Differentiated Instruction Lisa Swope Radford City Schools
People learn differently —we have various learning styles, learning strengths, abilities, and interests.
We also learn alike in that we need to find meaning and make sense of what we study. We learn best from work that demands we stretch ourselves, but does not intimidate us.
The Teacher's Role
Differentiated Instruction is Proactive
The teacher begins with the assumption that different learners have different needs.
She proactively plans a variety of ways to “get at” and express learning .
She organizes materials and resources so learning will be purposeful and not chaotic.
Expect BETTER work, not MORE work!!!
The teacher does not simply give more work to learners who are more capable; instead, he adjusts the nature of the assignment to meet student needs .
The level of complexity, steps in a task, and levels of questioning can be geared to student ability.
Begin With Assessment
Students’ readiness level is determined through standardized test results, pre-testing, conversations with the student, interest surveys, and/or instruments indicating preferred learning styles and/or multiple intelligences.
Provide Several Routes to Content, Process, and Product
Content— what students learn
Process— how students go about making sense of ideas and information
Product— how students demonstrate what they have learned
Differentiated Learning is Student-Centered
Students are given the opportunity to take increasing responsibility for their own growth.
Teaching students to share responsibility allows a teacher to work with different groups or individuals for parts of the class time………….and it better prepares students for life.
Differentiation Blends Several Types of Instruction
Differentiation is Fluid
Teachers participate in ongoing collaboration with students
Lessons and assignments are adjusted as needed
There is no one “right” way to differentiate as long as the basic principles of differentiated learning are followed.
Basic Principles of Differentiation
Students are pre-assessed to determine learning needs.
The teacher plans proactively to provide several learning options.
Students work alone, in pairs, and in small groups .
Students sometimes receive whole-class instruction .
The teacher gives clear directions and shares responsibility with students.
The teacher provides organization to the degree that learning is purposeful and not chaotic .
The teacher provides support as needed.
The student takes responsibility for his/her own learning and demonstrates understanding through a student-designed product.
Examples of Differentiation
For First Grade Reading
Create a flexible reading program.
Post a weekly reading schedule and allow students to find their names on it.
Allow students to move to appointed parts of the room at times designated on the chart.
Sometimes the whole class will meet to listen to a story and talk about it or to volunteer to read it.
Sometimes a small group meets with the teacher to work on decoding, comprehension strategies, or to share ideas.
Sometimes students will meet with peers to read on a topic of mutual interest, regardless of their reading readiness (different level books on same topic).
Students read alone (from books in discovery boxes based on various topics or from boxes designated by colors to match levels of reading readiness).
Students may meet with a reading partner to take turns reading or, at the direction of the teacher, to “choral read” so stronger readers can provide leadership for a peer who doesn’t read as well.
Third Grade Reading
Design a variety of centers based on student learning profiles
Assign students to centers based on formal or informal assessments
At centers related to people the students are studying, students can choose to work alone, in pairs, or within a small group
Some possible centers include:
Students select a person they’ve studied and make an annotated time line of the person’s early life, noting events that shaped the person. The student chooses whether to write a paper, draw a storyboard, or act out the events.
Students select a biography and a fictional work each has read. Then they write about real-life events they and some of their friends have had. Students then look in all three works for common themes about growing up and decide to present their work as a matrix or through conversations between or among the subject of the biography, the fictional work, and a 3 rd grader.
Seventh Grade Science
As part of an exploration of life science, students chose a living creature and develop questions of interest to them individually.
Students figure out how to find answers to their questions.
Each student determines ways to share their findings with their peers.
(Questions can vary in complexity.)
High School Algebra II
Students can pre-test and “compact out” of a unit at any time during the first three days of instruction
Students who opt out do an independent investigation of math in the real world, given guidelines by the teacher, who works with them to tighten or focus plans, as needed
Students who did not “compact out” receive whole group instruction, and then—based on understanding—divide into cooperative groups for practice, or meet in a small group with the teacher for further instruction
When the class has finished the chapter, everyone participates in two days of mandatory review and the entire class takes the test.
High School U.S. History
Students read biographies of their choice from a suggested reading list. Each student chooses to do one of the following:
Write a two-page summary of the person’s life.
Note transforming dates in the subject’s life and make a timeline.
Choose three events that most impacted the subject’s life and make a poster explaining each.
Students read names from a posted list and go to pre-assigned groups, which include:
Students meet in small groups and “tell the story” in first person of the subject of each biography
Students make a chart listing similarities and differences in their characters’ personalities, lives, and accomplishments
Students brainstorm qualities of “greatness” and create a matrix they will use to rank all of their subjects
Students choose one or a few topics making news in their lifetimes and conduct a time-travel/round-table discussion in character as their subjects.
Students complete an assignment from the following product list:
A PowerPoint presentation
A scripted presentation to the class
An argumentative or comparative essay.
Differentiation by Readiness
The Equalizer: A Tool for Planning Differentiated Lessons
Single Facet……………… Multiple Facets
Small Leap……………….. Great Leap
More Structured………….. More Open
Less Independence……… More Independence
Change the nature of the task , not the workload
Change the sophistication of the prompt and/or the student’s response to it
Remember to keep all students “above water” by adjusting challenge levels so all students can make sense of their learning
Change the Verb
Students enter into independent study with an agreed-upon set of tasks supporting adjusted goals.
Students are given choices of tasks in a unit or for an assessment. They most do one “entrée task”, may select from two “side dish” tasks, and may choose to do one of the “dessert” tasks for extra enrichment .
Students receive foam or poster board cubes with a different task written on each face; each task has a different complexity level than the others. Given a topic, students: Describe it, Compare it, Associate it, Analyze it, Apply it, Argue for it or against it.
Create a pyramid of horizontal lines, then ask students at different readiness levels to respond to tiered prompts as they interact with the topic.
SOME GREAT PROMPTS
Future of the topic
Change the Verb
Raise or lower the challenge level by changing the verb in your prompt:
Argue for (or against)
All students need coherent lessons that are relevant, powerful, and meaningful.
Good curriculum pushes students a bit beyond what is easy or comfortable.
Encourage students to “work up” and complete tasks that stretch them.
Differentiation by Interest
Real-Life Applications of Ideas and Skills
New Forms of Expression
Strategies That Support Interest-Based Studies
Studying concepts and principles through the lens of interest