best learning experience possible, that teacher is differentiating instruction.”
WHAT D.I. IS NOT Differentiated instruction is not chaotic. Differentiated instruction is not one more grouping of homogenous students. Differentiated instruction does not involve making small adjustments to one activity or task. Differentiated instruction does not mean that a teacher must create a different plan for EACH student.
WHAT D.I. IS Differentiated instruction is proactive. Differentiated instruction is more qualitative than quantitative. Differentiated instruction is rooted in assessment. Differentiated instruction provides multiple approaches to content, process, and product. Differentiated instruction is STUDENT centered. Differentiated instruction is a blend of whole-class, group, and individual instruction. Differentiated instruction is “organic.” Differentiated instruction is a way of life in the classroom.
STEPS TO DIFFERENTIATEONE: Know your students Determine ability level with the use of a pre-assessment and student interest surveysTWO: Plan a variety of teaching strategies including the following: Direct- most traditional Inquiry-based- students conduct investigations Cooperative learning- students work in heterogeneous groups Information processing models- students are taught how to process informationTHREE: Utilize a variety of instructional methods Activities are suited to the students’ needsFOUR: Assess student knowledge Use assessment techniques that will best show individual student understanding
Independent Study- students works by themselves to complete task Cubing- students are assigned assessment topic by rolling a cube and decide how to show their understanding Choice Boards- students choose assessment task from board of different options Centers- students are assessed with the use of manipulatives Flexible Group Project- students work to complete tasks in teacher assigned “group”
RESOURCES Chapman, C., King, R. (2005). Differentiated Assessment Strategies: One Tool Doesn’t Fit All. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, Inc. Teachnology, Inc. (2010). Retrieved 6/14/2011 from http://www.teach- nology.com/tutorials/teaching/differentiate/planning/ Tomlinson, C. (2001). How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed- Ability Classrooms, 2nd edition. Alexandria, VA: ASCD. Tomlinson, C. (2003). Differentiation of Instruction in the Elementary Grades. ERIC Digest. (Eric Digest #20012) Retrieved 6/14/2011 from http://www.ericdigests.org/2001-2/elementary.html
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