Differentiation basics


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  • Students come to us with a variety of learning needs, styles, and preferences. We need to be able to tap into these things in order to provide a quality education to all students within one classroom.There are several goals teachers strive to meet in a classroom, using differentiation can help us meet them. These goals include the creation of challenging and engaging tasks for all learners; providing flexible approaches to content, instruction, and product; responding to the students’ readiness, instructional needs, interests, and learning profiles; providing opportunities for students to work in varied instructional formats; to meet curriculum standards and requirements for each learner; and to establish learner-responsive classrooms. Differentiation is many things. It is the application of different strategies of instruction, assessment, grouping, evaluation, pacing, level of a topic, and depth of exploration of a given topic. There are several ways to differentiate within a classroom. These include content, process, product. One can differentiate according to learning styles, needs, or interests.
  • Rigor means that you find the right level of challenge for each student. The zone of proximal development is equally located between boredom and anxiety, what they can do on their own and what they need support to do. They should not be “holding hands” with someone if they are being challenged appropriately. Students need to feel confidence and a bit of uncertainty with a topic in order to be learning. It is also equally as important to push students out of their comfort zone as they will learn the most when they are unsure of what steps to take to achieve their desired outcome. This allows for mistakes to be made and experiences to learn from. It helps GT students learn how to “bounce back” from failure if you will. This is a skill that they may not possess early on and is essential to their success in the future. Imagine never having made a mistake until you get into college. At this point, you have only the skills that you were inherently born with. You may not know how to move on. If you do not have the ability to learn from your mistakes, your first one may derail all your future plans. You can find the “zone” by assessing the following:It is too easy if a student gets it right away, already knows it, is coasting, is relaxed or bored, and it requires no effort. You are on target if a student knows some things, has to think and persist, hits the “wall”, feels the challenge, and knows that effort leads to success. It is too hard if a student does not know where to start, can’t figure it out, is missing key skills, feels angry, makes no sense, and wants to give up. It is equally important to present children with material that is challenging and encourage them to try it. (Einstein level)Relevancy means to focus on essential learning- problem solving strategies, reading strategies, where to find the needed information, etc. Flexibility will allow for student choice both in process and product.Complexity allows for active engagement, depth, and breadth in a topic. We often say that growth does not always have to be vertical to allow for learning. Horizontal growth allows for further exploration of a topic-choosing one aspect of a topic to go further in depth.
  • Ask yourself the following questions:Can all students do this task?Would all students benefit from doing this task?Can all students complete the task successfully?Should all students complete this task- is it an integral part of the learning objectives? 2) In order to change the level of complexity, one could add in or subtract the attributes
  • Content is the “what” of a lesson. What will students learn. What are the targets of the lesson? KUDO’s are identified using common core standards and district benchmarks to help plan instruction. The “K” stands for know. These include facts, dates, vocabulary, rules, and people. The “U” stands for understand. This include concepts, principles, and generalizations. They are often the big ideas of a lesson. The “Do” stands for do. What will students be able to do at the end of the lesson on their own? These are skills and processes- a much higher level of processing and thinking. The goal to your lesson planning is to have more “do’s” than anything else. You do not need to have the same number of items in each category. Process is the act of student learning. How is the topic being taught? What activities will be used to help students better understand the subject? What ways will the topic be approached? What strategies can be taught in order to gain comprehension of the target? Product is how students will demonstrate their comprehension and knowledge of a given topic. Product is often differentiated through multiple intelligences/learning styles or Bloom’s taxonomy. Affect relates to student emotions or feelings
  • Pre-Assessments are essential to content because you are able to determine what students already know about a topic. Pre-assessments can be done in many ways, they don’t always have to be a paper/pencil type activity. KWI charts (know, want to know, interested in learning about), journals, discussions, observations, etc can be utilized in order to gain much needed information. Pre-assessments are meant to help teachers gain a GENERAL understanding of what students already know or what they are lacking in regards to a topic. Pre-assessments also give students a preview of what is to come. They show what students know before beginning the learning objectives. You are looking back on what they have already mastered. It helps you to look forward to what students will be learning for the unit’s learning objectives. 2)Allow students to choose something that interests them. For example, if you are studying historical fiction, allow students to choose a particular time frame that they are interested in. Provide them with several topics or events to pique their interest. 3) Make sure students have resources they can learn from. They must not be too difficult or too easy, they must engage the student. These include primary sources.
  • Readiness simply relates to the amount of prior knowledge a student has regarding a specific topic. Readiness can be determined through a variety of sources. This results in gains in learning and achievement.(Bloom’s) Interest relates to what fascinates a student. How can we gain access to the student’s passions in order to teach our target?Learning profiles are simply the ways that a student learns or shares what they have learned best. (Gardner) This results in motivation to learn.It is not always necessary to group students according to their similarities. If we put students with differences together within one group, they may have a chance to learn from one another. It is also beneficial to have a student work outside of his or her comfort zone in order to challenge their thinking. If you differentiate based on learning preference you will see results in greater efficiency and effectiveness in learning.
  • Bloom’s taxonomy relates to differentiation because we are able to create experiences that will challenge students based on the levels of taxonomy. This in turn allows us to change the rigor, relevance, and complexity of learning within the classroom.
  • It provides for higher level learning rather than memorization and repetition. While some things are important to simply know, we strive to create activities that will actively engage students to stretch their thinking- a contents depth and breadth. The higher levels of Bloom’s taxonomy allow for this. The higher levels re-teach and reinforce the content.
  • Knowledge requires students to recall information. Verbs used include tell, list, define, label, recite, memorize, repeat, find, name, record, fill in, recall, relate. This is an important part of target setting for teachers. Comprehension means to show understanding of what is being taught. Verbs that relate to comprehension include locate, explain, summarize, identify, describe, report, discuss, review, paraphrase, restate, retell, show, outline, and rewrite.
  • Application is the level in which students need to do something with the new information that they have acquired. Verbs that relate to this level of thinking include demonstrate, construct, record, use, diagram, revise, record, reformat, illustrate, interpret, dramatize, practice, organize, translate, manipulate, convert, adapt, research, calculate, operate, model, order, display, implement, sequence, integrate, and incorporate. Analysis relates to analytical thinking. Verbs that relate to the analysis level include compare, contrast, classify, critique, categorize, solve, deduce, examine, differentiate, appraise, distinguish, experiment, question, investigate, categorize, and infer.
  • Evaluation is usually done after something has been analyzed. Verbs that relate to evaluation include judge, predict, verify, assess, justify, rate, prioritize, determine, select, decide, value, choose, forecast, and estimate. Synthesis includes application but takes the idea one step further. This requires ORIGINAL thinking, not just saying or showing something in another way. Verbs that relate to synthesis include compose, hypothesize, design, and formulate.
  • 1) Interests are simply a means to attaining an overall goal. For example, in a recent 8th grade science unit regarding ocean environments, I gave students a choice in their enrichment projects. These included mapping the most contaminated states in the U.S. and developing a plan to clean/contain/prevent further the contamination from a specific site; or to calculate how many milk cartons could be filled by the oil spilled in the BP oil spill- students also had to develop a plan on how to prevent future spills or how to best clean the oil that was spilled. (original idea)
  • 1) One way of grouping students in order to differentiate instruction is by using their intelligences. Howard Gardner came up with eight specific areas of intelligence. (there may be more!) In your handouts, I have included a survey for you to take that will help you to find out your particular areas of intelligence. Many students have already taken similar surveys with the guidance department in order to help them prepare for their future. (give time to take survey) 2) All the intelligences are equally important, no one is more significant than the other. 3) It is beneficial for you to have experiences in all eight of the areas of intelligence. This will help you to grow in the areas that you may not be as strong in. 4) Many tasks take more than one area of intelligence to be completed. 5) In your handouts, I have included a survey of multiple intelligences. Please take a few moments to complete the multiple intelligence survey in order to learn a bit more about yourself. We will reveal what your preferences mean in just a few moments.
  • GT students often become completely engrossed in a very specific topic or idea. They are able to remember a substantial amount of information about that specific idea. GT students learn faster than others. They have the ability to store their memories in more than one part of the brain; multi-modality. These “snapshots” of information create myelination allowing for knowledge to travel more quickly throughout the brain.GT students can not always explain how they know something. Their ability to create multiple connections within the brain also allows them to simply “know it.” Students may have difficulty breaking things down in order to explain their thinking. This is a skill that they need to learn and practice. (i.e. math)GT students have a wealth of knowledge but may not always know the “why” of a subject. It is important for students to learn how to find this information on their own, not always by seeking a direct answer from an adult. They need to discover the in-depth information they seek. This will enhance their understanding of the subject. GT students often have a broad vocabulary. This can be interest specific or general. GT students can often solve problems in a way that others cannot. I always say that there is more than one way to solve a problem and to do what works for themselves as an individual. No one way is better than any other. However, at times, GT students can complicate what may seem an easy task for others. GT students have the ability to extend their thinking on a specific topic and take it in a completely different direction. Rather than just finding information on the main topic, they may add on their own subtopics. GT students are able to determine cause and effect as well as possible outcomes earlier than their classmates. This does not mean they always make decisions based on this ability- after all, their frontal lobes (where the “ability to make good choices in order to avoid consequences” parts of the brain are located) do not fully develop until their twenties. GT students are able to quickly determine when things just don’t add up. This can also lead to self destruction when they make the mistake. Some GT students are able to set goals for themselves and follow through in order to achieve said goal-especially if it is one they have invested interest in. There is a difference between a high achiever and a gifted student. A gifted student has innate, natural abilities that may or may not be academic; whereas a high achiever knows how to be successful and puts forth the necessary effort to do so.
  • Flexible grouping is fluid. Examples of differentiation in grouping include allowing to work as an individual, working with a partner, working with a group of choice, working with a group assigned by teacher (may include students with similar or dissimilar interests/levels of readiness/intelligences), working with certain students for part or all of a lesson/unit/assignment/class period, etc. Formative Assessments allow for teachers to gain insight as to the level of understanding of students. They are not always graded. They may include daily work, entrance or exit slips, walkabouts, thumbs up thumbs down, fist to five, quizzes, graphic organizers, self evaluations, diagrams, etc. Matched resources- are students provided with the resources they need at their particular level? This includes reading materials, math manipulatives, calculators, number lines, vocabulary charts, etc. Choice- do students have a choice in how they learn or how they can show what they know? These include extra support for students (someone to read the test to them, verbally taking a test rather than writing, dragonspeak,etc.) Project choices- based on multiple intelligences and interests. Exit Points are places in the lesson or unit in which students can show their understanding and move on or into another grouping. These decisions can be made by using formal assessments or informal assessments.
  • Differentiation basics

    1. 1. Presented by Jessica Barrington Winter 2012
    2. 2. Differentiation is multi-purposeMeant to meet the needs of all learnersDifferentiation is goal oriented
    3. 3. RigorousRelevantFlexibleComplex
    4. 4.  Extend the concept to  Negotiate the evaluative other areas criteria Integrate more than one  Use more authentic subject or skill applications to the real Increase the number of world variables/facets  Analyze the action or Work independently object Add an unexpected  Argue against element to the process something that is or product commonly accepted Identify the bias or  Work with the ethical prejudice in something side of a topic  Defend your work
    5. 5. • Content- KUDO’s• Process• Product• Affect
    6. 6.  Curriculum, concepts, overall themes Focus on concepts that are essential to learning Begin with Pre-Assessment Give students a choice Match resources with level of understanding
    7. 7. ReadinessInterestLearningProfile
    8. 8. Bloom’s Taxonomy
    9. 9.  Created in 1956 by Benjamin Bloom Includes the most common intellectual levels of learning within a classroom Revised in the 1990’s Recently revised once again- web 2.0 applications
    10. 10. KNOWLEDGE COMPREHENSION Lowest level of thinking  Goal is to understand Goal is to know it  Example: Identify the Example: Name the U.S. Presidents of the U.S. Presidents
    11. 11. APPLICATION ANALYSIS Do something with what was  Deconstruct an idea/concept learned  Critically evaluate the Example: Order the concept Presidents by date in office  Example: Compare and contrast the electoral process in America to the process in the country of your choice
    12. 12. EVALUATION SYNTHESIS Determine the worth or  Invent or Reinvent value- judgment  Requires creative thinking Example: In regards to  Example: Write a letter to stimulating the the President suggesting economy, which President ideas to improve the do feel was most successful. economy or value of the Why? Back your argument American dollar. with fact.
    13. 13.  Student interests can be determined using a survey Can be a way in which to deliver the content- skills, topics, etc.
    14. 14. VERBAL LINGUISTIC LOGICAL/MATHEMATICAL Enjoy oral/written language  Love numbers Communicates well through  Think conceptually writing or speaking  Able to see patterns Like to read  Good at problem solving Learn best by and reasoning listening, discussing, readin  Natural analysts g, telling, and writing
    15. 15. VISUAL/SPATIAL BODILY/KINESTHETIC Able to make mental  Expression through pictures movement Makes use of graphic  Well developed large and organizers, pictures, webs, fine motor skills diagrams, etc.  Learn through action, hands-on activities, manipulation
    16. 16. MUSICAL INTERPERSONAL May or may not have  “People people” musical skills  Can feel others emotions Rhythm, pitch, tone, and  Natural Leaders musical patterns evoke a  Works with others response
    17. 17. INTRAPERSONAL NATURALIST Thoughtful and reflective  “Street smart” Independent  Connect with the natural Prefer to work alone Goal setters world Inherent understanding of self  Make observations and others  Like to figure out how things work and to investigate“Every human has four endowments- self “In all things of nature there is awareness, conscience, independ something of the marvelous.” ent will, and creative imagination. ~ Aristotle These give us the ultimate human freedom…the power to choose, to respond, to change..” ~ Stephen R. Covey
    18. 18. How can we meet their needs?
    19. 19.  Able to retain Accelerated learning Deep understanding Curious Vocabulary Ability to do things differently Creative Abstract thinkers Critical thinkers Persistent
    20. 20. HIGH ACHIEVER GIFTED LEARNER  Asks the questions Knows the answers  Highly curious Is interested and attentive  Intellectually engaged Has good ideas  Has original ideas Commits time and effort to  Performs with ease learning  Responds with detail and unique Answers questions Absorbs information perspectives Is a top student  Creates new and original Needs 6-8 repetitions for products mastery  Needs 1-2 repetitions for Completes assignments mastery Prefers sequential presentation  Constructs abstractions of information  Draws inferences Is pleased with own learning  In innovative and insightful  Is highly self-critical  Thrives on complexity
    21. 21.  Flexible grouping Formative Assessments Matched Resources Choice Exit Points
    22. 22.  Task: Analyze two perspectives, summarize the perspectives presenting critical facts for each Extend: Examine at least two perspectives, determine your position, summarize your position, and support your position with facts about global warming Modify: List perspectives and critical facts on global warming on a graphic organizer Heacox 2009
    23. 23.  Sousa, David A., and Carol A. Tomlinson. Differentiation and the Brain: How Neuroscience Supports the Learner- friendly Classroom. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree, 2011. Print. Heacox, Diane. Making Differentiation a Habit: How to Ensure Success in Academically Diverse Classrooms. Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit Pub., 2009. Print.
    24. 24.  Heacox, Diane. Differentiating Instruction in the Regular Classroom: How to Reach and Teach All Learners, Grades 3-12. Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit Pub., 2002. Print. Wormeli, Rick. Differentiation: From Planning to Practice, Grades 6-12. Portland, Me.: Stenhouse, 2007. Print.