Differentiated Instruction If educators have learned anything in the last decade of school reform initiatives it is that one size does not fit all. Differentiated Instruction (DI) is an approach where teachers proactively plan varied approaches to what students need to learn, how they will learn it and how they express what they've learned. Differentiated Instruction is teaching with the child in mind rather than adopting a standardized approach to teaching and learning that seems to presume that all students of a given age are at the exact same place academically. DI is responsive teaching. Differentiated Instruction gives students a range of ways to access curriculum, instruction and assessment. Meet Michelle Rainey. Look For: What exactly is scaffolding and why is it important? How does Rainey use a whole-group model to show her students what it is she wants them to do? Go Deeper Although some voice doubts, advocates say differentiated instruction can raise the bar for all learners. Reflect On: Ready Resources:
The Best Places On The Web To Find Documentaries (Non-YouTube) If you’re not as lucky as us (our school district has unblocked YouTube for teacher accounts), I thought having a list like this would be useful. You might also be interested in The Best Sites For News & History Videos That Won’t Get Blocked By Content Filters (At Least, Not By Ours!). Thanks to several folks on Twitter for their recommendations, including @joefinkelstein, @EdDarrell and @justinstallings. I hope readers will contribute more suggestions. Here are my choices for The Best Places On The Web To Find Documentaries (Non-YouTube): I’ll start off with suggesting you see a post by Richard Byrne, where he recommends five places to see online documentaries for free. PBS American Experience Archive TeacherTube As always, feedback is welcome. If you found this post useful, you might want to look at previous “The Best…” lists and also consider subscribing to this blog for free.
Technology in the Classroom: Helpful or Harmful? Kids gravitate towards technology—if your child heads straight for the video games or Facebook after school, you know what we’re talking about. With a world of information at their fingertips nowadays, it seems like kids should be finding it easier than ever to succeed in school. However, as more classrooms invest in the latest technology, test scores remain the same, bringing its effectiveness into question. Technology and Teaching “Incorporating technology into the classroom requires a double innovation,” says Shelley Pasnik, director of the Center for Education and Technology, Educators who receive new technology must first learn how to use the equipment and then decide whether or not it supports the class objectives and curriculum. For example, an instructor may restructure a lecture into a group activity, having students conduct online research to boost their understanding. Technology also makes it easier to spend more overall time on learning. Maximizing Your Child’s Tech Time
What is DI? Differentiation Central Students come to our classrooms with unique differences as people and therefore as learners. Our students have varied degrees of background knowledge and readiness to learn, different life experiences, cultural orientations, languages, interests, and preferences for how they learn best, and different feelings about themselves as learners and about school. Just as medical doctors don't prescribe the same medications for every one of their patients, teachers who differentiate instruction are mindful of the varied learning needs of their students and plan instruction accordingly. Differentiated instruction is both a philosophy and a way of teaching that respects the different learning needs of students and expects all students to experience success as learners. The Differentiated Instruction Model is based on effective educational practice (research base for DI) and is framed around several key elements: High-Quality Curriculum High-quality curriculum means planning with the end in mind.
Six Strategies for Differentiated Instruction in Project-Based Learning Project-based learning (PBL) naturally lends itself to differentiated instruction. By design, it is student-centered, student-driven, and gives space for teachers to meet the needs of students in a variety of ways. PBL can allow for effective differentiation in assessment as well as daily management and instruction. PBL experts will tell you this, but I often hear teachers ask for real examples, specifics to help them contextualize what it "looks like" in the classroom. We all need to try out specific ideas and strategies to get our brains working in a different context. Here are some specific differentiation strategies to use during a PBL project. 1. We all know that heterogeneous grouping works, but sometimes homogenous grouping can be an effective way to differentiate in a project. 2. Reflection is an essential component of PBL. 3. This is probably one of my favorites. 4. 5. Formative assessments can look the same for all students. 6.
Barefoot In the head A few year ago, I was a bit curious about how well learners can evaluate each other. I designed a small experiment to find out. It goes like this: Take a group of learners, say 15 in number, in a classroom. Give everybody 15 sheets of paper and ask them to write their names on the top right corner of every sheet. In other words, you have conducted an examination without making a question paper and without having to mark a pile of answer books. I tried this for three years in the course I teach on Educational Technology for M.Ed. In the meanwhile, I thought you might like to try....
Quiz: How Millennial Are You? Universal Design for Learning (UDL) | Special Education Universal Design for Learning is a framework that provides educators with a structure to develop their instruction to meet the wide range of diversity among all learners. UDL is a research-based framework that suggests that a one-size-fits-all approach to curricula is not effective. UDL was inspired by universal design in architecture, where design features intended for individuals with disabilities have had unexpected benefits for the general population (e.g. curb cut outs designed for wheelchair access have benefits for strollers, rolling luggage, skateboarders, etc.) A concise definition of Universal Design for Learning was provided by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA) The term UNIVERSAL DESIGN FOR LEARNING means a scientifically valid framework for guiding educational practice that: Three Principles of Universal Design for Learning Questions about Universal Design for Learning Is UDL just for students with disabilities? Universal Design for Learning Examples
8 Lessons Learned on Differentiating Instruction My differentiation journey began in 2004 when my principal asked me to attend a weeklong summer conference on differentiated instruction. I was eager to please my principal so I quickly accepted her offer. I was also extremely curious about how I, one person, could possibly address the individual needs of 100 students. By the end of the conference, I was totally overwhelmed with information: flexible grouping, assessment, inventories, tiered lessons, Carol Ann Tomlinson. My real work, though, didn't begin until after the conference, when I was expected to start using the training I'd received. Throughout that year, I utilized a variety of management pointers for a differentiated classroom that had been presented during the conference. Lesson 1 Differentiation does not take place overnight; think of it as a wonderful work in progress. Lesson 2 Like students themselves, differentiation can take on many forms. The methods you use should be based on the student's needs: Lesson 3 Lesson 4
Eight Ways to Use Video With English Language Learners This blog was co-authored by Katie Hull Sypnieski. This post is excerpted from their new book, The ESL/ELL Teacher's Survival Guide: Ready-to-Use Strategies, Tools, and Activities for Teaching English Language Learners of All Levels. "I like the way you use videos with us -- you get us moving, talking, writing and speaking. The problem is you make us think too much." -- "John," one of our English-Language Learner students We can think of far worse things a student might say to us, and John's comment demonstrates our perspective on using video with English-Language Learners (and, for that matter, with all students) -- research and our experience show that it can be a very effective learning tool, but it has to be used as an active one. Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally. 1. The class could start off by watching this New York Times video about a father grieving his son's death from gang violence: 2. 3.