Blogs on Differentiated Instruction

Blogs on Differentiated InstructionRSS
Rebecca AlberJanuary 24, 2014

What's the opposite of scaffolding a lesson? It would be saying to students something like, "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, no scaffolding -- just left blowing in the wind.

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Joshua BlockJanuary 7, 2014

Learning is a messy process -- and authentic, project-based learning immerses us in unique parts of this mess. There are days when my check-ins with students reveal that many young people are lost or unclear about how to proceed with the early stages of a project.

"What topic are you going to focus on?" I ask Keith as I kneel down next him.

"I can’t decide. I’m stuck," he mumbles, leaning forward and staring straight into his computer screen as he talks.

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Terry HeickDecember 13, 2013

Roughly put, learning is really just a growth in awareness. The transition from not knowing to knowing is part of it, but that's really too simple because it misses all the degrees of knowing and not knowing. One can't ever really, truly understand something any more than a shrub can stay trimmed. There's always growth or decay, changing contexts or conditions. Understanding is the same way. It's fluid.

Yes, this sounds silly and esoteric, but think about it. While morsels of information -- math theorems, for example -- may not change, the context in which students use them do change. Which in turn changes how we consider and use that morsel.

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Elena AguilarNovember 25, 2013

About a year ago, I read Susan Cain's Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking. I wanted to tell everyone about this book right away, but I also wanted to let what I'd learned sink in. I wanted to sit alone with my new self-awareness, process my experience, and absorb the revelations I'd had -- all in true introverted fashion. See, as I'd read Cain's book, my predominant thoughts were, "She's describing me! I'm an introvert! And there's nothing wrong with that!" The margins of my copy are littered with stars, exclamation points, and scribbles that, as I look back, reflect my profound relief and gained understandings.

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Beth HollandOctober 18, 2013

The U.S. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act defines the concept of the Least Restrictive Environment as the opportunity for a student with a disability to be "provided with supplementary aids and services necessary to achieve educational goals if placed in a setting with non-disabled peers." (Daniel R.r. v. State Bd. of Educ., 874 F.2d 1036, 1050, 5th Cir.1989) This concept of providing students with "supplementary aids and services necessary to achieve educational goals" could be applied to all students. By leveraging the capabilities of mobile devices, teachers can support their students in creating a personalized learning environment with the least number of barriers.

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Monica BurnsSeptember 25, 2013

An expectation of the Common Core Learning Standards is that teachers differentiate their instruction to meet the needs of all children. This includes special education and general education students, as well as English-Language Learners. One of my favorite technology tools, the QR code, can be used to meet the needs of a variety of students in one classroom. Teachers can create QR codes for differentiated instruction activities.

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Ben JohnsonAugust 22, 2013

In every classroom we have students that are as different as condors are to capybaras. A soaring condor's capacity has little to compare with the skill set of the water-loving capybara. Understanding their differences is the first step, but even if we create individual education plans that differentiate instruction for each student, teachers are forced to make choices that affect student learning when it comes to instructing them all at once.

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Andrea SaveriJune 19, 2013

As summer reflections on the past school year turn into aspirations for the next year, it's important to keep in mind the big picture of change in education. Five shifts in how we think about schools and education in general will help to regenerate the learning ecosystem, and will provoke our imagination about new possibilities for teaching and learning.

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Hassan MansarayMay 22, 2013

Not satisfied with students' progress on district- and state-mandated tests -- and after careful deliberation by administration and staff -- the Edwards Middle School implemented the Massachusetts Expanded Learning Time (ELT) Initiative in the 2006/07 school year. ELT has since become an integral part of the school day, where students receive an additional 60 minutes of support instruction in some core academic classes like English and math, and 90 minutes of electives in arts, sports and music, and other enrichment activities.

In order to maximize the benefits of ELT for students, I looked for ways to fine tune my approach to teaching individualized learning in my English language arts classroom. One of the instructional models that informs my approach to teaching individualized learning is the Readers and Writers Workshop. This approach proved very helpful in optimizing ELT. Read More
Rebecca AlberApril 2, 2013

Children are more than one test, once a year, in one sitting. It seems as if many schools and districts have lapsed into a deep state of amnesia of Maslow's hierarchy of needs -- a possible lingering hangover from NCLB. So here's a radical assertion: When assessing and teaching children, the time has more than come for education to embrace the whole child. This approach calls for schools and educators to curtail the deficit model and replace it with the abundance model.

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