Accommodations for Differentiated Instruction
Differentiated Learning is evident in the following ways:
Multi-modalities utilized in lessons & activities
Ongoing interactive notebook (increased challenges
for high-level learners; organizational strategies for
those in need; frequent check for understanding)
Guided groups (fewer individuals; mini-lessons &
guided practice; additional resources if needed)
Lesson/process structure for all (before, during &
Guided inquiry (flexible groupings)
Scaffolding; build background knowledge; build
Opportunities for choice; student individual voice
Interactive Notebook exemplars
Formative assessment throughout (conceptual
understanding, vocabulary building, student work
Thinking Maps (individualized;
Unit assessment appears in various components of formative and summative assessments:
Peer feedback (role playing & peer edits)
“Making Meaning” conferences (small group with teacher; larger “forum” discussions)
Interactive Notebook exchange
Science notebook scoring rubric; expository writing rubrics; presentation rubrics
Tools practicum; quizzes & tests (scientific method, science processes, science
notebook conclusions & reflections)
Writing goal meetings; revision meetings (non-fiction expository, descriptive,
procedural, technical, persuasive)
Used with permission. Edited from original 2/3/08
To view more samples visit: http://www.intel.com/ca/education/unitplans/index.htm
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1. Why did you design your Digital Story in the way you did?
Since I made things more difficult by deciding to do a piece on “Using Science Notebooks”
for my EdWeb, there’s a lot of internal thought & emotions of a student, descriptive
observation, and metacognition going on…. (All trickier in editing I realized than a simple
personal narrative I should have chosen to tell!)… Through changes in voice tone, I tried to
differentiate the “thoughts of the 5th grade student” from the “teachable moments” the
student “hears” from her teacher. I tried to limit any background distractions by focusing on
a few simple objects to indicate the scene (classroom) and close-ups of the student’s facial
expressions, and therefore (hopefully) calling more attention to the student’s observations/
emotions. I used black background and white kid-type font for any text that appears (to
give it a more classroom/chalkboard feel), and tried to pace the editing and soundtrack in
such a way as to make it more slow and monotonous at the beginning (for
boredom/uncertainty/ dread) and then quickening the pace as the video progresses (and as
the mood becomes more hopeful and the student’s attempts at “inquiry” starts to flow more
2. Why did you choose your images, sound, transitions, etc.?
Images- For the most part, I captured my own to represent the student (as I needed to
show a wide range of emotions and facial expressions, and the chance of finding all of that
in the same young face among stock photos was limiting); I then used a few more from
various copyright-free sources. Sound- I tried to focus on a few, distinct & recognizable
sound FX for the classroom (children’s voices, ticking clock, scribbling pencil) and created a
mix of several pace-appropriate music soundtracks. Transitions- I tried to keep my
transitions relatively simple and “transparent” so as not to distract from the story being
told. I also experimented with quick-cut pacing during “anxious” moments…
3. Why did you choose the program you designed it in?
Although I have access to (and often use during the school year) iMovie on a Mac, I chose
to work in MovieMaker (with some sections done in Camtasia, one or two FX created in
Screenblast Movie Studio, and image-edits in Adobe Fireworks) because I prefer to mix/
match edit functions/transitions in several PC-based programs from multiple home PCs. I
additionally chose to edit sound in Adobe Soundbooth for its multi-track features.
4. If people will access your story, how will they access it?
My video clip will be accessible (password protected) internally on my school’s LMS (Moodle)
where my students have access to it, along with other course resources, Edweb, blog, etc.,
and will not be available for public viewing.
5. Why is it appropriate to your audience?
Many of my students are reluctant writers (especially when it’s for a science notebook,
which they somehow consider part of “science” not “writing” class…. I work to get them to
make connections between good writing strategies across the curriculum). They often
struggle with the “endless blank pages” of a notebook… and have trouble with the
descriptive observation- section of a lab investigation. Hopefully, this “intro” video will help
them to see that inquiry starts with asking questions and from there, seeing where your
questions take you…. That if you write everything you’re thinking, feeling and describing
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what your senses are telling you, then you’re making good use of observation skills and will
fill-up the notebook pages before you know it! Hopefully my video is “humorous” enough
that students make a connection to their own hesitance and that feeling of “not knowing
what to write”.
Now that you have created your story (or are in the process of), how do you see it fitting
into your instruction?
(First, it becomes part of my EdWeb on Science Lab Processes, as a link in the Science Notebook section, to
help fulfill components of my IT portfolio; which will then be used for various instructional units). In class, I
will use it as part of a larger unit as a demo for taking that first step in an investigation- observation- &
filling up those lines at the start of a page in a science notebook. Later on in the year, it will again be used
as a model for digital storytelling as students will write and assemble their own digital science stories.
When or how will it be implemented?
At the beginning of the year, as an introduction to “Using a Science Notebook”; it will be a lead-in to the
actual “Oobleck” investigation/lesson. It will also be linked into the classroom LMS (Moodle) as a resource on
the class intranet.
What do you need before it can be implemented – resources; admin-, parent-, customer
buy-in, etc.? Specifically, what technology items will you need, how will you secure a
meeting space, audience, etc. What are the obstacles you may face when implementing this
unit? How will you overcome these?
Fortunately, I do not need much in the way of technology resources: I have access to laptop carts and the
lab; I have my own projector/Smart board with which to present the video; I have science materials such as
student science notebooks and investigation supplies; I have several external drives for student project
storage… I will need to assemble more headset mics (borrow from various classrooms and bring some from
home); I will also need to prepare “digital kits” of appropriate related photos, music, sound FX, etc. in
support of some students when they’re ready to assemble their own stories. (Students, faculty, admin and
parents have password access to our classroom LMS on Moodle to view resources; we will need to set-up a
web-based video viewing site with password protection).
How will you differentiate for a diversity of student levels?
As mentioned above, digital kits with ready-to-use assets will be available for those who need it; resource
guides and instructional screencasts will be available to those who are ready to find their own appropriate
resources; several sample excerpts from science notebooks (and digital stories)- aimed at various
writing/sketching abilities will be available on the class LMS resource section; resource ,inks will be available
to help students learn more about digital storytelling and tap into their personal style; I’d also like to
incorporate “story circles” to assist students with varying needs learn from each other.
How will you evaluate the unit’s success? This is not the assessments that we talked about
in your unit plan, but how will YOU know that students are successful? What will they be
able to do after completing your unit?
1.) Students will appear happy & enthusiastic about writing in science notebooks, and later, creating their own
digital science stories; 2.) My observations of students at work during inquiry will reveal engagement, and I’ll
hear conversations during inquiry stages and help them to record metacognition & science process skills into
their notebooks; and 3.) There will be sufficient positive evidence
How will you share the stories with your community? (parents, administrators, co-workers,
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Initially, just as a presentation in class at the introduction of the science notebook lesson; Later, students,
faculty, admin and parents will have access to the classroom LMS resources on Moodle through the school
intranet, in addition to a web-based video viewing site (once selected) where they can view the student-
created digital stories; Students also complete a digital portfolio throughout the year to showcase their work
and these accomplishments are shared “exhibition-style” at the end of the year.
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