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. 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. Another essential component of PBL is student voice and choice, both in terms of what students produce and how they use their time. 5. Formative assessments can look the same for all students. 6. Teamwork and collaboration occur regularly in a PBL project. As you master the PBL process in your classroom, you will intuitively find ways to differentiate instruction for your students. Please share some of your successful strategies with us!
6 Scaffolding Strategies to Use with Your Students What’s the opposite of scaffolding a lesson? Saying to students, “Read this nine-page science article, write a detailed essay on the topic it explores, and turn it in by Wednesday.” Yikes! No safety net, no parachute—they’re just left to their own devices. Let’s start by agreeing that scaffolding a lesson and differentiating instruction are two different things. Simply put, scaffolding is what you do first with kids. Scaffolding and differentiation do have something in common, though. So let’s get to some scaffolding strategies you may or may not have tried yet. 1. How many of us say that we learn best by seeing something rather than hearing about it? Try a fishbowl activity, where a small group in the center is circled by the rest of the class; the group in the middle, or fishbowl, engages in an activity, modeling how it’s done for the larger group. 2. 3. All learners need time to process new ideas and information. 4. 5. 6.
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:
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. I was expected to create four differentiated lessons that school year. 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. Lesson 3
Differentiated Instruction Allows Students to Succeed One of the hardest things for a teacher to do is to treat students differently. It goes against our very nature. We are programmed to treat each child the same as we would treat any other child. No child deserves special privilege, nor does any child deserve less attention -- regardless of race, gender or academic ability. It grates on our nerves when that know-it-all student who always sits in the front row always demands time to show off. It frustrates us to no end when the student in the back of the class makes rude noises and refuses to stay on task. Making Decisions Which students miss out most? I had one of those students in my classroom. Yet even with that, we are pressured to give the students with more needs more attention than those students who have less needs. How can we justifiably give the students the same grade when the quality, quantity, or content of the performance is different? Meeting Students Where They Are Allow for Do-Overs
50+ Tools for Differentiating Instruction Through Social Media Imagine a world where resources were limited to what was found in the classroom or the school closet known as the "Curriculum Materials Room." Picture a world where students wrote letters with pen and paper to communicate with other students and adults outside of the building. Due to postage costs, the teacher either sent the letters in bulk or paid for stamps out of his or her own pocket. Can you recall a time when student interests like skateboarding or video were never used as part of learning curriculum because the tools needed were either too expensive or not yet conceptualized? If you experienced none of these scenarios, then you live in a world of possibility because you grew up with the many social media tools available to support all learners. Selecting the Right Tool For educators differentiating instruction, social media tools embrace collaboration and global access to people and other resources. The list of social media tools to differentiate for learning is increasing.
What Is Differentiated Instruction? This article was excerpted from the Scholastic Professional title, Differentiating Reading Instruction, by Laura Robb. Differentiation is a way of teaching; it’s not a program or package of worksheets. It asks teachers to know their students well so they can provide each one with experiences and tasks that will improve learning. As Carol Ann Tomlinson has said, differentiation means giving students multiple options for taking in information (1999). Differentiating instruction means that you observe and understand the differences and similarities among students and use this information to plan instruction. Here is a list of some key principles that form the foundation of differentiating instruction. Ongoing, formative assessment: Teachers continually assess to identify students’ strengths and areas of need so they can meet students where they are and help them move forward. Data That Supports Differentiation in Reading Step Inside My Classroom Make your read alouds a common teaching text.
Spotlight on Differentiated Instruction - Education Week Targeting students' individual needs could help build a kind of individualized education plan for every student. January 29, 2010 - Digital Directions Many new teachers need help adjusting to the growing diversity of today's public schools, according to a new survey report. September 10, 2008 - Teacher Many experts say online courses are especially suited to provide students with a personalized learning experience. Carol Ann Tomlinson, a leading authority on differentiated instruction, discussed the core principles of the practice and take your questions on using it in the classroom and as a strategy for whole-school improvement. May 7, 2009 - Teacher (Web) Rather than a focus on national standards, writes Stanford University Professor Nel Noddings, more attention should be paid to problems that are truly pressing, such as reducing the number of high school dropouts. January 7, 2010 - Education Week Carol Ann Tomlinson explains how differentiated instruction works and why we need it now.
Advocates Say Differentiated Instruction Can Raise the Bar for All Learners | Parents & Community | WEAC | Parents & Community | Wisconsin Education Association Council By Mary Anne Hess* A seventh grade boy spends his time in English class struggling to read at a beginner’s level. A girl at a nearby desk with her nose in the book could probably tackle a Harvard literature class. That’s diversity, as any educator knows, and — in one form or another — it’s always been a part of American education. "In the United States our goal is to educate all comers," says Dr. Many other countries cull the academic haves from the have-nots at various rungs on the education ladder. Teachers have faced this dilemma since the days of the one-room schoolhouse, which mixed 6- to 16-year-olds in the same space. Understanding the roots of the skepticism, Tomlinson says our schools go through cycles, sometimes dealing with differences inside the classroom and other times shuttling youngsters — often the troublemakers, learning disabled and the gifted -- "down the hall." "But our choice isn’t between sending them down the hall or doing nothing,” Tomlinson argues. How?